More hot spots announced as SA braces for new cluster cases
Another COVID-19 case linked to the Parafield cluster has been announced as SA Health broadens the list of hot spots in a bid to prevent the further spread.
Premier Steven Marshall told 5AA about 6.30 am there had been one new case linked to the cluster overnight.
As of Monday night, the Parafield cluster had grown to 17 and more cases are expected today. There are also three children with suspected symptoms who are yet to be confirmed as positive.
SA Health is contacting everyone who was in the Emergency Department at Lyell McEwin Hospital between 5.30pm Friday and 8am Saturday.
It is also urging those who visited the northern suburbs hospital’s ED between those times and have not been contacted by SA Health to self-quarantine and monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.
There were 18 new cases reported in SA yesterday, 13 linked to the Parafield cluster and five in returned international travellers in hotel quarantine.
An SA Health spokeswoman said it was unlikely there would be further case announcements until about 3.15pm this afternoon
The cluster was sparked when a woman in her 80s, who lives independently, went to the Lyell McEwin Hospital emergency department on Saturday and tested positive for COVID-19.
The state government has suspended further incoming flights of returned international travellers to Adelaide.
New locations added to the list of hot spots include:
Adelaide: Bus (GA1/GA2/GA3) from bus stop near train station, Wednesday 11 November 3.40pm-4.38pm
It’s Convenient, 63 Waymouth St, Adelaide, Saturday 14 November 6.00pm -6.15pm
Eastwood: Adelaide Eye and Laser Centre, 215 Greenhill Rd, Friday 13 November 10.00am – 12.00 pm
Edinburgh: SA Structural, 54 Kaurna Avenue, Thursday 12 November 7.00am – 3.30 pm
Elizabeth: Big W, Elizabeth Shopping Centre, Saturday 14 November 10.00 am – 11.00am
Findon: Woolworths Findon Road, Saturday 14 November 8.30 pm – 8.35 pm
Fulham Gardens: Fulham Gardens Community Centre – Festival of Lights Function, Sunday 8 November
Gepps Cross: Spotlight, 750 Main North Road, Thursday 12 November 8.30 pm – 9.00 pm
Kurralta Park: Coles, 153-164 Anzac Hwy, Friday 13 November 8.30 pm – 8.50 pm
Mawson Lakes: Foodland, 6/12 Capital St, Saturday 14 November 1.30 pm – 2.00 pm
Parafield Gardens: Martins Road Family Medical Practice (Podiatrist), Monday 9 November 2.00pm – 3.00 pm
Pooraka: On The Run Pooraka, OTR 126 Bridge Rd Pooraka, Thursday 12 November 11.35 am – 11.40 am
Bus 405 from Salisbury Bus Interchange, Monday 9 November 11.06 am – 12.00 pm
Bus 411 from Salisbury Bus Interchange, Wednesday 11 November 4.30pm – 5.30 pm Namaste Supermarket, Parabanks Shopping Centre, Saturday 14 November 1.30 pm – 2.00 pm
Salisbury Downs: McDonald’s Hollywood Plaza, Friday 13 November 10.00 am – 11.00 am, Star Discount Chemist, Hollywood Plaza Surgery, Tuesday 10 November 7.30 pm – 7.45 pm, Target Hollywood Plaza, Thursday 12 November 12.00 pm – 1.30 pm, Woolworths, Hollywood Plaza, Thursday 12 November 12.00 pm – 1.30 pm
South Plympton: Jai Shiv Fruit & Veg shop, 3/489 Marion Rd, Saturday 14 November 8.00 pm – 8.05 pm
These are in addition to an initial list of hot spots announced yesterday.
SA Health has advised people who visited any of the below locations during the listed times that they do not need to self-quarantine but should monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, including fever or chills, an acute respiratory infection, loss of smell or alteration in the sense of taste, and get tested immediately if symptoms appear.
Cash, drugs seized in $1million border bust
Two men form the state’s Mid North are facing laundering and drug trafficking charges after police found $1 million in cash in a car as it crossed the South Australian border from NSW.
