Timeline: How coronavirus spread from China to Australia

A timeline looking at how the first case of coronavirus from China has impacted Australia.

Timeline: How coronavirus spread from China to Australia

December 12

First case of novel coronavirus is detected in Wuhan, China. It is not disclosed for several weeks.

January 7

Chinese authorities confirm they have identified 2019-nCoV.

January 9

A 61-year-old man from Wuhan is the world's first death linked to the virus.

January 20

Chinese authorities confirm the virus can spread from person-to-person, with coronavirus added as a listed human disease under the Biosecurity Act of 2015.

January 21

Additional proportionate border measures are in place in Australia, with biosecurity and border security staff processing passengers from three direct flights a week from Wuhan to Sydney.

January 24

The level of travel advice for ​​​​​​Wuhan and Hubei province in China is raised to level four: "do not travel".

January 25

The first case of coronavirus in Australia is confirmed – a man from Wuhan travelled on flight CZ321 from Guangzhou to Melbourne on 19 January.

A further three men test positive for COVID-19 in Sydney after arriving in the country on January 6, 19 and 20.

January 27

Australia's fifth case is recorded after a NSW resident tests positive.

January 29

Scientists at Melbourne's Peter Doherty Institute become the first to recreate the coronavirus, as Australia records seven confirmed cases: one in Queensland, two in Victoria, and four in New South Wales.

January 31

The World Health Organisation declares a public health emergency of international concern over the global outbreak of coronavirus.

February 3

More than 200 Australians are evacuated on Qantas flights from Wuhan and quarantined on Christmas Island for 14 days.

February 5

Two Australians on the Diamond Princess cruise ship contract coronavirus as it's quarantined off Japan.

February 5

Australia announces a 14-day ban for non-citizens arriving from China

February 11

The global death toll passes 1000.

February 19

The 180 Australians stuck on the Japanese cruise ship are evacuated to a quarantine camp in Darwin, with four later testing positive for coronavirus.

A timeline of COVID-19 in February 2020.

March 1

A Perth man rescued from the Diamond Princess becomes Australia's first fatality.

March 3

The country records its second fatality after a 96-year-old woman in Sydney aged care dies.

March 7

The global cases hit 100,000

March 9

Australia records its third coronavirus related death after an elderly Sydney man in another aged care home dies.

March 11

The WHO declares coronavirus a global pandemic

March 12

The Morrison government pledges a $17.6 billion stimulus package as the first roll-on effects of coronavirus are felt on the economy

March 15

The national death toll hits five

March 17

A human biosecurity emergency is declared in Australia as national death toll rises to six

Timeline of COVID-19 in March 2020.

March 18

Government places ban on indoor gatherings of more than 100 people, raises international travel advice to peak level - 'do not travel'

March 19

Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin announce suspension of all international flights with 20,000 workers stood down.

RBA slash to record-low 0.25 per cent at an emergency meeting.

All non-citizens and non-residents are banned from entering the country. Tasmania announced a 14-day quarantine on people entering the Apple isle and an 81-year-old NSW woman dies, bringing the national toll to seven.

March 20

Three people on the Ruby Princess cruise ship docked in Sydney with the 2700 passengers and crew urged to self-isolate after three people test positive.

March 21

Australians are widely criticised for ignoring social distancing measures after thousands flocked to Bondi Beach.

The number of coronavirus cases in NSW has ballooned to 436 after 83 new cases were identified in the state, taking the national total past the 1000 mark.

How coronavirus is spreading around the world.

March 22

Global death toll climbs past 11,000.

Morrison government announced a series of measures to help casual workers, sole traders, retirees and those on income support as part of its second $66 billion stimulus package.

An additional 97 cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in NSW, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in NSW to 533.

The Federal Government says around 3000 Aussies remain stuck on cruise ships around the world.SA Health announced the number of confirmed cases in the state had risen by almost 50 per cent in 24 hours.

March 23

The Prime Minister announced tough new restrictions on social distancing across the country in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus as pubs, clubs and restaurants are forced to close.

March 24

Chaos at Centrelink offices around the country as thousands of Australians tried to register with the welfare agency for the first time.

