Australia reports 111 new coronavirus cases | In New York, 7 family members infected and 3 die, paper reports.
Australia bans entry to foreign citizens and non-residents as cases spike by more than 100
Starting tomorrow, Australia will no longer allow entry to non-Australian citizens or residents, unless they are direct family members of Australians, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced today.
“Tonight we will be resolving to move to a position where a travel ban will be placed on all non-residents, non-Australian citizens coming to Australia, and that will be in place from 9 p.m. tomorrow evening,” said Morrison.
He added that he had consulted with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on this travel ban to “align” their measures. Ardern also announced a travel ban for foreign citizens entering New Zealand today.
“We believe it is essential now to take the further step to ensure that we now no longer will not be allowing anyone, unless they are a resident or citizen or direct family member in those cases, as is applied to all the travel bans previously,” Morrison said.
He added that people with travel plans to Australia should use these next 24 hours to make alternative arrangements.
Australians overseas can still return to the country, but will be subject to a 14-day isolation upon arrival.
This comes as the country announced a rise in cases. Australia reported 111 new cases, bringing the national tally to 565, the country’s Department of Health said today.
Of the 565 total, 259 cases are considered to be “overseas acquired” — imported from virus-hit countries like the US, Iran, Italy, and the UK.
Some 46 patients have recovered, and six have died.
Fiji has its first coronavirus case. That’s a big problem for the Pacific — and New Zealand
On Thursday, Fiji’s Prime Minister confirmed the country has its first coronavirus case.
That came as Samoa — another Pacific island nation — announced it had a suspected case. According to the Ministry of Health’s news release, it could be days before the case can be confirmed.
Other island nations have also reported cases, including French Polynesia, and the US territory Guam.
This is bad news for Pacific Island nations, which are some of the most remote and aid-dependent in the world.
Last year’s measles outbreak in Samoa shows how easily disease can spread among its population of 200,000 — and suggests the country would be ill-equipped to cope with the coronavirus.
During the measles outbreak, Samoa declared a state of emergency. Government offices and schools closed, and children were banned from public gatherings. But it wasn’t enough to prevent more than 80 deaths — a devastating number for such a small population.
Pacific Islands have taken strict measures. Samoa now requires all arrivals — including residents — to undergo a medical examination within three days before arrival.
The way New Zealand has responded also shows how concerned it is for its much smaller neighbors. On Saturday, New Zealand announced that almost everyone entering the country needs to self-isolate for two weeks. At the time, the country’s leader Jacinda Ardern described the measure as the strictest in the world.
Of course, the rule was aimed at limiting the spread in New Zealand. But it was also put in place to look out for Pacific Islands.
Although people coming from the Pacific would be allowed to avoid the self-isolation rule, anyone traveling to the Pacific would need to meet strict new exit rules, including a health assessment. Anyone who had traveled outside New Zealand in the past 14 days wouldn’t be allowed to go to the Pacific.
On Thursday, Ardern announced new measures, closing off the country’s border to almost all non-New Zealanders — including those coming from the Pacific. But again, protection of the Pacific was part of the plan.
“It remains the case that the protection of the Pacific from Covid-19 is a major concern for the New Zealand government and these measures support that,” Ardern said.
“A small number of exemptions to the new measures can be sought for humanitarian reasons, essential health workers and citizens of Samoa and Tonga who need to travel to New Zealand for essential reasons.
New Zealand is a gateway to the Pacific. It’s one of the few countries with flights to the Pacific Islands. It also has a large Pacific Island community, some of whom regularly travel to the islands.
As one of the biggest aid donors to the Pacific, New Zealand would likely need to step in and help in the event of a coronavirus crisis — just as it did during the measles outbreak.
Seven family members in New Jersey were infected. Three are now dead, New York Times reports
Seven members of a New Jersey family contracted the coronavirus, and three of them have now died, according to the New York Times.
Grace Fusco, 73, died Wednesday without knowing that two of her eldest children also died before her, the Times reported.
CNN was directed to a representative of the family for comment but have not heard back.
A relative confirmed four other children who have the coronavirus remain hospitalized, with three in critical condition, according to the report.
Fusco’s eldest daughter, Rita Fusco-Jackson of Freehold, New Jersey, died Friday. Sometime after that, the family learned Fusco had the coronavirus. Fusco’s eldest son, Carmine Fusco of Bath, Pennsylvania, died before his mother on Wednesday.
A Tuesday night family dinner more than a week ago appears to the be the source of this coronavirus cluster, the Times reported.
The first person in New Jersey to die with the coronavirus attended that family gathering.
Grace Fusco has 11 children and 27 grandchildren, according to the report.
Reporting by Jessie Yeung, Helen Regan and Adam Renton, CNN