Australia news LIVE: NSW and Victoria COVID-19 cases continue to grow; Victorian lockdown extended

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Victoria’s primary close contacts top 15,000 as ‘super-spreaders’ spark new stadium cases

Two people in Victoria’s latest outbreak have unwittingly become “outstanding” super-spreaders after picking up coronavirus brought into the state by rogue NSW removalists.

There are now more than 15,000 primary close contacts, those considered as having the highest risk of developing COVID-19, linked to the state’s outbreak.

Crowds entering the Wallabies v France match at Melbourne’s AAMI Park last week.

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Economy tipped to face $10b hit from Victoria and NSW lockdowns

The Sydney and Victorian lockdowns aimed at stopping the spread of the Delta strain of coronavirus could cost the country $10 billion, with new private-sector forecasts that the outbreak will derail the national economic recovery.

KPMG estimates up to 1.5 percentage points will be stripped from growth in the September quarter based on shutdowns of 40 days across Greater Sydney and 10 days in Victoria, with the cost being borne largely by private businesses and privately employed workers.

The extended Sydney and Melbourne lockdowns are tipped to hurt the national economy. Credit:Rhett Wyman

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Sydney’s public transport patronage at lowest levels since 1800s

Sydney’s public transport patronage fell to levels not seen since the 1800s and traffic was the lightest it had been in four decades as the city all but stopped on Monday after new coronavirus restrictions came into effect to suppress the Delta outbreak.

The number of people on public transport was about eight per cent of pre-COVID levels, according to new NSW government figures, a sign that the latest restrictions had likely had an immediate impact on mobility across the city. Road traffic also decreased by more than 45 per cent.

An empty street in Parramatta on Monday.Credit:Nick Moir

New restrictions announced over the weekend included a ban on all non-urgent construction work, the closure of non-essential retail, a travel ban stopping residents from leaving Fairfield, Liverpool and Canterbury-Bankstown unless they were essential workers and a cut in public transport services by up to 50 per cent.

Read the full story here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for you company. It’s Tuesday, July 20.

I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll bring you some of the morning’s biggest stories as the day unfolds.

Here’s everything you need to know in the meantime:

  • It’s been revealed that Sydney’s latest coronavirus death (a woman in her 50s) is the mother of two removalists who tested positive to COVID-19. NSW recorded 98 new cases yesterday. Twenty of those were infectious in the community. Meanwhile, seven NSW coronavirus patients are ventilated in ICU.
  • Victorian authorities are expected to announce today when the state might come out of lockdown. Sixteen cases were recorded yesterday. There are more than 15,000 primary close contacts and 300 exposure sites across the state.
  • There are three new cases in South Australia. They are an 81-year-old man, his daughter and a close contact. Sixteen people are isolating. New restrictions include masks in high-risk settings, gym closures and restaurants restricted to outdoor seated dining only.
  • The Australian government has named China as the orchestrator of “malicious cyber attacks” against the Microsoft Exchange program. The hack, undertaken earlier this year, compromised tens of thousands of computers around the world. The naming-and-shaming (in conjunction with allies such as the United States) represents the latest challenge to relations between Australia and China.
  • Two new mass vaccination centres are opening in Ipswich and the Gold Coast in Queensland. More than 200,000 Queenslanders are on a waiting list for the Pfizer vaccine.
  • And in overseas news, Ash Barty has touched down in Tokyo ahead of the Olympic Games. It comes as an American gymnast tests positive to COVID-19.
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