Ruby Princess cruise passenger dies from coronavirus.

Coronavirus

March 25

Weddings, funerals, and birthday parties shutdown and Australians banned from travelling overseas in wide-ranging new restrictions announced by PM.

Victoria deploys 500 police officers for the daily task of enforcing the closure of non-essential services and the mandatory 14-day self-isolation for travellers.

Virgin Australia stands down about 8000 of its 10,000 workers.

March 26

Shuttered shops, empty streets and queues at Centrelink offices will be the new normal as tighter restrictions came into effect.Queensland Health confirm a 68-year-old man has died from the coronavirus.

Global death toll breaks 20,000Long queues have formed across the New South Wales and Queensland border after all non-essential visitors are locked out

March 27

The hotspots for coronavirus cases in Australia have been revealed to be in New South Wales and Victoria as both states consider more severe lockdowns.

Australia's COVID-19 death toll rises to 13.

April 2

The government announces free childcare for essential workers

April 4

Australia's death toll hits 30. Globally coronavirus cases surpass 1 million.

April 5

NSW Police begin criminal investigation into the Ruby Princess cruise ship debacle. WA closes its borders.

April 6

The Ruby Princess docks at Port Kembla. Supermarkets announce shopping limits for certain items.

April 8

The JobKeeper package passes in the Senate. Wuhan, the origin city of the coronavirus pandemic, reopens.

April 9

NSW MP fined for breaching social distancing restrictions.

Coronavirus: Don Harwin resigns after COVID-19 scandal

April 11

The global death toll surpasses 100,000. Queensland tighten their border restrictions.

April 12

Easter services livestreamed across the nation as Christian holiday is celebrated in isolation for the first time in Australia's history.

April 15

Coronavirus cases around the world surpasses 2 million.

April 16

The government announce $165 million backing for Qantas and Virgin Airlines.

April 17

The reopening of wet markets sparks outrage among Australian politicians.

Coronavirus: Virgin Australia to come back ‘stronger and fitter’

April 18

Virgin receives $200 million bailout. SA records no new COVID-19 cases for the first time since pandemic hit Australia.

April 19

A second death is recorded at a Sydney aged care facility that is identified as the source of a COVID-19 cluster.

April 20

Queensland records no new cases of COVID-19.

April 21

Virgin enters voluntary administration. Bans on some elective surgeries are lifted.

April 23

The Ruby Princess cruise ship leaves Port Kembla.

April 25

Australians #lightupthedawn from their driveways and homes to commemorate Anzac Day.

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Sweden defends virus approach as numbers of deaths rise significantly

Sweden has not joined many of its European neighbours in imposing strict limits on citizens' lives, despite numbers of infections and deaths rising significantly.

Sweden defends virus approach as numbers of deaths rise significantly

Sweden has been an outlier during the coronavirus outbreak.

The country has not joined many of its European neighbours in imposing strict limits on citizens' lives, and images of people heading to work on busy streets, or chatting at cafes and bars have raised eyebrows.

Younger children have continued to go to school, although universities and schools for older students have switched to distance learning. Businesses - from hair salons to restaurants - have remained open, although people have been advised to work from home where possible.

On April 7, the government introduced a bill allowing it to act quickly and take decisions on temporary measures where needed.

Care home visits were banned from April 1 and the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs asked people to refrain from non-essential travel, adding: "Keep your distance and take personal responsibility."

Among Nordic countries - which share similar cultural, geographical and sociological attributes - the contrast with Sweden is great.

Finland declared a state of emergency, closed schools and banned gatherings of more than 10 people on March 16, restricted travel to and from its Uusimaa region on March 28 and closed restaurants, cafes and bars on April 1.

Denmark announced widespread closures on March 11 and was among the first in Europe to close borders, shops, schools and restaurants, and to ban large gatherings.

Norway began introducing travel restrictions in mid-March and has since closed schools and daycare centers, banned the use of vacation properties, canceled events and closed businesses such as hair and beauty salons.

The death rate in Sweden has now risen significantly higher than many other countries in Europe, reaching more than 22 per 100,000 people, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University, controlled for population.

