Good morning, there is quite a lot of news to go through today. Let’s begin at home.

There are now just under 3,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Australia.1 It remains that most of these cases are from people who have returned to Australia from overseas or have come into direct contact with a confirmed case.

The good news is that there are still relatively few cases in Australia of infection where the person has not encountered a confirmed case.

Also, although we saw another increase in cases in New South Wales overnight (186), today marks the second consecutive day the state has seen a decrease in new cases.2 With any luck, we are seeing the social-distancing measures imposed beginning to affect the course of this virus.

At 10:00 am today, the National Cabinet will be meeting to discuss further measures to combat the virus in Australia. There have been murmurs since Wednesday, that the Victorian and New South Wales governments want to impose ‘stage 3 lockdowns’ to reduce transmission of the virus.3 Under stage 3, we would likely see increased closures of stores, public spaces, and an overall reduction in people’s liberty to move in the community. Given that federal, state and territory governments are meeting today, we should have an update on any further restrictions at some point soon.

Furthermore, the United States overnight became the country with the highest number of confirmed cases globally (82,507).4 It is a horrible record, but a symptom of the aggressive nature of this virus. I discussed the United States, and their response to the infection in yesterday’s update, it can be accessed here.

To deal with the virus on an international scale, leaders of the 20 largest global economies met overnight, through a video link, to discuss all matters related to this pandemic. After the meeting, leaders issued a joint statement where they promise to cooperate in fighting the virus, safeguard the global economy, and reduce the disruptions to global trade.5

The interruption to global business, particularly the trade in medical PPE, has steered innovative solutions to help hospitals and medical professionals tackle the crisis.

One such example comes from Georgia Tech University, where students and faculty members have been producing face shields out of everyday plastics using 3-D printers.6

The team there has already manufactured 1,000 face shields and is planning to scale the production to prepare thousands more. Moreover, the team plans to make the designs available for anyone with laser cutting or 3D printing capabilities.

Georgia Tech has been manufacturing PPE for US hospitals using 3-D printing techniques.

A local example is the production of hand sanitizer from rum and gin distillers across the country.7

Innovation is a vital tool to mitigate the damage of an emergency or crisis. For one, it forces people to think of creative solutions to solve everyday problems. These solutions need not be extravagant; the hand sanitizer example is illustrative of this. Even the most straightforward solutions can change the course of an emergency or crisis.

When we consult with our clients, we encourage them to create innovative solutions when developing their business continuity or emergency response plans. Many of these solutions are common sense, but developing these solutions protects their business against the worst effects of an emergency or crisis.

Stay tuned for our next update on Monday.

Till then.

References

1 Australian Government Department of Health, ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) current situation and case numbers’, accessed 27 March 2020, last updated 27 March 2020 <https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-current-situation-and-case-numbers#current-status>.

2 Emma Elsworthy, ‘Coronavirus infections in NSW rise to 1,405, but new cases drop for second consecutive day’ ABC, 27 March 2020, accessed 27 March 2020 < https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-27/coronavirus-cases-in-nsw-fall-for-second-consecutive-day/12094354>.

3 Katharine Murphy, Paul Karp and Lisa Cox, ‘Coronavirus: NSW and Victoria set to tighten lockdowns as PM says all states can pursue own plans’ The Guardian, 25 March 2020, accessed 27 March 2020 <https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/25/coronavirus-nsw-and-victoria-set-to-tighten-lockdowns-as-pm-says-all-states-can-pursue-own-plans>.

4 John Hopkins University, ‘Coronavirus Resource Centre’, accessed 26 March 2020, last updated 26 March 2020 <https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html>.

5 G20, ‘G20 Leaders Statement’, 26 March 2020, accessed 27 March 2020 < https://g20.org/en/media/Documents/G20_Extraordinary%20G20%20Leaders%E2%80%99%20Summit_Statement_EN%20(3).pdf>.

6 Georgia Tech, ‘Do-It-Yourself Medical Devices and Protective Gear Fuel Battle Against Covid-19’ Georgia Tech News Room, 23 March 2020, accessed 27 March 2020 < https://news.gatech.edu/2020/03/23/do-it-yourself-medical-devices-protective-gear-fuel-battle-against-covid-19>.

7 Nicole Hegarty, Joanna Prendergast and Anthony Scully, ‘Coronavirus demand sees rum, gin distillers donate ethanol and switch to hand sanitiser production’ 25 March 2020, accessed 27 March 2020 <https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-25/coronavirus-sees-distillers-push-to-meet-hand-sanitiser-demand/12085426>.