Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orders".

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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Wed Aug 05, 2020 11:24 am














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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Aug 06, 2020 11:26 am

Man in his 30s among 15 new coronavirus deaths in Victoria
A man aged in his 30s is one of 15 new coronavirus deaths recorded in Victoria.

Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed 15 new fatalities – 12 of which were linked to the troubled aged care sector - which brought the state’s death toll to 162 since the beginning of the pandemic. ... d=msedgdhp

As Melbourne moves to stage 4, how do its coronavirus restrictions compare to the world's toughest lockdowns?
Melbourne has now moved into a stage 4 lockdown with a night-time curfew imposed on the city for the first time in its history.

The Premier Daniel Andrews has declared a State of Disaster and said it was the "hardest decision" of his leadership.

But how do the new rules compare to lockdowns in other countries, and how effective were they in stopping the spread of the virus?
How strict are Melbourne's new rules?
Melbourne's stage 4 rules include a night-time curfew, limits on shopping and exercise, a ban on being more than 5 kilometres from home, and widespread business shutdowns and scale-backs. Comparisons have been drawn to New Zealand's lockdown, but Mr Andrews said the measures weren't influenced by NZ.
"No, this is a uniquely Australian and Victorian approach," he said on Monday.
"If you look at what New Zealand did, they went a fair bit further than this.

New Zealand epidemiologist Michael Baker, from the University of Otago, said the term "lockdown" — borrowed from situations where authorities try to control a prison riot, for example — appears to have stuck.

But he much preferred the term "stay-at-home order", or even Singapore's description: "circuit breaker".

These phrases, he said, were more illustrative of what authorities were trying to do, and why. "It's really important is that there is a common understanding of what you're trying to achieve, which is elimination [ending community transmission]. So there's no virus left," he said.
"The enduring problem with prevention is that if it's done right, you don't see it, so you always under-invest in it."

Toby Phillips, a lead researcher with the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker, has been ranking countries on a "stringency index" of 0 to 100, with 100 being the most strict.
He said curfews were more common in countries in Africa, with some also imposed in South America and eastern Europe.
"There are countries that have not even allowed people out for an hour a day. In some countries, people are only allowed out on one day of the week," he said.

In Bolivia, for example, one person from a household was allowed to leave the house one day a week, with the day determined by the last number of their national ID card or passport.
"Looking globally, there are definitely countries that have gone stricter than Australia," he said.

But Taiwan, which has been widely lauded for its successful coronavirus response so far, never had a pandemic lockdown.
Wuhan, China
On January 23, almost 60 million people were put into what was then an "unprecedented" lockdown in Wuhan and surrounding cities in Hubei province.

At the time, officially, 850 people were infected and 25 people had died from contracting the new virus.
It was so new the World Health Organization (WHO) wouldn't come up with the name "COVID-19" until more than two weeks later.

With eight hours notice, trains, buses and flights were suspended from Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, which was then "ground zero" for the new coronavirus.

Wuhan residents were confined to their homes or residential compounds — they were largely forbidden to leave even for food or medicine, which had to be delivered or organised through neighbourhood committees.
"Wuhan, for a period, was total confinement. You basically couldn't leave your home, not even to exercise," Mr Phillips said.

Melbourne enacted a brief echo of Wuhan's confinement with its days-long lockdown of the social housing towers in Flemington and North Melbourne last month.

But even though his team was recording "maximum strictness policies" in Hubei province, Mr Phillips said "China never reached 100 on the scale because these were always geographically targeted," rather than nation-wide.

Schools and most shops were shuttered, and roads were eerily empty.

Some other cities in Hubei province ruled that only one person could leave the house every two days to collect essential items.

Officials erected barricades, heightened surveillance and sealed off buildings.

Restrictions began to ease in early April, after almost two-and-a-half months of lockdown.
"If you look at China now, you've got 1.4 billion people that are mainly safe from this virus. I mean, that is a phenomenal achievement," Professor Baker said.

"[With] the admittedly quite draconian measures where the pandemic was very intense — far more intense than it is in Victoria, they were able to stop the pandemic."
"So that tells me there's no biological barrier to that. It's just all about the willingness of people to act and the leaders to make it happen."
New Zealand
New Zealand moved to level 4 of its alert system — its toughest measures — on March 25. It shot into the high 90s on the stringency index.

At the time, our trans-Tasman neighbour was reporting fewer than 100 new cases a day — at its peak in early April, New Zealand never got beyond 89 new daily cases. In Victoria, by comparison, hundreds of new infections are being reported daily, with 723 reported on the worst day last week.

Physician and ABC journalist Norman Swan said the higher caseload gave Melbourne a "much bigger task".

New Zealanders were told to stay at home and all schools and businesses were closed except for essential services like supermarkets, pharmacies and petrol stations.

Unlike in Melbourne, bakeries, butchers and bottle shops were closed across the ditch.

There were no time limits to exercise or strict distance rules, but people were told to travel only within their local neighbourhoods.

Weddings and funerals were banned, but there were no curfews put in place.
"It was a very clear message and you stayed at home unless you had a very good reason to go out," Professor Baker said.

Essential workers were clearly defined.

One month on, at the end of April, New Zealand shifted gears to level three.

That meant takeaway was allowed and some non-essential businesses could re-open.

They were allowed to form small and exclusive social "bubbles", allowing New Zealanders who were isolated to connect with another household for care and support.

By June 8, all COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, except for international border closures, and the country was declared virus-free.

New Zealand has been universally praised for going hard and early.

Despite the vastly different scenario Victoria now finds itself in, Professor Baker said it wasn't too late for Melbourne.
"There's no biological reason why you can't stop the pandemic," he said.
"It may take a little bit longer."

Spain had one of the most stringent lockdowns in the world.

In mid-March, the country put in drastic measures to prevent transmission of the virus, which was quickly spreading through Italy and France.
It had more than 6,000 confirmed cases and 189 deaths when it enforced its "state of alarm" measures.

That meant people could only leave their homes to buy groceries and medicines but, unlike in nearby Italy, they weren't allowed out for a stroll to stretch their legs.

There was an exception for dog owners, who were allowed to step outside so their pets could relieve themselves.
Some took a creative interpretation of this rule, by walking a pet hen on a lead and even taking a goldfish in a bowl out for a stroll.

Children had been banned from going outside for six weeks, but at the end of April, Spain allowed children under 14 to leave the house for an hour, between 9:00am and 9:00pm.
Spain lifted its three-month lockdown in late June, but in mid-July, tens of thousands of Catalans in Lleida and surrounds were thrust back into confinement and masks were made mandatory as cases spiked.

But restrictions in Barcelona aren't as strict as last time. People are being urged to stay home except for permitted reasons and gatherings of more than 10 people are banned.

Bars and restaurants are at 50 per cent capacity, although takeaway is preferred.

Mr Phillips said these more targeted geographical lockdowns, rather than nationwide measures, were a recent trend.

China has put several cities in lockdown over the past several months.
"These targeted lockdowns are very common at the moment," Mr Phillips said.
"Even in Spain, some cities have been shutting down over the last month as they have been having second spikes."

Professor Baker said Spain appeared to want to bring transmission down to a reasonable level and not overwhelm the health system.

But they then "took their foot off the brake", which would result in a new surge of cases and prompt another lockdown.
"I think the problem is you have to say, 'What is the end point? What is the exit strategy for that?' And they don't really have one," Professor Baker said.
"I think a much better option is elimination."
India announced the world's biggest lockdown in late March, putting the entire country of more than 1.3 billion under new coronavirus restrictions.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave just four hours' notice for the three-week lockdown, leaving internal migrant workers scrambling.

Non-essential businesses, public transport, schools and state borders were closed, and restrictions were at times brutally enforced by police. At the time, the country had just over 500 cases and 10 deaths.

On the stringency index, India jumped to 100.

Mr Phillips said his team's analysis showed countries that put in strict lockdowns early generally had good results.

"We basically found that, yes, stricter policies are associated with lower deaths after a few weeks, so you've got to have that time lag to allow the policies to take effect," he said.

"We also find that going early has at least as big an effect as the kind of level that you get to," he said, adding getting to a stringency level of 90 suggests fewer deaths, but getting to a level of 70 three weeks earlier could be more important.

But strict measures, enforced early in India, ultimately don't appear to have prevented an explosion in cases.

Now, it's the third hardest-hit country in the world with more than 1.8 million infections, behind the US (4.7 million cases) and Brazil (2.7 million).

India initially extended its nationwide lockdown, but began to reopen when its cases were still soaring. Its economy had taken a hit, with the country's growth forecast dropping to a 30-year low.

"Frankly, there's also a political aspect to it. India never really got its cases under control," Mr Phillips said.

A surge in cases in recent months has led to restrictions being put back in place in some cities and areas, demarcated as red "containment zones".

States like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have extended their lockdowns until August 31.

Professor Baker said it was "very difficult" for some low-income countries like India "to even think about elimination", while Mr Phillips added it was "a lot harder to set policies that will stop the spread in these kind of highly informal economies".

Mr Phillips said it was remarkable to think about how expectations had shifted globally.
"Back in January or February, everyone was looking at Wuhan and saying, 'This is crazy that they're forcing people to stay indoors,'" he said.
"The idea that we would be regulated about how frequently we could leave our home felt absurd, but now, that's just a common thing around the globe."

Professor Baker added that in Melbourne's case, it was important everyone was on board.
"The messaging around engaging everyone in a common purpose [is key], so they believe it, they understand it and they also believe in it." ... d/12518376

Vic curfew breakers face $5000 fine, while repeat offenders face $20,000 fine
Victorian residents face fines of $5000 if found in non-compliance with the state's new curfew and mask rules, while repeat offenders face fines of up to $20,000.

Victoria Police yesterday issued 161 fines for non-compliance, 60 of which were issued for a failure to wear a mask.

Victoria's Chief Health Officer admitted a loophole in the standing orders allowed potentially positive COVID-19 cases to leave their homes for exercise as cases surged in the state.
Brett Sutton said under new state of disaster rules, anyone who tested positive to the virus would be required to quarantine for a 14 day period without exception.

The tighter restrictions followed revelations about 800 of 3,000 positive cases were not home when visited by Vic health authorities.

Police also expressed concerns over a pocket of so-called 'sovereign citizens' who refused to comply with the rules, including COVID-19 deniers. ... d=msedgdhp

'It has to work': the reins are tightening on a Covid-stricken Victoria, but how did we get here?
Wednesday marks 28 days since stage three restrictions were reintroduced across greater Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire. In that time, the number of positive coronavirus cases recorded in Victoria has quadrupled to 12,335, and the number of deaths linked to Covid-19 has increased by 125, to a total of 147.

And the number of cases attributed to community transmission – dubbed “mystery cases” – has increased almost five-fold to 2,159. Meaning, in large part, we don’t know how or where the virus is spreading.

The virus is now threaded throughout Melbourne, spreading unnoticed through asymptomatic or very mildly symptomatic people and defying the team of more than 2,000 contact tracers who are trying to track it back.
Most deaths are connected to the devastating outbreaks in the aged care sector, as are 1,186 of the new cases – or about a sixth of all active cases. The rest are attributed to outbreaks in other workplaces, particularly insecure, highly casualised workplaces like the meat industry. Even more worryingly, more than one in four cases appear to be marked as untraced community transmission: mystery cases with no known link to a current outbreak.
Despite the toughest restrictions in Australia – a statement which was true even back in early June when Victoria was beginning to open up – the outbreak is still not under control.

Even on 1 June, when Victoria announced an easing of restrictions, there were mystery cases listed on the daily update. Those community clusters were not publicly linked back to failures in hotel quarantine until 30 June, almost five weeks after the first staff member at the Rydges on Swanston Street tested positive.
Now the reins are even tighter. As of Sunday, Melbourne is under stage four lockdown until 13 September and regional areas are heading back to stage three.
A curfew has been introduced in the city from 8pm to 5am, the first in Melbourne’s history. A state of disaster has been declared, giving the police minister the power to suspend any legislation.

From this week, entire industries will be shut down and an additional 250,000 are expected to be unable to work. Industries that are allowed to continue, like abattoir workers, will be working with reduced staff “dressed as if they are a healthcare worker” in full PPE.

But still, the only financial support to stay home is a $1,500 hardship payment – the federal government has declined to offer full paid pandemic leave.

Police and uniformed army officers have teamed up to question people who are out jogging, to make sure they haven’t left their home radius, and to knock on the doors of everyone who has tested positive to Covid-19. From Tuesday, people found to not be at home will face a $5,000 fine.

Asked about those tough new penalties, Andrews said: “I’m not so much about looking back.”

But to understand how we got here, that’s what we have to do.

Six weeks and 10,518 cases ago
Let’s start just over six weeks ago, on 20 June. Victoria recorded 25 new cases, bringing the total to 1,817 – more than 10,000 cases fewer than today. Just 110 cases were active, and to date some 200 cases had been attributed to community transmission.
“Today, our case numbers have hit the highest they’ve been in more than two months,” Andrews said in a statement that day.

The state was due to ease restrictions on 22 June. Instead they tightened again. The number of guests people could have in their homes reduced back down to five, just three weeks after being raised to 20. Outdoor gatherings were once again limited to 10. The source for the outbreak had not yet been named, but it was spreading at family gatherings, Andrews said.
10 days later, on 30 June, Victoria recorded 64 new cases and Andrews placed 10 postcodes in the northern and western parts of the city into lockdown. The intervening fortnight had seen the state’s coronavirus tally increase by 342 cases. At a press conference that Tuesday, Andrews said a “significant number, and potentially more, of the outbreaks in the north of the city are attributable via genomic sequencing to staff members in hotel quarantine breaching well-known and well understood infection control protocols”.
Andrews ordered a judicial inquiry, headed by former family court judge Jennifer Coate, into the operation of the hotel quarantine system. Ever since, he has declined to answer questions about the hotel quarantine process, saying that was a matter for Coate.
Later in the day on 30 June, the deputy national chief health officer, Prof Michael Kidd, told reporters in Canberra that implementing stage three restrictions on 10 postcodes was “the north-west Tasmanian model being implemented in an urban setting in a large city”.

That was in reference to the outbreak at two regional Tasmanian hospitals in April, which led to 5,000 people being self-isolated and the northwest of the state being locked down.

But the Tasmanian government published an interim report on the source of the outbreak and failures in infection control procedures about two weeks after that lockdown was announced. The Victorian hotel quarantine inquiry will hear its first witness on Thursday 6 August, and report to government by 25 September – more than a week after the six-week stage four lockdown is due to end.

Then, on 4 July, the Victorian government locked down nine public housing towers on the back of 12 positive cases, confining 3,000 people to their small apartments in the first ever “hard lockdown” in the country. Eight of the towers remained under hard lockdown for five days, the ninth for longer. The towers are now are under the same restrictions as the rest of Melbourne and the number of positive cases linked to the cluster has grown to 310, but residents say they are “breaking down”.

Four weeks and 9,393 cases ago
On 8 July, the stage three lockdown was enforced city-wide. Victoria had just recorded a daily total of 134 new cases, the third day in a row with more than 100 new cases. The lockdown was to be in force for six weeks, with regional Victoria – excepting the Mitchell Shire – exempt.

In early July, figures in the low 100s were a disaster. Now they would look like success. The mean daily increase for the 28 days since is 335.

On 10 July, Andrews issued a statement saying people in greater Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire are “requested” to wear face masks or facial coverings when they leave their home. On 22 July, that rule became mandatory, and on 30 July it was expanded statewide.

On 14 July, the total number of cases in Australia topped 10,000. By 31 July, Victoria’s total topped 10,000 – the day after the state recorded the single worst day of the pandemic so far, with 723 new cases and 13 deaths in 24 hours. Ten of those deaths were linked to aged care.
When he addressed the media at his daily press conference on 28 July, Andrews said the case numbers were being driven by outbreaks in aged care, and that some stories of what had occurred in aged care homes struck down by the virus were “completely unacceptable”. He would not, he said, let his mother live in some of these places, and announced that non-urgent elective surgery would be suspended to allow public and private hospital nurses to move in.

But hospital workers were also affected. As of this week there were more than 700 active cases among healthcare workers and little information about whether the virus was spreading in hospitals. On 27 July, four cases were linked to the neonatal intensive care unit in the Royal Children’s Hospital, including one tiny patient.

Three days and 778 cases ago
Stage four lockdown was announced on the afternoon of 2 August and came into effect in greater Melbourne at 6pm. The city’s first ever curfew began two hours later. Business shutdowns were announced the next day, with businesses deemed non-essential shut from midnight on Wednesday and essential businesses, like construction and meatworks, to scale back from midnight on Friday.

Year 12 students, who had just over two weeks back in their classrooms, said goodbye to high school and were returned to remote learning for the rest of their academic year.
The second wave is nothing like the first. In the first wave of the pandemic, Victoria’s highest daily total was 111 on 28 March. It was the peak of the wave: Australia recorded 469 cases in one day and a cumulative total of 3,633 cases since the first case was recorded in Australia on 25 January.

New Zealand, which has been held up as the example of the success of a stage four lockdown, has recorded a total of 1,567 cases, mostly in returned travellers in March and early April, with minimal community transmission.

In contrast, Victoria alone recorded 3,286 cases in the past week.

Related: Minister refuses to name Victoria aged care homes battling Covid-19 due to 'reputational' fears

When he announced the stage four restrictions on Sunday, Andrews said that it was a choice between a slow economic death from six months of stage three restrictions, or six weeks of harsher measures in the hope that would bring numbers back down to a manageable level. Andrews told reporters on Monday that the next step of restrictions, if stage four doesn’t work, is “inconceivable”.
“There is no stage five,” he said. “It has to work.” ... d=msedgdhp

Victoria coronavirus cases reach single-day record as Melbourne businesses prepare to close
Key points:
Non-urgent elective surgeries in regional Victoria will be put on hold until further notice
Permitted workers who have no-one else to look after their children will still be able to access child care from midnight tonight
12 of the 15 deaths were connected to aged care settings, the Premier said

A man in his 30s has become Australia's youngest person to die from coronavirus, one of a record number of daily deaths and cases reported by Victoria.
Fifteen new deaths and 725 new cases were recorded in Victoria — the highest daily totals since the pandemic began.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said 12 of the 15 deaths were linked to aged care settings.

Among the dead are three men and one woman in their 70s, three men and three women in their 80s, and three men and one woman in their 90s.

No further details on the man in his 30s were provided.

The record numbers come ahead of another wave of restrictions coming into effect around Victoria from midnight tonight.
The Premier assured Victorians that permitted workers who had no-one else to care for their child, even if they were working from home, would continue to have access to child care.

Mr Andrews said vulnerable children would also be able to continue using those services, however he acknowledged "many, many" families would miss out.
"I know this will cause significant concern and it will be very challenging for many families — but if I were to simply greenlight the best part of a quarter of million kids going to and from child care every day, we will not drive these numbers down," he said.

To apply, parents need to fill in a Permitted Worker Permit or Access To Childcare Scheme form, available on the Victorian Government's website.
New South Wales has announced all Victorians who enter the state will enter mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days, at their own expense.

The new laws will come into effect from 12.01am on Friday, but exclude people who live in approved border communities.

Non-urgent elective surgery in regional Victoria on hold
Elective surgery in regional Victoria will be put on hold until further notice, except for category-one and urgent category-two patients.
"This is a regrettable decision but it is a very important one in order to preserve sufficient capacity in our entire health system," Mr Andrews said.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said the measure would give public and private hospitals in regional Victoria greater capacity to support aged care facilities in their communities.
Our intention is to resume normal activity as soon as is safe to do so," she said.
"And at that point in time we will also be looking to have an elective surgery blitz to be able to address the need that will exist at that time."

She said patients getting surgery in regional Victoria would now also get tested for COVID-19 before their operations, as was the case in Melbourne.

Coronavirus cases in hospitals rise as aged care clusters grow
The number of Victorians with coronavirus in hospital also increased dramatically overnight, from 456 on Tuesday to 538 on Wednesday.

42 of them are in intensive care, including six people under the age of 40.
The total number of active cases in Victoria connected to aged care has also jumped, from 1,186 reported on Tuesday to 1,435 on Wednesday.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said aged care residents being transferred into hospitals for infection-control reasons, rather than being sick from the virus, contributed to the rise in hospitalisations.
When asked whether it was sustainable to keep transferring aged care patients into hospital, the infectious diseases expert said: "Everything has a limit."
"It's not the preferred option," Professor Cheng said.

He said when there was an outbreak in at an aged care centre, a number of factors were looked at, including infection control and staffing at the facility, and patients' clinical needs and wishes, before it was decided whether patients needed to be transferred to a hospital.
The Heath Minister said to date more than 300 aged care facility residents had been transferred to private or public hospitals.

Of the 725 new cases, 164 are linked to existing outbreaks and 561 are still under investigation.

There are now a total of 7,227 active cases in Victoria.

The Premier warned there were further steps the Government could take if the latest measures did not drive numbers down, but did not detail what they were.
"If we all continue to do as we should, making better choices, then we'll keep our community safe and we will get to the other side of this," he said.
"The alternative, of course, is these restrictions lasting for much longer than they should." ... g/12525790

Victoria's hospitals will hit capacity within weeks if coronavirus numbers don't ease, emergency doctor warns
Victoria's hospitals are likely to reach capacity within weeks, an emergency doctor in Melbourne has warned.

Dr Sarah Whitelaw said hospitals were overburdened with the high number of coronavirus cases as well as healthy aged care residents who were being transferred to hospital.

The biggest problem, she said, was the number of hospital staff contracting the virus.

"We thought at the beginning of the pandemic that our problem was going to be intensive care beds and the number of ventilators that we had ... we've all been blindsided by the fact that our problem is the workforce," Dr Whitelaw told 7.30.
"I think the number of healthcare worker infections is a real concern."

More than 1,000 healthcare workers in Victoria have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
"That is our biggest problem going forward in Victoria over the next couple of weeks and needs an urgent response," she said.

Dr Whitelaw, an emergency physician in Melbourne who sits on the board of the Australian Medical Association in Victoria, said the state's health system was under "huge strain".
"If the number of cases don't go down ... and we continue to move all of our aged care residents directly into the hospital system, within a couple of weeks we'll run out of capacity in the Victorian hospital system," Dr Whitelaw said.

She said while sick aged care residents belonged in hospital, healthy residents being put there because nursing homes were overwhelmed did not.
"We need to move aged care residents as soon as it's apparent an aged care facility is not able to care for them safely. But to continue to move them into the hospital system is not the answer," she said.

On Wednesday, the Victorian Government announced that elective surgery in regional Victoria would be put on hold until further notice, except for category-one and urgent category-two patients.
"This is a regrettable decision but it is a very important one in order to preserve sufficient capacity in our entire health system," Premier Daniel Andrews said.

Dr Whitelaw said stopping elective surgery was necessary "but we're conscious we can't be doing that for very long".
"We need to keep that change to our normal systems of care as short as possible," she said.

