Hello, it’s March 18.
We’re publishing this daily update to keep the startup/tech community informed about the global coronavirus pandemic.
Take a look at the image above. The red is where the government says you shouldn’t head.
We’ve split our daily update into six sections: Response, Business, Global, Cancellations, Advice and, And also, to help you find what you’re looking for. The latest news in each section at the top.
Let’s begin with the key points
- International travel is banned. Level 4 travel ban introduced for 1st time. ‘Don’t go overseas’ says PM
- A ban on non-essential gatherings of 100 people or more in indoor areas, effective immediately
- Further restrictions are currently being investigated. Health advice is schools should remain open
- Foreign Affairs recommends Australians come home before borders close. Overseas arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days
- The national number of coronavirus cases hit 455 nationally. 210 are in NSW.
- The ASX partly recovered on Tues, with the All Ords rising 5
- 97,000 more caronavirus test kits will arrive in Australia this week
- Authorities are predicting between 50,000 and 150,000 deaths
- NSW, Queensland and Tasmania launched stimulus packages worth more than $3.2bn
- Virgin has shut down international flights until mid June. The government says domestic flights are ‘low risk’. Airlines get a financial relief package worth $715 million.
Right, let’s Wednesday. Check back for updates throughout the day as things unfold.
What Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced this morning.
- Level 4 travel ban introduced for 1st time. No overseas travel until further notice.
- A human biosecurity emergency was declared under Biosecurity Act by Governor-General.
- A ban on non-essential gatherings of 100 people or more in indoor areas, effective immediately. With further restrictions being investigated.
- Essential gatherings include: public transport, hotels, prisons, courts, shopping centres, offices and factories, construction sites.
- 500 limit remains in place for outdoor venues.
- “We are going to keep Australia running. We are going to keep Australia functioning,” Morrison said.
- Health advice is schools should remain open. “It has a different manifestation amongst younger people,” PM says compare to adults.
- PM points to Singapore keeping schools open as “one of the more successful countries” tackling the virus.
- “I am telling you that, as a father, I’m happy for my kids to go to school. There is only one reason your kids shouldn’t be going to school and that is if they are unwell.”
- PM warns any measures introduced will need to be in place for six months. And there is “a national public interest to keep the schools open”.
- If schools closed 30% of health workers would have children who would need to be cared for. He adds schools will reopen after holidays in April.
- PM says measures have “quite severe economic implications” and “wherever possible we need to keep Australians working”.
- Domestic air travel is ‘low risk’ according to medical advice. “We have not seen a lot of evidence of people contracting this virus on aircraft,” PM said.
- Anzac will be marked nationally with a televised service from the Australian War Memorial. All other events are cancelled.
- New aged care home restrictions: limit of two people a day, in rooms rather than communal areas. No large or school groups.
- Special arrangements will be made for people at the end of their life.
- On catching a taxi or Uber, “get in the back seat” PM says to practice social distancing.
- A second stimulus package is being developed
- “We will announce them once they’ve been properly designed and they can be properly implemented,” he says.
- Morrison warns about internet hoaxes saying: “Don’t believe it – it’s rubbish.” Turn to health.gov.au for advice.
- PM tells people to stop hoarding: “It’s ridiculous! It’s un-Australian, and it must stop.”
- He chastises the nation: “I can’t be more blunt about it. Stop it. It is not sensible, it is not helpful and it has been one of the most disappointing things I have seen in Australian behaviour in response to this crisis.” Oh, and don’t harass staff.
- Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy, beside PM, says expert advice is a 2-4 week shutdown of society “does not achieve anything” and “the virus will just flare up again”.
- “There is no way that we can lockdown society and make everyone stay home and then in a month’s time, undo that,” CMO says.
- “As the prime minister said, it could be six months or more that we have to practice these new ways of interacting,” CMO says.
- PM says current plan remains Budget in May, but everything is “up for review right now”.
- To meet the 100 people indoors limit, when parliament returns next week, the House of Reps will have 60 less MPs attending – 30 from govt and 30 from Labor – for 90 in chamber in total and 22 fewer senators will attend too. There will be a Question Time.
The government announced a ban on indoor gatherings of 100 people or more. PM Scott Morrison said the directive is effective immediately and investigations into further restrictions are ongoing. America already has a no-more-than 10 policy.
The Dept of Foreign Affairs is recommending Australians abroad thinking about heading home before it’s too late.
