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10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

James Hennessy

Hello folks. I hope you all had restful weekends, and are emotionally and mentally prepared for the raft of coronavirus updates I have for you.

1. Australia recorded its first coronavirus death yesterday. A 78-year-old Perth man named James Kwan, who was one of 164 Australians aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

2. A woman in her 50s who recently visited Iran was identified as the sixth confirmed case of COVID-19 in New South Wales. NSW Health is urging people who have recently returned from Iran to ensure they are aware of coronavirus symptoms and seek help if they experience them. Australia has temporarily banned travellers from Iran, with Health Minister Greg Hunt citing the country's inability to contain the virus as the key factor.

3. Can we expect further travel bans? Given the coronavirus is spreading quite rapidly, it seems foolish to rule it out. Australia's chief medical officer Brendan Murphy however says that it is not possible to continue isolating us from the rest of the world in an attempt to stop the outbreak. “It’s becoming disproportionate and ineffective to keep imposing very rigid quarantine requirements for what could be a very large number of countries," he said.

4. What should you be doing to prepare? We spoke to a risk expert – and the former head actuary at CBA during the avian flu outbreak – about what you could reasonably be doing in preparation. The first step: be sensible. “Some sensible, easy preparation before a possible outbreak should help avoid any sense of panic,” Alex Stitt said.

5. The director-general of the World Health Organisation said global markets should "calm down and try to see the reality", as the coronavirus wreaks havoc on the global economy. "We need to go into the numbers, we need to go into the facts, and do the right thing instead of panicking," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Ghebreysus said. So far, the virus has killed 2,976 people and infected more than 86,000, mostly in China.

6. We're seeing world tourist destinations being hit by the virus, too – just take a look at these photos. As an example, the Louvre Museum in Paris announced on Sunday that it could not open due to a staff meeting regarding the spread of the coronavirus. There have been 73 confirmed cases of the virus in France.

7. Despite the fact the coronavirus is obviously rattling markets the world over – including a $200 billion ASX wipeout last week – some companies are finding themselves very well positioned. From funeral company InvoCare to A2 Milk, these are the Australian companies which have bucked the trend and profited from the uncertainty.

8. On Friday, the ABC revealed documents outlining key aspects of the planned Uber Air service in Melbourne. In short, it outlines a "fast, noisy and busy service" above the city. Despite claims Uber would require 1,000 helicopters and 83 skyports to make the system work, the company told Business Insider Australia it has "no plans to operate a helicopter fleet of any size in Melbourne, or any other city in Victoria.” Obviously, the documents suggest otherwise.

9. Former US vice president Joe Biden decisively won the Democratic primary in South Carolina. It's the first time he has won a state primary or caucus between his three presidential runs in 1988, 2008, and now, 2020. The biggest day of primaries is coming this week on Super Tuesday, and Biden's win is no guarantee he'll perform there. Senator Bernie Sanders still leads in the delegate count.

10. An activist investor is reportedly preparing a plan to oust Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and the stock is rising. Elliott Management, the massive activist investment firm led by Paul Singer, has taken a large stake in Twitter and has nominated four directors to its board. It's reported Singer wants to push Dorsey out in part because of his time being divided between running Twitter and Square, as well as his stated plans to move to Africa this year.


As a prolific night runner, I'm not sure even I can sanction something so obnoxious.