5000 ON HIGH ALERT: Panicked town mass testing for virus

Residents in a small Queensland town are lining up in their cars to get tested after a  30-year-old man died there on Tuesday. 

An emergency fever clinic was set up in Blackwater's showgrounds this morning after Nathan Turner was discovered unresponsive by his partner at their home in the central Queensland town.

Coronavirus testing
Coronavirus testing Rachel McGhee | Twitter

Mr Turner's death comes after an unidentified Rockhampton nurse tested positive for the virus earlier this month after she broke government enforced lockdown rules to travel to the town.

Health authorities have confirmed the nurse travelled to Blackwater in the second week of May, before testing positive. The woman reportedly told contact tracers she drove to Blackwater to "see a sunset".

Australia has recorded a total 7139 cases of COVID-19, with 3089 in New South Wales, 1618 in Victoria, 1058 in Queensland, 440 in South Australia, 570 in Western Australia, 228 in Tasmania, 107 in the Australian Capital Territory and 29 in the Northern Territory.


Nurse's 400km trip to tiny town deemed 'low risk'

An infected nurse who drove 400km to watch a sunset in a tiny Queensland town where a man has died says she didn't leave her car during the trip.

Blackwater's 5000 residents are on alert after former miner Nathan Turner was found dead in his home by his partner on Tuesday afternoon.

A Rockhampton aged care nurse, who had travelled to to the town, positive for coronavirus earlier in May.

The same nurse has been linked to the lockdown of a Rockhampton aged care centre after she continued to go to work while sick and awaiting her coronavirus test result.

State Health Minister Stephen Miles said Blackwater residents weren't told of the nurse's visit because it was deemed low risk.

"To my knowledge, she drove there, watched the sunset, and drove back - didn't leave her car," he told ABC radio on Thursday.

He said authorities are now looking into whether there is a link between the cases.

"It's possible that there is some kind of connection there, or it could just be a coincidence," he said.

"That's what our investigators are working on. Those dates don't really line up with when he got sick. It is a bit of a mystery and it could just be a coincidence."


RBA boss to face virus inquiry questions

Reserve Bank boss Philip Lowe will shed light on Australia's economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic when he faces an inquiry today.

Dr Lowe, Australian Prudential Regulation Authority chair Wayne Byres and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) chair James Shipton will appear via videoconference before the COVID-19 committee hearing.

"Labor is looking forward to the opportunity to hear from the RBA governor about his views on the economic response to COVID-19 and the best path forward for recovery," Labor senator and inquiry chair Katy Gallagher told AAP.

"Australia entered this crisis from a position of weakness, not strength.

"With monetary policy now all-but exhausted, Governor Lowe's views about where Australia goes from here will be important evidence for this committee and vital to Australians who are relying on this government to get the recovery right."

Dr Lowe has been talking up the need to restore business and consumer confidence, while noting the ultimate key to recovery hinges on the development of a medical treatment for the virus.

He told a forum last week the faster that restrictions can be lifted safely, the sooner and stronger the economic bounce-back will be and the less "economic scarring" will take place.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann backed the call for the economy to be restored back to normal as soon as possible.

He said the government had "planned for the worst" two months ago, but Australia was now "close to eliminating" the spread of virus cases.


US officials back Australia amid tensions with China

Australia's decision to call for an investigation into the origin of the coronavirus, which sparked tensions with China, has been applauded by two senior US officials.

The push for an investigation into how the pandemic started has resulted in China putting hefty tariffs on Australian barley in retaliation.

Speaking on Sky News' series The Alliance, Admiral Philip Davidson, commander of US Indo-Pacific Command, said China's recent actions showed the nation was "running a very coercive diplomatic routine".

Admiral Davidson praised the Australian government for sticking by the decision despite the growing pressure from China.

"My message to ­ordinary Australians is this: the sovereignty of our nations, our ability to choose, should be independent of coercion," he said.

"Sometimes that makes for tough choices. I ­applaud Australia's leadership on both the issues they decided they had to sit on. I know the US will be alongside."

Students attended school while infectious

Two schoolchildren diagnosed with coronavirus in Sydney this week attended classes while infectious, New South Wales's deputy chief health officer says.

Dr Jeremy McAnulty said a 10-year-old student at Moriah College in Queens Park attended school for one day while infectious, while a 12-year-old student at Waverley College attended for two days.

Both students were driven to school in private vehicles and are now recovering at home, NSW Health said in a statement on Wednesday.

The schools, which had been checking students' temperatures, have also been closed for deep cleaning.

A total of 28 students and 3 teachers have been identified as close contacts at Moriah College, while 44 students and 10 teachers have been identified at Waverley College.

"Contact tracing and further investigations are underway," NSW Health said.

Originally published as Students attended school while infectious