Beyond the bug – Hatch’s blog and updates on coronavirus

Within weeks of COVID-19 reaching Australia’s shores, Macleay College students began writing stories on it and maintaining a daily blog as the virus spiked, waned and spiked again. Hatch’s student reporters continue to work remotely as they blog about life under lockdown and the daily release of news on the virus and it’s spread across Australia and around the world.


This will be the last entry in this blog after nine months of students continual blogging from the early days of the pandemic.

Latest: Australia 27,784 cases, 907 deaths

November 20, 2020: Daily brief… South Australia’s tough lockdown will end on Saturday as it was revealed a man lied about a community transmission case when it was only an instance of close contact; SA records zero new COVID-19 cases as restrictions on going out and exercise ease; Victoria achieves three weeks without a case and has only two active cases, but a possible positive test result is being assessed; Queensland records no new cases as 5,351 tests were conducted overnight; NSW records 13 consecutive days of no locally acquired cases.

Pizza man’s lies uncovered… SA Premier Steven Marshall revealed in a press conference today that a pizza man who lied to contact tracers was responsible for the state’s lockdown

Latest: Australia 27,777 cases, 907 deaths

November 19, 2020: Daily brief… South Australia records no new COVID-19 cases since yesterday, with more than 20,000 South Australians getting tested in the past 48 hours; SA enters one of the nation’s strictest lockdowns as only one person per household will be able to leave the home each day; Queensland records three new cases, all overseas travellers who are now in hotel quarantine; Victoria records 20 consecutive days of no new cases; NSW records 12 consecutive days of no locally acquired cases as restrictions are set to ease for New Year’s Eve.

Premier sends congratulations… SA Premier Steven Marshall commends South Australians for zero new cases.

Latest: Australia 27,756 cases, 907 deaths

November 18, 2020: Daily brief… South Australia now has at least 20 confirmed and 14 suspected COVID-19 cases linked to the growing cluster, while pizza customers and school students are quarantined; ACT records its first case in weeks, a man in his 30s who flew into Sydney and travelled to Canberra in a private vehicle; NSW records 11 consecutive days with no new local cases, and seven new cases in hotel quarantine; Victoria records 19 days with no new cases as the government requests that South Australians reconsider travel to Victoria.

Mask on… Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has announced that Victorians will soon be urged to wear masks amid the outbreak in SA.

Latest: Australia 27,750 cases, 907 deaths

November 17, 2020: Daily brief… South Australia’s COVID-19 cluster grows to 20 cases, prompting gyms to close and international flights carrying returning Australians to be suspended for a week; Queensland records one new case, which was acquired overseas and detected in hotel quarantine; QLD’s restrictions ease as the number of people allowed in cafes, restaurants, museums and places of worship is set to double; Victoria records 18 consecutive days without any new cases or deaths, but there are still three active cases; NSW records 10 consecutive days of no new locally acquired cases.

Aussies hit the road… Read Macleay student Christa Nicola’s story on families using the pandemic as an opportunity to see Australia.

Latest: Australia 27,725 cases, 907 deaths

November 16, 2020: Daily brief… South Australia records 17 new cases linked to a single cluster, leading Tasmania, the Northern Territory and Western Australia to close their borders to the state; NSW records nine consecutive days of no locally acquired cases, as the premier confirms NSW will not close its borders to SA; Victoria records 17 consecutive days of no new cases and two weeks of no mystery cases; A $1.8 billion vaccine factory will be built in Melbourne, and will guarantee locally made influenza, virus and anti-venom treatments until 2036.

From cricket to Uber Eats… Dutch cricketer Paul van Meekeren tweets about the cancellation of Melbourne’s T20 World Cup final due to the pandemic.

Latest: Australia 27,698 cases, 907 deaths

November 13, 2020: Daily brief… Victoria reaches a milestone of 14 consecutive days with no new COVID-19 cases; NSW records its sixth consecutive day of zero locally transmitted cases; Queensland’s Federal Health Minister announces the homegrown vaccine is safe and effective in elderly people, and stage three trials are ready to begin; the National Cabinet will meet today to discuss vaccine distribution, border closures and other COVID-19 issues; and, in world news, Italy records its highest daily figure since April, with more than 5,000 new cases and 636 new deaths overnight.

A bad year for Emirates… Top airline Emirates reveals it has lost $5.2 billion due to pandemic restrictions, which is its first loss in more than 30 years.