Sweden has registered 18,926 coronavirus cases and 2274 deaths among its population of 10.3 million people.

Further afield Sweden has not had as many deaths as Italy or Spain, which have recorded around 45 and 51 deaths per 100,000 people respectively, or even the UK, where there have been about 32 deaths per 100,000 of the population.

But there are various complex differences between Sweden and these countries that make direct comparisons harder, such as Italy having an older population, more smokers, and a larger number of close-knit multi-generational households.

The Swedish approach

On March 28, a petition signed by 2000 Swedish researchers, including Carl-Henrik Heldin, chairman of the Nobel Foundation, called for the nation's government to "immediately take steps to comply with the World Health Organisation's (WHO) recommendations."

The scientists added: "The measures should aim to severely limit contact between people in society and to greatly increase the capacity to test people for COVID-19 infection."

"These measures must be in place as soon as possible, as is currently the case in our European neighboring countries," they wrote.

"Our country should not be an exception to the work to curb the pandemic."

The petition said that trying to "create a herd immunity, in the same way that occurs during an influenza epidemic, has low scientific support."

Swedish authorities have denied having a strategy to create herd immunity, one the UK government was rumored to be working towards earlier on in the pandemic - leading to widespread criticism - before it enforced a strict lockdown.

Lena Hallengren, Swedish Minister for Health and Social Affairs, told CNN: "There is no strategy to create herd immunity in response to COVID-19 in Sweden. Sweden shares the same goals as all other countries - to save lives and protect public health."

Protecting the system

Peter Lindgren, managing director at the Swedish Institute for Health Economics (IHE), believes Sweden's healthcare system is coping.

He told CNN that the number of people treated in intensive care units over several weeks had been stable, "so in that aspect it has to be successful."

But he added: "What it failed at, I think, is that there has been disease transmitted into elderly care facilities. We have deaths occurring as a consequence of that."

Hallengren, the Swedish health minister, told CNN: "One of the main concerns now in Sweden is to strengthen the protection for those living in care homes for older people."

She said it was still "far too early to draw any firm conclusions as to the effectiveness of the measures taken in Sweden."

She said that just because Sweden did not have a "full lockdown" did not mean "that it's business as usual" and that measure were being "continuously reassessed" with the help of experts "to ensure that the right measures are taken at the right time."

Gatherings of more than 50 people are banned and people are "strongly recommended" to avoid non-essential domestic travel, she added.

The Swedish Public Health Agency this week forecast that almost a third of people in Stockholm would have been infected by COVID-19 by May 1.

That would be more than 200,000 people - far higher than the number of cases recorded nationally so far.

Less than 24 hours later, there was confusion when the health agency announced on Twitter that it had "detected errors" in the report, but it then said its mathematical model had been updated and reiterated that 26 per cent of the Stockholm population would have been infected by May 1.

It said that there were approximately 75 unconfirmed cases for each reported case of CoVID-19, but that the peak of the spread of infection had passed.

Sweden's state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said on Friday that his country would likely be in a better place to withstand a second wave of coronavirus because so many people in Sweden have now been exposed to the virus.

He told the BBC that the relatively relaxed approach had "worked in some aspects," since there had always been at least 20 per cent of intensive care beds empty and able to take care of Covid-19 patients.

"We believe we passed the peak of the transmission a week ago," he added.

Asked whether Sweden's approach will help it withstand a possible second wave, Tegnell said he believed it would.

"It will definitely affect the reproduction rate and slow down the spread," he said, but added that it wouldn't be enough to achieve "herd immunity."

"We know very little about the immunity of this disease, but most of the experts in Sweden agree that some kind of immunity we definitely will have because a lot of people that have been tested so far have produced antibodies... We hope this will make it easier for us in the long run."

Asked whether the death toll would have been lower if Sweden had followed the same path as other European countries in introducing strict restrictions, Tegnell replied:

"That's a very difficult question to answer at this stage. At least 50 per cent of our death toll is within the elderly homes and we have a hard time understanding how a lockdown would stop the introduction of the disease into the elderly homes."

Source : 9 News More   

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