'A difficult time'
Infectious disease expert Dr Sanjaya Senanayake said while the stage 3 lockdown had been effective, the move to stage 4 was a clear acknowledgement by Victorian authorities that the system was not coping.
"If it was in control and they were happy with how things were going, they wouldn't have gone to stage 4 restrictions and all the various hardships it can bring. So I believe it was necessary," Dr Senanayake said.
"If we say on average, one case generates about 10 contacts, on a day like today we're looking at about 7,000 contacts."

He said while the health system was "definitely stressed", it still had capacity to "bring this around".
"It certainly is a difficult time but it's not at a point where the damage is irreversible."

In a statement, a spokesperson for Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services said: "Our hospitals have been preparing for coronavirus since January, creating extra capacity and ensuring we have enough beds, equipment and PPE to manage any surge in patients."
"Thankfully, we have not needed this extra capacity yet and if we stay home and protect the health system, we won't need all of this extra capacity and we'll save lives.
"All health services are able to access Victoria's surge workforce if required, which will become more and more important if case numbers continue to increase and more staff are furloughed."

Dr Whitelaw's husband is also a doctor treating COVID-19 patients, and she said they were both very aware of the risks. Last week they finalised their wills.
"We really can't risk both of us becoming very sick from coronavirus or potentially dying. We have two small children." ... d=msedgntp

Elective surgery in regional Victoria suspended as state frees up health system
Extreme droughts in central Europe likely to increase sevenfold
Josh Frydenberg relaxes JobKeeper rules to deal with Victoria fallout

The vast majority of elective surgeries planned for residents of regional Victoria will be suspended as the state works to free up hospital beds for COVID-19 patients.

All but the most urgent category one and some category two surgeries will be put on hold indefinitely for the entire state.

Previously, the pause on elective surgeries applied only to those taking place within the Melbourne and Mitchell Shire local government areas.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said pausing elective surgery was a "regrettable" but necessary move.
"We can't have a situation where we are making the sickest patients wait longer because we are treating wholly worthy and important conditions, but not necessarily time-critical conditions," Mr Andrews said.
"We can't put those ahead of people who need that urgent care. The sickest patients must get treated quickest.
"That is always a principle that our public and indeed private hospitals work under."

The pause applies to both private and public elective surgeries.

Overnight, the state recorded its darkest day of the COVID-19 pandemic, registering 15 additional deaths and 725 new cases overnight.

Victoria's death toll now stands at 162, and one of the virus' latest victims is a man in his 30s.

Of the 15 overnight deaths, 12 are linked to aged care.
"Can I send my heartfelt condolences and sympathies to each of those families," Premier Daniel Andrews said.
"This will be a terrible time and any and all support we can provide to you we will and we are with you in this very difficult time."

The spike in infections comes despite repeated reassurance from health experts that cases will decrease in coming weeks, as Victoria enters its first week of stage four lockdown. ... d=msedgntp

Melbourne Covid work permit form: who is eligible and how do I apply?
From 11.59pm Wednesday 5 August all Melburnians who are still required to leave home for work must carry a work permit, which must be presented to law enforcement on demand.

About 8am on Wednesday Victoria’s justice department webpage that provided information about permits as well as the document download link crashed due to heavy traffic. The website has since come back online and the information has been published on other government websites.
Here is everything we know about the permit system so far. This information should not be considered legal advice.

Who is eligible?
Only workers from permitted industries are eligible and steep penalties apply for employers wrongly issuing them.

The industries allowed to continue on-site work were defined by the state government on Monday. This includes hospital and emergency service workers, supermarkets and pharmacy staff, and well as reduced numbers of abattoir and construction workers.

A full list of permitted industries can be found here on the Department of Health and Human Services site.

It is the employer’s responsibility to issue permits to all eligible staff.

What are the penalties?
According to the Department of Justice and Community Safety website, penalties of up to $19,826 for individuals and $99,132 for businesses can be imposed on employers who issue worker permits to employees who do not meet the scheme’s requirements or breach the stage-four lockdown rules in other ways.

There are also on-the-spot fines of $1,652 for individuals and up to $9,913 for businesses. These can be issued to those who do not carry their permits when travelling to and from work.

What information is needed?
To issue a permit, employers must provide the following information:

The business’s name, ABN, company address and trading name
The name and date of birth of the employee
The employee’s regular hours and place of work
They must also be able to prove their business has a “Covid-19 safe plan” in place.

Do employers have to use the permit form?
Yes. While the term “letter from employer” was used at several press conferences, this will not be enough to meet the scheme’s legal requirements.

The justice department website confirmed that “employers must use template for all worker permits issued under this scheme”.

The premier, Daniel Andrews, noted that some workers, especially those employed by the government with a uniform that connects them to their workplace, will be allowed to present their photographic employee identification. Law enforcement, emergency service workers and health workers are included in this category.

There is also an exemption for people at risk at home, including victims of family violence. The process for accessing this exemption has not been specified.

How to apply
To apply for a permit, employers must download the form and fill out all the required information.

Related: Victoria and Melbourne coronavirus map: where Covid-19 cases are rising or falling

An authorised person such as a chief executive, human resources manager or operations manager must then sign the permit, and this person will be “accountable for the details they provide”. They may be contacted by Victoria police or other government agencies to confirm the information.

The employee must then sign the permit, in person or electronically.
“An employee may travel to work without a worker permit once to get their first permit,” the website states.

The employee must then carry the permit, either as a physical document or electronically, as well as a photographic ID, when travelling to work.

These permits are not valid if a worker has tested positive to Covid-19 or is a close contact and is required to self-isolate.
Coronavirus Australia news: DCMO expects Victoria's COVID-19 numbers to get worse before they improve as state posts record 725 new coronavirus cases
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd says he expects more days of triple-figure case rises in Victoria despite the state's heightened restrictions.

It follows Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announcing a new daily record of 725 new coronavirus cases and 15 deaths.
Catch up on the news of the day in our blog. ... e/12524320

Last day of trade for many Victorian businesses
Victorian businesses say there is extreme confusion around how the state's shutdowns and partial shutdowns will work. Australian Industry Group CEO, Innes Willox, told ABC's The Business there needs to be more clarity. ... d=msedgdhp ... hp#image=1

What will still be open under Stage 4 ?
supermarkets, bottle shops, petrol stations, pharmacies, post offices, banks
Retailers working onsite to fulfill online orders
Hardware, building an garden supplies for trade
Specialist stationery for business use
Motor vehicle parts for emergency repairs, mechanics
Locksmiths, laundry and dry cleaners, maternity supplies
Disability and health services and equipment, mobility devices
Farms and commercial fishing
Vets, pounds and animal shelters
Construction of critical infrastructure and services to support those projects
Critical repairs to homes where required for emergency or safety
Cafes and restaurants for takeaway
Critical service call centres
Law enforcement and courts for urgent matters
Prisons, facilities for parolees, adult parole board, youth justice facilities
Emergency services
Essential maintenance and manufacturing
What will be closed in Melbourne Stage 4
Furniture wholesalers
Personal care including hairdressers
Car washes
Pubs, taverns, bars, brothels and prostitution services, clubs, nightclubs
Food courts, restaurants, cafes, etc
Architectural, engineering and technical services
Travel and tour agencies
Non-emergency call centre operations
Non-urgent elective surgery
Museums, parks and gardens, ski resorts
Places of worship except what is required to stream services or provide soup kitchens and food banks
Manufacturing of non-metallic mineral and fabricated metal products, furniture, wood, textile, leather fur, dressing knitted, clothing and footwear, domestic appliances
All office-based and professional businesses, except those delivering critical services, must work from home

Building sites of more than three storeys - 25 per cent of workforce
Less than three storeys- five workers on site at a time only
Meat processing - workers cut by a third
Shopping centres for access to permitted retail only
Public transport, ride share and taxis only to support access to permitted services for permitted workers
Thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing with minimum number of essential participants to operate safely ... d=msedgdhp

What is within 5km of your Melbourne home? Find out where you can go under stage 4 coronavirus restrictions with our interactive map
Millions of Melburnians have been told they can't travel more than 5 kilometres from home except for tightly defined reasons.

Reasons to go outside the 5km travel zone include work, medical reasons, care-giving, and shopping for some necessary items if they aren't available nearby.

For everything else, including exercise, you need to stay within 5km of home.

Use the search tool below to see what's within your radius.
Image ... s/12517868

Victoria's rules around intimate partner visits clarified
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has clarified rules on intimate partner visits in both Melbourne and regional Victoria, stressing people must abide by the restrictions in place wherever they are residing.
"When you are with your partner, or they are with you, depending on which home you are visiting, that is essentially your home and the rules apply to you as if you both lived in that premises," Mr Andrews said.
"So, if you, at 8.00pm, are at your partner's house, then the curfew applies to you from that home.
"I would appeal to people, it is important to have the ability to see your partner, but the rules have to apply."

If a person is visiting their intimate partner in Melbourne, then they must abide by the 5km travel restriction rule. The curfew also applies from 8pm, so those who are at their partner's house at that time, must stay there until 5am.

All other rules and restrictions apply as usual.

Victorians are only allowed to leave their house for four reasons: shopping for food and essential items, care and caregiving, daily exercise and work.

Employers must support their staff to work from home, if they can work from home.
Caregiving includes managing shared custody arrangements, leaving home to care for animals housed elsewhere, visiting someone in an aged care home and visiting someone in hospital. Specific directions apply.

Victorians can leave their house if they are at risk of family violence or to apply for an intervention order, and to attend court or a police station.

People can also leave their house to access medical services.

Only one person, per household can leave to go shopping per day, so people cannot go shopping with their intimate partner. ... d=msedgntp

All residents returning to NSW from Victoria must go into hotel quarantine
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says all residents returning to the state from Victoria must go into hotel quarantine for 14 days.

NSW Health has reported 12 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday.

NSW's dozen cases was dwarfed by Victoria's 725 cases reported on Wednesday - the highest single tally for any state since the onset of the pandemic.

Fifteen more people have died with COVID-19 in Victoria, taking the national toll to 247. There are 538 Victorians in hospital with the virus, including 42 in intensive care.

Ms Berejiklian said the hotel quarantine will be paid by the travellers, not the state government. All returning travellers must come through Sydney Airport, unless they are in a border town.

Ms Berejiklian said while NSW's cases of coronavirus remained stable, the worsening situation in Victoria put NSW at risk. "We are not an island, we are a state within a nation with geographic proximity to, unfortunately, other states," she said.
"We love our Victorian fellow citizens, but their rates of infection are incredibly high at the moment and not going down." ... d=msedgntp


Coronavirus contact tracing begins in Bendigo region as health officials plead for honesty
{QUOTE] Bendigo Health has deployed its regional public health team to conduct local contact tracing.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos last month announced six dedicated regional public health teams would be established in addition to teams working in Melbourne.

Bendigo Health chief executive officer Peter Faulkner said people had no reason to worry about privacy when speaking to its regional public health team.
"We are only using that data for health purposes," he said.
"It is not used for any other reason, so no-one should have any concern about being very open and honest with us about their activities, who they've been in touch with, and so on."

The new regional public health team in Bendigo will handle all contact tracing for the Loddon-Mallee region from now on, taking over from a Melbourne-led Department of Health and Human Services team.

The Loddon-Mallee covers the area from Gisborne and Riddells Creek, on Melbourne's outskirts, to Mildura — 500 kilometres away in the state's north-west, bordering New South Wales.

Contact tracing helps the Department of Health and Human Services track down where the virus might have spread to.

Their first official case was the worker at Hazeldene's Chicken Farm processing plant in Lockwood, who tested positive on Monday.

Mr Faulkner said the team hoped to contain further community transmission.

Two-fold approach
Bendigo Health's chief medical officer Diana Badcock said there was a contact tracing arm to the unit and an ongoing monitoring arm to the public health unit.
"At that point we will need some basic information about where they've been, what they've been doing, whether they've been doing things over a certain period of time, and who they've been doing it with," she said.
"It's so we can risk assess the people, the place in time, and any other places they have been visiting.
"That then gets handed to the contact tracers who will then have a more investigative-type, detailed discussion with the COVID positive patients so that we completely know what they've been doing when they became symptomatic and the two days before the onset of symptoms."

Containing the spread
Thousands of people have been tested over the past two weeks since the first case at Don KR Smallgoods in Castlemaine led to massive queues at Bendigo's drive-through clinic.

Mr Faulkner said new pop-up clinics had been set up in Castlemaine and Maryborough to manage demand for the second-round test Don KR Smallgoods workers were required to get.
"We're also putting extra resources on in Bendigo to deal with that increase," he said."We test one person approximately every 40 seconds."

Play by the rules
The Rural Doctors Association said an increase of COVID-19 cases in regional Victoria would put already stretched local hospitals under too much pressure.

There are 728 cases of coronavirus across regional Victoria, but some areas like Gannawarra Shire have no active cases and they want to keep it that way.

The association's Victorian president and Cohuna GP, Megan Belot, said it was vital people were honest with authorities about where they had been if they tested positive to coronavirus.
"You're really just cheating yourself and cheating the community [if you don't tell the truth]," Dr Belot said.
"We really have to do everything we possibly can to protect our rural community.
"We don't want people in hospital. We don't want the extra burden on our already strained rural health service."
[/QUOTE] ... d=msedgdhp

Calls for new funding model, improved infrastructure for Gippsland Neighbourhood House 'super centre'
Drought, fire, COVID-19 and recession have turned the humble community dwelling that is the Bairnsdale Neighbourhood House — once used for workshops and classes — into an outreach depot.

Food donations, emergency relief coordination, informal mental health counselling, a soup kitchen and makeshift shelter for the homeless are all services the centre provides in Victoria's East Gippsland.

To say it has been a hectic for the neighbourhood house is an understatement.

There are rotting wooden beams in aging infrastructure and meeting rooms are still overloaded with donated non-perishable food and toiletries from during the bushfires.
"We need some long-term thinking here," said manager Leanne Jennings.
"When we had the bushfires in East Gippsland, there was no specific infrastructure to help. It was very haphazard. We've still got buildings here full of bushfire [donated] items."

With the current infrastructure bursting at the seams, Ms Jennings says that a purpose-built, multi-faceted "super centre" facility was warranted.

According to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), in 2019 the Bairnsdale Neighbourhood House operated on a total income of $222,364 and paid for one full-time staff position, two part-time staff, building and utility costs and general expenditure on food, kitchen equipment and vehicles.

The Victorian Government provides just over half of the funding budget, with the balance made up of donations, bequests and income from goods, services and investments, such as the in-house opportunity shop.
"The Bairnsdale Neighbourhood House tells a fairly typical story of a little organisation doing very big things on the smell of an oily rag," said David Perry, the policy and research officer for Neighbourhood Houses Victoria.

Delivering $1.7 million worth of value
According to a recent report compiled by Neighbourhood Houses Victoria, from its budget the Bairnsdale Neighbourhood House delivered $1.7 million of value in community outreach, food security and emergency relief to the local community.
"Not only can government not provide this, they can't do it as efficiently and nimbly as a neighbourhood house," Mr Perry said of the organisation's ability to respond quickly to evolving community situations.
"As we've seen with COVID-19, they can reorientate the operations to meet the new and emerging needs of a community such as we saw with the bushfires in East Gippsland."

Mr Perry said with the frequency and duration of emergencies and now a looming economic and mental health crisis, there was an ever-increasing demand for outreach services.
"Unless you invest in the local community infrastructure before the emergency happens, with ongoing support during and after emergencies, you're not going to get the best outcomes," he said.

Mr Perry said neighbourhood houses continued to support communities 10 years after the state's Black Saturday bushfire disaster.
"They are still running programs to support people with their mental health due to that fire," he said.
"Years down the track, all those other services have gone, the Red Cross isn't there anymore, all the initial flurry has disappeared.
"But the Neighbourhood House is still in there still finding the money to provide baseline support services for people who are recovering from that disaster."

Vison and foresight needed
In Bairnsdale, Ms Jennings said the current building posed a potential health and safety risk to staff, volunteers, delivery drivers and the community.
"We're bringing food through a front door where we have general public walking through," she said.
"We need a loading dock, some shared resources that other community organisations can use, like palette jacks, so when we do get that crisis like a bushfire or a flood, we've got the capacity in this community to deal with it."

Ms Jennings said improved building infrastructure would allow the service to better support its homeless community.
"We also need a designated outdoor area for the homeless to wash their clothes and have a shower," she said.
"We also need an outside toilet, which is a big problem at the moment here."

With no end in sight to the long-term fallout of what have been a string of extraordinary circumstances, Ms Jennings said some vision and foresight was needed to recognise the neighbourhood house as a point of social cohesion in community planning.

Ms Jennings said while neighbourhood house funding was primarily the responsibility of the State Government, future funding models could incorporate local council funding, funding from emergency organisations such as the Red Cross or a contribution from mental health organisations.
"We need to look at something centralised, some infrastructure that can meet the demand in a crisis situation but is still workable week-to-week," she said. ... d=msedgdhp

Pig and chicken cull possible as Victoria coronavirus lockdown hits abattoirs
Large numbers of pigs and chickens might have to be culled in Victoria as the state’s emergency restrictions on abattoir operators begin this week.

Meat producing facilities, which have been a hotspot for coronavirus outbreaks, have been ordered by the state government to reduce their staff by a third in order to contain the threat as Victoria moves into stage-four lockdown restrictions.

With the lambing season only just beginning and cattle numbers lower than in previous years because of drought, farmers, meat producers and supermarkets played down the risk of shortages of red meat.

But pig and chicken production is much more fixed and less impacted by seasonal factors, with one industry expert saying he feared a cull was on the cards.
“The big problem is chicken and pigs,” said Matt Dalgleish, an analyst at Thomas Elder Markets in Victoria. “Producers might have to cull some animals, as happened in the US when they closed abattoirs. It’s not what the system is designed for.”

Much would depend, however, on the exact details of the limits on abattoir staffing, around which there was still confusion throughout the industry.

The premier, Daniel Andrews, said on Monday that meat producing facilities throughout the state would have to reduce staffing by 33% from their peak level, but the industry is still waiting for clarification about exactly what peak level will be used.

The highest weekly peak for lamb slaughter in the past five years was 220,000, but last week the number was 98,000, suggesting there is much more slack in the system.

Patrick Hutchinson, of the Australian Meat Industry Council, said on Tuesday the level was not clear but he assumed it would be 66% of this year’s peak.
“At the moment, in regards to what’s been said to us, it’s still a bit confusing,” he told the ABC.
“At the moment we’re operating that we are to reduce our staff capacity in these facilities to 66% of the peak this year. If we do that, then what we see on average across the board is over a six-week period, by trend, we would see … a close out of 25% of production. That will be a pretty significant thing.”
Red meat prices would remain stable, Hutchinson believed, but he stressed that the next few weeks were critical for the supply chains, from saleyards, farmers and transporters to wholesalers, cold stores and supermarkets and independent butchers.
“It is exceptionally hard to forecast, whilst all we know is that we need to have a reduction in staff of 33% from the peak period at some stage this year.”

Farmers in Victoria also believed there was enough flexibility to ensure supply, although there was concern about the industry if the restrictions persisted later into the year.

Peter Black, who is starting lambing on his 400-hectare sheep farm in the Latrobe Valley, said that if Victorian abattoirs were limited then the slack would be taken up interstate.
“Gippsland producers won’t be affected – unless the virus hangs on, of course, which it might well do,” he said. “That would have a big effect on us if the abattoirs haven’t got back to full production. We would have to go interstate – it’s the only option because eventually you’ve got to sell if you haven’t got kill space in Victoria.
“We just don’t know how far it is going on. It’s all an unknown.”
Ed Connelly, a farm manager in Victoria’s western district, said if the problem lingered through into spring then the situation could be more damaging for farmers if they had to hang onto lambs and steers that would otherwise be on track for slaughtering in the run up to Christmas.
“Some would take a big hit,” he said. “They might get maybe half the price but it’s so fickle. The prices can go up and down.”

Among the supermarkets, a Coles spokesperson said its stores in Victoria had experienced some shortages in recent days because of increased demand.

But Coles was working “with our meat suppliers to ensure we can provide a broad range of products for all customers, and stock continues to be delivered daily to all of our stores”.
“To help us manage demand, we have also implemented a temporary two-pack limit on purchases of chicken breast, chicken thighs and mince in our Victorian and NSW border stores. We will continue to monitor stock levels and we thank customers for purchasing only what they need.”

Woolworths has also imposed limits on the amount of meat that can be purchased but said it was “confident we’ll be able to maintain a good supply of fresh meat for our Victorian customers”. It said it had suppliers in regional Victoria as well as at a “state-of-the-art facility” in Melbourne that it believed would be able to “maintain good volumes with the restrictions”. ... d=msedgdhp

Federal Government asks childcare centres to protect places in Victoria as stage 4 coronavirus lockdown takes force
The Federal Government will give money to Victorian childcare centres, asking that they allow parents to keep their children at home without losing their places or facing fees, Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan says.

Additional funding will be provided to centres in the state, to encourage them not to charge fees for absent children for an additional 30 days.

It will effectively allow parents to keep their children out of care for six extra working weeks without being stung by additional costs, if their centre agrees to waive the fee.
"Ultimately the decision to waive the gap fee is up to the provider themselves, but what this package does is incentivise providers to waive the gap fee," Mr Tehan said.
"We want those parents to keep their children enrolled because we know once we come out of this pandemic, they will need the care for their children so that they can go back to work."

The new arrangements will be in place from tomorrow.

Childcare centres and parents have been left facing severe uncertainty since it was announced Melbourne would move to stage 4 coronavirus restrictions.

The restrictions limit who can send their children to child care, with the Victorian Government saying that in Melbourne, only vulnerable children and those whose parents are "permitted workers" are allowed to attend.

Melbourne workers who still have a job can apply for a childcare permit
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said an Access to Child Care Permit would be set up for permitted workers to allow their children to attend.
"If you are a permitted worker, regardless of whether you are working in person or from home, and you attest that there is no-one else in your household that can look after your children, you will be able to … access child care," he said.

The Federal Government will provide "top-up" payments to centres in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, on top of transition payments being delivered across the country.

The top-up will see the transition payment for centres raised from 25 per cent to 30 per cent as a base.

Centres with less than half of their revenue coming from the childcare subsidy that see their attendance rate drop below 30 per cent will get extra.

In regional Victoria, the Federal Government will extend additional payments to before and after-school care.

Mr Tehan said the Federal Government did not believe there would be centres opening with zero children attending, despite the restrictions on who can send their children.
"What we want to do through this is incentivise centres to remain open, so, that is what this package is all about, is supporting centres to remain open," he said.
"From everything that we've heard through the consultations we've done with the sector, we don't think there will be cases where there are no children at centres," he said.

Mr Tehan said the announcement meant on average, centres in Victoria would be receiving between 80 and 85 per cent of their revenue compared to pre-pandemic levels.

But Labor's early childhood spokeswoman Amanda Rishworth said that remained to be seen.
"This seems very confusing, quite frankly from the face of it you would need a PhD to figure out how much money your centre will get," she said.
"It's unclear from my reading of the new package how they will guarantee 80 to 85 per cent, it is still unclear and there will be many centres trying to work out if that is actually the case for them."