Latest: Australia 27,686 cases, 907 deaths

November 12, 2020: Daily brief… Queensland records 3 new COVID-19 cases which were acquired overseas and detected in hotel quarantine; Victoria records its 13th day in a row without a case; NSW records its fifth consecutive day without a new local case, and five cases in hotel quarantine; Nearly 20,000 Sydney residents in suburbs like Rouse Hill and North Kellyville are being urged to test for COVID-19 after traces of the virus were found in sewerage; New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta says it’s still too early to allow Australians in without quarantine.

Let the games begin… Olympic leaders are increasingly confident that next year’s Tokyo Olympics can have fans in the venues due to the week’s progress in finding a vaccine.

Latest: Australia 27,678 cases, 907 deaths

November 11, 2020: Lest we forget… Remembrance day ceremonies will be streamed live across Australia today for the first time in history, while events and poppy sales are limited due to pandemic restrictions.

Daily brief… Victoria celebrates 12 days in a row of no new COVID-19 cases, and no further deaths; NSW records its fourth consecutive day without a local COVID-19 case, putting Australia on track to record its fourth day with no local COVID-19 cases; Queensland’s Deputy Premier Steven Miles says both Sydneysiders and Victorians will likely be allowed into the state by Christmas; Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says Australia has secured a “cold-chain transport” for a vaccine from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, and Australia could have a vaccine by March.

Latest: Australia 27,633 cases, 907 deaths

November 6, 2020: Palmed off… The High Court today rejected mining billionaire Clive Palmer’s challenge against Western Australia’s coronavirus border lockdown. Palmer’s lawyers had argued it was unconstitutional to restrict movement but Chief Justice Susan Kiefel ruled Western Australia’s Emergency Management Act complied with Australia’s constitution.

Daily brief… Police in London have arrested 100 people for breaching coronavirus restrictions as tough new measures come into force; Victoria has recorded the seventh day of zero infections; virus fragments found in south-west Sydney sewage; Queensland has gone 52 days without a local COVID-19 case; the Southern Highlands in NSW record four new locally transmitted cases overnight; Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews confirms large events will not happen for Remembrance Day on November 11.

It’s a good day to be Nintendo…

November 5, 2020: Daily brief… NSW becomes the only state to accept citizens from all Australian jurisdictions and New Zealand, when it lifts its restrictions with Victoria on November 23; Australia signs two more COVID-19 vaccine agreements; Victoria has recorded its sixth consecutive day of no new infections; the Queensland Police Union calls for more support on border control to prevent police officers working long hours on checkpoints; across England, pubs, restaurants, and shops are going into lockdown again; and four Italian regions have been put under lockdown restrictions.

November 4, 2020: Daily brief… Victoria has recorded its fifth day in a row of no new coronavirus cases; border restrictions between NSW and Victoria could be lifted within three weeks with the government expected to make a decision today; in the UK city of Liverpool, Boris Johnson’s government will trial a new coronavirus program offering regular testing to everyone who lives and works in the city in an effort to slow the spread; Europe’s COVID-19 cases top 11 million as more countries enforce tough lockdowns; Sculpture by the Sea has become the latest arts event to be cancelled due to COVID-19 after failing to secure an exemption from NSW Health.

Whale of a time… Locals risk their own health to lend a helping hand.

November 3, 2020: Daily brief… Oil prices hit a five-month low on the back of renewed lockdowns in Europe, before staging a recovery; for the fourth day in a row Victoria has reported no new coronavirus cases; the World Health Organisation has warned it estimates 10 per cent of the world’s population may have been infected with the virus; Iran has hit a daily death toll record of 434 cases; UK politician Nigel Farage says he plans to rebrand the Brexit Party as an anti-lockdown party and call it Reform UK.

Corona Catch-22… Read Macleay student Christa Nicola’s story on the threat to finding a vaccine, as more research jobs are lost in the pandemic-led recession.

Lost arts… Artists have put together a map of all the abandoned arts projects during the coronavirus crisis, called The Impossible Project.

November 2, 2020: Daily brief… Victoria has recorded zero cases and zero deaths today, but there were seven cases in NSW; a Melbourne cafe owner has lost a court case challenging Victoria’s lockdown rules, which he argued were unconstitutional; NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian says the border with Victoria will be reopened within weeks; as the United Kingdom heads towards winter Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned the public to expect coronavirus deaths twice as bad as those the country suffered during spring.

