Monday, December 6, 2021

Coronavirus: Australian minister tests positive after U.S. trip

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Australia’s Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton has tested positive for the new coronavirus and has been admitted to hospital, he said on Friday.

After waking up in the morning with a temperature and sore throat, he was tested for COVID-19 and was told in the afternoon the test came back positive, Dutton said in a statement.

Mr Dutton had recently returned from the U.S. after meeting officials from the U.S., Britain and Canada on March 6 in Washington as part of the Five Eyes intelligence network.

Photos shared on the social media show him standing next to top U.S. government officials, including Attorney-General William Barr and Ivanka Trump, the daughter of U.S. president, a week earlier.

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will not need to go into isolation, his spokesman said in a statement, because only those who had close contact with Dutton in the 24 hours before he became symptomatic will need to self-isolate according to health advice.

New Zealand Interior Minister Tracey Martin, who was in the Five Eyes meeting in Washington, was self-isolating and would be getting tested for coronavirus on Saturday morning, her spokesman said.

Just an hour before Dutton’s news broke, Morrison had announced the government was advising the cancellation of all “organised, non-essential gatherings of 500 people or greater” from Monday onwards.

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Australia has three deaths and 156 confirmed coronavirus cases.

Meanwhile, the Japanese parliament has enacted legislation that enables Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to declare a state of emergency to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus in his country.

Japan has nearly 1,400 confirmed cases.

Earlier on Friday, South Korea reported its lowest daily increase of new coronavirus cases in more than two weeks, while China reported seven deaths and eight new cases – the smallest increases since the daily reporting began in late January.

The latest tally of 110 new infections recorded and one death brought the number of total cases in South Korea to 7,979 and the death toll up to 67, according to the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

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An overnight increase of 17 cases in the city of Sejong has been linked to an outbreak in a government department.

China’s National Health Commission said five of the new cases and six of the deaths were recorded in Hubei province, where the outbreak first emerged in December.

Friday’s numbers bring the total coronavirus cases in China to 80,813 including 3,176 deaths.

Globally there have been more than 132,000 confirmed cases of the virus as of Friday, according to the World Health Organisation.


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