Advocates call for wage guarantee for childcare workers
Early Childhood Australia chief executive Sam Page agreed the new childcare arrangements were complicated and would be a challenge for parents and the industry to navigate.
"I am concerned it doesn't provide enough of a guarantee to families or to early childhood educators and teachers that they will be OK during this next six weeks of lockdown and restrictions in Victoria," she said.

Ms Page said it was complicated to have children remain enrolled in childcare while families could not access that service.
"The families have to rely on the childcare providers not to charge the out-of-pocket component of the fee, so they are not being charged for a service they are unable to use," Ms Page said.

She said she was also concerned for staff at childcare centres.
"The Government has talked about an employment guarantee that simply means employers have to keep early childhood educators and teachers on the books, but there is no income guarantee," she said.
"There is no guarantee that educators and teachers will continue to have shifts and will continue to be paid at the same level they were prior to the pandemic or even through the first round of restrictions."

Ms Page said she did not understand why early childhood educators were taken off JobKeeper payments.

She wants to see a minimum wage guarantee for childcare workers in Victoria that at least matches the JobKeeper payment.
Victorian families permitted 30 extra allowable absences
The Federal Government will allow parents in Victoria to keep their children enrolled in childcare, even if they're staying at home, without incurring any extra costs. ... d=msedgdhp
Government to announce assistance package for Vic. childcare centres , Labor calls for extension of Jobkeeper to the industry.
Labor frontbencher, Bill Shorten, says while any support will be welcome, it makes no sense devising a new program when JobKeeper exists for other businesses. ... d=msedgdhp ... d=msedgdhp

Federal Government working on plan to support childcare operators
Many Melbournian parents are still waiting to hear whether they'll be able to send their kids to childcare from Thursday, as the state government finalises details of its stage four lockdown. ... d=msedgdhp

Victoria's stage four restrictions will limit ability to deliver infrastructure projects, experts warn
Infrastructure projects in Victoria could become a lower priority because stage four restrictions and capacity constraints will limit the ability to deliver them, the chief executive of Infrastructure Australia has warned.

Romilly Madew made the comments ahead of the release on Wednesday of Infrastructure Australia’s mid-year priority update, which adds 12 new projects and initiatives to a list of 155 nationally significant proposals worth more than $64bn.

Infrastructure Australia is on the lookout for proposals from states and territories than can be fast-tracked as part of economic recovery from the Covid-19 recession.

Before the pandemic, the Council of Australian Governments had asked Infrastructure Australia to assess capacity constraints when construction was at an all-time high – but now the emphasis has shifted to understanding how Covid-19 has impacted supply chains and the execution of projects.
“You only have to see with stage four restrictions in Victoria projects will be slowed down, because the [number] of people that can come on to projects [is restricted],” Madew said.

“We’ll have to take this into consideration in planning, the design and selection of projects … in coming years because we actually have to be able to deliver them.”

Stage four restrictions in Victoria will cut private construction projects to 25% of their normal workforce. The workforce of government projects has already halved and will be further reduced on a case-by-case basis.

Infrastructure Australia is meeting states and territories fortnightly to discuss “live issues” including freight, contracting and skills constraints, Madew said, with jurisdictions set to “refresh their pipelines all the time” to reflect capacity.

Peter Colacino, chief of policy and research, said Infrastructure Australia would have to take “short- and long-term impacts” of Covid-19 into account because the pandemic had affected behaviour – such as increasing working from home – but in some jurisdictions, like New Zealand, economic activity was recovering.

Robin Jackson, chief of infrastructure prioritisation, said Infrastructure Australia was “conscious of keeping the pipeline full” to aid economic recovery.

The update – which was drawn up based on submissions made before the Covid-19 pandemic – adds five new road proposals, three for rail, two for freight and one public transport project across New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.

These include:

In NSW: the M12, a 16km motorway linking Badgerys Creek airport to south-west Sydney, listed as a high priority; more train services from Sydney to the south coast, and the Port Botany rail line duplication and Cabramatta passing loop – both priorities.
In Queensland: regional road network safety improvements and Brisbane northern suburbs corridor capacity, listed as high priorities; and Browns Plains to south-east busway public transport connectivity, inland freight route capacity and safety, Browns Plains to Beaudesert road capacity and safety and Mooloolah River interchange capacity – all priorities.
In Western Australia: the Metronet Morley–Ellenbrook line and high capacity signalling – both priorities.
The NSW and Western Australian projects have fully developed business cases, whereas the Queensland proposals are “initiatives” that Infrastructure Australia determined “have the potential to address a nationally significant problem or opportunity” but still require further development and rigorous assessment.

The update also lists the modernisation of the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra as an important piece of “social infrastructure” that should be modernised as a priority initiative.
Madew said the emphasis had shifted from supporting population growth to the stimulatory impact of projects and job creation.

She noted that four of the 15 projects that Scott Morrison announced would be fast-tracked after national cabinet agreement on 24 July came from Infrastructure Australia’s priority list, including inland rail, the Marinus link and emergency town water projects in NSW.
“Australia is planning its recovery from a rolling series of crises: drought, flood, the bushfires and now Covid-19,” she said.
“As we look forward, the focus is on delivery and as the nation’s infrastructure advisory body, we are continuing to improve our ability to move quickly to identify investments that will improve productivity – this is about expanding the pipeline, keeping the economy growing, helping to create jobs and attract investment.” ... d=msedgdhp

Backlog of $1,500 Victorian hardship payment cleared after administration removed from health department
Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services has relinquished administration of the state’s $1,500 hardship payment aimed at encouraging workers to follow self-isolation directions following a large backlog of applications.

The potentially costly delays appear to have been cleared by the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR), which quietly took over responsibility for the scheme in the past week.

A DJPR spokesman told Guardian Australia on Tuesday: “The $1,500 Worker Support Payment has received 2,647 applications, providing payments to 1,099 workers, totalling $1.65m.”

It is a large increase on the 100 payments health and human services authorities had paid out between 20 June and 10 July, when Guardian Australia reported the low takeup of what Daniel Andrews had earlier called a “no questions asked hardship payment”.
Asked on Tuesday if DHHS had given up control of the $1,500 payment due to the delays, a spokesperson said: “DJPR are the appropriate agency to manage Victorian workers.”

The DJPR did not respond to questions about why it had taken over administration of the scheme.

The state government created the $1,500 worker support payment after the commonwealth dismissed calls from unions to establish national paid pandemic leave throughout June.

Scott Morrison finally sought to address the issue on Monday, establishing a $1,500 disaster payment for Victorian workers that will be administered by Services Australia.

But in the intervening weeks, the Victorian scheme has appeared plagued by issues around takeup and eligibility, as well as processing delays.

That occurred as active cases soared across Melbourne, particularly in industries renowned for insecure work, such as aged care and factory work.

When the Age reported that only 182 payments had been made up to 23 July, of more than 1,000 applications, active cases had soared to 3,630 across Victoria. On Tuesday, Victoria had 6,706 active cases, according to DHHS.

Andrews and Victoria’s chief health officer, Brett Sutton, have both said community transmission was in part being driven by workers failing to self-isolate and cited the $1,500 payment as a key tool to prevent this community spread.

The $1,500 one-off payment is available to Victorian workers who have exhausted leave entitlements and must not attend work because they have tested positive to Covid-19 or are a close contact.

While the payment was intended to prevent people failing to self-isolate after getting tested, it was only available to people contacted by health authorities, which occurs after test results are delivered.

One month later, the government introduced a new $300 payment in acknowledgement of the problem.

Takeup and processing of the $300 payment, which was immediately placed under DJPR’s control, has been much quicker. The government, which has been reluctant to provide statistics on the larger payment, has more readily provided these figures.
A DJPR spokesman said on Tuesday it had received 9,700 applications for the $300 payments, with payments to 6,650 workers to date, totalling $2m.

Godfrey Moase, the executive director of the United Workers Union, defended the Victorian government’s efforts to “patch a glaring gap”, though said the state scheme had suffered awareness and trust issues among workers.

Moase said visa holders in insecure work in particularly had “rightfully” assumed they were not eligible for government schemes, while some had trust issues about the reliability of the payment.
“Am I going to be paid quickly? How does it work?” Moase said. “That lack of certainty … impairs the policy goal. Ultimately you need the federal government saying everyone is getting pandemic leave.”
On Tuesday, Labor described the federal government’s $1,500 disaster payment – which it has labelled paid pandemic leave – as just a rebadged version of the state’s scheme.

The prime minister, Scott Morrison, said on Monday the commonwealth would cover the costs of disaster payments for Australian citizens and residents, while Victoria would fund visa holders who were expected to be the majority of recipients.

Morrison also suggested the two schemes might eventually be consolidated.

Workers will not be able to access both the Victorian scheme and the federal payment, although the commonwealth’s program can be paid out multiple times.

Andrews noted the federal commitment on Tuesday as he announced workers who fail to self-isolate when directed could face a $5,000 fine.
“If there are any insecure work issues, if there are financial issues, then there is that $300 payment,” he said.
“There is the federal government who are now working with us to pay the $1,500 for those in insecure work.
“All of these measures are designed to support people to make the best choices for their family, for every family, for public health and to get us to the other side of this as quickly as possible.” ... d=msedgntp

"This is a letter to the people of Melbourne." I am a supermarket worker and today was hard.
This is a letter to the people of Melbourne.

I am a supermarket worker and today was hard. Just like it was three weeks ago and just like it was in March and April.
Firstly to the kind customers who were quick, polite and respectful, thank you.

To the fearful, we are not counsellors or psychologists but I hope we were able to ease your fear a little bit.

To people panic buying, please just stop unless it's toilet paper. We have loads out the back and could use the space.

To the people complaining about the panic buyers but also having a trolley full to the brim of items, you don't fool us.

To the people asking in a panic when we're getting more meat, tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. Please buy responsibly.

To the old lady who stuck her hand under her mask to lick her finger so she could separate her notes, I hope my delivery was kind yet stern enough that you now know that that practice is unacceptable in the current climate (well really at any time, it's super gross).

To the people I served more than once today, did you really need to come back again?

To the regulars I serve every day sometimes twice a day, same question.

To the people who have been caught being horrible to workers, thank you for reminding everyone else to be kind to retail staff.

People have changed their tune since March. We no longer get "thank you for being here" or "thank you for risking your lives". Lately, it's been angry statements about having to wear masks, like it's our fault.

But since the videos of people lashing out at us, people have been slightly nicer.

And finally, to all my retail workers out there in Melbourne today, we are strong. Thank you for standing by me and each other.

Let's all have a beer when we can again.
<< the Mamamia Outlouders Facebook page>> ... d=msedgntp

800 residents flout self isolation directives in Melbourne
An alarming number of people supposed to be self-isolating in Melbourne were not at home when authorities knocked on their doors.

Australian Defence Force Personnel conducted 3,000 compliance checks in 24 hours across the city and found 800 people had breached health orders.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews lashed Melburnians for their 'unacceptable' and 'selfish' behaviour.
'Stay at home means stay at home for all of us, but it certainly it means stay at home for those who have the virus or those who have been directed to isolate,' he said on Tuesday.
Mr Andrews announced the introduction of the harshest penalties across the country for individuals breaking laws around COVID-19.
'If you are supposed to be at home and you are not, then you face the prospect of a fine of up to $5000,' Mr Andrews said.
'We don't want it to come to that. We want people to be where they are supposed to be. Because that is how we will all get past this.'
He also indicated authorities would take legal action against those putting lives at risk.
'If there were particularly selfish behaviour, like for instance going to work when you have the virus, then there is the alternative pathway and that is of course taking you to the Magistrates' Court where the maximum penalty that can be applied to you is $20,000,' he said.
'Every single positive case will be door-knocked multiple times, random and repeat door knocks.
'You are expected to be found at home.'

Stage four restrictions came into place at 6pm on Sunday after the declaration of a State of Disaster. This included a curfew from 8pm to 5pm every night.

Residents are only allowed to leave the home for one of four reasons: to shop for essential goods, to exercise, for medical care, to work in an essential industry or visiting a partner or child.

Anyone directed to self isolate is not allowed to leave their home to exercise. ... d=msedgdhp

Jim's Mowing founder vows to defy Vic govt lockdowns
Jim’s Mowing founder Jim Penman says he will keep his business running in Victoria throughout the stage four lockdown, telling his employees he will pay their fines if they are caught.

Mr Penman told Sky News he believed he was not in fact defying the law, and urged the Victorian government to provide more clarity around essential business amid the lockdown because messaging was "completely contradictory".
“We just need leadership and it’s not helpful when we get completely contradictory mixed messages," he said.
“The problem is we aren’t disobeying the law, the problem is the law is unclear.
“I’m reassuring them (employees), I’m saying my legal advice is there will be no fines, no bad consequences."

Mr Penman vowed to pay any fines his employees copped, but said he doubted it would come to that.

“It’s not going to happen, there’s no possible way," he said. ... d=msedgdhp

Jim's Mowing workers are not cleared to breach health orders: Andrews
Premier Daniel Andrews has declared Jim’s Mowing to be a non-essential service in response to the gardening business founder’s vow to keep on mowing amid Victoria’s stage four lockdown.
“They are not permitted workers,” Mr Andrews said.
“Unless of course they are providing emergency work. Lawns are not getting mowed, people are not getting haircuts, we are all making sacrifices. I'm not in anyway wanting to diminish the pain and challenge for that business and those workers."
Premier Andrews said if Jim’s Mowing founder Jim Penman breached health orders it would become a "matter for Victoria Police".
“This is really tough and I take no pleasure in having to make these really difficult calls but if I don’t make this decisions we won’t drive down the number of people moving around the community and we won’t drive down the number of cases and indeed the number of people who are dying,” the Premier said.
“Lawns are not getting mown, people are not getting haircuts, we are all making sacrifices.

He said the matter of responding to employees who continued to work would be left to Victoria Police.
“Short of not following the advice of our experts this is the only option we have,” he said. ... d=msedgntp
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys Sicko
Posts: 12469
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Aug 06, 2020 11:28 am

All residents returning to NSW from Victoria must go into hotel quarantine
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says all residents returning to the state from Victoria must go into hotel quarantine for 14 days.

NSW Health has reported 12 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday.

NSW's 12 cases was dwarfed by Victoria's 725 cases reported on Wednesday - the highest single tally for any state since the onset of the pandemic.

15 more people have died with COVID-19 in Victoria, taking the national toll to 247. There are 538 Victorians in hospital with the virus, including 42 in intensive care.

Ms Berejiklian said the hotel quarantine will be paid by the travellers, not the state government. All returning travellers must come through Sydney Airport, unless they are in a border town.

Ms Berejiklian said while NSW's cases of coronavirus remained stable, the worsening situation in Victoria put NSW at risk. "We are not an island, we are a state within a nation with geographic proximity to, unfortunately, other states," she said.
"We love our Victorian fellow citizens, but their rates of infection are incredibly high at the moment and not going down."

Anyone arriving in NSW from Victoria to go into 14-day hotel quarantine
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says anyone coming to the state from Victoria will be put in mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days, at their own expense.

The new laws will come into effect from 12.01am on Friday.

Ms Berejiklian said the extension of the hotel quarantine scheme was in light of "the worsening news that was received from Victoria today".
"In view of the health advice, in view of the escalating situation in Victoria, the NSW Government today has decided … to ensure and require that every returning traveller from Victoria goes into the mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine when they get to Sydney Airport," she said.

Ms Berejiklian said returning travellers would "do that at their own expense" but there would be exceptions for financial hardship.

She also said all airports in NSW would close to flights from Victoria except for Sydney Airport, to control the flow of returned travellers.
"We are also mandating that no one can come to NSW, outside of those border communities … but for Sydney Airport," she said.

Ms Berejiklian also confirmed her Government would further limit the reasons Victorians can seek exemptions to cross the border.

But she said compassionate grounds, like the death of an immediate family member, would continue to be reason enough to travel. ... d=msedgdhp ... d=msedgntp ... d=msedgdhp
NSW Premier addresses airport screening concerns
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says the state has "rigorous" health and safety processes in place when it comes to people entering from Victoria. ... d=msedgdhp

10 cases in NSW are linked to existing clusters: two to Thai Rock at Wetherill Park, two to The Apollo restaurant at Potts Point, and six are associated with the Bankstown funerals cluster. One case is a returned traveller in hotel quarantine and one case was locally acquired with no known source.

In NSW, some 22,087 tests were carried out over the reporting 24-hour period.

A childcare centre in Sydney's west was closed for cleaning on Wednesday after a child attended while infectious. The child attended the Kids Early Learning Academy on July 29.

They are the child of a previously reported case linked to the Mounties, Mount Pritchard cluster. The centre was closed for deep cleaning on Wednesday and contact tracing was under way.

A total of 113 people were being treated by NSW Health on Wednesday, with nine people in intensive care, including six on ventilators.

Among the cases in Wednesday's tally were three cases reported on Tuesday: two students who attended Greenway Park Public School and a student at Bonnyrigg High School.

The active Sydney clusters have grown to:
105 cases linked to Thai Rock Wetherill Park cluster;
58 cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel cluster;
46 cases linked to the funeral events in Bankstown and surrounding suburbs, including 15 associated with Mounties in Mount Pritchard;
30 cases linked to the Potts Point cluster, including 24 cases linked to the Apollo Restaurant cluster; and
6 cases linked to the Thai Rock Restaurant Potts Point cluster (two cases attended both and are counted as Thai Rock cases).
Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said residents of the Cumberland, Parramatta, Bankstown, Liverpool and Campbelltown are particularly asked to come forward for testing.
"It is essential that we find any as yet undetected chains of transmission and break them," she said.

New South Wales records 12 cases of coronavirus overnight
New South Wales has recorded 12 new coronavirus cases, with just one infection in hotel quarantine.

NSW Health said one COVID-19 case reported on Wednesday was locally acquired from an unknown source, the fourth in just five days - with many more believed to be 'under investigation'.
'While most cases in the past week have been associated with local clusters and close contact with known cases, some have not been linked to known cases,' NSW Health said in a statement.

Of ten new infections linked to clusters, two cases are connected to the Thai Rock restaurant in Wetherill Park, in Sydney's western suburbs, and six infections are associated with the funeral gatherings cluster.
Two additional positive tests are linked to the Apollo restaurant in Potts Point, causing fears the inner-city outbreak will continue to grow.

There are now 105 cases associated with Thai Rock Wetherill Park cluster and 30 connected to the Potts Point outbreak, including 24 cases linked the Apollo restaurant and six linked to Thai Rock Restaurant Potts Point.

NSW Health said there are 113 active coronavirus cases across the state and nine patients are receiving treatment in intensive care, with six on ventilators.

There were 22,087 tests conducted over 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday, compared to 12,876 the previous day.

An alert has been issued for Kids Learning Academy in Busby, in Sydney's south-west, after a confirmed coronavirus case visited the venue on July 29 while infectious.

The case is a child of a previously reported infection, linked to Mounties in Mount Pritchard.
Kids Learning Academy has been closed for deep cleaning and contact tracing is underway.

Two students from Greenway Park Public School and one pupil from Bonnyrigg High School, which were reported as cases on Tuesday, were confirmed in Wednesday's case numbers.

The three students are linked to the growing Mounties Club cluster in Mount Pritchard.

Both schools in Sydney's south-west reopened on Wednesday after closing on Tuesday for deep cleaning. ... d=msedgdhp

Up north, the Queensland-NSW border closure will mean residents returning will have to fly in, with a "hard" road border to take effect.

Queensland Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles said all but a few vehicles, such as freight and border residents, would be allowed to enter. ... d=msedgdhp

NSW Covid-19 hotspots: list of regional and Sydney outbreak locations
List of outbreaks in NSW
If you were at the following venues on these dates you must get tested and self-isolate for 14 days, even if your test is negative.

Mounties, Mount Pritchard:
12:01am to 2:30am Monday 20 July;
12:15pm to 5:30pm Tuesday 21 July;
8pm to midnight on Tuesday 21 July;
Midnight to 12:30am on Wednesday 22 July;
7pm to midnight on Wednesday 22 July;
Midnight to 3am on Thursday 23 July;
7pm to midnight on Thursday 23 July;
Midnight to 3am on Friday 24 July;
11am to 3:30pm on Friday 24 July;
7pm to midnight on Friday 24 July;
Midnight to 3am on Saturday 25 July.
Thai Rock Restaurant, Potts Point:
Wednesday 15 July to Saturday 25 July inclusive if you attended this restaurant for two hours or more.
The Apollo in Potts Point: Wednesday 22 July to Sunday 26 July
Tan Viet in Cabramatta: 23 July from noon to 2pm
Harpoon and Hotel Harry in Surry Hills: 26 July, from 2.15pm to 11pm
Fitness First St Leonards:
Monday July 27, 9am to 10.30am.
People who were at the gym at this time but only attended a group fitness class are not required to isolate, but should monitor for symptoms and immediately self-isolate and seek testing if they develop symptoms
Hotel Jesmond, Jesmond: 7pm to 9pm on Wednesday 29 July
Lambton Park Hotel, Lambton: 8pm to 9pm on Thursday 30 July
Wallsend Diggers, Wallsend: 9pm to 11pm on Wednesday 29 July and 9pm to 11pm on Thursday 30 July.
With the growing number of cases in the area, NSW Health is asking all people who live in, or have visited, the following areas in the past two weeks to get tested if they have any symptoms of Covid-19 at all, even the mildest of symptoms such as a runny nose or scratchy throat.

Potts Point area
Carnes Hill shops
Wetherill Park
Mt Pritchard
Bankstown City Plaza
If you were at any of the following locations on these dates, monitor yourself for symptoms and self-isolate and get tested if symptoms occur.

An Restaurant, Bankstown: Thursday 23 July, 9am to 11am
Frank’s Pizza Bar Restaurant, Camperdown: Sunday 26 July, 6pm to 8pm
Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL, Canterbury: Monday 27 July, 6.30pm to 8pm
Woolworths, Crows Nest: Monday 27 July, 10.30am to 11am
Neeta Shopping Centre (including the Soul Pattinson Chemist, Woolworths and Fresco Juice Bar), Fairfield: Thursday 23 July to Thursday 30 July
Matinee Coffee, Marrickville: Sunday 26 July, 8am to 9am, and Monday 27 July, 7am to 7.45am
Pritchard’s Hotel, Mount Pritchard: Friday 24 July, 5pm to 7pm
Cruising Yacht Club Australia (CYCA), Rushcutters Bay:
Thursday 23 July, 6pm to 7.30pm;
Friday 24 July, 3.30pm to 5pm;
Sunday 26 July, 4pm to 5.30pm
Salamander Bay Shopping Centre, Salamander Bay: Wednesday 15 July.
Salamander Bay Woolworths, Salamander Bay:
17 July between 2.30pm to closing time,
18 July between 4pm to closing time,
19 July between 12.45pm to closing time,
20 July between 3pm to closing time.
Salamander Bay Shopping Centre, Salamander Bay: Wednesday 15 July
Toronto Court House (Toronto Drug Court), Toronto: Monday 27 July, 7am to 2pmuote] ... d=msedgntp

NSW Premier says virus situation in state is stabilizing
NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, says the new daily cases are stabilizing for now at a new level and managing the border of New South Wales is critical in managing the state's response to the Victorian outbreak ... d=msedgdhp

NSW as state declared hotspot
This morning- announcement by the Queensland premier declaring NSW and the ACT hotspots, closing borders to both states.