Pontiff’s prayer… Meanwhile Pope Francis has conducted a prayer for victims of coronavirus and the people who care for them, calling particular attention to the fact many people have died in isolation, away from their loved ones.

November 1, 2020: Daily brief… Australia recorded its first ‘donut day’ since June of no new coronavirus cases nationally; Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has won the state election comfortably, with voters seeming to vindicate her tough stance on keeping borders with other states closed.

October 28, 2020: Daily brief… One new case in South Australia; NSW Health issues public health alert for Sydney venues of concern; one new case in Western Australia; one new locally acquired case in New South Wales; two new cases in Queensland; with both in quarantine, two new cases and two deaths in Victoria; UK records 367 COVID deaths.

October 23, 2020: Daily brief… The Victorian Government hopes to open its interstate borders open by Christmas; More than 30,000 Australians stranded overseas after the federal government capped quarantine places have boarded a plane in London and will land in Darwin today; Experts criticise Australia’s aged care failings over COVID19; Anti lockdown protests erupt in Kingsway, Melbourne as protesters clash with police; East Preston Islamic College parent infected with COVID-19 as virus cluster in Melbourne’s north grows; Contact tracing tightened after a student case caused an outbreak and putting 800 people in isolation; Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison unveils plan to open domestic borders by Christmas.

October 22, 2020: Daily brief… NSW records 7 news corona cases with only one locally acquired and 6 in hotel quarantine as Gladys Bereijklian advises to wear masks; Spain reaches 1 million cases doubling its own tally in 6 weeks; Victoria records 5 news cases, zero deaths in the past 24 hours; 120 social housing residents in Broadmeadows in Melbourne told to isolate; ACT has recorded its first corona case in more than 100 days; Melbourne fears grow as outbreak as more than 100 residents are told to self isolate. 

October 21, 2020: Daily brief… Business leaders have attacked Victorian premier Daniel Andrews over the slowness of his plan to reopen shops, saying it is killing businesses; Melania Trump, who recently tested positive for coronavirus with the President, has excused herself from any public activities as she is still suffering symptoms; Spain is nearing a million infections, the first European country to reach the mark, and has suffered 34,000 deaths; Victorian officials have done an about-turn on allowing owners and families to gather for the Cox Plate, after a wave of criticism about the lack of social distancing.

School rules… Not everyone is upset about the coronavirus pandemic…

October 20, 2020: Daily brief… Australia Evacuates Crew From COVID19 Infected livestock ship off the west coast; Australia’s COVID19 hotspot active cases fall to four month low; Australia’s COVID19 quarantine blood testing blunder prompts calls for hundreds to take HIV tests; Australia reports 30 new cases of COVID-19, hardest-hit state keeps caseload at low level; Healthy volunteers will be deliberately infected with coronavirus as part of U.K. study.

October 19, 2020: Daily brief… Melbourne announces ease of restrictions; The Victoria has opened its boarders to travelers from New Zealand they are free to enter the state without quarantine; Global Coronavirus cases pass 40 million as second wave hits Europe; Italy prepares for a new set of restrictions in a bid to stop the spread; New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern is reelected after stamping out Coronavirus; The US reaches 8.1 million COVID-19 infections.

October 14, 2020: Daily brief… 400 people are in isolation awaiting Covid-19 test results because of one man in the regional victoria town of Shepperton. This comes as Victoria recorded six new cases overnight and zero deaths. In NSW six cases were also confirmed with three being linked to the Lakemba GP bringing that cluster to 15. Two of today’s infections remain under investigation with a source not yet known.

October 13, 2020: Daily Brief… Seven new cases have been recorded overnight in Victoria, but Premier Dan Andrews once again said its to early to tell if the targets for re-opening the state will be met. Meanwhile in NSW, the state saw 14 new cases overnight with three being in hotel quarantine, and 11 being from known sources. Preimer Gladys Berejiklian is warning the state that they’re on another spike in cases similar to what NSW saw in July.

In America there’s no stopping President Trump hitting the campaign trail even after testing positive to COVID-19 over a week ago. Back in front of a packed crowd and donning no mask Trump was dancing with the people showing his good health

October 13, 2020: Daily Brief… Overnight there has been 12 new cases of coronavirus in Victoria. Bringing the rolling average to 10. The state of Victoria is hanging on this upcoming Sundays press conference where Preimer David Andrews is set to address the states current lockdown. But with an rolling average of 10 and 13 cases linked to an unknown source, the chances of major changes look slim. In NSW, Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced the easing of social-distancing restrictions on outdoor dining and events. This comes as the state only recorded 7 new cases.

