LIVE Coronavirus updates: Victoria recorded 627 new COVID-19 cases, eight deaths on Friday, as aged care crisis continues; QLD border closes to Greater Sydney, Australian death toll jumps to 197

Dictator Dan or Dan The Man? For almost six years, Premier Andrews surfed a wave of popularity. Then COVID-19 turned the tide.

Dan Andrews seems remarkably at ease for a man emerging from a soul-crushing week. It’s a Friday morning in mid-June and we’ve met at a skate park in his electorate of Mulgrave, in Melbourne’s suburban south-east. On Monday, he sacked his “very good friend” – as he called Small Business Minister Adem Somyurek in 2018 – who was caught running an industrial-scale branch stacking operation laced with misogyny and homophobia.

By last night, another two ministers had gone and several investigations were afoot, some likely to become quite uncomfortable for the 48-year-old. “Every day this week has felt like a whole week in itself,” he says.

At least, on this morning, the pandemic seems to be behaving itself: a manageable 13 new cases. Among Australia’s current premiers, he is the longest-serving – almost six years – and is still being lauded nationally for steering Victoria through COVID-19 and the summer bushfire crisis before that. His approval ratings, which will dive abruptly within the coming month, are still sky-high. For now, it seems everyone is a Dan fan.

“Mate!” A man shouts at us from the window of a passing car. “Mate! You are doing a great job! Can we get a photo?” Two dark-haired men in fluorescent orange fleeces leap out of a plumbing van with the elastic energy of cartoon figures. “You have to be COVID-safe!” the Premier warns, manoeuvring into his selfie position, 1.5 metres behind them.

Andrews smiles when I ask if the tradies are on his payroll. “It happens quite often,” says his media adviser Stephanie Anderson. And sure enough, two minutes later, another man shyly approaches, phone in hand.

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Australia’s senior infection control advisers have escalated their advice about face masks, urging those living in an increasing number of Sydney hotspots to wear a covering while in public.

The Australian Club, a private club on Macquarie Street and a favourite haunt of former prime ministers, is the latest Sydney venue to close after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

NSW reported 21 new COVID-19 cases on Friday. Eight people are in NSW intensive care units, up from five cases on Thursday, and four are on ventilators.

On Friday night, grocery chain Harris Farm Markets said a customer who tested positive for COVID-19 had visited its Leichhardt store between 3pm and 3.30pm on Sunday, July 26. Anyone who visited during that time and feels unwell or shows symptoms is advised to get tested.

“NSW Health has confirmed the risk of infection to customers and our team is low due to the nature of the customer’s visit,” a statement from Harris Farm’s Co-CEOs Tristan, Luke, and Angus Harris read.

“We have also undertaken a deep clean of the store for additional peace of mind.

“Customers and team members should be assured they can continue to safely shop and work at our Leichhardt market.”

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Actor Bryan Cranston has revealed that he contracted COVID-19. Now recovered, he is donating plasma to aid scientific research and is encouraging others to do so.

In an Instagram post, the Breaking Bad star sought to boost the morale of those suffering from the illness.

“About now you’re probably feeling a little tied down, restricting your mobility and like me, you’re tired of this,” he wrote. “Well, I just want to encourage you to have a little more patience. I was pretty strict in adhering to the protocols and still… I contracted the virus.”

In the post, Cranston said he “was one of the lucky ones” because he only had mild symptoms.

“I count my blessings and urge you to keep wearing the damn mask, keep washing your hands, and stay socially distant. We can prevail – but ONLY if we follow the rules together. Be well – Stay well.”

McClatchy

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A public health alert has been issued for parts of Brisbane and Ipswich linked to the state’s latest confirmed case of COVID-19.

Queensland Health has issued public health alerts for 15 locations across Brisbane and Ipswich’s CBD that were visited by a 27-year-old man from Bellbird Park while infectious.

Garden City Shopping Centre is among 15 locations visited by the 27-year-old man while infectious.

Garden City Shopping Centre is among 15 locations visited by the 27-year-old man while infectious.Credit:Tammy Law

Health authorities believe the man contracted the virus while sitting at an adjacent table to another confirmed case in late July.

The man, who tested positive on Friday, dined at the Madtongsan IV restaurant at Sunnybank with his wife and sister.

He became the state’s first community transmission case since May.

“Any individuals who have been in the below locations during the relevant times are asked to monitor their health and immediately present for testing if they are experiencing any relevant symptom,” a Queensland Health statement read.

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The Victorian government has overhauled its COVID-19 crisis leadership team as the nation’s top medical experts prepare to recommend stage four restrictions to suppress the state’s surging coronavirus case numbers.

Victoria had its second worst day of the pandemic on Friday, with 627 new cases and eight more deaths.

Premier Daniel Andrews speaks at Friday's press conference.

Premier Daniel Andrews speaks at Friday’s press conference.Credit:Justin McManus

Late on Friday evening, a government spokesperson confirmed the state’s Emergency Management Commissioner, Chief Health Officer and Police Chief Commissioner will be given greater influence over the government’s effort to bring the state’s coronavirus crisis under control.