Hours later, the NSW premier announced anyone travelling into the state from Victoria must quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.

NSW recorded close to 10,000 more tests in the last 24 hours than the previous day. ... d=msedgdhp

Woolworths is trialling its own contact tracing tool in Victoria and New South Wales

Woolworths is trialling a contact tracing system across some of its stores.
It will involve customers voluntarily using a QR code to check in and register their contact details.
The initiative is spread across 11 Woolworths supermarkets in Victoria and one in metro New South Wales.
Woolworths is rolling out its own, currently voluntary, contact tracing tool for customers.

The supermarket is trialling a voluntary contact tracing tool for customers as a way to help health authorities with their efforts in tracking the spread.

Named the QR Code Contact Tracing initiative, it involves customers using a QR code at the entrance of select stores to check in and register their contact details. This is being trialled across 11 Woolies supermarkets in Victoria and one Woolworths Metro in New South Wales.

Woolworths said all the details will be "encrypted" and "securely stored". Plus, they will be used to let customers know if there was a confirmed case in the store or inform relevant health authorities and their "nominated agencies" for contact tracing purposes.
"Contact tracing is an essential step in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and we want to do our bit to support the broader public health effort," Woolworths Supermarkets General Manager for Victoria Andrew Hall said in a statement.
"While checking in and sharing contact details will be voluntary for our customers, we encourage shoppers to make use of it in our trial stores."

The contact tracing tool comes after Woolworths released its Q-Tracker initiative, a web tool that uses real-time data to show customers whether there's a queuing system at the entry of Woolworths stores and if there are any wait times. It is designed to help customers avoid busy times in stores.

After successful trials at Woolworths stores in Taylors Lakes, Hampton Park, South Melbourne and St Helena, the supermarket extended its 'book my shop feature' to more than 40 stores.
"More than 35,000 of our customers have already made use of Q-Tracker to plan their shop and hundreds have booked in shopping times at our trial stores," Hall added.

This move comes after Woolworths "strongly" encouraged customers in New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT to wear face masks in its stores.

In May, Woolworths came under scrutiny after its self-serve counters appeared to be filming customers, Gizmodo reported.

However, Woolworths said it was trialling new technology in a bid to catch people doing the wrong thing at self-serve checkouts.
"We know most of our customers do the right thing at our self-serve checkouts, however we’re trialling this new security technology for those that don’t,” a Woolworths spokesperson said in a tweet at the time.
"This recording is only a live reflection of you, and will only be shown on the self checkout screen in front of you. If you do not wish to be a part of the trial, you are welcome to use the staffed checkouts." ... d=msedgntp

Regional towns in NSW 'anxious' about COVID-19 as city daytrippers descend
Regional New South Wales is teeming with temptations for tourists, but the state's newest and perhaps biggest drawcard is the coronavirus-free status of most of its country towns — and it's making those communities anxious.
"People feel that the regional areas are safer because we're not seeing the [coronavirus] numbers that they are in the cities," Berry retailer Sandy Bramley said.
"We are safer because we don't have any COVID cases out here, but we need to keep it that way."

Each weekend thousands of people are flocking to regional towns and cities for short breaks.

They have been encouraged to do so by the NSW Government and the communities themselves, to help inject some much-needed cash into small businesses and regional economies.

"We love that everyone is supporting small business, which is much appreciated, but we do get a little anxious when it gets towards the weekends," Ms Bramley said.

The ABC has been told about numerous instances where city visitors have flouted the COVID-19 rules by not social distancing at cafes, venues and shops, and some people have become angry when reminded by locals.
"While most people do get it, you do often get the people who are quite offended," Ms Bramley said.
"One gentleman just recently said 'That's OK, I was about to spend $1,000 but I won't bother'. It makes it really hard for us."

Coffs attraction turning tourists away
The number of visitors heading to the state's north coast has also soared, with accommodation providers reporting a spike in bookings.

A tourist attraction at Coffs Harbour had to turn away more than 40 people who had travelled there from a COVID-19 hotspot in Sydney.

Verne Dove, from the Butterfly House, said the tourists had been asked for identification.
"Most of them took it pretty well," Ms Dove said.
"We got a couple of bad reviews from people we turned away, unfortunately.
"At the end of the day it's for the greater good of our community, our staff, our other visitors, and our family."

Many regional events have been cancelled, postponed or turned into virtual experiences this year due to the pandemic.

At Orange in the NSW central west, the city's Winter Fire Festival was held last weekend just after the city recorded its first case of coronavirus in months.

Despite the precautions, the large crowds it attracted drew criticism.

'You'll get the eye-roll'
Orange cafe owner, Ricky Carver, said the pressures of the pandemic were being compounded by the need to ensure customers played their part.
"You'll get the eye-roll, the huff and puff, and the general annoyance of you asking them what to do," Mr Carver said.

Mr Carver has social-distancing signs on his cafe's walls, windows, doors and tables, reminding people of the need to remain 1.5 metres apart.
"It's hard enough as it is to stay open and remain open during these times," he said.
"We've got our hands tied with the guidelines that we have to implement to keep ourselves, our staff, and our community safe." ... d=msedgdhp

NSW border schools call for exemption, so their final year Victorian regional students can attend
Regional Victorian students are returning to online remote learning with stage 3 restrictions, but schools on the border worry it will disadvantage their students.

From midnight tonight (Wednesday) regional Victorians will only be allowed out for four reasons including: shopping for food and essential items, care and caregiving, daily exercise and work and study if it can't be done at home.

Cross-border commissioner James McTavish said Victorian students will have to learn from home, regardless of the school they attend.
"The only reason they can learn at school is if they can't learn from home," Mr McTavish said.

Principal at Trinity Anglican College in Albury Justin Beckett said its students are split, with many living on either side of the border.
"You've got students getting very different learning experience," he said.

Mr Beckett said it creates disadvantage for students in the same class and regional students compared to peers in Sydney.
"Our students are HSC students. They're going to be competing with metropolitan students in Sydney," he said.
"[Our students] will be in lockdown and learning remotely, while across Sydney and other parts of NSW which have much higher incidences of COVID, children are still going to school and still getting that face-to-face learning."

At nearby Scots School Albury, acting principal Mark Geraets said about a third of its students live in Victoria.
"It's a great concern," Scots School Albury acting principal Mark Geraets said.

About a third of Scots students live in Victoria.
"They are essentially prohibited from coming into school. [Year 12] are going to be significantly disadvantaged against the other NSW students."

Teachers locked out
A number of teachers will also be unable to cross the border to work under the new restrictions and border closures.
"If we have teachers who can't come to school to deliver those courses that's a critical situation for us to be in," Mr Beckett said.

He said delivering two separate classes would be an enormous challenge for teachers.
"We can't be expecting teachers to deliver first class learning experience both remotely and face-to-face simultaneously."

Scots School offers a boarding program which Mr Geraets said some parents are considering so their children are not impacted by the stage three restrictions.
"Year 12 students in particular are looking at coming over the border and remaining here for the duration of their schooling so they can still do face-to-face learning,"
"Once they do cross … they cannot return home to their families for the period of restrictions," he said.

Call for exemptions to attend
NSW schools are calling for an exemption for Victorian students in Years 11 and 12.
"We also need an exemption for any teacher … so they can be in the classroom and deliver the important learning and content," Mr Beckett said.

Member for Albury Justin Clancy said he was chasing answers and demanding reconsideration.
"I've made it clear that if there is any such changes it would be very unfair on Victorian students," he said.

Mr McTavish said New South Wales and Victorian education departments were working together on the issue.
"We're also aware of the fact that for some of these kids they are doing the VCE or HSC, so we're looking to provide specific arrangements to support them," he said. ... d=msedgntp


Queensland declares ALL of New South Wales and ACT COVID-19 hot spots
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has shut the border with all of New South Wales and the ACT, declaring them both coronavirus hot spots.

The decision will take effect from 1am on Saturday, Ms Palaszczuk said on Wednesday morning.

All travellers from NSW and the ACT will be denied entry except for rare exemptions, with only residents of border communities and essential workers allowed in.

As well as the existing rules on those coming in from abroad, Queenslanders coming back from NSW or ACT will also have to pay for 14 days mandatory hotel quarantine.

The announcement comes despite the Sunshine State recording only 1 new case of COVID-19 overnight.
The 68-year-old Queensland woman was diagnosed with the virus in the past 24 hours and authorities are still investigating the source of the infection.
2 historic cases have also been added to the state's total of 1,088 cases.
'We've seen that Victoria is not getting better and we're not going to wait for NSW to get worse. We need to act and we have taken the decisive decision to act. I said I will not hesitate and today is the day,' she said.
She said the fact NSW was continuing to see cases announced every day was 'of great concern to Queensland'.

The enhanced restrictions locking out almost 8 million people follow the revelation the ACT was being used by travellers as a go-between to avoid Queensland's ban on those from Sydney and Victoria.

One man who allegedly drove to the ACT from a Sydney hotspot and then boarded a flight to Brisbane has since been charged.

Ms Palaszczuk said exemptions would be limited and include compassionate reasons.

Those granted permission to cross the border will be given a pass which shows their proof of address and photo ID.

She said the border closure would be reviewed at the end of August.
Ms Palaszczuk conceded the closure would be tough for businesses, but it would be even worse for Queenslanders' health if she did not act.
'It is going to be tough for some of our small businesses in some of those communities,' she said.
'But what would be more catastrophic is to take Queensland backwards. My job is to protect Queenslanders Health and to protect our economy and our lifestyle.'

The premier said the one confirmed case involved a 68-year-old woman in Ipswich in the state's south-east.
There are now 11 active cases in Queensland.

1,088 infections and six deaths from the virus have been confirmed state-wide since the pandemic began.

The state's Deputy Premier Steven Miles defended the border closure by saying the nine cases announced in Queensland this week had placed an 'enormous burden' on its health system.
'That week, we've had 9 cases here in Queensland,' he said.
'2 travellers from Victoria ,3 cases of local transmission, 2 Queenslanders who travelled to Sydney and 1 returning Queenslander via Sydney as well as that 1 case today and we don't yet know the source of their infection.'

Sydney's coronavirus clusters continued to grow on Tuesday, with just one of the state's new 12 cases coming from a returned traveller in hotel quarantine.

Of the new cases announced on Tuesday, three came from Victoria and another three were linked to the Sydney restaurant clusters.

One case has been linked to the Thai Rock restaurant in Wetherill Park and two cases are people who ate at the Apollo restaurant in Potts Point.

The ACT has not had a case in 25 days, although only 496 tests were conducted by health authorities in the territory in the 24 hours to Tuesday.

We cannot risk a second wave'
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was increasingly concerned about community transmission rates in southern states.
"We cannot risk a second wave. We have to act decisively," she said.
"We have to put Queenslanders first."

The move means New South Wales and the ACT will join Victoria on Queensland's list of declared coronavirus hotspots.

Ms Palaszczuk said her decision was influenced by a number of people who had breached the state's border requirements, by lying to authorities about their whereabouts.
"This is the right decision for Queensland," she said.
"We cannot put Queenslanders at risk — it is too important."

The Premier said losing tourism from the southern states would be difficult, but it was a minimal drawback compared to the economic pain expected from a second wave.
"It is going to be tough for some of our small businesses in some of those communities," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"But what would be more catastrophic is to take Queensland backwards.
"My job is to protect Queenslanders Health and to protect our economy and our lifestyle."

Border crossing checks to be stepped up
The declaration comes as Queensland police closed an investigation into a security guard who was granted an exemption before testing positive to coronavirus, saying the man "did nothing wrong".

Meanwhile, COVID-19 test results for three Logan men, who allegedly lied about having been to a coronavirus hotspot when re-entering Queensland at the weekend, have returned negative.

The men will be tested a second time.

The trio remain in hotel quarantine in Brisbane.

Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said he had evidence people were travelling from COVID-hotspots into other areas such as Canberra, to flout border restrictions.
"We're currently investigating a male person who we will allege ... has deliberately driven from Sydney out of a hotspot into the ACT to get a flight to come to Brisbane and then connected into Cairns, " he said.
"And that person has expressed they were frustrated with the restrictions, didn't like them and wanted to go to work — so a quite selfish approach."

Police have also charged two other people, a man and woman in their 60s, with falsely declaring they had not travelled to a COVID-19 hotspot.

Officers on Tuesday detained the couple in Nanango, north of Toowoomba, after receiving information that they had allegedly travelled through the Goondiwindi police checkpoint with false declarations on July 27.

Health Minister Steven Miles said border protections would be stepped up, forcing visitors to show photo identification to verify their credentials.

He also urged Queenslanders to get home before the weekend lockdown.
"If you're a Queenslander in New South Wales, please come home," Mr Miles said.
"If you're a Queenslander who has any plans to travel to New South Wales, please change those plans now.
"Anyone else travelling to Queensland and allowed to continue to travel to Queensland will have to travel by air or via the Northern Territory border.
"They will not be able to travel into Queensland via the Queensland/New South Wales border."

Mr Miles said the border closures would be reviewed at the end of August.

Border measures 'haven't been handled well'
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington took a swipe at the State Government's handling of the border control measures, but backed the new closure.

Ms Frecklington said the Government had mishandled border checkpoints, which had resulted in the boundary needing to be closed to New South Wales for a second time.

She denied changing her position on the issue, although the LNP pressured the Government to open the border early during the original closure.
"Now let's remember, it was the Premier who then opened the borders and we're in this circumstance because it has become increasingly clear that the border control measures haven't been handled very well by the Palaszczuk Labor Government," she said.
"We know that the situation has changed in Victoria and New South Wales, so we do support the tougher measures to keep Queenslanders safe and to protect their lives and livelihoods." ... d=msedgdhp ... d=msedgdhp ... d=msedgdhp ... d=msedgdhp

Queensland in need of additional quarantine hotels
Queensland is in need of additional quarantine hotels as fever clinics buckle under the pressure to get results returned quickly. ... d=msedgntp

Queensland border closure to NSW and ACT welcomed by some locals as 'greatest news in weeks'
Residents and businesses in regional Queensland say they support the state's border closure and it may even have a silver lining, beyond protecting lives.

Glenn Paterson, the owner of the Wyandra Post and General Store and Caravan Park in Western Queensland, said he supported the border closure.
"You can't spend money if you're sick or dead," Mr Paterson said.
"It's very sad to hear it, but we're better off having our health than money."

Liz Peters and Catherine McLeod, from Redcliffe in Queensland, were holidaying on the Gold Coast when news of the border closure broke.
"Thrilled to bits," Ms Peters said.
"We've already had two really serious incidents where people have shown their deceit in trying to get across the border with incredible consequences for our own Queensland Health."

Ms McCleod said she was "very, very happy" about the border closure.
"I think it's great that she's taking this step which must have been a very, very hard, but a very critical one as well," she said.

Silver lining to closure
Owner of Adels Grove in North-West Queensland, Michelle Low Mow, said she is looking at the border closures as a positive for the remote region which attracts tourists from all over Australia.

She said the NSW and ACT border closures could actually bolster her bookings for the next month.
"There's so many people that rushed to get into Queensland when the borders did open, so we have a lot of people here in Queensland," she said.
"I'm looking positively that it will give people a lot longer time in Queensland to probably go further west into the outback than they were probably planning on going.
"I can't see a lot of people wanting to rush back to New South Wales anytime soon, so hopefully they'll stay in Queensland a lot longer and we'll benefit from them, or they'll benefit from the best of Queensland."

Simon Walker, who owns property on both side of the Queensland-NSW border near the Talwood area, said he supported the changes.
"I think obviously the times we're in at the moment, it's probably not a bad idea," he said.

Mr Walker said he hoped little would change to the current system in place in the Goondiwindi region, with locals currently crossing the border through electronic gates.

He said before the gates were in place, his wife had to drive hours to teach in Goondiwindi.
"We're hoping that the gate stays open with the passcode because it just becomes impractical for her to teach if it's not open."

'Should have been kept shut'
Further north, Cape York Indigenous Mayor, Wayne Butcher, said the state's border should never have opened in the first place.
"The border closure is the greatest news I have heard in weeks," Councillor Butcher said.
"It should have been kept shut because of what has been happening in Victoria.
"I know there's a lot of people pushing for the border to stay open, but the reality is, if we get a second wave in Queensland, it will do more damage to the economy than what people are estimating."

He said many Cape York mayors were already in talks about closing the region down to the rest of the state, again.
"COVID will wipe out a third of Lockhart River's population overnight, if it gets in," he said.

BUT Not everyone happy with the closure
The Cairns Chamber of Commerce president, Sally Mlikota, said the decision to once again close the state's border was disappointing, but expected.

She said the Far North Queensland's tourism-driven economy had already been hit hard by the closure of the greater Sydney area.
"We'd already lost 70 per cent of our 250,000 visitors that we see each year from greater Sydney, so this is another blow," Ms Mlikota said.
"Last week we saw the cancellation of 10,000 seats that had been booked each week from Sydney for August.
"We are never going to get back on our feet, unless visitors are coming here and the more borders are closed, the fewer people that are coming here, the longer it's going to take for our recovery to bounce back. ... tp#image=1

Queensland man who tested positive to coronavirus after flying from Afghanistan 'did everything he should have done'
Key points:
Police now say the man did nothing wrong after a check of his documents
He returned to Queensland from Kabul via Sydney last week
The Chief Health Officer said Queensland authorities gave him permission to fly on a commercial flight
Queensland COVID-19 snapshot:
Confirmed cases so far: 1,087
Deaths: 6
Tests conducted: 620,412
Queensland authorities have revealed they gave permission for a man returning from overseas to catch a commercial flight back into the state, with police now finalising an investigation into the process.
The man in his 20s, had been working for the Australian Government in Afghanistan and returned to Queensland, via Sydney, last week, to quarantine at home.

The exemption to bypass hotel quarantine is allowed for diplomatic and consular officials, but the Queensland man was a security contractor.

A police investigation that was launched yesterday to investigate the validity of documents used by the man to re-enter the state has now been finalised with authorities saying he had done nothing wrong.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young also revealed it was Queensland authorities who had given the man permission to travel back to the Sunshine State on a commercial Jetstar flight, and drive to his Toowoomba home.

A public health alert for the flight had to be issued after the man tested positive for COVID-19.
"That individual did everything they should have done," Dr Young said.
"New South Wales Health approached Queensland and we said, 'yes, it did meet that exemption', so we would allow that person to travel as per the exemption.
"The only concern I had is that when we agreed all these exemptions, we said when people went onto a domestic plane that the planes would seat them with no one else around them.
"That unfortunately didn't occur because the plane was packed."

However, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said last night the man had not been eligible for an exemption and that none had been granted.
"The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade did not support an exemption application from this individual, and was unaware that it had been sought or granted," DFAT said in a statement.

The Australian Embassy in Kabul wrote a letter confirming that the man was "travelling on essential Australian Government business".
This was in order to facilitate his travel between Afghanistan and Australia, not to assist with quarantine exemption applications.

Last night, the Premier announced Queensland would tighten the exemptions process for returning overseas travellers, and it would only be granted in extremely extenuating circumstances, in line with current arrangements for anyone entering the state from overseas or a hotspot.
Queensland Government calls for end to consular quarantine exemption
The Queensland Premier says the state will no longer allow consular or diplomatic staff returning to Australia to be exempt from hotel quarantine. ... d=msedgdhp

Meanwhile, 3 Logan men who were charged yesterday for allegedly lying about being in Melbourne, have tested negative for coronavirus.

A 29-year-old Slacks Creek man, a 25-year-old man from Loganlea and a 23-year-old Waterford man crossed the border at Coolangatta on Sunday, and allegedly denied having been in a coronavirus danger zone, when they re-entered the state. ... n/12522066

Top women cricketers willing to head into bubble
Australian all-rounder Ash Gardner says the country's top women cricketers would be willing to head into a biosecure bubble to ensure their schedule can be completed.

Uncertainty remains about exactly what the international and domestic cricket seasons will look like with the Australian women scheduled to begin their season with a three-match Twenty20 international series against New Zealand in Sydney in late September.

But the changes to the calendar continue, with Cricket Australia announcing on Tuesday that a men's team home series against the West Indies scheduled for October had been postponed. The series had effectively consisted of warm-up matches for the T20 World Cup, which was postponed last month.
Gardner said the Australian women would be willing to follow the lead of the men by heading into a bubble if needed.
"We might need to potentially wrap our heads around going into a bubble and potentially being away from family and friends for an extended time," Gardner said on Tuesday.
"But I think the players will be willing to do that to get out there and play some cricket, because it's going to feel like forever since we have played a game of cricket by the time it comes around."

Gardner added though that she was disappointed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India's decision to schedule the women's Indian Premier League in November, at the same time the Women's Big Bash League is due to be played in Australia.
"Disappointing would probably be the right word if that was to go ahead. People have seen how successful and competitive the WBBL has been for the first five years of it, and it would be really unfortunate for two things to clash like that."

CA have meanwhile worked with Asics to unveil the first women's specific cricket shoe, launched officially on Wednesday.

Australian team physiotherapist Kate Beerworth has been involved in the project which had been kick started by her predecessor Kate Mahony. Beerworth - formerly team physio with the Matildas - is hopeful that the new shoes could even guard against injuries, although research in the area has been minimal.
"The female foot is narrower in part and can be broader across the front of the foot," Beerworth said.
"Players were putting extra socks in shoes if they were sliding around a little bit because the anatomy of the female foot is slightly different.
"If you've got a shoe that's not particularly the right fit then there's potential for not only concerns regarding injury and blisters and nail care and those sorts of things, but certainly from a performance point of view if players feel like they are sliding around in a shoe, they may then choose to go to an ill-fitting shoe that's smaller to try to give it that snug fit, and that's certainly my experience, historically with football, that they would choose a smaller shoe that then may create some other issues."

Gardner said she had seen teammates struggle with the issue.
"Nicole Bolton, who is quite a small person and has really small feet. Ever since I've known her she's either had to wear shoes that have been spiked up, or kids shoes. It costs you money to keep getting your shoes spiked up and they tend not to last too long," Gardner said. ... d=msedgdhp

Couple in quarantine after allegedly lying on border passes a week ago
2 more people have joined Queensland's list of attempted border breachers after allegedly falsely declaring they had not been in a coronavirus hotspot.

The couple aged in their 60s allegedly travelled through the Goondiwindi police checkpoint with false declarations on July 27 but were detained in Nanango yesterday.

The 63-year-old man and 68-year-old woman were issued with notices to appear in the Richlands Magistrates Court on August 19 for failing to comply with the Queensland Border Direction and fraud.
They have been placed into mandatory hotel quarantine outside the South Burnett area.

In a separate incident a 22-year-old Weipa man was issued with a fine after being intercepted in Cairns airport.

