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The Informer: That noise? Victoria hitting the COVID-19 brakes

Braking now. Photo: Shutterstock
Braking now. Photo: Shutterstock

And just like that, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has hit the COVID-19 brakes.

And the AFL has given them a tap, too, after Essendon's Conor McKenna tested positive for the virus.

A spike in coronavirus cases has prompted authorities decrease the number of household guests allowed in Victorian homes.

The tightening of restrictions - to be enforced from midnight Sunday - comes after 25 new cases in the past 24 hours. Fourteen are linked to known outbreaks and one is in hotel quarantine. The source of six infections is being investigated.

Half of the new cases have come from family to family transmission.

"The experts tell us that, largely, the numbers are being driven by families," he said. "Families having big get-togethers and not following the advice around distancing and hygiene."

And with the AFL having celebrated "resumption round" just over a week ago, a positive case has thrown the sport into activating part of Plan B. And initially that means postponing the Essendon-Melbourne match tomorrow.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan detailed the immediate changes this afternoon. Watch his press conference here.

Meanwhile in Wollongong, the NSW Police may have won its bid to have the protest banned in the Supreme Court yesterday but it went ahead - peacefully - as planned.

There was a degree and toing and froing between authorities and protesters but the Illawarra Mercury summed it up with this comment from Aunty Trish Levett Gundungurra, one of the rally organisers: "The police have held back. They are doing their job and we are doing ours."

And as it's the weekend, I wonder if you're on the same bandwagon as many Canberrans - well, not so much as bandwagon as a caravan.

It seems with international travel being unofficially consigned to the "maybe next year" file, van sales are soaring in the nation's capital.

"There's been definitely more people coming through the doors, about 30 to 40 per cent more," Trailer Camper Australia director Peter Dimmock said.

Let's hope those of them already enjoying the wide open spaces look up tomorrow and get involved in a Guinness World Record attempt. That's when researchers want to create a map of Australia's darkest skies.

It's also an opportunity to learn about light pollution and its effect on people, animals, and astronomy, organisers say. Here's how you can get involved.

Beyond our borders there's still massive concern for the perceived acceleration of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 150,000 cases have been reported within 24 hours - the highest single-day number so far.

There have been record cases in India, nearly 50 deaths in Italy, a surge in Germany and Brazil has now passed 1 million coronavirus cases and approached 50,000 deaths.

In non-COVID news, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he raised China's "coercion" of Australia during a frank, six-hour meeting with China's top diplomat in Hawaii.

And the diplomatic wedges keep coming from the Asian superpower after Chinese prosecutors revealed they have charged two detained Canadians for suspected espionage, indictments that could result in life imprisonment.

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This story That noise? Victoria hitting the COVID-19 brakes first appeared on The Canberra Times.