Police stopped a Holden Ute, driven by one of the men, 51, just before midnight on Saturday at the Oodla Wirra checkpoint.
During a search of the vehicle, officers discovered the cash – mostly comprising $50 notes – as well as illicit substances GHB and methamphetamine.
The man was arrested, sparking a police investigation.
Three properties were raided on Sunday, including one in the Mid North and two in the Barossa area.
Hydroponic cannabis set-ups were allegedly uncovered at the Mid North address and first Barossa property.
Equipment to grow cannabis hydroponically was seized at the second Barossa property where the other man, 47, was arrested and later charged.
The men have been refused bail and are expected to appear at magistrates courts in Port Pirie and Elizabeth today.
“SAPOL continue to police highways and roads used to travel to and from South Australia,” a spokesman said in a statement.
“This significant seizure of cash should serve as a warning to organised crime groups that transport illegal commodities across our border.”
Police chief backs medi-hotel system as restrictions return
South Australia’s police chief Grant Stevens says he has full confidence in the state’s quarantine hotels despite a worrying cluster of COVID-19 cases linked to one facility in Adelaide.
As of Monday night, the Parafield cluster had grown to 17 and more cases are expected.
An infected returned traveller is thought to have passed the virus onto a staff member of the hotel who has then infected family members.
Officials said SA’s hotel quarantine arrangements had recently won praise after a national audit but no such facilities could be completely secure.
“I couldn’t be more confident that we are providing a secure arrangement as possible in relation to how we manage our medi-hotels,” Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said.
“But, as has been pointed out, this is highly infectious, easily caught and even the very best medical officials can catch this while they’re doing their very best to avoid it.
“Given the circumstances, and our obligation to repatriate Australians, this is the reality that we’re now dealing with.”
As of Friday, SA had 17 of the 77 active coronavirus cases in Australia, but all were returned travellers.
That number has now grown to at least 34, including two security guards and another staff member at the quarantine hotel. There are 167 close contacts of confirmed cases being contacted daily for symptom checks.
From today, all gyms, recreation centres and play cafes will close for two weeks with community sports fixtures and training cancelled.
Funerals and family gatherings will be capped at 50 people, and all church gatherings at 100 people.
Pubs, clubs and restaurants will be limited to 100 people along with all other public gatherings.
All venues or functions must abide by a rule of one person to each four square metres.
Masks will be mandatory for workers in personal care businesses and for workers in aged care if physical distancing is not possible.
Aged care workers will be limited to just one site but schools will remain open.
The government has also asked all people to work from home if they can and to reconsider unnecessary travel of any kind.
Second COVID-19 vaccine ’94.5 per cent effective’
US pharmaceutical firm Moderna says early analysis suggests its COVID-19 vaccine is 94.5 per cent effective based on interim data from a late-stage trial.
Together with Pfizer Inc’s vaccine, which is also more than 90 per cent effective, and pending more safety data and regulatory review, the United States could have two vaccines authorised for emergency use in December with as many as 60 million doses of vaccine available this year.
Next year, the US government could have access to more than 1 billion doses just from the two vaccine makers, more than needed for the country’s 330 million residents.
The vaccines, both developed with new technology known as messenger RNA (mRNA), represent powerful tools to fight a pandemic that has infected 54 million people worldwide and killed 1.3 million.
The news also comes at a time when COVID-19 cases are soaring, hitting new records in the United States and pushing some European countries back into lockdowns.
“We are going to have a vaccine that can stop COVID-19,” Moderna president Stephen Hoge said in a telephone interview.
Moderna’s interim analysis was based on 95 infections among trial participants who received either a placebo or the vaccine.
Of those, only five infections occurred in those who received the vaccine, which is administered in two shots 28 days apart.
“This news from Moderna is tremendously exciting and considerably boosts optimism that we will have a choice of good vaccines in the next few months,” said Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London.
Moderna expects to have enough safety data required for US authorisation in the next week or so and the company expects to file for emergency use authorisation (EUA) in the coming weeks.