Police will allege the man flew into Queensland from Canberra and failed to declare he had been in Sydney, a COVID-19 hotspot, on August 2. He was immediately placed into hotel quarantine.
"That person has expressed they were frustrated with the restrictions and didn't like them and wanted to go to work, so a quite selfish approach," Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said.

Since the border reopened on July 10, 36 people have been caught lying on border passes.
"The breaches will now stop," Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said this morning, declaring all of NSW and the ACT hotspots effective from Saturday.

Ms Palaszczuk said her decision was influenced by a number of people who had breached the state's border requirements, by lying to authorities about their whereabouts.
"This is the right decision for Queensland," she said.
"We cannot put Queenslanders at risk — it is too important."

Meanwhile, COVID-19 test results for three Logan men, who allegedly lied about having been to a coronavirus hotspot when re-entering Queensland at the weekend, have returned negative.

The men will be tested a second time.

The trio remain in hotel quarantine in Brisbane.

Police searching for quarantine options
It comes as Queensland Police have desperately reached out to dozens of hotels in the hope of expanding the state's quarantine options amid a drain on available space for people to isolate.
"In the last day, we've seen 53 flights come into Queensland, 2232 passengers processed (and) 126 placed into quarantine," deputy commissioner Steve Gollschewski told reporters today.

In total, 1480 hotel rooms are currently being used as quarantine centres for returned travellers, with police also door-knocking at the premises of 380 people allowed to isolate from home.

Concerns have also been raised that a statewide spike in COVID-19 tests could lead to people refusing to stay home in isolation as ordered.
"There is an increased risk that if people are waiting longer for results, they'll get frustrated and stop isolating," Bruce Willett from The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners said.

Across Queensland in the past week, 85,000 people visited local fever clinics to be tested for the virus. ... d=msedgntp

Qld 'border bandits' await test results in hotel quarantine

A trio of border bandits are awaiting COVID-19 test results in hotel quarantine after police alleged they lied about their movements before entering Queensland.

The 3 Logan men allegedly visited Melbourne and lied on their declaration forms before travelling back to the Sunshine State.

Premier Annastacia Palaszscuk said she intended to address weaknesses in the state’s border and hotel quarantine system at national cabinet this week after a number of people were able to slip through, including a man falsely claiming to be a diplomat. ... d=msedgdhp ... d=msedgdhp

Former NRL halfback cops ban for smearing blood on opponent
Former Newcastle and Gold Coast halfback Beau Henry has come under fire after being sent off for smearing his blood on an opponent in a Presidents Cup game.

Henry was playing for Wentworthville in their round-three 53-16 loss to Glebe Burwood Wolves on the weekend when the incident occurred. The referee sent Henry off in the Henson Park fixture, part of a semi-professional NSWRL competition established after COVID-19 shut down the NSW Cup and Ron Massey Cup tournaments.

Henry, who captained the Magpies in their Ron Massey Cup grand final win over St Mary's last year, was charged with grade one contrary conduct. The 30-year-old accepted the early guilty plea and the one-match ban that will go with it. Had he not had previous carryover points, he wouldn't have missed a single game.

Henry injured his nose in the lead up to a try scored by another former Titan, Wolves outside back John Olive. As Olive's teammates raced in to celebrate the try, the game footage - streamed on the NSWRL's Facebook page - appeared to show Henry wiping the blood from his face onto opposition player Addison Demetriou.

Henry was sent from the field after Addison complained to the match official. Blood could be seen coming from Henry's face as he came from the field.

Commentators Jamie Soward and Shaun Timmins were initially unsure why the 30-year-old half was given his marching orders, believing it was punishment for backchat.
"Beau Henry, some ill discipline. Not what you want when your side is under the pump at this time of the game," Timmins said in commentary. "Is it 10 [in the sin bin] or is it the blood bin?"

A few moments later, Soward added: "Beau Henry was sent off. You'd have to think it was for giving the referee a bake, but he's been sent off from the ground and will not be back."

Glebe officials declined to comment but were seething about the incident, privately believing a season-long suspension would be a more appropriate sanction given the current coronavirus situation and the biosecurity protocols in effect at NRL level.
"That sort of behaviour is unacceptable at any time, but was dealt with in accordance with the rules," said NSWRL CEO David Trodden.

Former referee and NRL match review committee boss Greg McCallum said the "dumb" act would have attracted a longer suspension had it happened in the NRL.
"The NSWRL have worked really hard to get the footy back on - so they would be very disappointed," he said.
"The match review committee is an independent body and it views things in isolation to what sometimes the feeling of the peak body is.
"If it happened in the NRL, it would attract a higher grade, certainly. It's just stuff you don't want to happen. It would be like if a player spat in someone's face, that's a similar thing and something you don't want to happen. It's frustrating that players would want to do stuff like that.
"I just think it's an unprofessional thing to do in the current environment. It's just dumb."

When contacted by the Herald, Demetriou said he would call back, but he couldn't be reached again on Tuesday. ... hp#image=1
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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Aug 06, 2020 11:29 am

With coronavirus preventing deportations, Australian Border Force will house foreign criminals on Christmas Island
Australia is preparing to reopen the North West Point detention centre on Christmas Island to house criminals who can not be deported amid COVID-19 restrictions, raising fears the move will drive tourists away.

The facility has previously housed asylum seekers and, more recently, Australians returning from coronavirus hotspots.

Restrictions placed on air travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic have prevented Australian authorities from deporting a cohort of non-citizens, Australian Border Force (ABF) said.

Those being transferred to the island north-west of Western Australia include foreigners convicted of assault and drug and sexual offences, ABF said in a statement.
"With unlawful non-citizens continuing to move from prison to immigration detention, and with required COVID-19 distancing measures in place within the detention network, this is placing the detention network under pressure," the statement said.
"To relieve capacity pressure across the detention network in Australia, detainees will be temporarily transferred to the immigration detention facility at North West Point on Christmas Island in the weeks ahead."

The statement did not indicate that asylum seekers would be returned to the facility.

The facility was most recently used to house Australians evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan, which was the epicentre of the outbreak during the early stages of the pandemic.

Concerns tourists will stay away
Chris Bray, who runs an eco-lodge on Christmas Island, told ABC Radio Perth he was worried about the impact the detention centre reopening would have for tourism.
"I'm not worried about having the detainees here or that they could bring the virus," he said.
"When all those Aussies from Wuhan were brought over here at the beginning of the pandemic and everyone freaked out and called us the 'virus island', the fact was none of them had the virus.
"We've never had a single case of the virus here ever and the whole operation was flawless and had no impact on the community at all, but it's the public perception of that, that we're struggling with.
"Christmas Island remains a tropical paradise irrespective of whether there's a bunch of people in detention on the far side of the island ten kilometres away down a closed road that no one ever sees."

Just last week a travel bubble between WA and Christmas and the Cocos Keeling Islands was announced, allowing people who have been in Western Australia for a 14-day period to travel between the areas without being required to self-isolate.

Mr Bray said bookings since then have been booming and he hopes the detention centre reopening does not have any significant, or lasting, impact.
"We've been swamped by bookings from people just dying to have a relaxing, tropical break — with diving and snorkelling and jungles and beaches and waterfalls," he said."We're kind of hoping that will continue because we really are as overseas as you're going to be able to get for quite some time."

Mr Bray said, while the additional influx of ABF personnel on the island would provide a small boost for some businesses, he would much prefer the centre was not there.
"When you weigh it up against the PR damage I think most people would rather it [the detention centre] wasn't here," he said.
"It's only a six-month thing they're talking about … so it's not like it's a boost that's going to stay in the economy for a long time, it's just this little glitch that people have to deal with again."

Travel bubble reassessed
The WA Premier Mark McGowan said he was advised a few days ago about the potential of the detention facility on the island being reopened to deal with capacity issues in the east, but said the decision was out of his control.

However, Mr McGowan did say the travel bubble would now be reassessed.
"We now have to look at the travel zone between Christmas Island and Western Australia and whether or not that's appropriate anymore," he said.
"We don't have control of this, this is a Commonwealth facility, the constitution is pretty clear, the Commonwealth can move around the country.
"And so, what we just want to do, and I'm advised the Commonwealth is agreeable to this, is have the very best of quarantine arrangements in place."

WA Health Minister Roger Cook said while the Commonwealth was responsible for the management of detainees on Christmas Island, the state would provide health care if needed.
"The Department of Health has a role to play in that for anyone who is acutely unwell or injured, they are transferred to West Australian hospitals, and we stand ready to assist as always," he said.

Mr Cook said he was confident any public health risks would be contained.

Asylum-seeking family still on island
A family of Tamil asylum seekers is currently in another immigration detention facility on the other side of Christmas Island from the North West Point detention centre.

Asylum seekers Nadesalingam Murugappan, known as Nades, and Kokilapathmapriya Nadesalingam, known as Priya, and their two Australian-born daughters Kopika, 4, and Tharunicaa, 3, had been living in the central Queensland town of Biloela until immigration officials transferred them to a Melbourne detention centre in 2018.

They have since been at the centre of a high-profile legal battle to stay in Australia and remain in detention after a last-minute injunction in 2019 on an attempt to deport them to Sri Lanka.

The family's lawyer, Carina Ford, said while she had not yet spoken with the family, the news of the detention centre reopening would be disheartening to them.
"It indicates that the Minister is not changing his position on using Christmas Island as a form of detention," she said.
"But also, for Priya, she is very COVID worried and we are obviously concerned if it does involve detainees being transferred from Melbourne.
"Priya does have diabetes, and that's the last thing we want her near is any risk whatsoever of getting COVID. "

The mother was flown to Perth last month for medical treatment after having been in pain for some time, and Ms Ford said while Priya was doing better and was back with her family, her health was still not 100 per cent.

Fears guards may travel between centres
She said while the family was being held in a facility on the other side of the island, there were still many concerns.
"Where they stay, in alternate accommodations, some of the Serco guards have been staying and that was a concern last time, when it was used as a quarantine centre, that there may be some crossover of Serco guards between the two facilities," she said.
"WA and Christmas Island had been so lucky to not have active COVID cases currently and it just seems such an enormous risk to take, given that some of the detainees will be coming from Melbourne.
"It just doesn't make sense why you've got a family being detained there with no criminal background."

Ms Ford said she hoped a request for the family to be released into the community would now be given priority.

The ABF said it was closely working with other government departments and West Australian authorities to implement quarantine requirements where appropriate for service providers and ABF staff deploying to Christmas Island. ... hp#image=1

PM offers pandemic leave pay to all states
The Morrison government will allow other states and territories to join Victoria in accessing $1500 pandemic payments for workers without sick leave.

Victorian workers will be able to access the payment designed to give workers the financial capability to stay home while isolating.

Unions and Labor have called for a national scheme to prevent outbreaks driven by people going to work when sick or waiting for test results.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there was an option for other states to receive the money.
"If other states or territories want to enter into a similar arrangement, then I'll be making that offer to the states and territories if they wish to do that," he told Seven's Sunrise program on Wednesday.
"Of course, they are not facing the same level of challenge. The health advice we had out of Victoria was to do this." ... d=msedgdhp

Virgin Australia to slash 3,000 jobs for slimmed post-coronavirus operations
Virgin Australia has revealed plans to make about a third of its workforce redundant, with approximately 3,000 jobs expected to go under new owners Bain Capital, while 6,000 staff remain.

The private equity firm's plan for the airline sees the end of the Tiger Australia brand, although Virgin Australia said it would retain the air operator certificate so it could revive a low-cost carrier when the domestic holiday travel market fully recovered.

A key part of the plan is to operate an all Boeing 737 mainline fleet, with other aircraft types restricted to regional routes and charters.

This will mean removing ATRs, Boeing 777s, Airbus A330s and Tiger's Airbus A320s from the airline's fleet.

Virgin Australia chief executive Paul Scurrah said the airline had no choice but to shrink to survive amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Demand for domestic and short-haul international travel is likely to take at least three years to return to pre-COVID-19 levels, with the real chance it could be longer, which means as a business we must make changes to ensure the Virgin Australia Group is successful in this new world," he said in a statement.
"Working with Bain Capital, we will accelerate our plan to deliver a strong future in a challenging domestic and global aviation market.
"We believe that over time we can set the foundations to grow Virgin Australia again and re-employ many of the highly skilled Virgin Australia team."

Mr Scurrah said the airline plans to employ around 6,000 people "when the market recovers, with aspirations for up to 8,000 in the future".

Virgin Australia said redundant staff would have their entitlements honoured and receive a two-year extension of employee travel benefits. ... d=msedgdhp

Unemployment in New Zealand goes DOWN during the coronavirus pandemic
Data showing joblessness in New Zealand has actually gone down during the coronavirus pandemic have been welcomed, albeit with sharp skepticism from some quarters.

Stats NZ on Wednesday produced an eye-blinking figure of 4 % unemployment for the June quarter, down from 4.2 % last quarter.

In May's Budget, Treasury predicted the June rate would be 8.3 %. Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the figures showed the 'robustness of the economy' and were a vindication of NZ's hard lockdown, which eliminated COVID-19.
'Being able to reopen our economy sooner has saved jobs. It is proof that getting on top of the virus is the best thing we can do for our economy,' he said.

Mr Robertson noted comparative unemployment rates of 7.4 % in Australia and 11.1 in the USA.

Yet, as he acknowledged, the headline result doesn't tell the full story.

Labour force participation and overall employment are also down as people left the workforce entirely.

Hours worked (down 10 per cent) and the underutilisation rate (10.4 per cent to 12 per cent) also slumped at record rates.
ASB Economics said the result 'quashed widespread expectations of a large increase' owing to workers abandoning the job hunt in lockdown.
'Laid off workers opted (or were forced) to leave the labour force given the difficulties,' chief economist Nick Tuffley said.
'Today's data are certainly welcome to the extent they indicate a stronger-than-expected starting point for the labour market. However ... we know labour market conditions are likely to deteriorate from here.'

Throughout the surveyed period, the NZ Government used a $NZ13 billion ($A12 billion) wage subsidy scheme to keep Kiwis in jobs.

It ends this month.

Those who lose jobs will go on a bulked-up benefit for a further 12 weeks before reverting to baseline welfare.

Opposition Finance spokesman Paul Goldsmith said people not trying to find work showed a confidence drop-off.
'Today's unemployment figures don't tell the full story of the jobs crisis we're in as a country and are masked by the 452,425 people on wage subsidies,' he said.
'With wage subsidies set to wind down from 1 September, the real cost of this economic downturn will be felt then.'

The Greens said the figures added weight to their proposal to lift baseline benefits, funded by a wealth tax on the top six per cent of Kiwi earners.
'COVID-19 has left tens of thousands more people working less hours than they want, resulting in less stable incomes and more uncertainty for families,' co-leader Marama Davidson said.

Mr Robertson said the outlook for the rest of 2020 was gloomy. ... d=msedgntp

Breakers push for NZ NBL hub
The New Zealand Breakers are pushing to host an NBA-style hub to begin the NBL season later this year.
Breakers owner and CEO Matt Walsh floated the idea on Wednesday, while conceding a delay to the planned December 3 tip-off, or their relocation to the Gold Coast, were also considerations.

He is keen on New Zealand's own version of the NBA's Orlando bubble though, where Australian teams come to them given the country's clean bill of health.

In contrast, both Melbourne clubs have halted training after the coronavirus swept through United's squad, with 12 confirmed cases on Sunday.
"A month ago when things were looking a lot better in Australia everyone was feeling positive about the bubble opening," Walsh told media in Auckland on Wednesday.
"Now, with Victoria taking a real step backwards, we're looking at basically three scenarios.
"One, is us being stationed in Australia for the whole season; two, is us playing all of our home games to start the season and Australia teams coming over if there's a way to make that work; and, three, the season being delayed and trying to put it off in time for the bubble to open."

The NBL's return plan is brewing but the league refused to comment on Walsh's proposal on Wednesday.
"I can tell you I'm strongly endorsing New Zealand as the hub," Walsh said.
"It's the only place in the world we can do safe travel and have zero risk of coronavirus, and I think it makes a lot of sense.
"It makes a lot of sense if you're a Melbourne team, you station yourself in Wellington or Christchurch and probably get good crowds if you play home games there.
"There are real discussions happening around that." ... d=msedgdhp

1 new coronavirus case in hotel quarantine in Western Australia
WA's Premier, Mark McGowan, 1 NEW case overnight who’s in quarantine.
Says Queensland's hard border arrangements may have an impact on West Australians trying to come home. ... d=msedgntp

Tourist allegedly breaks into Uluru after park closed over coronavirus fears
A tourist who flew through a coronavirus hotspot to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park — but was blocked from entering — has been caught breaking into the temporarily closed area, an Indigenous corporation has alleged.

The woman was among almost 40 visitors who arrived from Brisbane on Monday and had their entry to the park blocked by residents of the nearby Indigenous community of Mutitjulu over concerns about the potential spread of coronavirus.

Parks Australia then decided to temporarily close the park.

The Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation (MCAC) said the woman secretly entered the park by bypassing an official entry point, then was found by rangers when she injured her ankle.

Sources within the park have confirmed the allegation.
"They want to get in; they want to do whatever it takes to get in," MCAC chief executive Thalia Bohl-van den Boogaard said.

Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services has been contacted for comment.

The Northern Territory Government has declared Brisbane a coronavirus hotspot, meaning anyone who has visited the city must undergo a fortnight of supervised quarantine in Darwin or Alice Springs upon arrival in the NT.

Exceptions are made for those who have only transited through a hotspot.

Three of the Monday flight's 42 passengers were sent into quarantine in Alice Springs upon arrival at the Yulara airport.

Voyages, the company that runs the resort and airport at Yulara, near Uluru, confirmed the remaining 39 passengers would be flown back to Queensland on Thursday without having visited the world-famous landmark — a decision made before the alleged break-in.

It is also confirmed that all other interstate flights to the tourist drawcard have been cancelled until the end of August.

No COVID tests before departure
The alleged incident has heightened concern within the MCAC, which has repeatedly called for stricter rules for tourists since Northern Territory borders reopened last month.

Despite a meeting between stakeholders late last week, the corporation said it learned of the Brisbane flight only late on Sunday night, which led some residents to set up the blockade.

In a statement on Tuesday, Voyages said the guests faced two rounds of screening during their journey and none had entered the desert park during their stay.

But concerns have been raised about the fact that none of the visitors will receive coronavirus tests before their departure.

"We're happy that they'll be taken away from the doorstop of Yulara and from the doorstep of Mutitjulu," Ms Bohl-van den Boogaard said.
"But we would have preferred if they all got tested for coronavirus because that way we would have got certainty about whether they were positive or not."

The resort company said there was not enough time for the results to come back before the guests' departure.

A Jetstar spokesperson confirmed the company had cancelled its Brisbane to Uluru services through August and was contacting customers with bookings.

They said the company was reviewing arrangements beyond that month.

Troubled sector faces further headaches
Tourism bodies anticipate the park closure and flight cancellations will deal a double blow to local operators, who already struggled through a coronavirus-induced park shutdown that ended less than two months ago.

Patrick Bedford from Tourism Central Australia warned some operators would have to forfeit existing bookings, and laid the blame on a communication breakdown.
"Obviously they had those discussions going on in the background and there should have been a clear outcome, and obviously there wasn't a clear outcome and that's had this reaction," he said.
"This should have been dealt with weeks ago, before the flights came in from Brisbane, to make sure that any issues that would arise were dealt with.
"But safety is paramount here for us in Central Australia to make sure COVID doesn't come in, so I understand [the residents'] concerns."

Federal management body Parks Australia has confirmed the temporary closure of the park, introduced in response to Monday’s blockade, has been extended indefinitely.

A spokesperson said the body was working with the Mutitjulu community and the park's management board.
"The park will remain closed until traditional owners are comfortable with the travel measures put in place by the Northern Territory Government and Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia," they said.

The corporation said its members opposed the resumption of any flights from declared hotspots but left the door open to the park reopening after the Thursday flight.
"The people here are happy for people from safe spaces to come in and visit the park, but that flight was just the last straw where people said this is an unacceptable risk," Ms Bohl-van den Boogaard said.
"We cannot keep the park open with this happening." ... id=msedgnt
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys Sicko
Posts: 12469
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Aug 06, 2020 11:30 am


SA clamps down on restrictions to avoid following Vic's 'deterioration'
South Australia has clamped down on coronavirus restrictions as authorities reduce the number of visitors allowed in a household from 50 to 10 as well as implementing further regulations on licensed venues.

The state government also rolled out a number of virus testing stations across the state and greater focus on border control between SA and Victoria.

SA Liberal Senator Alex Antic told Sky News the measures were “very, very reasonable” because of their close proximity to Victoria and coronavirus hotspots.
“Necessary precautions need to be taken, we can see how quickly this virus moves and we can see what terrible damage its done in Victoria in a relatively short time,” Mr Antic said.
“The flip side to this is too dangerous, we need to do what we can earlier.”

He said the escalating coronavirus situation in Victoria highlighted “precisely what the government in South Australia is trying to avoid which is a situation which can deteriorate very quickly and very sadly”. ... d=msedgdhp

Suspected SA coronavirus case a false positive, but hotel says cleaner among cluster
A suspected coronavirus case that sparked concerns of community transmission in South Australia has now been declared a false positive, but more details have emerged about a cluster linked to a hotel.

SA Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier yesterday announced two new cases of COVID-19 had been detected in South Australia, both of them women in their 20s.

One of those is linked to a cluster, which traces back to a guest at the Walkers Arms Hotel, but the other could not be traced to any other person known to have the virus.

Speaking on ABC Radio Adelaide this morning, Dr Spurrier said subsequent re-testing of the young woman came back negative for COVID-10 and SA Health is confident she does not have the virus.
"In these sorts of situations it is good to do those double checks and it has come back negative," she said.
"The person has had several swabs done and several different machines have tested it, and it is definitely negative."

Dr Spurrier said the original test was conducted at a private lab, while subsequent testing occurred at SA Pathology.

She cautioned that it was difficult to say the original test was "incorrect" because of the complex nature of the testing, but stressed she was confident this person does not have the coronavirus, describing it as a "false alarm".

Dr Spurrier said it was unlikely there were false negative cases in South Australia "because we're so overly cautious" in the interpretation of test results.

The false positive means there are now nine known active cases of COVID-19 in South Australia.

Hotel cluster includes cleaner
While no new cases were reported today, more information has been revealed about a cluster linked to the Walkers Arms Hotel in Walkerville and other businesses in Adelaide's north.

According to SA Health, a 20-year-old essential worker — who is a South Australian resident who had been in Victoria — attempted to self-isolate at the hotel last week and developed symptoms there.

But the virus spread to a woman in her 20s, who went on to attend Thebarton Senior College and Gepps Cross's Roma Mitchell Secondary College while in the infectious stage.

Another woman who came into contact with her was infected with COVID-19 and visited three businesses while infectious.

A man in his 50s, who was a close contact of both the essential worker and one of the women, was also diagnosed with COVID-19.

Dr Spurrier said the 20-year-old essential worker had passed on the virus to a staff member while at the hotel.
"This gentlemen came back and he did attempt to self-isolate correctly and he did the right thing because he went to a hotel rather than his home," she said.
"But unfortunately, you know, quarantine really does mean you stay in your room, and you don't have anybody in there and you don't come in close contact with them.
"Now unfortunately, that wasn't the case because … he was able to transmit that to a number of people. One included somebody that worked at the hotel."

