at 12.09am EDT
In Australia, New South Wales state premier Gladys Berejiklian has said the New South Wales government will ask to lower the cap on numbers of people arriving in Australia and could begin to charge international arrivals – including Australians returning home – for hotel quarantine.
The comments herald a wider push from state and territory leaders at national cabinet on Friday to limit arrivals to prevent hotel quarantine becoming overrun, as Victoria battles a second wave of Covid-19 infections and has diverted all international flights.
On Thursday Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney that NSW had so far welcomed back between 30,000 and 35,000 Australians, about two-thirds of who were NSW residents but at least one-third were residents of other states in transit.
Some 70,000 Australians have returned through the two-week compulsory hotel quarantine since the measure was agreed by national cabinet on 27 March.
Berejiklian said the government is “seriously considering” charging international arrivals and it was “extremely valid” to question why Australians hadn’t returned when they were urged in March:
In other news of daring New Zealand escapes (possibly): a specialist search and recovery team has been deployed to recapture the last remaining survivors of a flock of endangered birds that absconded from a predator-free island in New Zealand during coronavirus lockdown.
Shore plovers are endemic to New Zealand and renowned for their “attitude and friendliness” – traits which alongside their ground nests make them highly vulnerable to predators.
Mana Island off the coast of the North Island’s Kapiti coast was a successful home to an introduced colony of plovers in 2007. But a few short years after being introduced a single rat wiped out half the population, with the rest dying shortly later due to “complications”.
After the 2007 devastation conservationists avoided reintroducing the plover until the pest situation was resolved.
But in April and May they again took the plunge, transporting 29 young birds to the island, some of whom required ministerial approval to travel during the Covid-19 lockdown.
New Zealand police to patrol quarantine hotels after breakouts
Police officers will patrol New Zealand’s quarantine hotels around-the-clock after a number of people – including a man who tested positive for coronavirus – escaped the managed isolation facilities.
In two separate incidents in Auckland hotels guests in isolation left their quarantine hotels, with one woman escaping over a hedge, and another man over a small fence.
The 32-year-old man – who was away for 70 minutes and visited a busy inner-city supermarket – tested positive for Covid-19. He has since been charged under new public health legislation. He faces a large fine or six months in prison.
Government minister Megan Woods said on Thursday “the abscondees are a new phenomenon” and that their carelessness put the health of the whole country at risk. New Zealand has in effect eliminated the virus after a six-week lockdown, with ongoing tight border controls.
School tudents in Melbourne to receive daily temperature checks
29 Mississippi legislators test positive for Coronavirus
at 10.14pm EDT
Cases worldwide pass 12 million
at 9.54pm EDT