A key advantage of Moderna’s vaccine is that it does not need ultra-cold storage like Pfizer’s, making it easier to distribute.
Moderna expects it to be stable at normal fridge temperatures of 2C to 8C for 30 days and it can be stored for up to six months at -20C.
The data from Moderna’s trial involving 30,000 volunteers also showed the vaccine prevented cases of severe COVID-19, a question that still remains with the Pfizer vaccine.
Of the 95 cases in Moderna’s trial, 11 were severe and all 11 occurred among volunteers who got the placebo.
Most side effects were mild to moderate.
A significant proportion of volunteers, however, experienced more severe aches and pains after taking the second dose, including about 10 per cent who had fatigue severe enough to interfere with daily activities while another 9 per cent had severe body aches.
Moderna, part of the US government’s Operation Warp Speed program, expects to produce about 20 million doses for the United States this year, millions of which the company has already made and is ready to ship if it gets FDA authorisation.
Local companies vie for subs work
More than 120 companies in Australia have applied to Naval Group to be high-level partners in the development and construction of Australia’s new Attack class submarines.
Naval Group last month called for expressions of interest from local companies with the release of a local manufacturing package worth almost $900 million.
The company is looking for local manufacturers to produce 20 separate items of equipment for the 12 subs to be built in Adelaide, including steering gear, weapon handling systems and the main shaft line.
Naval Group Australia Chief Executive John Davis said there had been an impressive response.
“Our local manufacturing package sent a clear message to Australian industry that we mean business,” Davis said.
“Australian manufacturers have shown in this response that they stand ready to step up and play their part in building submarines that will be critical for Australia’s defence.
“The potential benefits for the nation from this program are immense and will last a generation.”
A further 2000 Australian businesses have also registered to become part of the wider supply chain that will sustain the 50-year submarine construction program.
Naval Group Australia already employs almost 300 people in South Australia and expects that to grow to about 1700 direct jobs by 2028.
Trump adviser pledges ‘professional transition’
US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser Robert O’Brien says he will ensure a professional transition to the team led by Democrat Joe Biden if Biden is deemed the winner of the 2020 presidential election and “obviously things look like that now”.
The Republican Trump has insisted the November 3 election was “rigged” and that he will be declared the winner after a series of legal challenges in several US states.
Speaking to the Global Security Forum, O’Brien said that while he hoped Trump would turn out to have won a second four-year term, he would work with a new administration headed by Biden and his vice presidential running mate Kamala Harris.
“If there is a new administration, look, they deserve some time to come in and implement their policies,” O’Brien said.
“If the Biden-Harris ticket is determined to be the winner – obviously things look that way now – we’ll have a very professional transition from the National Security Council, there’s no question about it.”
Trump’s campaign has so far failed to produce evidence that could overturn Biden’s 306-232 victory over Trump in the state-by-state Electoral College vote.
States face a December 8 “safe harbour” deadline to certify their elections and choose electors who will officially select the new president on December 14.
No time for virus complacency: WHO
The World Health Organisation says there is no time for complacency in confronting the global coronavirus pandemic despite positive news about possible vaccines.
“Right now we are extremely concerned by the surge in COVID-19 cases we’re seeing in some countries,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a tweet on Monday.
“Particularly in Europe and the Americas, health workers and health systems are being pushed to the breaking point.”
More than 54.67 million people have been reported infected by the coronavirus globally and 1,321,403 have died, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
The US has topped 11 million infections and is expected to pass 250,000 deaths in the coming days.
WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan also said on Monday that the news that US pharmaceutical firm Moderna appears to have developed a highly effective vaccine is “quite encouraging” but more data is needed.
Trial participants need to be monitored for two more months for possible side effects, she told a press conference in Geneva.
“There are many questions still remaining” about the Moderna product and about Pfizer’s rival vaccine candidate that has also shown to be very effective in trials, Swaminathan said.
More needs to be known about how long these vaccines protect against the coronavirus, to what extent they prevent severe cases of COVID-19 disease and what impact they have on elderly people, she said.
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