Today, the Walkers Arms confirmed a cleaner was among the state's current coronavirus cases.
"We have been made aware that one of our staff members, a cleaner in our accommodation department, has returned a positive test. The staff member is currently in isolation and in good spirits under the care of SA Health," the hotel said on Facebook.
"We emphasise that since the removal of the guest … we have gone over and above SA Health's guidelines with cleaning measures, including a deep clean of accommodation areas [and] common areas.
"SA Health at no stage advised closure of our venue. We undertook our own measures to ensure the containment of the contact."

Concern at City Watch House
An Adelaide magistrate said part of the City Watch House had to be closed today over concerns an officer had returned from Adelaide Airport and may have come into contact with interstate travellers.

Magistrate Koula Kossiavelos said that security firm G4S put the "necessary precautions in place and shut down the watchhouse to do a clean".

She said the cleaning had now finished and the site was "back up and running".

The court heard G4S was satisfied there was no risk of COVID-19 to defendants in police custody.

SA warned to expect more restrictions
SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said that although he "would like to stay positive", South Australians should be prepared to face tighter restrictions if more cases are diagnosed in the state.
"I think we need to be prepared for changes to the restrictions," he told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning.

"There's no current intent, at this point, to make any changes, but it's fair to say that we are watching very closely.
"If the number of active cases in South Australia increases, particularly around the community transmission side of things … I think we're going to have to take some steps that make it harder for the virus to spread through the community."

He said it was "on the table" to make the density limit that currently applies to South Australian venues — a maximum of one person per every two square metres more strict — allowing fewer people to enter.

Commissioner Stevens acknowledged that changing the limit would have a "major impact" on businesses, but that it had to be considered.
"We're very reluctant to do it," he said.
"But we're looking at the sorts of things we can bring into the community … so that there's not that ability for the virus to to jump from one group to another and spread beyond control."

'Record' testing numbers as new clinics open
SA Health Minister Stephen Wade said a record 4,300 COVID-19 tests had been conducted by SA Pathology — and more by private laboratories — yesterday.

He said South Australians' willingness to accept responsibility for preventing transmission and getting tested was helping to "crush" the virus.
"I would like to thank South Australians for stepping up, accepting the request of the public health team and getting tested even when they have the mildest of symptoms," Mr Wade said.
"We've only been successful because the people of South Australia have accepted that we're all in this together.
"It's a responsibility for all of us to maintain our social distancing, to maintain our personal hygiene, to stay at home if we're not well, but very importantly, even if we have the mildest of symptoms, to get tested."

He said the Government had been opening up more testing facilities around the state.
"The last few days we've seen the Mount Gambier Hospital [testing] capacity double," he said.
"Yesterday, a drive-through clinic was opened at the Lyell McEwin Hospital … today we're opening the Victoria Park testing facility, tomorrow we'll be opening a facility at Aldinga.
"These are … to make sure that we've got the capacity to have people tested when they need to be."

He added that results were being delivered, on average, within 17 hours of testing. ... d=msedgdhp

COVID-19 medi-hotel, control centre to be established on SA's Victorian border
A medi-hotel and control centre will be set up in South Australia's South East in the coming weeks.

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said a medi-hotel had already been established in Adelaide, but there was "nothing" similar in the South East.
"We think this is potentially a need," he said.
"We want to get in front of the game down here.
"We are really concerned, obviously, about the border down here."There could be people who come over, they're swabbed or they're showing symptoms when they arrive, and we really do need to make sure that they're safe and that they're not going out into the general public.
"We are on high alert right across the country, and in particular here in South Australia, because we share such a border with Victoria."

Planning underway
Elaine Pretorius, the executive director of medical services at the Limestone Coast Local Health Network, said her team met with South Australia's Chief Public Health Officer Nicole Spurrier this week to start preparations and search for a suitable location.

Dr Pretorius said the Mount Gambier medi-hotel would follow the template set by those already operating in Adelaide.
"For seasonal workers, people who have been requested to self-isolate but cannot due to home circumstances, or perhaps people who have COVID-positive diagnoses and are well enough to be managed at home, but we can't manage them at home — we will be able to offer them an alternate facility," she said.

Dr Pretorius said local staff would work closely with the Communicable Diseases Branch and SA Health, which had been running the medi-hotels in Adelaide.
"We will be in negotiation with the facilities manager, we will be able to provide some nursing and medical support, and also help with infection control," she said.
"Infection control in such an institution is going to be the most important thing, so we will provide a supportive role in that sense as well."

Coordinated response
Planning is also underway to establish a satellite control centre in Mount Gambier to ensure local agencies are working closely together in COVID-19 planning and response.
"Our incident management team is very mature and I think we've done a fantastic job in the planning," Dr Pretorius said.
"But now the next step is to strengthen the inter-agency relationships — housing, education, the local government agencies, aged care," Dr Pretorius said.
"I think it's simply a recognition of the enormous risk that is in the South East, and a recognition that we will have to be able to mobilise very quickly if something were to happen down here."We are hoping of course that we never get to that point, but I think our community expects us to be well prepared and well planned." ... d=msedgntp

Country MPs argue to keep 75km accommodation allowance limit while cancer patients miss out
For most days over the past seven weeks, 82-year-old Warren Huxtable has been travelling from his home at Goolwa, at the end of the Murray River near Victor Harbor, to Adelaide's Flinders Medical Centre for radiotherapy to treat bowel cancer.

It is 75 kilometres each way, made much easier with the support of the Fleurieu Cancer Support Team, a group of dedicated volunteers who drive Mr Huxtable and other cancer patients between their homes and hospitals in Adelaide.
"I've been met by so many people with cancer that have been helped by this service," Mr Huxtable said."I personally have had to come for seven weeks, which is not over yet. And I would just not have been able to manage."

In South Australia, country residents who have to travel to see a medical specialist are entitled to travel and accommodation subsidies through the Patient Assistance Transport Scheme (PATS).

The accommodation subsidy includes a payment of up to $44 per person per night to stay in commercial accommodation.

But the scheme is only available for patients who live more than 100km from the nearest treating specialist, meaning residents of south coast towns such as Victor Harbor, Port Elliot and Goolwa, where Mr Huxtable lives, are excluded.

More generous allowance for MPs
While the 100km limit applies to patients receiving PATS, a far more generous border applies to the accommodation allowances provided to country-based state MPs.

Provided their usual residence is more than 75km by road from the Adelaide General Post Office, MPs are entitled to claim up to $234 per night for expenditure incurred while staying in Adelaide on official business, up to an annual limit of $31,590.

Documents released by State Parliament last month confirmed three Liberal MPs had claimed almost half a million dollars under the Country Members Accommodation Allowance while residing on the south coast.

They are the soon-to-be replaced Legislative Council president Terry Stephens (more than $265,000), fellow legislative councillor John Dawkins (more than $168,000) and the Member for Finniss, newly appointed Minister David Basham (more than $29,000).

A fourth Liberal MP, former minister Stephan Knoll, has claimed more than $131,000 while residing at Angaston, in the Barossa Valley.

Like Victor Harbor, Angaston is outside the 75km limit applying to MPs allowances, but within the 100km limit which applies to PATS subsidies.

The difference between the two schemes does not make much sense to Mr Huxtable.
"Please politicians and people in higher positions, think of people less fortunate than yourselves, because we need to live a decent life and know there's some support there other than just volunteers," he said.

A Government spokesperson said the 100km limit for PATS was "a typical distance requirement which operates in NSW, Victoria and WA".
"The details of country MP allowances are determined by the Remuneration Tribunal, which is independent of government," the spokesperson said.

Mr Knoll and fellow ministers Tim Whetstone and David Ridgway resigned last month over the expenses scandal.

MP subsidy 'doesn't pass pub test'
Greens MLC Mark Parnell yesterday urged the state's Remuneration Tribunal to extend the limit on country MPs' allowances to 100km.
"The roads have much improved since these rules were first written. Maybe a trip to Victor Harbor was a big country excursion. Not anymore," Mr Parnell said outside a private hearing.
"Most people see it as beyond the pale that someone can get over $30,000 of taxpayers' money to fund a Victor Harbor house and an Adelaide house.
"It just doesn't pass the pub test, or the sniff test, or any other test."

Mr Parnell was one of several MPs, including Treasurer Rob Lucas and Liberal backbencher Josh Teague, to attend yesterday's Remuneration Tribunal hearing on MPs allowances.

The ABC sought permission to attend to report on MPs' oral submissions but was not allowed.

In a joint written submission, Liberal MPs urged the three-member tribunal to stick to the current 75km limit.
"We strongly oppose such a change as we submit it would be unreasonable to require a country member [of parliament] to drive 100km home each night after evening functions in Adelaide which might not conclude until 10:00pm or 11:00pm," the submission read.

In their own written submission, Labor MPs urged the tribunal to review the 75km limit "given the advancements in motor vehicles and upgrades to road infrastructure across South Australia".

No Greens or Labor MPs live on the south coast or in the Barossa Valley.

Further changes urged
Mr Parnell has also urged the tribunal to end what he describes as the practice of "double dipping".

Since 2015, every state MP has received a common allowance, currently worth $17,728, which is paid in lieu of an earlier travel allowance, free public transport, and lifetime free or subsidised interstate rail travel.

Mr Parnell said MPs should be forced to expend this money before claiming other allowances available to country MPs, ministers or the opposition leader.
"If members of parliament have to travel, use that money. Don't claim extra for travel out of the public purse," Mr Parnell said.
"They need to make the rules clearer. They need to make them fairer and they need to stop politicians from double dipping."

In their submission, Liberal MPs also sought clarity around how the Country Members Accommodation Allowance should be claimed.

Mr Knoll and fellow backbencher Fraser Ellis have together committed to repay almost $70,000 in allowance claims, citing what they describe as ambiguity in the tribunal's ruling that MPs must "incur actual expenditure" to claim the allowance.

Mr Knoll spent time staying at his parents' house in Adelaide, while Mr Ellis stayed rent free with former Upper House president Mr Stephens.

Government MPs submitted the tribunal should clarify the rule by inserting a clause specifying that actual expenditure could include "those costs of owning, renting and or maintaining accommodation, for example interest, rental, rates, maintenance and any other actual expenditure incurred in connection with the accommodation." ... d=msedgdhp

Adelaide supermarkets warn against panic buying as stores record increased demand
A South Australian supermarket chain has re-introduced a two-pack limit on toilet paper and Coles is also reporting a surge in demand across its Adelaide stores.

Photos posted to social media showed empty shelves at grocery stores in some Adelaide suburbs.

But retailers are urging against a return to panic buying, reassuring customers there is plenty of stock for everyone.

Coles' general manager for South Australia and Northern Territory, Sophie Wong, said stores "across the board" had seen an increase in customers stocking up on items similar to those they bought in bulk in March.
"We have definitely seen an elevated demand from our customers this week," Ms Wong said.
"Whereby we've had a lot more customers coming through, and our basket sizes are definitely growing, reflecting an increased demand for products such as mince and toilet paper, body wash, hand towel — similar to what we saw last time."

While Ms Wong said she understood the rush to stock up on groceries was "a natural response to what's happening", she urged people not to buy more than they needed.
"Please don't panic. There's enough stock to go around and if everyone does the right thing and just buys what they need, we will be just fine," she said.
"We're managing our stock levels very well at the moment.
"We're constantly working with our suppliers. Our distribution centre is working around the clock to make sure that we've got enough supply for our customers."

SA supermarket chain reintroduces toilet paper limit
Ms Wong said Coles stores were not seeing shelves as bare as they were earlier in the year and they had not introduced limits on items — yet.
"Ultimately it will come down to ensuring that we've got enough supply to meet demand from the customers," she said.

A Woolworths spokesperson said the company has noticed a few stores "with higher than usual demand in some parts of Adelaide, but not anywhere near previous demand levels".
"We'll keep a close eye on demand over the coming days and we continue to ask customers to buy only what they need," the spokesperson said.
"We have good levels of stock flowing through our distribution centres and into South Australian stores."

But South Australian-owned Drakes Supermarkets announced it would reinstate a two-pack limit on toilet paper, after noticing shoppers buying more than necessary.

In April, an Adelaide man who was hoarding toilet paper and hand sanitiser tried to return $10,000 worth of products to a Drakes store.

Drakes Supermarkets director John-Paul Drake said the shopper had bought the goods with the help of a "team" of stockpilers when panic buying surged in March.
"In that conversation [the shopper said] 'my eBay site has been shut down, so we couldn't profiteer off that'," Mr Drake told ABC Radio Adelaide.
"He had a team of people that were buying products … 20 [people], I was told."

The man was refused a refund. ... tp#image=1


Premier reassures supply lines remain open to Tasmania
Following concerns over Tasmania's border remaining closed until the end of August, Premier Peter Gutwein has reassured residents the state's supply line will remain open. ... d=msedgntp
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys Sicko
Posts: 12469
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Aug 06, 2020 11:39 am



















CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys Sicko
Posts: 12469
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Fri Aug 07, 2020 6:21 am

Victoria records 471 new coronavirus cases and 8 deaths, including 4 linked to aged care
Stage 4 restrictions came into effect in Melbourne at midnight.
Key points:
Victoria now has more than 1,500 cases linked to aged care
The Premier released more details of stage 4 restrictions on Melbourne businesses, which took effect today
Mr Andrews said specialist tradespeople would be allowed to move between different construction sites

Victoria has recorded 471 further cases of coronavirus, and 8 new deaths, Premier Daniel Andrews has announced.
The latest deaths include 2 men in their 60s, 3 men and 2 women in their 80s and 1 woman in her 90s.
4 of the latest deaths are linked to aged care, Mr Andrews said.
The latest deaths take Victoria's death toll from COVID-19 to 170.
Mr Andrews said the state had recorded a further 107 "mystery" cases — cases of suspected community transmission, for which no source could be found.

There are 7,449 active coronavirus cases in Victoria, including 1,533 linked to aged care, including residents and staff.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said he was hopeful the state's numbers of daily new cases would start to decrease over the next seven to 10 days.

Professor Cheng said if Victoria's daily new cases had continued to rise at the rate they were growing in late June, the state would have been recording 2,000 new cases a day by last week, and 20,000 new cases a day by next week.

The Premier was grilled at length by reporters about what he knew about the failures of the state's hotel quarantine program, after the inquiry into the scheme was delayed due to stage 4 restrictions.

Mr Andrews called the inquiry in June after genomic sequencing revealed a number of coronavirus cases could be linked to "staff members in hotel quarantine breaching well-known and well-understood infection control protocols".

The Opposition has accused Mr Andrews of using the inquiry to deflect questions about the program, but the head of the board of inquiry, former Family Court judge Jennifer Coate, said there was "no general restriction or prohibition which would prevent a person from commenting publicly" on the matters she was examining.

Mr Andrews told reporters he did not have the answers to the questions he was being asked and the inquiry would find those answers.
"Then I'll be accountable for those errors, mistakes that were made," he said.

Mr Andrews also announced further details of stage 4 shutdown regulations for businesses, which took effect across Melbourne on Thursday.

Acknowledging confusion about the detail of the stage 4 restrictions, which will require thousands of shops, factories and offices to close or scale back their operations, Mr Andrews said: "This is always going to be an imperfect process, it's never been done before.
"There will always be further changes based on further feedback we get."

On Wednesday night, the conditions under which abattoirs could continue to operate were finalised, Mr Andrews said.

Abattoirs that produce red meat will reduce to two thirds of their normal operations, but poultry processors will operate at 80 per cent capacity, to avoid large numbers of birds being destroyed but not processed, leading to supply shortages.

Small abattoirs with fewer than 25 employees and seafood processors with fewer than 40 staff will not be required to reduce their operations.

Supermarket and warehouse distribution centres that deal with medical equipment and pharmaceuticals have been given extra time to comply with restrictions that would force them to reduce their workforces.

They will be given until midnight Sunday to comply, instead of midnight Friday.
"These specific plans are about trying to strike a balance between driving down the number of people that are going to and from work, the number of people who are congregating for work in one place, but also making sure that there is enough food on the shelves," Mr Andrews said.
"There's no need for people to be going out and buying up."

Construction industry groups and unions had raised concerns about rules restricting the activities of builders and tradespeople, but the Premier said he was sticking to them.
"No-one enjoys having to wind back activity in any part of the economy and no-one enjoys, certainly, putting timelines off," he said.
"But if we're going to drive down these numbers we've got to limit the activity that's going on."

Private construction jobs for buildings of more than three storeys will be reduced to 25 per cent of their operations, and smaller residential jobs will be limited to five staff on site at any one time.
"There will be limited movement allowed, particularly for specialist trades who, once they've completed their task, they need to go to the next home," Mr Andrews said.
"Building supervisors, people running those teams of tradespeople, they'll also be able to move between sites but there are strict COVID-safe plans for that industry."

Stage three restrictions now in place across regional Victoria
Stage three restrictions are officially in place across regional Victoria.

Elective surgeries have ceased in order to free up hospital beds and support regional aged care facilities and there are now only four reasons to leave home including to get medical care, go to work, for daily exercise and to buy essentials.
Regional Victorians are no longer allowed visitors in their homes and can only gather with one person from outside their household in public.

All regional Victorians must also wear a mask or face covering while outside. ... d=msedgntp ... d=msedgntp

Postcode data reveals suburbs in Melbourne's north and west are growing coronavirus hotspots
ADF personnel have been doorknocking to check on Victorians who are supposed to be self-isolating after contracting coronavirus.
New figures show Melbourne's northern and western suburbs continue to bear the brunt of Victoria's active COVID-19 cases.
There are now 15 postcodes with more than 100 active cases, with postcode 3029 topping the list with 459 active cases.

The postcode takes in the suburbs of Truganina, Tarneit and Hoppers Crossing in Melbourne's west, with the number of active cases rising by 113 from 346 last Friday.
Truganina is home to Al-Taqwa College, the school which had been linked to scores of cases.
There are 7,449 active coronavirus cases in Victoria, including 1,533 linked to aged care, including residents and staff.

The postcode with the second-highest number of cases is 3064 in Melbourne's north, which includes the suburbs of Craigieburn, Roxburgh Park and Donnybrook.
It has 331 active cases, up from 286 last week.
Suburbs in the postcode 3030, which includes Werribee and Point Cook, are continuing to grow, with the area recording 327 active coronavirus cases.

Other hotspot postcodes include 3021, which encompasses St Albans, Albanvale, Kealba and Kings Park.
It has 262 COVID-19 cases, up from 221 last week.
The postcode 3023, which takes in Caroline Springs, Deer Park, Ravenhall, Cairnlea and Burnside in Melbourne's west, has 200 active cases, up from 177 last week.

In postcode 3020, which includes Sunshine, Sunshine West and Albion, there are 190 cases and in 3037, which includes Sydenham, Delahey, Taylors Hill and Calder Park, there are 156 active cases.

Other postcodes with more than 100 cases include 3076, which includes Epping, with 152. The suburb is home to the Epping Gardens aged care centre.
Postcode 3175, in Melbourne's south-east, including Dandenong and Bangholme, has 147 active infections.

Others to have more than 100 cases are 3073 in Reservoir with 116 cases; 3031, including Kensington and Flemington, with 113 cases; 3024, which includes Wyndham Vale and Mount Cottrell, with 110 cases; 3337, taking in areas of Melton and Toolern Vale, with 105 cases and 3338, which takes in parts of Melton and Brookfield and has 105 cases.
Fawkner, in postcode 3060, has 96 active infections. The St Basil's aged care facility is in this suburb.
Postcode 3000, covering central Melbourne, has 51 cases.

Outside metropolitan Melbourne, postcode 3250, which includes the south-west town of Colac, has 75 cases, up from 69 on Friday. Most Colac cases are linked to the Australian Lamb Company meatworks.
Scores of postcodes in regional Victoria have no cases.
Health authorities say the postcode data records the registered address the patient gave to authorities and may not necessarily be where they currently reside. ... s/12531920

Mystery COVID-19 cases by postcodes
44 local government areas across Victoria have been listed as hotspots for mystery cases of coronavirus.

The list, released by the Victorian Government today, contains almost 600 cases where health authorities cannot link a point of contact for community spread of the infection.

Existing hotspots include Brimbank, Maribyrnong, Hume, and Moreland.
Brimbank topped the list with 71 mystery cases, with Maribyrnong reporting 31 cases, Hume 39 and Moreland 22.
Wyndham reported 58 mystery cases and Melton recorded 48 cases.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said today there are 107 additional mystery cases or additional community transmissions.
Victoria's total active cases currently stands at 7449 and the total active cases that have a link to aged care are 1533 - among both residents and staff.
The state recorded an additional 471 coronavirus cases over the latest 24-hour period and eight further deaths. ... d=msedgntp

Claims Victoria scaled back virus tracing as cases soared
Victoria's Premier Daniel Andrews has denied scaling back contact tracing efforts as coronavirus spread into Melbourne communities.

9News has confirmed with sources very close to the operation that efforts were reduced in May and June as authorities thought were on top of the virus and were close to eliminating it.
But by late May, the Rydges Hotel Quarantine outbreak had been identified.
Three weeks later the Stamford Plaza outbreak had taken off.
Both hotel quarantine programs were operated by contracted and sub-contracted security guards.

The program is now the subject of an independent inquiry in Victoria.

Sources told 9News contact tracers were too reliant on businesses like abattoirs, doing their own contact tracing.
9News has been told the failings in the system were "catastrophic" and "worse than the hotel quarantine program".
Asked if he had scaled back resources in late May-June, Premier Daniel Andrews said: "No, that team is a very big team, it's growing steadily as cases have grown".
"We've always had people in reserve. If it has to grow further, it will."

But 9News can reveal by mid-June there were 57 tracers, but that grew to 2,000 by the end of July.
Many call handlers were brought in from Qantas, Telstra, Jetstar and Medibank.

Since June 9 the number of coronavirus cases has exploded by more than 10,600 with another 128 deaths added to the toll.

In New South Wales in the same time frame, they have had six outbreaks all from Victoria, but 695 cases and two deaths.

Today NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian praised her tracing team's "absolutely meticulous detective work which has been able to keep NSW in the position we're in."

Last month the Prime Minister indicated the federal government had identified problems with Victoria's model of operation, and he heaped praised on NSW.
"You don't protect your economy by continually shutting things down. That's what you have to do when things get to the point they have in Victoria," he said.
"But you can continue to move forward in the way that New South Wales is demonstrating by building that capability for tracing, for testing and so on.
"This is why the tracing is so important. And to have the capability not just to make the calls and to trace the calls and but it is also to ensure that the way that workload is managed is appropriately tasking all the resources there to make sure you keep up to date with it.
"And so, the key defence as we move forward is to ensure that you have the testing and the isolation of those cases that are positive and the prompt tracing of all those cases.
"New South Wales has done incredibly well on that on the Crossroads case in recent days and I think that will have prevented the flow on, potentially, of other cases that could arise."

