Ferrari steps off plane. In unrelated news, Australia bans Italian travel

Via the ABC:

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says it is only a matter of time before schools close across the state and large sporting and cultural events are cancelled to combat the spread of coronavirus.

While the Premier said the State Government had no immediate plans to cancel football matches or the Grand Prix, he said “extreme measures” would likely need to be taken in the future, when there is a significant number of transmissions of the disease within Victoria.

“We will need to ask Victorians to do things we have never asked them to do before,” he said.

Carey Baptist Grammar School in Melbourne cancelled classes on Tuesday and will remain closed for the rest of the week after a staff member tested positive for coronavirus.

But Mr Andrews said it would not be the only school affected and the state was planning for the next phase of the spread of the virus.

“Part of that plan is the inevitability that we will get to the point that rather than one school being closed, all of our schools will be closed,” he said.

“Rather than people simply distancing themselves and quarantining themselves, we may have entire sectors, entire workforces where people are working from home.”

Mr Andrews said the Victorian Government was planning for coronavirus to have a major impact across the state, but the measures being planned would help keep people safe.

“The disruption will be significant, it will hurt our economy, it will inconvenience many, many people,” he said.

“But ultimately, the experts tell us, that less Victorians will get sick and therefore less Victorians will be gravely ill once we move to that pandemic phase.”

He said he could not say exactly when the spread of coronavirus would reach a point that such measures would be necessary.

On Tuesday Victoria confirmed three more cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 18.

Mr Andrews said the decision to introduce social distancing measures would be taken on the advice of Victoria’s chief health officer, Brett Sutton.

Quarantining measures won’t stop outbreak, chief health officer says

Dr Sutton said he would be closely following the spread of “community transmissions” to decide when social distancing measures were required.

Community transmissions are when people contract the virus, but health authorities are unable to trace the spread of the disease back to someone who has arrived in Australia from overseas.

He said that would be a sign of an uptick of an epidemic curve and social distancing would become the critical measure to limit the spread of the disease.

Dr Sutton said he would like to see all of the states discuss the closure of public places and events at a national level.

“I think if we are going to bring all Australians along with us we need to be doing it in concert and doing it with a single voice,” he said.

Dr Sutton said modelling showed the virus would peak about 10-15 weeks after community transmission occurs, but said it would be difficult to identify when that had happened.

He said it may have happened already.

He called for businesses to make plans to ensure sick staff members were not in the workplace, including running their operations with reduced workforces and for staff to work from home.

Dr Sutton said social distancing measures would help reduce the spread of the disease, and the number of people who die from it.

He said that would include cancelling large events, proactive school closures and changes to public transport.

Pandemic to test health system, Minister says

Victoria’s Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said Victoria was ramping up its ability to test for coronavirus.

She said a hotline that has been set up to help those worried about having coronavirus would add 100 staff by Friday.

Ms Mikakos said there were seven hospitals screening for coronavirus and planning was underway to help the health system cope with a forecast increase in cases.

Ms Mikakos said retired medical workers like nurses and paramedics could be asked to return to work to help the state through a coronavirus emergency.

She said medical workers “will be really pushed and stretched as they will be confronted with a huge increase in demand”.

Ms Mikakos said the state had already put in orders for extra equipment and machines to cope with a surge in cases.

A plan published by the Victorian Government to outline its response to the outbreak, says modelling shows a coronavirus pandemic is likely to coincide with Australia’s flu season.

It says “the effects of both diseases may be felt simultaneously”.

While the government plan says the trajectory of the virus is highly uncertain, it raises the prospect of the effect of both diseases being felt simultaneously.

“Healthcare services and health professionals must prepare for the possibility of a significant and prolonged increase in demand for healthcare services,” it says.

School to remain closed

Carey Baptist Grammar School principal Jonathan Walter emailed staff on Tuesday, saying the school would remain closed for the rest of the week.

He said a teacher who worked in the middle and senior schools at the college had been diagnosed with coronavirus.

The school initially contacted families on Monday night to cancel classes for Tuesday but the closure has now been extended.

Mr Walter said the school would remain closed so authorities could “map any potential exposure to Carey community members”.

