Good morning – and, of course, commiserations and solidarity to our friends down in Melbourne.
1. Melbourne will re-enter stage three lockdown for six weeks from midnight tonight. That means everyone is subject to a general stay-at-home order, and can only leave for four approved reasons: essential shopping, giving or receiving medical care, attending work if it cannot be done at home, and exercise.
2. Some health experts say new COVID cases could have soared to 3000 per day in Victoria without a new lockdown. "The rest of the country has been put on notice," University of Sydney infectious diseases expert Professor Robert Booy told The Age. "No state should gloat and say we have done so much better than Victoria. It only takes a handful of people to break the control of this virus."
3. Australia's banks will extend six-month repayment holidays by another four months for households and businesses that can show they are viable borrowers. "The Australian Banking Association has today confirmed that banks will continue to support customers who need it with up to another four months of deferred repayments on already deferred loans," Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.
4. The RBA, to the surprise of no one, has kept interest rates on hold at the record low of 0.25%. We'll keep dutifully reporting this, as it's our job, but don't expect policy to change on this front for a looooooooong time.
5. One little nugget from Afterpay's announcement yesterday of an $800 million capital raise and stock selldown: it's looking towards acquisitions. Buried in the statement is the suggestion that opportunities to buy out other players in the space “could present themselves in the short to medium term”.
6. Wax on, wax off. Woolies and Coles once again removed purchase limits, which were reinstated following the initial spike in coronavirus cases in Victoria. But wait! Limits are back on in Victoria as of this morning. One rule remains nationally: you're still limited to two packs of loo roll per person at Woolworths.
7. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has flouted public health recommendations, has tested positive for COVID-19, he confirmed on Tuesday. In March, Bolsonaro described COVID-19 as “just a little flu”. Brazil has the second-worst coronavirus outbreak in the world after the US.
8. Palantir, the secretive $US20 billion big data company, has filed a draft of its paperwork for a public listing, it announced in a press release Monday. Palantir sells customised data analytics tools to corporations and the government, and has faced strong opposition from activists for some of its secret work with law enforcement.
9. The WHO has been hesitant to say the coronavirus can be “airborne”, which would mean it can float in the air further than a few feet. This is despite a group of 239 scientists calling on the body to acknowledge the possibility. But that might be changing. "We have been talking about the possibility of airborne transmission and aerosol transmission as one of the modes of transmission of COVID-19," said Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead on the COVID-19 pandemic at the WHO.
10. A series of excerpts from an upcoming book by Donald Trump's niece Mary have been published, if you're interested in this kind of palace intrigue. It's not particularly flattering.