October 12, 2020: Daily Brief… Victorias way out of lockdown took a hit today with 15 new cases recorded in the state bringing the rolling average to 9.9. Meanwhile, in NSW two new cases were recorded. Both are doctors in Lakemba in Sydney’s west.

Sports worldwide has been affected due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. None more so than the NBA who called their season off after two players tested positive prior to playing while players were on the court and fans were in the stands waiting. The NBA saved their season by relocating all teams to Orlando, Florida creating a bubble and today it came to an end. The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat to be crowned Champions for the first time in 10 years, bringing a long season riddled by Covid-19 to an end.

October 9, 2020: Daily Brief… For the first time since July 10, Victoria has recorded their second consecutive day without a Covid-19 death. But the good news does come with a hiccup, fears Melbournes strict lockdown laws could be extended after a new cluster of cases at Box Hill hospital in the cities east are under investigation. In NSW, five new cases have been recorded overnight with all of them being linked to known cases.

Over in the US, a coronavirus outbreak is sweeping through the White House. And after yesterday’s Vice Presidential debate, one of the bigger talking points from the debate was “The fly”.

The big question now is should this fly get tested if Pence tests positive for the virus? The fly should defiantly self-isolate for 14 days as a precautionary manner.

October 8, 2020: Daily Brief… NSW has recorded 12 new cases with eight being locally transmitted in the past 24-hours. One case was found to be a student who attended Sydney’s Macquarie University. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has urged people to not take these new cases lightly. Once again Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has not ruled out the possibility of moving back the date of the NSW and QLD border re-opening which was set for November 1st.

Star of the hit 90s films Home Alone, Macaulay Culkin shared his unique mask of his younger self to twitter. Quickly going viral, Culkin reminded everyone to wear a mask, a saying that will forever be linked to the year 2020.

October 7, 2020: Daily Brief… Victoria has recorded six new cases and two more deaths in the past 24-hours; NSW is currently investigating as three new cases have emerged after the streak of no cases has come to an end. None of the cases are related; Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk has said that the new NSW cases have reset the clock on reopening the border between the two states; To the U.S. and President Donald Trump has returned from the hospital after being diagnosed with coronavirus on Friday.

Face mask but make it fashion… Singer Lana Del Rey has been slammed on Twitter after attending a book signing in California wearing a face mask made of glittery mesh.

October 1, 2020: Daily Brief… Victoria records 15 new coronavirus cases and two deaths; Western Australia sees one new case in hotel quarantine; Two new cases in New South Wales both returning travellers in hotel quarantine; No new cases in Queensland; Queensland border bubble moves into northern New South Wales, however, queues into the state left people waiting up to 30 minutes; South Australia sees restriction easing for pubs, clubs and weddings.

Coronavirus inspires literature… The pandemic has inspired a romantic novel titles “kissing the Coronavirus” by M.J Edwards. The book describes a forbidden and passionate love between a scientist and the virus. It has gained a 2.5 star rating and 509 reviews on Goodreads.

September 30, 2020: Daily Brief… New South Wales records four new cases but no locally transmitted cases for the fifth day; Bondi beach releases ‘summer plans’ which involves beach bouncers; Victoria records 13 new cases and four more deaths; Western Australia has recorded zero new cases overnight, the crew from the Port Hedland ship are under strict quarantine; Queensland maintains zero new cases.

An Aussie icon returns… After a six month break in fundraisers, Bunnings brings back the sausage sizzle for NSW and ACT on October 3.

September 29, 2020: Daily Brief… The coronavirus global toll has reached over a million deaths according to the John Hopkins University; Victoria records 10 new cases and seven more cases; New South Wales has gone four days without recording a local case, only two new cases in hotel quarantine; In Western Australia, 17 cases of coronavirus has been associated with a ship off the coast of Port Hedland; PM Scott Morrison has expressed interested in placing people returning from lower-risk locations to quarantine at home rather than the hotel.

Late-night Maccas run for Melbourians… With Melbourne waking up to no curfew today, some took to Twitter to express their excitement for grabbing a cheeseburger after dark.

September 28, 2020: Daily Brief… Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews addressed the new lockdown rules on Sunday. Curfew has been scraped, new face mask rules and primary school students to return; Martin Foley steps in as new Victorian health minister after Jenny Mikakos steps down; New South Wales records no new cases for 24 hours; Victoria records 16 new cases and two deaths.