He said the Health Department would be in contact with anyone identified as having close contact with the teacher, which was defined as 15 minutes or more of face-to-face contact, or two hours or more in the same closed space.

Mr Walter said the school would contact anyone who had been identified as having casual contact with the teacher, which included people with less than 15 minutes face-to-face contact, or less than two hours in a closed space.

A Health Department spokesperson earlier confirmed the teacher’s partner had been on the same flight from the US as Toorak GP Chris Higgins, who tested positive on Friday.

Footy could be played in empty stadiums

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said if mass gatherings were suspended “then we will play games in stadiums with no crowds.”

He said the AFL had a working group to deal with the issue and had listened to what the Victorian Government had said.

“But I think we take note of what was said today.”

Asked if games could be delayed, Mr McLachlan said the league intended to stage every scheduled match.

“That is all I can say and we will continue to make the decisions we need to, to get that done,” he said.

He encouraged fans to continue attending matches as long as that was allowed.

Ferrari sends smaller team for Grand Prix

The Australian F1 Grand Prix starts in Melbourne on March 12 and could attract tens of thousands of spectators each day.

The race’s organisers have said there would be additional precautionary measures in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, including more hand-washing stations and closer cleaning of facilities.

A scaled-back team of 150 will attend the race from Ferrari’s northern Italian base, the last of whom were expected to arrive on Tuesday.

The Bahrain Grand Prix, due to be held later this month, recently announced that fans would be banned from the track to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus.

Extreme measures will be necessary thanks, in part, to Coronvirus Dan’s Stupidity Grand Prix.

Breaking: the day after Ferrari arrives, Australia bans Italians.

Unrelated of course.

David Llewellyn-Smith
Latest posts by David Llewellyn-Smith (see all)


  1. Dark Mofo is off.

    “”I know that [cancellation] will murder an already massacred tourism environment, but I feel like I have no choice,” Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) founder David Walsh said in a statement online.

    “Right now, the Government and MONA are each on the hook for $2 million to run Dark Mofo. That’s bad.

    “What’s worse, as far as I’m concerned, is that if we ran Dark and nobody came, I’d lose $5 million or more, because I would have to cover the absent ticket revenue.”

    Mr Walsh said Dark Mofo creative director Leigh Carmichael had crunched the numbers and found that if a staff member contracted COVID-19 just before the festival, it would need to be cancelled anyway, with colleagues having to quarantine themselves for two weeks.

    “That kind of blowout would affect MONA’s program, and I’d be back to subsisting on the diet I had when I was eighteen — pineapples and mint slice biscuits,” Mr Walsh said.

    “I’d rather be a rich coward than a poor hero. I’m pouring cold water on Dark Mofo while there’s still water to pour.””

    • blindjusticeMEMBER

      If you put this in a movie it would flop as being too unrealistic, the characters would be too stupid. Of course in a movie the people would have hours or maybe a day or two to react of course. We have had months now.

    • Last night 7 News
      “A man in his 70s among the latest group of Australians to be diagnosed with coronavirus visited the South Melbourne Market and attended a function while ill.
      The Victorian became unwell on February 27 while in Egypt.
      He developed a runny nose, cough and sore throat – all of which are symptoms of COVID-19.
      However, instead of self-isolating, as is the direction from health authorities for recent travellers presenting symptoms, he went out. The man visited South Melbourne Market on Friday morning and attended a function at the Albert Park Hotel later that evening.”

        • Up until a week age they had only done 500 tests in the whole country of 300 million. They are catching up now and as they do numbers will explode. The whole US might end up like Italy because Trumpy stopped the testing so his ‘numbers’ looked good.

  2. If there is one positive to come from this virus let it be that it clears out all the woolly thinking and woolly thinkers that have been allowed to prosper during the good times. Woolly thinking allows leaders to stand and say we are the best, our systems are the best etc completely divorced from what is actually reality at the coal face. There is an example in the above article.

    • Our leaders, as in our global leaders. Many countries have the same malaise we do. I do not know South Korea at all, but I read somewhere recently about because they have been effectively on war preparedness for so long, their systems are more robust. Perhaps this is being demonstrated currently with their rigorous response to the virus. They are certainly doing ok in other areas (as I tap away on my Samsung phone.)

    • Even though it should, I don’t think that’s going to happen. In a way I hope I’m wrong about that.

