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My colleagues Ben Butler and Melissa Davey report today that three of the aged care homes in Melbourne worst hit by Covid-19 outbreaks are controlled by two large companies, which between them received more than $1.45bn in government funding over the past two years and paid out dividends to their shareholders totalling $77m.
Reuters reports that a former prime minister of the Cook Islands, Joseph Williams, has died of Covid-19 in Auckland, New Zealand’s health ministry said on Saturday, taking the number of coronavirus-related deaths in the country to 24.
Williams, who was in his 80s, was a well known doctor as well as a politician and author, living in New Zealand. He was briefly prime minister of the Cook Islands in 1999 after having served as the South Pacific nation’s minister of health and education.
“Dr Williams was seen as a leading figure in the Cook Islands medical community and he will be sadly missed,” New Zealand’s director-general of health, Ashley Bloomfield, said in a statement.
New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, has been under restrictions to fight the spread of the coronavirus since an outbreak last month. Prime minister Jacinda Ardern on Friday extended the 2.5 alert level until at least mid-September after the country reported the Covid-19 death of a man in his 50s.
“Today’s sad news again reinforces the importance of our shared vigilance against Covid-19, the very serious consequences the virus can carry with it,” Bloomfield said.
Queensland records one new Covid-19 case
Queensland has recorded one new Covid-19 case on Saturday, the state’s premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said. It is a known close contact of a previous case. There are now 26 active cases of the virus in Queensland.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews will give his daily Covid-19 update at 10.30am. I’ll bring it to you then.
In case you missed it earlier, here’s former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott’s statement on his appointment as an adviser to the UK Board of Trade.
Good morning, this is the Guardian’s Covid-19 live coverage.
Police in the Australian state of Victoria are warning protesters to stay away from anti-lockdown rallies planned in Melbourne on Saturday as the state records 76 new cases of the virus and 11 deaths.
In the lead-up to Saturday, police arrested five people and warned about 80 others against attending the protests as they enforce Victoria’s lockdown rules.
On Friday, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews backed police efforts to shut down any planned protest rallies while the lockdown rules remain in place.
You can’t ignore the reality you’re in and give yourself a leave pass and go and do something that, in all likelihood, will contribute to the spread of this (virus),” Andrews said.
- The World Health Organisation director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said the UN body would never endorse a vaccine that has not proven safe and effective amid concerns over the rush to develop a jab for Covid-19. Ghebreyesus, also called for countries around the world to join forces to tackle the coronavirus, saying that “vaccine nationalism” would only slow the response to the pandemic.
- US presidential candidate Joe Biden disclosed publicly for the first time he has been tested at least once for Covid-19 and promised he will be tested regularly during his election campaign against US President Donald Trump. The Democratic presidential nominee told reporters of his testing protocol during a news conference in which he criticised Trump for downplaying the coronavirus.
- Italy on Friday registered 1,733 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily rise since 2 May, and 11 deaths.
- Spain’s health ministry has reported 10,476 new cases since yesterday, bringing the country’s total to 498,989. It has also logged 256 deaths over the past week, bringing the toll to 24,918.Madrid continues to be the worst-hit region, accounting for 31,538 of the 101,962 cases detected over the past two weeks.
- Health authorities in France reported 8,975 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, setting an all-time high of daily additional infections since the disease started to spread in the country at the end of the winter.The number of people hospitalised for the disease, while still well below its April 14 peak of 32,292, has gone up for the sixth day running, at 4,671.
- Iraq on Friday recorded its highest single-day rise in Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, prompting authorities to warn hospitals may “lose control” in the coming days. According to the Iraqi health ministry, 5,036 new coronavirus infections were confirmed on Friday, bringing the total number of cases across the country to 252,075, of which 191,368 had recovered, but 7,359 had died.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Coronavirus live news: Iraq hospitals in crisis as anti-lockdown rallies loom in Victoria | World news