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Hanks for everything - Tom and Rita head for self-isolation after hospital

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American actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson — who both tested positive for COVID-19 last week — have been discharged from the Gold Coast University hospital as Queensland’s total number of cases reach 78

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In an Instagram post today, Hanks’s son Chet said both his parents had been released from hospital and were feeling a lot better.

“They are still self-quarantined obviously, but they are feeling a lot better so that’s a relief,” Chet Hanks said in the video post.

“I just want to say anyone else out there that has loved ones, or if you yourself are inflicted with the virus, my prayers go out to you, because a lot of people are suffering other than my parents right now.

“I just wish everyone a swift and speedy recovery.”

Chet also took aim at people who were stockpiling food and other items, calling for calm.

“I think the most important thing is that we stay calm because panicking really isn’t necessary,” he said.

Hanks was in Queensland to work on an Elvis biopic with director Baz Luhrmann.

Production of the film has been put on hold, and other cast and crew are believed to be in self-isolation.

Hanks revealed the couple’s diagnosis on social media last week and thanked “everyone here Down Under” who had taken care of them.

Hanks also urged people to follow the advice of experts.

“There are things we can all do to get through this by following the advice of experts and taking care of ourselves and each other, no?” he wrote.

Earlier this month Wilson performed on stage to an audience at the Emporium Hotel in Brisbane’s South Bank as well as the Sydney Opera House.

Numbers increase in Queensland

Queensland’s coronavirus cases have now climbed to 78, up from 69 overnight.

Health Minister Steven Miles said the Red Cross had made more than 8800 welfare calls to more than 3,400 people around the state who are in self-isolation.

A 36-year-old woman is in Mackay Base Hospital after visiting Hamilton Island in north Queensland and testing positive to the virus yesterday.

A spokeswoman for Hamilton Island Enterprises said the island was operating as normal and had not been advised to close.

Whitsunday Tourism said the region had lost close to $30 million in earnings since February due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Minister for Transport Mark Bailey announced additional cleaning regimes on southeast Queensland public transport, including TransLink buses, trains, trams and ferries.

“We’re also encouraging operators and their staff to continue taking practical health and safety measures such as using hand sanitiser and gloves when handling cash,” he said.

Other measures to cut down the spread of the virus include the suspension of all jury trials, the cancellation of ANZAC day ceremonies and several MPs who have been given notice to work from home.

Queensland police have also suspended random roadside drug and alcohol testing over coronavirus concerns.

In a statement police said they would “continue to undertake random breath and drug testing through high visibility mobile patrols”.

Loans for struggling businesses

Meanwhile, Treasurer Jackie Trad said the State Government will offer loans to support businesses and help retain staff from a new $500 million loan facility.

She said loans of up to $250,000 will be interest-free for the first 12 months.

It follows the recent establishment of a payroll tax deferral for Queensland businesses.

“We are seeing this outbreak is having a devastating impact on all Queensland companies, large and small, so now we will extend the offer of a six-month payroll tax deferral to all affected businesses across the state.

“We know the deferral for small businesses was popular — in the first fortnight we’ve already seen companies from the Gold Coast to Far North Queensland in sectors from tourism and hospitality to marine engineering take up the offer,” said Trad.

– ABC / © 2020 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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