    • Well…..we kept the borders open for Ferrari far longer than we should…..why waste the effort?

      Goodness me. Melbs might end up as “Straya’s ground zero in two weeks time…??

    • C.M.BurnsMEMBER

      Please tell me Scovid from marketing is a big Ferrari fan and wants to shake a few hands 🤞🏻

  3. Talk about the apogee of stupidity:

    “extreme measures” would likely need to be taken in the future, when there is a significant number of transmissions of the disease within Victoria.

    So let’s take the measures AFTER it gets out of control. FFS. Just shut it down now. If Italy’s richest area is already in triage mode there’s the clue as to how bad it gets here.

    Or look on the bright side, a chance to go long funeral homes and short Scomo

    • St JacquesMEMBER

      Spot on. They’re not just useless, treacherous scumbugs, they’re STUPIDLY USELESS, TREACHEROUS SCUMBAGS.

      And these scumbag MORONS run the government. How did we get here?????

    • bolstroodMEMBER

      You are right we should look on the bright side;

      Smiling is infectious
      You catch it like the flu
      when someone smiled at me today
      I started smiling too
      I walked around the corner
      and someone saw me grin
      when he smiled I realised
      I had passed it onto him
      I thought about the smile
      and realised its worth
      a single smile like mine
      could travel round the Earth
      So if you feel a smile begin
      don’t leave it undetected
      start an epidemic
      and get the world infected
      Spike Milligan ( wot would he make of us today , eh ?)

  4. You know something that could be started with just a small thing is McDonald s turn off off those ordering touch screens that every one touches with thier filthy snot covered fingers. Turn them off and put in a queue with minimum safe distance.

  5. And can retailers stop foreigners in this country from buying all the face masks and selling them overseas like they do with baby formula.

  6. “Individuals and governments seem not to be fully grasping the magnitude and near-inevitability of the national and global systemic burden we’re facing. We’re witnessing the abject refusal of many countries to adequately respond or prepare. Even if the risk of death for healthy individuals is very low, it’s insensible to mock decisions like canceling events, closing workplaces, or stocking up on prescription medications as panicked overreaction. These measures are the bare minimum we should be doing to try to shift the peak — to slow the rise in cases so health care systems are less overwhelmed.

    The doubling time will naturally start to slow once a sizable fraction of the population has been infected due to the emergence of herd immunity and a dwindling susceptible population. And yes, societal measures like closing schools, implementing work-from-home policies, and canceling events may start to slow the spread before reaching infection saturation.

    But considering that the scenarios described earlier — overflowing hospitals, mask shortages, infected health care workers — manifest when infections reach a mere 1% of the U.S. population, these interventions can only marginally slow the rate at which our health care system becomes swamped. They are unlikely to prevent overload altogether, at least in the absence of exceedingly swift and austere measures.”

    • But the powers that be really really really want all of this to go away! It is so INCONVENIENT for them!

  7. UN-Confirmed reports there are 11 cases of Covid-19 at the Austin being kept under raps for GP.

  8. China had about 30 daily deaths mostly confined to Wuhan when we shut the borders to China (still letting planeloads of people from Wuhan disembark in Sydney up until the ban).

    Italy had 160 deaths yesterday. One week ago Italy had the same daily deaths as China when we banned travel from China.

    This despite China has 1.4 billion people and Italy 60 million.

    160 daily deaths in Italy is like 3500 daily deaths in China.

    Italy has 10x the total deaths of South Korea but be banned South Koreans a week ago.

    The Australian government should hang its head in shame. This decision to wait until everyone has arrived for the GP, and decision to push ahead with a GP that will have a weekend attendance of 300k is criminal negligence.

    Bahrain has showed more leadership than Australia by banning spectators from their race.

    The fact is despotic regimes like China and Bahrain have shown more concern for the health of its citizens than Australia.

    While Australia might get its knickers in a twist over corruption in the form of paper bags of cash or paying an official tea money, corruption permeates every level of this country. The decision to wait until everyone had arrived for the F1, and to push ahead with the race as if a pandemic isn’t rapidly spreading is corruption in the highest form.

  9. What happens if this country is actually ever invaded? We’ll surrender quicker than the French.