September 25, 2020: Daily Brief… Victoria has reported 14 new cases in the last 24 hours, Premier Daniel Andrews says, “we are on track.” As further announcement will be made about restrictions on Sunday; Premier Andrews facing a grilling today about hotel quarantine inquiry today; New South Wales has recorded four new cases, three are from Australians returning from overseas and are in hotel quarantine and one is a locally-acquired source from a 50-year-old man in south-west Sydney; Queensland has recorded no new cases overnight.

A win for weddings… NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced ease of restrictions yesterday. Luckily for weddings, no more than 20 people are permitted to dance on the dance floor. Before it was only the bride and groom.

September 24, 2020: Daily Brief… Melbourne’s coronavirus cases are ahead of schedule, Premier Andrews will look at easing restriction for business and personal freedoms on Sunday; Victoria reporting 12 new cases and two deaths in the past 24 hours; New South Wales only recorded new case in 24 hours is in hotel quarantine: Queenslanders have reached two weeks with no community transmission which has allowed additional restriction in Brisbane to be lifted; Victorian health minister Jenny Mikakos appeared at the hotel quarantine inquiry today, admitted she had no role in hiring the private security company; New South Wales see changes in restriction at wedding, schools and community sport; Sydney’s New Year’s Eve firework is set to go ahead despite the pandemic.

Welcomed with (sanitised) hands… The first non-quarantined flight from Sydney to Adelaide landed shortly after 11 am. 156 Passengers were greeted with a ‘welcome back’ banner

September 23, 2020: Daily brief… Victoria has recorded 15 new coronavirus cases today and five further deaths, all five deaths have been linked with aged care. Premier Daniel Andrews says that Melbourne is now on track to see further restrictions eased this weekend, this announcement will come on Sunday; Positive news for New South Wales, as of tonight resident will be able to freely travel to South Australia due to no detection of community transmission; New South Wales has confirmed six new cases, all among people in hotel quarantine. The state has luckily gone two days with no new locally transmitted cases, if NSW can keep this up for two more weeks an open border with Queensland on October 6.

Get Your Tickets… with the opening of borders Jetstar are offering flight deals between Sydney and Adelaide for as low as $59. Good time for an early holiday.

September 22, 2020: Daily brief… Victoria records 28 new cases and three deaths overnight, with the majority being linked to aged care clusters, while the 14-day daily case average declines; a senior public servant who hired private security for Victoria’s hotel quarantine program has told an inquiry he does not know who made the decision; NSW records only two new cases overnight and hits a milestone as no locally acquired cases are identified for the first time in 76 days; Queensland records zero new cases overnight and will reopen its border to NSW residents from Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Glen Innes from October 1; Western Australia records three new cases overnight, all coming from returned Australians travellers, and one person is admitted to hospital while the other two remain in hotel quarantine; WA’s high school leavers are given the green light to celebrate in the state’s South West from November 23, but the two-square-metre rule will still need to be followed; South Australia will reopen its borders to NSW from late tomorrow night, provided NSW records no community transmission of COVID-19 today; and the pandemic causes the Australian dollar to slip as the Reserve Bank of Australia flags rate cuts and the ASX drops to a three-month low.

Odd man out… as border restriction’s across the countries ease, Aussies question when Western Australia will reopen its borders.

Latest: Australia 26,898 cases, 849 deaths

September 21, 2020: Daily brief… some optimism as Victoria records the lowest daily increase in cases in over three months, recording 11 new cases and two deaths linked to an aged care outbreak overnight; NSW records four new cases in the last 24 hours, with three cases coming from returned travellers in hotel quarantine and one case linked to the Concord Hospital Cluster; NSW health officials are searching for people who might have come into contact with a taxi driver who is thought to have worked for up to 10 days while infected; Queensland records one new case in the last 24 hours coming from a returned traveller in quarantine, with over 2,700 tests conducted in the last testing period; also in QLD, 200 spectators at the Gabba AFL game will be placed in a section at 75 per cent capacity tonight in a seating trial ahead of the Grand Final; South Australia’s Premier Steven Marshall says he will consider reopening the border with NSW this week, despite a “slightly worrying” COVID-19 case in Sydney over the weekend; and a Perth man has been fined $7,500 as he breached quarantine restrictions to visit a Northbridge pub after returning from Queensland.

Progress at last…. Victorians celebrate the drop in COVID-19 cases with humour in the r/CoronavirusDownunder subreddit.

Main image by Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr.