Aged care virus victims among 41 deaths in Victoria

Victoria has recorded its darkest day since the beginning of the pandemic, with 41 new COVID-19 related deaths added.

The deaths total includes 22 people who died in the weeks leading up to 27 August and were reported to authorities by aged-care facilities.

The record comes as the state marked another milestone - its lowest daily increase in more than six weeks with 73 new cases detected.

In New South Wales, 10 people tested positive overnight. Six of those were travellers in quarantine. The remaining four cases were linked to an existing cluster in the Sydney CBD. 

Victorians are also facing an employment crisis as the state attempts to control the spread of the virus.

More workers in Victoria will be living off the federal government's wage subsidy scheme than in every other state combined before the end of the year, according to new data.

Analysis from Treasury also reveals the brunt of the economic hit caused by the second wave has been felt by Melburnians, with the regions avoiding some of the pain.

Josh Frydenberg on Sunday launched a scathing attack on Daniel Andrews' handling of the coronavirus and his failure to release an economic recovery plan. The Treasurer slammed the Premier for a "litany of failures" that had a "devastating impact".

Treasury analysis showed almost 30,000 Victorians had started receiving unemployment benefits since the end of June - more than half of whom joined the unemployment queue over the past two weeks alone.

The wages of almost a million Victorians are already being supplemented through the federal government's JobKeeper wage subsidy. Treasury estimates that by December about 60 per cent of the scheme's 2.24 million ­recipients will be in Victoria.

Melburnians have been harder hit than regional Victorians in the second wave, with an 8 per cent jump in unemployment benefit recipients in the city compared with 3 per cent in the country.

Victorians are also spending less on their households since the second lockdown began when compared with the rest of Australia.

Non-essential spending also plummeted, dropping 45 per cent in recent weeks.

The Sunday Herald Sun revealed Victoria's devastating second wave of coronavirus was costing the state between $300m-$400m a day in economic activity.

A leading economics and analytics firm warned the cost of the current lockdown could run as high as $25bn.

Mr Frydenberg on Sunday said Mr Andrews had added economic pain by failing to outline the road out of restrictions for businesses.

"There's been a litany of failures in Victoria. Obviously quarantine is the most graphic of that," Mr Frydenberg said.

"We've heard from no lesser a body than the Australian Medical Association that what has transpired in Victoria is like a slow car crash, that everyone has been witnessing as it's been occurring.

Police officers and army personnel patrol the Tan on Sunday. Picture: NCA NewsWire/David Geraghty
Police officers and army personnel patrol the Tan on Sunday. Picture: NCA NewsWire/David Geraghty

"It is devastating what is happening in Victoria and we're only two weeks away from the end of the so-called stage four restrictions and businesses are in the dark as to how they'll get their workers back and their doors open.

"These are the strictest of restrictions taking a huge toll on people's mental health, but also on the economy."

Mr Andrews said he had "no interest" in fighting with Mr Frydenberg.

"There is no economic recovery until we can get the health problem fixed," Mr Andrews said. "That's the story of every nation across the world."

Mr Andrews said it did not make economic sense to emerge from the second wave and support businesses without restrictions to control the spread of the virus.

He flagged the government would today announce how it would "engage" with businesses and industry on a plan to reopen to "ensure we are getting the latest and best input around what that opening up should look like".

The federal government expects to get its JobKeeper and JobSeeker extension legislation through parliament this week.

 

WHY STAGE FOUR LOCKDOWN COULD BE EXTENDED

Premier Daniel Andrews has not ruled out stage four restrictions being extended past September 13, with the state recording 114 new coronavirus cases and 11 deaths on Sunday.

A deal to extend the government's state of emergency powers by six months is also up in the air after a group of crossbench MPs declared they would not support it.

Public health authorities are to assess infection data over this week as they work to determine what rule changes will be possible when the current limits are scheduled to end in a fortnight.

It comes as data reveals a spike in traffic in several locked-down suburbs during curfew hours.

New data compiled by Real Time Traffic show a substantial drop in car movements since Stage 4 restrictions were introduced, but also found pockets of the city where movement actually increased.

Key routes in Melbourne's western suburbs, southeastern suburbs and the CBD were among the main areas to record weekly spikes and these regions have led the state for infections.

Vehicle counts also show much of this travel was occurring between 2am to 5am.

Read the full story here.

 

Traffic on Dandenong’s Cleeland St on the weekend. Picture: Tim Carrafa
Traffic on Dandenong’s Cleeland St on the weekend. Picture: Tim Carrafa

 

NEWMAN URGES PROTESTS AS FLARE-WIELDING GANG RUNS RIOT

Controversial TV personality Sam Newman has urged thousands to take to the streets to protest Victoria's strict coronavirus restrictions.

On Sunday, Newman urged Victorians to "take the city/state back" as he proposed that 250,000 people should gather on the CBD streets in protest over lockdown.

It comes as a man and two teens were arrested at an anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne's north on Sunday night and several more were fined for a separate demonstration in the city's southeastern suburbs.

Images appearing to show dozens of men - some wearing Guy Fawkes masks - gathering on suburban streets in Meadow Heights surfaced on social media on Sunday afternoon.

Read the full story here.

 

SUPERMARKETS DEEP-CLEANED AFTER INFECTIONS

Four Melbourne supermarkets have been deep-cleaned after three staff members and a customer tested positive to coronavirus.

A Coles and a Woolies in Tarneit, in Melbourne's western suburbs, and Coles Northland in Preston, were cleaned after three workers were identified as positive cases.

All three staff were now self-isolating, the supermarkets said.

Both employees at Woolworths Tarneit Gardens and Coles Northland last worked on August 18, while the staff member at Coles Tarneit, on Davis Rd, was last in the store on August 6 and was identified as a close contact to a coronavirus case outside of work.

Coles said contact tracing did not identify any other team members as close contacts to the Tarneit store case.

A quiet Footscray Rd in Melbourne’s inner west. Picture: Mark Stewart
A quiet Footscray Rd in Melbourne’s inner west. Picture: Mark Stewart

They said one other team member from the Coles Northland, who worked in close contact with the positive cases, had been asked to self-isolate.

"As an added precaution, Coles conducted an additional deep clean of the store," the supermarket said.

Woolworths urged any customers who shopped in their Tarneit Gardens store on August 17 or 18 and felt unwell in the next two weeks to make contact with health authorities.

A Woolworths customer who shopped at the Victoria Harbour store in Docklands on August 15 has also been confirmed as a positive case.

Woolworths said they had been advised the risk of transmission to customers and team members was low.

Anyone who shopped in the Docklands on August 15 and felt unwell in the next two weeks should contact health authorities.

 

CONTACT TRACING TEAM STILL FAILING TO KEEP UP

One in 10 Victorians confirmed to have coronavirus over the past week were not contact traced within 24 hours of returning a positive result.

Data obtained by the Herald Sun revealed while there had been improvements in the state's virus response, Victoria was still failing against nationally agreed standards.

It also showed last week 10 Victorians who were close contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case were not told within 48 hours.

Read the full story here.

 

RELIEF FOR PARENTS AS RETURN TO SCHOOL FLAGGED

Struggling parents are rejoicing at the thought of the return to school given some kids are doing as little as an hour of learning a day at home.

Parents report children in prep to year 2 are doing the least, clocking in at two hours a day on average.

Education Department guidelines stipulate children from prep to year 2 should do a minimum of 45 minutes of literacy, 30 minutes of maths and 30 minutes of play-based learning and physical activity.

Older children in years 3 to 6 are doing an average of three and a half hours a day, an informal survey by the Herald Sun of 105 parents found.

The guidelines say children in years 3 to 10 should do a minimum of 45 minutes of literacy, 30 minutes of maths, 30 minutes of physical activity and 90 minutes of additional curriculum.

High school students, unlike primary pupils, are doing a normal school day, with most schools holding web-based sessions mirroring the usual class timetable.

Marissa Dunell with Kids Leila, 11, and Jack, 8. Picture: Wayne Taylor
Marissa Dunell with Kids Leila, 11, and Jack, 8. Picture: Wayne Taylor

At all year levels, those at non-government schools are more likely to have a full day of web-based lessons. One parent from Haileybury said her son in year 4 was doing classroom Zooms from 8.45am to 3pm as well as homework.

Deakin University education senior lecturer Emma Rowe said it was to be expected equity gaps between public and private schools "would continue to be significant during the pandemic".

"Parents may be picking up more of the load if their students attend public schools, although it's difficult to generalise without some decent research into the area," Dr Rowe said.

A University College London Institute of Education study found in some cases children hadn't done any schoolwork at all, and only about 17 per cent did more than four hours a day.

East Kew mother of three Marissa Dunell said her daughter Alice, 13, was doing "mega hours" in year eight at private school Genazzano.

Meanwhile, her son Jack, 8, in year 2 at a Catholic primary school, was doing "an hour or two a day spread out over three or four hours".

And her other daughter Leila, 11, at another Catholic primary school, is doing "what she needs to do as fast as she can".

 

Originally published as Thousands out of work as virus' economic toll revealed


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