NEWS
01/04/2020 9:33 AM AEDT | Updated 01/04/2020 6:11 PM AEDT

Coronavirus In Australia: Bondi Backpackers, Qantas Baggage Handlers Test Positive

Plus other things to know about Covid-19 in Australia.

See the latest stories on the coronavirus outbreak.  

At least 4,860 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Australia and 21 people have died.

The virus has killed more than 40,000 people worldwide and more than 800,000 are infected.

Here is what is happening in Australia today:  

1. NSW Records 9th And 10th Death 

A 95-year-old woman from the Dorothy Henderson Lodge in Macquarie Park has died. She is the fifth person from that particular nursing home to die after contracting Covid-19. 

Another person also passed away on Wednesday. They had been diagnosed with Covid-19 before being admitted to Orange Base Hospital where they died.

“Things are, unfortunately, from a medical perspective going to get worse,” said Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Wednesday morning. “We’re going to see more cases and more people needing hospitals and we need to make sure that the hospitals are ready.” 

“We can’t let our foot off the pedal, we can’t relax... It doesn’t take long for things to get out of control.”

Acknowledging it’s difficult to source medical equipment from overseas now, she called on local manufacturers who are able re-tool or supply sanitisers and other equipment for hospitals.

Brendon Thorne via Getty Images
Premier of NSW, Gladys Berejiklian 

2. Qantas Baggage Handlers Test Positive 

A flight from Sydney to Adelaide on Tuesday night was forced to turn around after South Australia health authorities confirmed six Covid-19 cases among Qantas baggage handlers at Adelaide airport. 

“Seven flights to and from Adelaide are affected,” said Qantas.

“This includes one Sydney flight that was on its way to Adelaide, which will return to Sydney and passengers will be provided with accommodation and put on alternative services tomorrow.”

Update:On Wednesday afternoon it was confirmed that 11 Qantas baggage handlers had tested positive. 

Two secondary cases of family members of baggage handlers have also been confirmed.

SA Health’s advice to anyone who has been at Adelaide airport in the past 14 days and showing symptoms is to self-isolate, get tested and get luggage cleaned. 

3. Bondi Pop-Up Testing Clinic Opens 

At Sydney’s Bondi Beach on Wednesday, health workers wearing masks and plastic gloves greeted people at a pop-up testing clinic at Bondi Pavilion. 

NSW officials said earlier this week the virus may have been transmitted in the Bondi community via an infected backpacker who was not aware they were carrying the disease.

“Bondi is one of those places where we are seeing local transmission, and we have seen cases among backpackers in recent days,” NSW Health director Jeremy McAnulty said in Sydney on Wednesday.

REUTERS/Loren Elliott
A healthcare professional talks to a man at a pop-up clinic testing for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Bondi Beach, after several outbreaks were recorded in the area, in Sydney, Australia April 1, 2020.

Earlier in the week NSW Health had confirmed a pop-up testing clinic would be set up in Bondi after a cluster of “infected backpackers” was identified. 

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said, “We do know there is a potential risk that other members of the community may have come in contact with infected backpackers. For prudency, we want to increase testing.”

There are 140 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Waverley local government area which includes Bondi and surrounding suburbs. 

The pop-up clinic is a joint effort by NSW Health and St Vincent’s Hospital. 

Bondi made headlines in March when thousands of people were seen ignoring social distancing rules at its world-famous beach.

4. SA’s Barossa Valley Shuts Down 

In South Australia, the Barossa Valley wine region has closed schools and facilities this week due to a localised outbreak.

Barossa council mayor Bim Lange said that put pressure on vineyards and related businesses at the height of the grape-picking season.

“We’ve had three years of drought, and now this,” Lange told Reuters.

With additional reporting by Reuters. 

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