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Coronavirus: Adelaide Festival musician Brett Dean diagnosed with virus



Renowned composer and violist Brett Dean, who was due to play at this year’s Adelaide Festival, has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

It was previously revealed he was pulling out of the festival due to pneumonia, but his UK-based music agency Intermusica confirmed late on Thursday night that his illness was actually COVID-19.

The Australian musician is in isolation at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Three people have placed themselves in voluntary quarantine under advice from SA Health, but have not yet developed any symptoms.

“Intermusica, along with Brett’s publishers Boosey & Hawkes, have taken the necessary steps to inform all those who have worked with Brett in the last 14 days, further to NHS advice and SA Health Australia”, the statement says.

media_cameraAustralian composer and viola player Brett Dean is being treated in the RAH.

Meanwhile, Mount Barker Central Shopping Centre has sent a memo to tenants saying they had been advised by SA Health a person working at a travel agency had been confirmed with coronavirus.

“SA Health have advised us the person in question was only working in the tenancy for a minimum amount of time, and unless you were in direct contact with her, the risk of transmission is very, very low,” it says. The woman, 24, remains in a stable condition in an Adelaide hospital.

Mr Dean, 58, inspired an Adelaide Festival Beethoven concert, The Sound of History, and was to play viola and lead the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s performance.

He performed at the National Sympony Orchestra in Taipei, Taiwan last Friday.

Mr Dean is widely considered one of Australia’s best contemporary composers and has residence at the Orchestre National de Lyon, France and Dresden Philharmonic in Germany.

The Sound of History will proceed as planned on Saturday, but with composer Richard Mills taking over.

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A statement from Adelaide Festival said “there is no risk to the public attending the performance”.

Executive Director Rob Brookman said the health and safety of the public are of paramount importance.

“We are following the advice provided to us by SA Health and instituting appropriate measures meticulously,” he said.

“We are obviously very concerned for the health of Brett who is receiving the best of care, and we hope that he has a swift and full recovery.”

Yesterday, SA Health confirmed two new cases of coronavirus in South Australia – an eight-month-old baby and a 58-year-old man who arrived from Taiwan. That man has since been confirmed as Mr Dean.

Mr Dean had not yet played with, or been in physical contact with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, an ASO spokeswoman said.

The latest cases bring the total number in SA to seven, while 14 South Australians are still waiting for results of tests.

The baby is the son of a 40-year-old woman, who had tested positive for the disease.

SA Health said the baby’s mother and baby were “doing well” in Flinders Medical Centre. She had travelled from Iran via Kuala Lumpur before falling ill on arrival in Adelaide.

Premier Steven Marshall at a press conference to announce new SA coronavirus cases. Picture: 9 News
media_cameraPremier Steven Marshall at a press conference to announce new SA coronavirus cases. Picture: 9 News

The new cases come as SA Health on Thursday revealed its specialised coronavirus clinic at the RAH.

The new clinic assesses and tests possible carriers of the virus, ensuring they bypass the emergency department, reducing the risk of spreading the illness. Other hospitals are preparing similar clinics.

Meanwhile, Catholic churchgoers across Adelaide will be unable to drink Holy Communion wine straight from the chalice, as stricter hygiene policies are enforced amid coronavirus fears.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide and Port Pirie will introduce more mindful hygiene practices in all parishes on Sunday, as priests are also not allowed to distribute communion wafers directly on the tongue.

The church authority, headquartered on Wakefield St, distributed an internal memo with eight new practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

One policy reads: “Ensure that all Ministers of Holy Communion clean their hands with an alcohol based gel or rub before and after distributing Holy Communion, and avoid all skin to skin contact”.

All Holy Water stoops must also remain empty, and churchgoers must avoid physical contact at the Sign of Peace, also called the “kiss of peace” of “holy kiss”.

These hygiene measures will remain in place “until the risk of spread has passed”, Bishop Gregory O’Kelly SJ writes in the letter.

“I thank you for your support in implementing these temporary measures which may offer comfort to those who are experiencing any anxiety at this time …”

Anyone experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms must stay away from Mass until they subside or are cleared by a doctor.

“Their Sunday Mass obligation will be met by a time of prayer at home”.

No toilet paper on the shelves at Coles in Rundle Mall, Adelaide.
media_cameraNo toilet paper on the shelves at Coles in Rundle Mall, Adelaide.

Meanwhile, shops are still almost devoid of some necessities. In the Coles supermarket in Rundle Mall, shelves were completely devoid of toilet papers and tissues just before midday on Friday. While Coles brand paracetamol and ibuprofen were also out of stock.

It cames as a “critical” shortage of surgical masks has left dentists on the brink of shutting up shop, with the top industry association warning that current supplies could last only four more weeks amid the continuing crisis.

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