Amid the leadership shake-up, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Premier Daniel Andrews called on the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, the nation’s key decision making committee for health emergencies, to conduct intensive analysis of Victoria’s coronavirus data ahead of an expected announcement on Sunday.

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A Northern Health trainee doctor who contracted COVID-19 at remains in intensive care.

A spokesman for the hospital confirmed the emergency doctor, aged in his 30s, was in a stable condition in ICU on Saturday morning.

The young doctor is believed to have caught the virus while working in a Northern Health coronavirus screening clinic.

A radiographer has tested positive to COVID-19 is also being treated in the Northern Hospital’s ICU unit. They are not an employee of Northern Health.

There are currently 614 healthcare workers with COVID-19 in Victoria, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

A massive influx of Queenslanders who raced home from Sydney before the border closed have been urged to isolate at home if they can to prevent any further spread of the disease.

The tourism industry was left counting the cost of the new restrictions as some operators lost half their business overnight.

Health experts are urging people who've returned to Queensland in a last-minute dash before Sydney was declared off-limits to be alert for symptoms of COVID-19

Health experts are urging people who’ve returned to Queensland in a last-minute dash before Sydney was declared off-limits to be alert for symptoms of COVID-19Credit:Elise Derwin

Greater Sydney was officially declared a hot spot from 1am on Saturday, with anyone non-Queenslanders travelling from there to be turned around and residents put into mandatory two-week quarantine at their own expense.

The changes were announced this week, sparking a surge in people returning from those areas and leaving authorities expecting more than 8000 through Brisbane Airport on Friday alone.

Queensland University of Technology public health expert Gerard Fitzgerald said that cohort was a potential outbreak risk.

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COVID-19 tests of potentially infected residents and staff at the site of Melbourne’s largest aged care outbreak were left unattended in an unsealed garbage bag for six hours before being collected by a taxi.

This came after Victorian and Commonwealth health authorities took six days after the first case at St Basil’s in Fawkner was confirmed to arrange for a testing team to visit the home.

A resident of St Basil's is evacuated to hospital on Friday.

A resident of St Basil’s is evacuated to hospital on Friday.Credit:Justin McManus

St Basil’s chairman Konstantin Kontis said that when the July 15 tests were done, it took a further three days for some of the results to be returned to St Basil’s management and clinical staff. Some tests were inconclusive.

St Basil’s, a not-for-profit aged care facility owned by the Greek Orthodox Church, is temporarily closed after a fresh outbreak of cases among “surge” staff deployed to the home by the federal government prompted health authorities on Friday to evacuate the remaining residents.

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Dictator Dan or Dan The Man? For almost six years, Premier Andrews surfed a wave of popularity. Then COVID-19 turned the tide.

Dan Andrews seems remarkably at ease for a man emerging from a soul-crushing week. It’s a Friday morning in mid-June and we’ve met at a skate park in his electorate of Mulgrave, in Melbourne’s suburban south-east. On Monday, he sacked his “very good friend” – as he called Small Business Minister Adem Somyurek in 2018 – who was caught running an industrial-scale branch stacking operation laced with misogyny and homophobia.

By last night, another two ministers had gone and several investigations were afoot, some likely to become quite uncomfortable for the 48-year-old. “Every day this week has felt like a whole week in itself,” he says.

At least, on this morning, the pandemic seems to be behaving itself: a manageable 13 new cases. Among Australia’s current premiers, he is the longest-serving – almost six years – and is still being lauded nationally for steering Victoria through COVID-19 and the summer bushfire crisis before that. His approval ratings, which will dive abruptly within the coming month, are still sky-high. For now, it seems everyone is a Dan fan.

“Mate!” A man shouts at us from the window of a passing car. “Mate! You are doing a great job! Can we get a photo?” Two dark-haired men in fluorescent orange fleeces leap out of a plumbing van with the elastic energy of cartoon figures. “You have to be COVID-safe!” the Premier warns, manoeuvring into his selfie position, 1.5 metres behind them.

Andrews smiles when I ask if the tradies are on his payroll. “It happens quite often,” says his media adviser Stephanie Anderson. And sure enough, two minutes later, another man shyly approaches, phone in hand.

Click here to read the full feature story.

The Health Department has released data that breaks down the number of active coronavirus cases by postcode in Victoria.

Previously, the smallest area of detail possible was local government areas, which often include dozens of suburbs.

We have visualised this data as both a map and a table.

Using the map below, you can find the number of active coronavirus cases in your postcode. You may need to adjust the zoom or move the map so that it takes in the area you are interested in.

Click here to read the full story and more charts.

A Melton West woman was nabbed by police overnight for breaking ‘stay at home’ rules after she lost control of her vehicle.

Police were patrolling Barries Road in Melton West when they saw a person “driving erratically”, a Victoria Police spokesman said.

According to officers, the driver lost control of the vehicle, leaving the road and going over a number of gutters before coming to rest in a car park.

The 28-year-old driver attended the local police station for an evidentiary breath test, where she returned an alleged reading of 0.316 per cent.

She was found to be in breach of the directions issued by the Chief Health Officer and was issued a $1652 fine.

The woman’s licence was suspended and she is expected to be charged on summons for drink driving offences.

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