Commodore Mark Hill is overseeing an ADF Response in Victoria, which now involves more than 1,500 troops.
The country's Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel is working with Victoria to help it bolster tracing capability. ... d=msedgntp

What it takes to fight community infection as a COVID-19 contact tracer
Contact tracers play a critical role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in communities — but what's involved in being a disease detective?
"It can get quite complicated," public health physician Kari Jarvinen told ABC Radio Brisbane.

Before COVID-19, teams like Dr Jarvinen's, at the Metro South Public Health Unit in Brisbane, were kept busy contacting people following measles outbreaks and instances of food poisoning.

Contact tracing teams are often made up of health workers who have received specific training and registration.
"We aren't wearing the masks, the gloves and the yellow gowns," nurse Greta Beaverson said.
"But we are behind the phone playing an integral part in the fight against COVID-19."

Once they receive notification of a positive case, it's all systems go.
"Our contact tracers … will get on the phone and call the person, asking a standard list of questions making sure they're OK and particularly focusing on where did their symptoms begin," Dr Jarvinen said.

They will then work back with the person to map their movements from 48 hours before symptoms began, to the present day.
"We try to use all means possible: have you got a diary, have you got any shopping tickets, check your credit card account."

Tangled web
Dr Jarvinen said the process could be a very complex and lengthy, and interviews sometimes involved interpreters.

Then the information must be cross-checked.

"If they've been to the doctors, we need to call the doctors," Dr Jarvinen said.
"Often they will try to check the CCTV footage to really check how long they were there, were there other people in the waiting room."

Once the team has established where a person has been, it's time to get in touch with people they were around to establish whether they are close contacts or casual contacts.

After someone has received a call confirming they have tested positive, compliance teams will issue legal directives telling that person to isolate, and that penalties will apply if they don't.

The call no-one wants to receive
No-one likes being the bearer of bad news, but for contact tracers, it is part of the job.
"For some cases, we are the first to confirm their diagnosis of the virus, so we deal with a mix of emotions each day," Ms Beaverson said.
"You never know what your day is going to look like and whether a confirmed case has five contacts or 30, or if they expected this result, or they are in complete shock at being told they are positive.
"The welfare of the other person at the end of the phone line is most important, so we try to assist them to calm down."

If a person being contacted needs support, contact tracers can connect people with social workers and other services.

Dr Jarvinen said most people were able to recover from home, but contact tracers would call an ambulance for anyone at risk.

Helping to make the job easier
If you have symptoms, get tested and stay home.
"That's the best way we can pick up any new cases as quickly as possible,: Dr Jarvinen said.
"They'll be notified and we'll get onto it."

He repeated the advice health authorities have been hammering home since the beginning.
"Do the basic things," he said.
"Maintain social distancing, wash your hands." ... d=msedgntp

Widespread community transmission 'won't suddenly disappear': Hunt
FEDERAL Health Minister Greg Hunt says Victoria has seen significant and widespread community transition but could not confirm whether cases would soar beyond 1000 before falling.

The Australian was able to obtain the Andrew's government's estimates COVID-19 cases were predicted to peak at 1100 cases in a 24 hour period by the end of next week amid an eight-day onslaught.
"That's not something I've seen or the Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly has seen," Mr Hunt said.
"There's widespread community transmission... with 700 cases yesterday, they're not about to suddenly disappear.
"Borders, testing, tracing and distancing all need to be in place."

Concerns were raised national food supply lines were thinning due to impact rolling lockdowns have had on business operations, staffing levels and distribution of goods.

Mr Hunt said continuity of supply was critically important and progress was being made in Victoria to ensure the state would be cared for while maintaining the overall safety of residents. ... d=msedgntp

Victorian coronavirus briefing sees Daniel Andrews grilled on hotel quarantine failures but few insights emerge
For a significant portion of Thursday's 90-minute coronavirus briefing in Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews was grilled by journalists about how cases leaked out of the state's hotel quarantine program in May.

In an at-times-tense press conference, the Premier repeatedly said he did not have answers on key questions about the bungled hotel scheme, but declared that ultimately he would be accountable.
"I will own those errors. I will be accountable for those errors,'' he said.

For weeks, the Government has declined to offer detailed responses to questions about exactly how and when cases from the state's hotel quarantine program infected security guards, who in turn infected families and contributed significantly to the second wave of infections.
It has instead said it would be inappropriate to answer questions due to the ongoing inquiry into the program being run by former judge Jennifer Coate, which this week delayed its hearings to August 17 in light of the stage 4 restrictions.

The inquiry noted at its outset it was possible that "every case" of coronavirus in Melbourne's second wave of cases could be traced by to infection control breaches in the hotel quarantine program.

But Ms Coate made a point on Wednesday of highlighting that the inquiry was "not a court" and therefore there was no issue with public discussion of the matters being examined.

She said: "There is no general restriction or prohibition which would prevent a person from commenting publicly or answering questions to which they know the answers on matters which are the subject of examination by this board of inquiry."

So, journalists pursued detailed answers from the Premier with renewed vigour. These were some of his responses.

When did the Premier first learn about problems in the program?
Mr Andrews said he would have been alerted as a number of hotel quarantine outbreaks were discovered, some of which were publicly revealed at public briefings in late May.
"I would have been made aware along the way that there had been infections. And that various steps had been taken," he said.

But he said the Government only learnt on June 30 that scientific analysis had revealed a large group of cases in Melbourne's second wave of infections were linked to those hotel quarantine outbreaks.
"I don't think anyone had a sense, certainly I did not have a sense, that we were heading towards a situation where genomic sequencing would confirm at least a significant number of cases had come from that setting," he said.

He said hours after learning of the report's findings, he and Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton revealed it to the public at that day's press conference and the Government overhauled the hotel quarantine program and launched an independent inquiry.
Who was actually responsible for running the program?
This is a question that has still not been clarified, with Health Minister Jenny Mikakos previously stating her Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) did not oversee the security contracts.

Mr Andrews said there were multiple agencies who had been tasked with running the system and "lines of authority and accountability" were not clear, which was why he set up the inquiry.
The Premier said he did not have the answers to the questions he was being asked and the inquiry would find those answers.
"Then I'll be accountable for those errors, mistakes that were made," he said.
"It would be wrong to think that I'd been briefed about the problem that we've all become aware of.
"We need to get these answers. If I had them, I would provide them to you. I simply don't.
"In terms of exactly who has made decisions at an operational level, they are some of the questions I simply don't have the answers to."

But the Premier was clear that the buck stopped with him, although he declined to say if he could end up resigning over the issue.
"I, as leader of the state and leader of the Government, will be accountable," he said.

Why can't you answer simple questions about the chain of responsibility for the program?
The Premier insisted that he was not trying to avoid accountability or hide behind the inquiry's work.
"The judicial inquiry has not been established for the avoidance of scrutiny. Quite the opposite," he said.
"We don't have answers to questions that we need answered. That's why we have an independent process, well-resourced, well-equipped, well-skilled to go and get those answers for us.
"That is the appropriate thing to do. The alternative would've been no inquiry — then you would be rightly critical of that."

He said there "will come a time" when the Government will speak in detail about the issues with the program, because the inquiry will have made them clear.

Did the National Cabinet recommend the involvement of police or the ADF?
Questions have been asked in the wake of the hotel quarantine outbreaks about whether Victoria was advised to involve police and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) more heavily in the program, instead of employing security guards.
"Exactly what was recommended by National Cabinet is something Judge Coate will go to," he said.
"I don't know that that's [that National Cabinet recommended the involvement of police or ADF] necessarily an accurate statement.
"ADF provided transport support in some states. The suggestion the ADF were running hotel quarantine anywhere, I don't think that is accurate."
He also highlighted the fact that the program was "reset" as soon as the genomic sequencing report revealed links between the hotel quarantine cases and outbreaks in Melbourne's north and west.

It is now being overseen by Corrections Victoria, with some support from Victoria Police.

Why won't the Government release the genomic sequencing report that sheds light on the issue?
The Opposition this week joined some crossbench MPs in forcing a sitting of the Upper House against the advice of Professor Sutton, which it said was necessary so the Government could be held to account.

It is calling on the Government to release the genomic sequencing report that revealed the link between hotel quarantine outbreaks and many of the early cases in Victoria's second wave of infections.

Mr Andrews said the genomic sequencing document was "not a document that I hold" to release.

He said he had received no further briefings and held no further advice than that which he shared with the public on June 30 but would try to follow up requests for subsequent genomic sequencing analysis.
"Look, if there's any sense or any suggestion that there are, you know, boxes of genomic sequencing reports and I'm not letting them be released, it's simply wrong," he said.
"I get briefed on the results. The one briefing that I think I've had is the one I stood here hours later and took everyone through." ... e/12531286

Eerie pictures show Melbourne's streets under Stage 4 lockdown
Eerie pictures show Melbourne's desolate streets under unprecedented Stage 4 lockdown as the city grapples with an increasingly deadly coronavirus outbreak.

The once thriving Bourke Street Mall, famous for tourists and shoppers, has been stripped bare of foot traffic, while commuters typically pouring out of Flinders Street Station are nowhere to be seen.

Restaurants and cafes preemptively shut their doors ahead of Thursday's tough new restrictions for non-essential businesses in Melbourne, which is expected to put 250,000 people out of work.

The harsh rules for businesses and workers, including an 8pm until 5am curfew, come after Victoria broke its record for its worst day since the pandemic begun, with 725 coronavirus cases and 15 deaths reported on Wednesday.
A lone pedestrian in a face mask crosses Bourke Street in Melbourne on Thursday morning (pictured) as all non-essential businesses were forced to shut
Melburnians allowed to work on-site now have to show a permit or official work ID if they are by stopped police to prove they can leave their homes, or face fines of up to $99,123 for businesses and up to $19,826 for individuals.

Since the Stage 4 restrictions were brought into Melbourne by the Victorian government on Sunday, there's been rising confusion about who can and cannot leave home for work in metropolitan Melbourne.

The government had promised to provide more details ahead of the restrictions coming into effect from Thursday but business groups say it came very late in night, leaving business scrambling to make adjustments.

Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said nothing was made available by the Department of Health and Human Services until after 11pm Wednesday - 59 minutes before Stage 3 restrictions came into effect across the entire state.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos tweeted a public link to the updated guidelines at 1am Thursday.
'It's still a bit of a disaster,' Mr Willox told Nine's Today show on Thursday.
'We're now on the first morning of the new lockdown, and businesses still aren't clear on what they can and can't do.

Mr Willox said businesses were 'flying blind', particularly on issues like warehouses, noting that 'reducing numbers of staff in warehouses would impact on food supplies, among many other things', he told ABC radio.

An eerily quiet Bourke Street Mall is seen without shoppers on Thursday morning (pictured) as Melburnians are required to stay at home
An empty Swanston Street is seen on Wednesday night in Melbourne's central business district on Wednesday night (pictured) during the nighttime curfew

Retailers across the city will largely be closed to customers and construction and manufacturing is also being scaled back to help slow the virus spread. Workers in meat processing and abattoirs would be reduced amid the changes to businesses.

Premier Daniel Andrews moved forward with the changes despite pleas from businesses to delay shutting down much of the state's economy.
'I don't think any business will be happy with the decisions that have had to be made,' he said on Thursday.
'I'm not happy to make these decisions of the but sadly we don't have the luxury of finding things, of that being the ultimate guide.
'The guide here has gotta be to drive down the amount of movement to then drive down the number of cases.'
'I'm not for a moment saying businesses are happy about this. They're not, I'm not, workers are not. This is not the position we wanted to find ourselves in.'

The Morrison government has raised fears the reduction in warehouse and distribution capacity could sap supply in other parts of Australia.

But Mr Andrews is adamant he has struck a delicate balance as the state enters the country's harshest lockdown.
'A lot of work has gone into driving down staff levels but, at the same time, protecting the amount of product that will be on supermarket shelves,' he said.
'That's our aim. That's what we think we can confidently deliver.'
A department store employee in a face mask wheels clothes across Bourke Street Mall on Wednesday (pictured) as retailers prepare to shut up shop
https://wus-streaming-video-msn-com.aka ... 4_2250.mp4
Business leaders held crisis talks with the state government on Wednesday night over fears the clampdown on warehouses could trigger national food shortages.

In response, supermarket distribution centres and medical warehouses will have an extra two days to comply with restrictions.

From midnight on Sunday they will be forced to reduce capacity by a third.

Red meat processors will switch to 66 per cent, while abattoirs with 25 or fewer staff will be exempt.

Poultry will only fall to 80 per cent capacity in a bid to avoid birds being destroyed but not processed, which would have sparked significant chicken shortages.

Police and ADF personnel have been seen trudging the streets of Melbourne throughout the state's deadly second wave of infections, making sure residents are following the public health advice and covering their faces.

Amid the outbreak, regional Victoria has entered Stage 3 restrictions, with residents only able to leave their homes for four reasons: to shop for food and essential items, to provide or receive care, exercise, and work and study if they can't from home.
Two men in face masks walk past a shuttered Zara store at Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne on Wednesday (pictured) as non-essential businesses shut up shop

A man looks across the Yarra River in Melbourne's empty CBD during lockdown on Wednesday (pictured) with residents only allowed to leave home for essential reasons

Hairdresser Niki Fiocca said she had been solidly booked by customers in recent days before her salon must close for at least six weeks.
'I just hope that this all works out for us,' said Fiocca, revealing she felt 'a little bit under stress.'
'If everyone did the right thing, maybe this wouldn't have happened,' she added, referring to Melbourne's growing COVID-19 infections.

Melbourne café owner Maria Iatrou's business has been classified as essential so she can continue selling takeaway coffee and home deliveries on Thursday.

She's tiring of the seemingly ever-changing restrictions.
'It's not only that there is that many people out of a job, they're also telling everybody to stay home and only got out for one hour a day to go shopping or whatever -- I don't understand why we have been told to stay open,' Iatrou said.

She questions why a liquor store is classified as an essential business but a hairdresser was not.
'There have been some half-hearted attempts at things and if you're going to shut things down, shut them down. Now it's, You can stay open and you can stay open, but you can't,' Ms Iatrou said.

Victoria reported an additional 471 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday and eight deaths, taking the state's death toll to 170 and the national tally to 255. Of the new deaths, four were linked to age care.
A woman wearing a mask walks past the Melbourne Cricket Ground and along a bridge on Wednesday (pictured) during the Stage 4 lockdown ... d=msedgntp

Vic daily COVID-19 case count expected to peak at 1100 by next Sunday ( FRONT PAGE – THE AUSTRALIAN )
Victoria’s coronavirus cases are predicted to peak at 1100 cases in a 24 hour period by the end of next week amid an eight-day onslaught where it is expected the state will record around 1000 cases each day.

The Australian was able to obtain the Victorian government's estimates for the coming weeks which also show the average number of new cases per day is not expected to decrease until the final week of August.

Sky News contributor Caleb Bond told Sky News, “it’s obviously not good news that the worst is yet to come, and of course it points to the fact that Victoria wasn’t on top of the cases when they worked out what was going on".
“I’m surprised that we’ve not actually seen more growth in the time that we have".

Victorian leaders say they haven't seen 'figures which suggest peak is weeks away'
Victorian health experts say they have not seen figures which reportedly suggest the state's coronavirus peak is still weeks away.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said he had not seen modelling, reported by News Corp, and such figures did not come from the Victorian or Federal Governments.
"I first went to check our internal modelling. I also checked with the Commonwealth, with Brendan Murphy's team. We can't find anything that looks like that," Dr Cheng said.

He said his own modelling was not, "particularly helpful other than to say we expect it (the curve) to start decreasing from next week". Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the most significant data would come as stage four continued.
"I wouldn't describe that as modelling. No-one in charge of modelling has seen it," Mr Andrews said.

Earlier today, Health Minister Greg Hunt also said he had not been shown health modelling regarding a coronavirus peak for the state.

Victoria has recorded an additional 471 coronavirus cases and eight further deaths over the latest 24-hour period.

It comes a day after the state recorded its worst day yet of the pandemic with 725 new cases and 15 deaths – including a man in his 30s.

Melbourne went into stage 4 lockdown over the weekend, with some measures, including the closure of non-essential retailers, kicking in last night. ... d=msedgntp ... d=msedgntp

Coronavirus restrictions on food processing in Victoria won't lead to shortages, says Premier Daniel Andrews
Key points:
Victoria's red-meat plants will have their staff numbers cut to 66 per cent from Sunday
Chicken processing will be down to 80 per cent due to its different life cycle
The Masters Grocers Association says the measures are "not practical" and could cause shortages

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is adamant his severe restrictions on staffing levels at food processing and distribution centres will not lead to national food shortages.

In recent days, the food and grocery industry has been warning of serious supply shortages in Victoria, with flow-on effects for Australia, if food distribution centres and abattoirs are forced to cut staffing levels by one-third this weekend.

Mr Andrews is imposing the staff reductions as part of his attempt to quash his state's COVID-19 outbreak.

From midnight on Sunday, meat processing plants — a source of Victoria's recent outbreak — will have their staffing levels cut by up to one-third.
Red meat plants — beef, lamb, and pork processing centres — will have their staff numbers cut to 66 per cent.
Chicken processing will be down to 80 % staff, due to the nature of the different life cycle of poultry.
Seafood centres with less than 40 staff won't need to make changes, and smaller abattoirs with 25 or fewer staff will also be exempt.

Fruit and vegetable wholesalers will also remain open with reduced staffing levels.
Mr Andrews said the changes were necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19, and he believed he had got the levels right so there would be no food shortages.

He said there was "no need for people to be trying to stockpile months and months of food," although he warned Victorians they may not be able to buy every cut of meat they'd like over coming months.
"You may not necessarily be able to get exactly the cut of meat that you want, but you will get what you need and you will get all the products that are, basically, fundamentally important to you," he said on Thursday.
"It'll only make things harder if people who have the means to do it, go and buy enormous quantities of food.
"That'll just mean that other people, potentially, don't get the things they need. That's why the supermarkets have put a number of buying limits in place.
"A lot of work has gone into driving down staff levels but, at the same time, protecting the amount of product that will be on supermarket shelves. That's our aim."

Despite the Premier's attempt to clarify his plans, confusion still reigned.

A joint phone call was held on Thursday afternoon for representatives of supermarkets, food wholesalers and retailers, to speak to Victorian government officials to understand how the planned staff reductions could work in practice.

Different operations along the food supply chain have different needs.
Jos De Bruin, the chief executive of Master Grocers Australia, said it was not practical to reduce warehousing staff numbers by one-third.
"If you reduce warehousing staff by one-third, if effectively reduces the ability to supply. It slows things down," he told the ABC.
"Coupled with that, you've got people panicking and regardless of what anyone says, they're not going to buy their weekly shop, they might buy a week-and-a-half or two-weeks if they can afford it, because it's there and they're frightened.
"That's going to put an immediate impact on our shelves.
"And it's not just that. We've got cafes, bars, bistros, hotels, and restaurants closing. Sure, they're doing takeaway, but there's a curfew so people will stay home and eat at home more.
"We've got this perfect storm of demand, and yet we've got this ruling that staffing levels have to be reduced at distribution centres … it's not practical."

Mr De Bruin said he'd be seeking clarification to see if a 30 % reduction in staff could be applied to a business's overall operation, rather than to each business unit within an operation.

Victoria is the second-largest state in Australia in terms of economic output.
It accounts for over 23 % of the national economy,
behind New South Wales (32.1 %)
but ahead of Queensland (19 %),
Western Australia (14.7 %),
South Australia (5.7 %),
the ACT (2.1 %),
Tasmania (1.7 %)
and the Northern Territory (1.4 %).

It is also the nation's largest exporter of food and fibre, accounting for nearly 30 % of such exports in 2018-19.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is adamant his severe restrictions on staffing levels at food processing and distribution centres WILL NOT lead to NATIONAL food shortages. ... d=msedgntp

'Slowdown' in product distribution to impact consumers
Australian Food and Grocery Council Acting CEO Dr Geoffrey Annison says there are concerns government restrictions on manufacturers due to the coronavirus crisis in Victoria might impact Australian consumers along the chain.
Concerns have mounted over possible supply shortages in supermarkets due to coronavirus induced travel restrictions and limits on workplaces and warehouses.
“What might not be appreciated is that if we have any slowdown of products moving out of the warehouses then obviously we have to also slow down product upstream in the manufacturing sectors,” he told Sky News.
“We appreciate strongly the government’s desire to suppress the transmission of this virus but it is important that we get these products that everyday Australians, and particularly Victorians, at this time need to get from the supermarkets.”

Mr Annison said it was “problematic and maybe unnecessary” for the government to impose a “blanket requirement” across parts of the supply chain which will see workers allowed on site reduced by a third.

He said the group supported the government’s efforts “to reduce transmission across the community but we just think we can nuance some of this response and still remain an effective suppression of the virus in the food production and supply chain”.
“What we’d like [the government] to do is recognise that the distribution centres, as well as other parts of the supply chain, have sophisticated COVID-safe plans already which go to staff management and how they interact on site,” he said. ... d=msedgntp
What one-third reduction in output at Victorian meat plants during coronavirus lockdown means for supermarkets
Premier Daniel Andrews has announced workforce restrictions on Victoria's meat industry, with the aim of reducing the state's alarming spike in coronavirus infections.

From midnight on Sunday, Victorian abattoirs will be required to reduce production by a third, while poultry farmers will operate at only 80 per cent capacity.

So, how will that impact on the availability of our favourite meat products on supermarket shelves?
'You may not be able to get the cut of meat you want'
The measures come while greater Melbourne is in stage 4 lockdown, which will run until September 13, unless extended. Regional Victoria is under stage 3 restrictions.

Mr Andrews says he's trying to balance the urgent need to flatten the curve of daily cases, while "not compromising" the food supply for families.
But while most meats will be available, he did concede there could be some product shortages.
"You may not necessarily be able to get exactly the cut of meat that you want," Mr Andrews said at Thursday's media briefing.
"But you will get what you need, and you will get all the products that are, basically, fundamentally important to you."

Meat-producing sites, with fewer than 25 employees, will be exempt from Victoria's workforce reduction requirements.
The Premier said that while most meats would be available to Victorians, some special cuts may be hard to find for a while.

Victorians urged not to panic buy
The early stages of the pandemic saw a rush by consumers across the country to buy products like toilet paper and hand sanitiser, forcing supermarkets to impose limits.

Victorians may be tempted to stock up on meat and poultry products, given the imminent reduction in production.
But Mr Andrews urged the state's residents to show restraint on upcoming trips to local shopping centres.
"There's no need to buy three months' worth of meat … that will only make it harder to make sure everybody else has got what they need," Mr Andrews said.
"Plus, we are confident that we can continue with these production levels and meet the needs of the Victorian community."

Two-pack limit at Coles, Woolworths
Coles and Woolworths have imposed a two-pack limit on most meat products for their Victorian customers.

For Woolworths, it applies to chicken, pork, lamb and beef.

Coles, which introduced the measures on Wednesday night, has included those four items, plus sausages and mince.