“As more countries close their borders or introduce travel restrictions, overseas travel is becoming more complex and difficult,” DFAT said in advice issued on Tuesday evening.
“You may not be able to return to Australia when you had planned to. Consider whether you have access to health care and support systems if you get sick while overseas. If you decide to return to Australia, do so as soon as possible.”
Australian doctors want a lockdown. The ABC reports that the country is in a worse position than Italy, and that by April 4, there could be 10,000 infections a day. They urge the government to follow the example Asian nations such as China, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan with strict social distancing and lockdowns to halt the spread of the virus. More than 3500 doctors have signed the letter.
And from the supermarkets. Be kind.
A joint message from Australian supermarkets. pic.twitter.com/sujxIGssEr
— Woolworths (@woolworths) March 17, 2020
Westpac predicts 7% unemployment. The bank’s Macro team, led by economist Bill Evans, increased its estimates on the shock to consumer spending to hotels, restaurants and cafes,recreational services, and air travel to minus 40% over the two quarters from minus 25%; the expected shock to consumer durables to minus 7% and revised up the negative impact on home renovations and additions.
Evans expects outbound and inbound tourism to contract by 80% over the two quarters. Tourism is worth around $61 billion to GDP (3.1%) and employs around 646,000 (5.2%) of Australians. 26% of that figure is international tourism.
Evans says they now see consumer spending contracting by 0.1% (March quarter) and 2.8% (June quarter) before recovering by 1.9% in the September quarter and 1.0% in the December quarter.
“Growth through 2020 is now estimated at 1.5% with minus 1% in the first half and 2.5% in the second half,” he wrote.
“The unemployment rate is now forecast to reach 7% by October 2020 (up from the previous estimate of 5.8%-6.0%) due to the larger negative shocks to the labour intensive sectors such as recreation; tourism; education; renovations and additions; and dwelling construction. ”
Early trading in airline shares were mixed. Qantas fell more than 7%, while Virgin Australia recovered to be up more than 12%, but Rex fell 6% as trading in its stock resumed.
Flag carrier Qantas plunged 7.34% while challenger airline Virgin Australia, which had been the focus of market speculation about its financial viability, soared 12.7%. Regional airline Rex, which this morning revealed its own financial weakness, dived 6%.
Virgin Australia will ground international services from from March 30 to June 14. The grounding involves around 53 craft. Domestic flights will be cut by 50% until June 14.
The government will forgo fuel excise, and other service and security fees as part of a $715 million package for local airlines. Rex, the country’s 3rd largest airline, suspended trade in its shares yesterday and they are expected to return to trading today.
The Aussie dollar fell below 60 cents last night
KFC has banned in-store dining. Drive through will continue to operate.
Uber suspended pooled share rides in the United States and Canada, Reuters reports.
ANZ economist Cherelle Murphy on the stimulus measures thus far.
— Cherelle Murphy (@cherellemurpfry) March 17, 2020
Henry Blodget founded Business Insider. Joe Weisenthal is one of America’s savviest business writers. Show this tweet to anyone in Canberra working on the next round of stimulus.
There is no other way to help people and companies fairly other than giving every American cash. By the time the government analyzed who is really "affected" and who isn't, everyone would be bankrupt. https://t.co/oYwAJzUvD0
— Henry Blodget (@hblodget) March 17, 2020
New Zealand has eight new coronavirus cases, for a total of 20.
Four in Auckland, two in Waikato, one in Christchurch and one in Invercargill. All the patients had travelled overseas.
Globally, there have been more than 181,000 cases with 7,126 deaths. More than 78,000 people have recovered.
Italy will nationalise airline Alitalia.
France is nationalising its health system.
International Anzac Day services have been called off.
Newington College in Sydney is closed for 24 hours, with all students at home. A teacher at the inner west private school has been in close contact with someone with the virus, so the closure is a precautionary measure.
The PGA Championship is postponed. It was due be happen in mid-May in San Francisco. The first major at Augusta is already postponed.
Meanwhile, as the PM said, head here for health advice.
You will only be tested for #COVID19 if you develop a respiratory illness and:
– returned from overseas, or have been in close contact with a confirmed case, in the past 14 days
– are a healthcare worker, with a fever, who works directly with patients.https://t.co/JD5gXxL1X5 pic.twitter.com/GW5nin9nzE
— Australian Government Department of Health (@healthgovau) March 17, 2020
This guy has a lot at stake.
— Max Brooks (@maxbrooksauthor) March 16, 2020