The limits also extend to Coles stores on the New South Wales border.
"Coles is working with our meat supply partners to ensure we can provide a broad range of products for our customers," a Coles spokesperson said.
"We will continue to monitor stock levels and we thank customers for purchasing only what they need."

Woolworths, whose restrictions were introduced last Sunday, is monitoring "the impact closely as the new restrictions come into effect".
"We expect we'll be able to maintain a good supply of fresh meat for our Victorian customers," a Woolworths spokesperson said.

Victoria's 800 retail butchers to remain open
The Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC) says it is "challenging to forecast" how the lockdown restrictions will affect product price and supply across Victoria and elsewhere.

In addition to affecting domestic sales, it says the reduction in production will affect the quantities of meat being sent to lucrative export markets.

However, it added the ability of Victoria's 800 butchers to remain open, despite tougher lockdown measures affecting most other retail businesses, will help consumers.
"What is positive for the community is that the over 800 independent retail butchers across Victoria remain open," said AMIC CEO Patrick Hutchinson.
"Any change to that would severely impact the ability of the community to access product, especially within metro Melbourne, noting the within 5km from home community restrictions on travel."

Chicken producers to face different rules
Initially, Victoria's poultry farms also faced a two-thirds' reduction in staffing levels.

But after complaints from industry leaders, the Premier changed his mind to allow chicken producers to cut staffing by only 20 per cent, instead of 33 per cent.
"They came back to us and said, 'Look, these will be the consequences ... you'll have hundreds of thousands of birds that will have to be killed but not processed'," Mr Andrews said.
"So, we've gone to 80 per cent ... [the] lifecycle of beef and others is longer."

Seafood centres with fewer than 40 staff won't need to make changes.

Fruit and vegetable wholesalers will also remain open, with reduced staffing levels.

Coronavirus exposes supply-chain flaws
The pandemic, with its many unpredictable twists and turns, has exposed flaws in Australia's supply-chain production, according to industry experts.

University of Melbourne food systems expert Rachel Carey told the ABC earlier this week reduced processing capacity had little immediate impact on food supply.

Empty shelves in supermarkets were triggered by consumers drastically changing their buying habits in a way that retailers couldn't keep up, she said, which highlighted vulnerabilities in the "just-in-time" food supply system.
"It doesn't mean that there isn't food in the system ... it just means that there's a bit of a lag, that food needs to get through," Dr Carey said.

The Premier said every Victorian had a part to play in avoiding meat and poultry shortages over the next month as the state endures an unwanted second lockdown.
"Every Victorian consumer can play their part in delivering that outcome by following the rules, going shopping within 5km, one person per day, buy what you need," Mr Andrews said. ... s/12530570
Big business ineligible for JobKeeper, placing Victorian employees at risk
Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox says a “very sad state of affairs” is emerging in Victoria where large numbers of employees could be forced onto welfare because they work for big companies ineligible for JobKeeper.
From midnight on Wednesday, a quarter of the national economy will shut down as Melbourne enters a six-week, stage four lockdown where one million workers will be placed under stay-at-home orders.

Under these conditions, most retail, manufacturing and administrative businesses will be forced to close and limits will be placed on the number of workers in abattoirs, warehouses and building sites.

Mr Willox spoke positively of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s openness to easing eligibility requirements and allowing newly affected firms to receive a wage subsidy beyond September.

At present businesses including Wesfarmers which employs 25,000 workers across Bunnings, Officeworks, K-Mart and Target in Victoria cannot claim JobKeeper because it does not meet the scheme’s revenue loss criteria. ... d=msedgntp ... d=msedgntp ... s/12531932

ACTU says reduced workforce necessary to halt virus
Supermarket warehouses in the state will have to reduce their workforce by a third from Saturday.

Melburnians flock to city market ... d=msedgntp

Melbourne shoppers have flocked to a city market in a shocking display of defiance of social distancing and the city's extreme Stage 4 lockdown.

As police and soldiers converged on surrounding streets to mark the first day of the hard lockdown, hundreds of shoppers packed into a popular inner-city market.

The Queen Victoria Market, on the outskirts of the CBD, was bustling with people on Thursday as shoppers ventured out of their homes under glorious winter sunshine to rub shoulders with masked strangers.

Daily Mail Australia saw scores of market shoppers thumbing their noses at social distancing laws while picking up fresh fruit and vegetables in the outdoor section of the market.

Shoppers at the market all wore masks but it was near impossible to keep your distance among the crowds

The mind boggling display came amid devastating news from Premier Daniel Andrews that Victoria had recorded 471 new cases of coronavirus and eight more deaths.
Daily Mail Australia watched market shoppers jostle for space among the crowded lanes on Thursday.

Along the footpath, police and soldiers walked a perimeter of the market without stepping foot inside to question anyone.

Although one market worker told Daily Mail Australia officers had attended the market that morning while it was quieter.
'They didn't buy anything,' she said.

The influx of shoppers will no doubt come as a major concern to Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng, who said on Thursday he hoped to see a decrease in current COVID numbers over the next 10 days.

Meanwhile, on the streets surrounding the busy market, police accompanied by soldiers patrolled neighbouring businesses ensuring that only essential places remained open.

The new lockdown conditions have forced the closure of companies in the entertainment, retail, travel and other sectors and is expected to put 250,000 people out of work.

Employees allowed to work on-site now have to show a permit or official work ID if they are by stopped police to prove they can leave their homes, or face fines of up to $99,123 for businesses and up to $19,826 for individuals.

On Thursday, police hit the streets of Melbourne to enforce the law.

Police sources have told Daily Mail Australia it is a daunting task for rank and file officers, who are effectively tasked with questioning anyone they remotely suspect could be breaching the lockdown laws.

Between 8pm and 5am, residents are only allowed to leave their house for work and essential health, care or safety reasons.

Police teams of two were accompanied by four soldiers in full camouflage gear as they patrolled the streets of Melbourne.
Protective Services Officers arrest a man on William Street in Melbourne on Thursday

They were seen stopping everyone from construction workers to homeless people they found sleeping on the streets.

Citizens who claimed to be workers were asked to produce proof that they were essential workers with specific signed documents they received from their employer.
Essential workers had struggled to obtain the documents amid the state government website collapsing and slow workplace action to sign and return the now essential documents.

While many of those who failed to produce the document on Thursday left with a warning, they are not expected to get lucky twice.

Police have been told to produce lists of those that have been approached and by the close of the week will likely include a list of those they have fined.

Daily Mail Australia staff were among those questioned and asked to produce the essential workers document on Thursday.

The police action coincided with the release of footage showing a dramatic takedown of a mum for breaking lockdown restrictions in Hoppers Crossing, west of Melbourne.

Confronting video, filmed by her daughter, showed the blonde woman screaming as the officers held her face-down on the footpath and handcuffed her arms behind her back.

It was claimed they had been standing 'with a poster about Russian politics' when she was pinned down, before both women were issued a $1,652 fine each for breaching coronavirus restrictions.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton issued a warning to anyone refusing to follow the rules.
'If you're not doing the right thing, we will not hesitate to issue infringements, to arrest you, to detain you where it's appropriate.'

Back on the streets of Melbourne, police and soldiers were joined by Melbourne City Council parking inspectors who continued to issue fines to the essential workers - mostly construction workers - forced to now park on the road.
Many workers have slammed the parking fines as cruel penny pinching as private carparks across the city have all had to close their doors under the latest lockdown restrictions.

Road traffic in Melbourne is now ruled almost exclusively by delivery vans and construction vehicles.

Hardly a shop remains open except for a few cafes that continue to feed the teams of flouro-wearing workers.

Melbourne's arterial roads remain a dream to drive on for those still forced to commute across town to perform essential duties.

Melbourne’s stage four shutdown is expected to strip as much as $9 billion from the national economy over the three months to September.

Of that, $6-7 billion would be lost in Victoria. ... d=msedgntp

Businesses hit by new Victorian Covid restrictions fear being thrown off JOBkeeper scheme
Companies hit by sweeping new restrictions in Victoria that came into force this week risk being thrown out of the federal jobkeeper support scheme unless the rules are changed, business leaders say.

They say this will put more jobs at risk in a state economy that is already set to be devastated by the new coronavirus lockdown, making it difficult for employers to keep people on in the run-up to Christmas.

While the business lobby is hopeful the prime minister will change the rules, on Thursday Scott Morrison stopped short of committing to action, saying instead that he and the treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, were “considering some further issues around jobkeeper” and lauding the “fantastic” and “tremendous” economic positions enjoyed by the other states and territories.
Sectors that saw a glimpse of economic sunshine in June when restrictions were lifted in Victoria are at risk even though they are set to see revenue plummet under the strict new restrictions, which have forced many businesses to close their doors and severely restricted the operations of others.

Under rules announced by the Morrison government late last month when jobkeeper was extended, at a reduced rate, to continue to receive payments past the end of September, companies will need to show a fall in revenue in both the three months to the end of June and the three months to the end of September.

This means businesses sectors that saw a significant bump in income in June risk flunking out of the program, even as they hunker down against Victoria’s six-week economic freeze.
“The businesses that did the right thing and did well won’t qualify,” the chief executive of the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia, Peter Strong, said.

He said he was hopeful Morrison would take account of Victoria’s plight and fix the rules.
“We need the changes because businesses need to plan,” he said.

Geoff Gwilym, the chief executive of the Victorian Automotive Chamber of Commerce, said his members, car dealers, were at risk of being caught in a double bind because they had to show a higher level of revenue decline due to their size.

Because cars are expensive, revenue can be very high – but profit margins can be as slim as 1%, Gwylim said.

Big businesses have to show a 50% drop in revenue but he said this should be reduced to 30%.

He said car dealers enjoyed a rush of trade when restrictions were lifted in June due to government stimulus measures including an instant asset tax write off for businesses, people drawing down their superannuation, and some part-time workers getting a wage increase due to a quirk in the jobkeeper system.
“There was also a huge movement of people who didn’t want to get on public transport,” he said. “They all thought they were going back to work in August.
“It gave you a peak in one month that could mean that your three-month turnover isn’t 50% less than the previous three months.”

Craig Whatman, a tax partner at Pitcher Partners, said the federal government should move from requiring two consecutive bad quarters to allowing averaging over the whole six months.

He said another problem businesses were facing was that while in the first round of jobkeeper businesses were allowed to use projections of their revenue to qualify for the payment, this time around the government was demanding actual figures.

This would make planning difficult, he said.
“For some smaller companies that means uncertainty about whether they’ll be able to employ people in the three months leading up to Christmas,” he said.

Asked on Thursday if the economy needed more stimulus due to Victoria’s dive back into heavy restrictions, Morrison said the cabinet expenditure review committee was “meeting constantly and the treasurer and I are considering some further issues around jobkeeper as I said we would be, and the treasurer will make more announcements about that”.

He said Victoria’s situation was “devastating for the Victorian economy but also the national economy”.
“But let’s remember, seven out of eight states and territories are in a fantastic position, a tremendous position,” he said.

He pointed to zero new coronavirus cases in Queensland (Victoria recorded 471) and “only around a dozen cases” in NSW.
“The NSW result, the result in other states, do fill me with confidence,” he said.

The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, said he was in constant dialogue with Morrison over federal government policy, including on jobkeeper.

Government will ease JOBKeeper criteria, adding $15 billion to the coronavirus recovery scheme
Hundreds of thousands more Victorians will be eligible for the JobKeeper wage subsidy, under changes worth an extra $15 billion.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has announced businesses will only need to show that their GST turnover had fallen over one quarter, instead of multiple, to be eligible for the scheme's extension.

Workers will also qualify if they were employed on July 1, rather than March 1.

"We believe that about 530,000 extra Victorian employees will now join the JobKeeper program over the September quarter, that means 1.5 million Victorian employees will be using JobKeeper," he said.

"That's nearly half of the private sector workforce across the whole state."

The changes will apply across the country, meaning some businesses in other states will qualify, however Mr Frydenberg said he expected $13 billion of the money to flow to Victoria.

The initial JobKeeper will finish on September 28, with businesses and employees needing to apply for the extension.

The Government initially outlined the JobKeeper extension guidelines on July 21, but says it needs to extend its criteria after the Victoria Government implemented stricter lockdowns across the state this week.

Under the previous guidelines, a business needed to record a loss in the June and September quarters.

Mr Frydenberg has blamed the stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne, and the wider restrictions across Victoria, for the Federal Government changing the scheme's extension.
Mr Frydenberg says the move will help residents there "get to the other side" of the coronavirus pandemic.
"(It's a) $15.5 billion commitment, of which around $13 billion will go towards businesses in Victoria to help them get to the other side of this," Mr Frydenberg told Today.
"We're now going to have JobKeeper at $101 billion – the single largest program that any Australian Government has ever undertaken in terms of economic support.
"We'll have around 1.5 million Victorians - that's nearly half the private sector work force - on JobKeeper during the September quarter and about 4 million Australian employees on JobKeeper.
"That's a substantial number of people that the government is helping get to the government is helping get to the other side."
"The introduction of stage 4 restrictions by the Victorian Government will have a severe economic impact on the Victorian and Australian economy."
The changes will also affect businesses who will apply for the second extension of JobKeeper.
Thousands of businesses have been forced to close under stage four restrictions imposed in the state, with around 250,000 jobs expected to be lost.
The second extension will begin on January 4 next year.

Under the previous guidelines, a business would have needed to record an actual GST turnover loss for the June, September and December quarters of this year.

Mr Frydenberg said a business would now need to show a loss for only the December quarter to qualify for the scheme in January.

These guidelines also affect non-profit organisations.
Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the changes were a "step in the right direction".
"To the extent that they've relaxed some of the eligibility criteria, that's a welcome step. But there are other things which trouble us in the changes that the Government announced," he said.
"And we still remain concerned that a lot of people are still left out of JobKeeper."
The treasurer says the JobKeeper payment will not be increased despite the program being expanded in light of Victoria's six-week lockdown.

The federal government announced tightening of the JobKeeper scheme only three weeks ago.

The $1500 payment is due to be cut to $1200 per fortnight from September which Mr Frydenberg says is "still 80 per cent of the minimum wage".
"We have to recognise that you've got the situation in Victoria and then you've got the rest of the country," Mr Frydenberg said.
"We're very much at two different stages in responding to the coronavirus."

He acknowledged treasury's economic update a fortnight ago was well out of date because the pandemic was "a very fluid situation".
"Economic forecasting is difficult at the best of times, let alone in the situations that we are in," he said.
"We can only make forecasts based on decisions that are taken, and in this case, the six-week lockdown in Victoria and really hope that progress is made in stemming the tide of new cases."
"It's very hard to start (the economy) up again on the other side. It's a challenge to get that balance right."

Earlier, Mr Frydenberg said changes to the scheme were a "direct result" of the spiralling COVID-19 crisis in Victoria, where 471 new cases and a further eight deaths were recorded yesterday.

"(JobKeeper is) a national program, it's a temporary program, but it's been an economic lifeline right now for 3.5 million Australian workers and nearly one million Australian businesses," Mr Frydenberg told A Current Affair.
"It's playing a critical role in our economy and obviously in Victoria it's going to be really heavily relied on, not just today but over the months ahead as those businesses continue to do it tough.
"There are a lot of things that we're doing that are helping to keep people in work and helping to cushion the blow for what are really difficult times."

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the eligibility test would be adjusted so employers only had to show a fall in turnover in the quarter to the end of September compared to the same period last year in order to qualify, opening the payments up to more people.

More details are expected to be revealed later today.

The JobKeeper expansion will be welcome news for many Australians, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the revised guidelines as "doing whatever it takes".
"Our response is to get the right support to all those Australian families, workers and businesses that need us, as these circumstances change," Mr Morrison said.
"This means more support for more workers and more businesses for longer, as we battle this latest Victorian wave."
"These changes apply right across the country, not just in Victoria, and there'll be additional people who get access to it in other states and territories," Mr Morrison told 2GB's Ben Fordham.
"We'd hopefully like to see (virus numbers) improve over the next seven days but we certainly haven't seen that up until now."

Victoria's stage four lockdowns has forced the closure of all non-essential businesses.

"These changes have got to be locked in and we've done a lot of work this week just trying to make sure those measures were as balanced as they could be," Mr Morrison said.
Employee eligibility will also be extended, with a worker qualifying for payments if they have been with their workplace since at least July 1, instead of the March 1 deadline initially slated.

New employees will be eligible for JobKeeper payments dating back to August 3. ... d=msedgntp ... d=msedgntp ... d=msedgntp

Melbourne's coronavirus work-from-home rules may have saved outer-suburban workers thousands of dollars
Sandra Steven's family has had four people working or studying from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, but she says that has been more relaxing than her usual long commutes to work from Melbourne's outer south-east.

The software consultant would normally leave her house in Berwick about 7:00am and wouldn't return home until about 6:00pm.

But that changed when she moved to working from home full-time because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"Now I get to sleep in, I probably get up at 7:30am and am at work in the loungeroom by 8:00am," she said.
"At lunch times I am sort of free to take my son on his scooter around the neighbourhood."

And Ms Steven said when she finishes work at 4:30pm she is available straight away to spend time with her family, or help out around the house, because she no longer has a commute.

In the past, she has had travelled for up to 90 minutes each way to get to and from work.
"I am a lot less tired," she said of her experience working from home.

Ms Steven said she now didn't have the stress of juggling work and making sure she was able to pick her son up on time and she was saving money she would normally spend on petrol and buying lunches and coffee.

She is not the only person in her house who has shifted to working from home.
"There is five of us at home, my husband in the kitchen-living [room], I am in the loungeroom, my daughter is doing year 12 from her bedroom, my son is doing grade four from his bedroom and my other daughter is in and out working," she said.

Ms Steven said her family was lucky they had the space to spread out.

She said she had previously worked about a day a fortnight from home, but had enjoyed the experience of working from home full-time during the pandemic.

Push to allow people to work from home after restrictions ease
The National Growth Areas Alliance — a peak body representing councils in Australia's outer suburb growth areas — commissioned a study into people working from home during the pandemic.

The study included a survey of more than 6,000 Australians and nearly 2,000 people from outer-suburban growth areas.

Executive officer, Bronwen Clark, said the study found more than half-a-million Australians living in outer suburbs could work from home after restrictions ease.
"That's over 500,000 people off the roads, and not overcrowding trains and public transport, and they're saving a lot of money every year," she said.
"So on average someone from the outer suburbs commuting to work will spend nearly $8,500 per year just on transport."

She said of the people surveyed from outer suburbs, more than half said they would like to continue working from home at least one day a week, after coronavirus restrictions ease.

She said working-from-home options had particular benefits for mums living in outer suburbs.
"Women in outer suburbs quite often just don't have the time in a day to combine getting children to childcare, commuting into the city for work and getting back in time (to pick their children up)," she said.
"It is the commuting time that is keeping a lot of people out of the workforce at the moment."

Ms Clark said she hoped the move to working from home during the pandemic for many Australians, led to long-term changes.
"People from the outer suburbs working from home were more productive, they are happier, they are healthier and they are experiencing much better relationships with other people in their households," she said.

Ms Clark said her organisation hoped to see more workforces using decentralised or satellite offices in the future so workers didn't continue to have extremely long commutes. ... d=msedgntp

Victorian coronavirus restrictions could see Melbourne childcare centres open with nobody to care for
Felicia Cheah isn't sure if she will have any children attending her childcare centre in Doncaster on Thursday, but thinks she may need to open her doors even if no-one turns up.

The support funding her centre receives from the Federal Government is tied to it remaining open, but Ms Cheah believes it is unlikely any of the families who are her customers will fit the criteria of being "permitted workers" under Melbourne's stage 4 lockdown rules.
"I am in shock. What am I meant to do with my staff?" Ms Cheah said.

Thousands of parents, children and childcare providers around the city are in the dark with only a day to go before new rules come into effect.

Under the terms, the Victorian Government has said only vulnerable children and those whose parents are permitted workers can attend childcare. Everyone else will have to stay at home.

The Government has published details of its worker permit scheme, but many parents are unsure what will happen to childcare fees and places, and for couples, what the rules are if one parent is a permitted worker and the other is not.

Premier Daniel Andrews said he would be seeking to provide "further clarity" this week.
"I don't want to give people false hope. There will be a lot of people who normally send their kids to childcare that will not be able to do that," he said.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said babysitters and nannies "might" be able to provide support to parents, but authorities are urging at-home care to be kept to a minimum.

Many in the sector are hoping to receive further support from the Commonwealth after JobKeeper payments were stopped in their industry in July.

Education Minister Dan Tehan told RN Breakfast this morning he would announce the details of the Federal Government's support package for Melbourne childcare centres at 11:00am.

Mr Tehan said the support package was aimed at allowing parents to keep their places for their children, guaranteeing the jobs of childcare workers, and providing centres with the funding they needed to keep going.

He said the Federal Government believed parents should not have to pay childcare fees for children who were not attending, and he hoped additional Federal Government support would allow centres to waive these fees for parents.

Childcare providers 'breaking down' at prospect of six-week lockdown
Daniela Kavoukas, a policy advisor at the Community Child Care Association who also manages a childcare centre, said many business owners and staff feared for their future.
"I've spoken to numerous services throughout community childcare that are saying they won't be able to make it through September," Ms Kavoukas said.
"There's been so many phone calls and people breaking down on the phone to us talking about what that's going to mean for them.
"We'd like to know who was on the permitted list so that we can start to plan for Thursday morning and who's going to be able to access services. Until we have that information. There's a lot of nervous families out there waiting."

Flemington mother Caitlyn Robertson said it was highly unlikely she would meet any criteria to be defined as a permitted worker and was preparing to keep her five-year-old daughter Norah home from Thursday.

On Tuesday, she dropped Norah off at their local childcare centre for one final day of kindergarten and so she could say bye to her friends and teachers.
"We'll probably end up doing lots of craft projects in between work assignments and lots of reading books and lots of cuddles," Ms Robertson said.

But Ms Robertson said managing her part-time job while looking after her daughter's needs would be "tricky".
"We'll just have to manage as best we can, I think. I hope employers are going to be understanding of the fact that working parents are juggling both their responsibilities over this stressful and anxious time." ... tp#image=1

Aged care outbreak at Bupa Traralgon largest in regional Victoria outside of Melbourne and Geelong
Bupa's aged care home in Traralgon in eastern Victoria is now dealing with the largest outbreak of coronavirus in regional Victorian aged care outside of Melbourne and Geelong.

Eight people, including four residents and four employees, have now tested positive for coronavirus in the past two weeks.

The outbreak was sparked by an infected but asymptomatic Melbourne health worker who visited the aged care home on July 16.

Testing this week has turned up another three cases in the past day.

A spokesman for Bupa said the company had been in touch with employees, residents, and their relatives to let them know that a further two staff members had tested positive.
"Another team member, who has been self-isolating and hasn't been in the care home for almost two weeks, also returned a positive test during this time," the spokesman said in a statement.

All residents and staff to be retested
The three infected staff members are isolating at home as stage three restrictions come into force in regional Victoria.
"They will not return to the care home for at least two weeks from the date of their positive test and on advice from the Public Health Unit," the spokesman said.
"While this news is difficult for all involved in the care home, our team is maintaining our strong focus on infection control including regular deep cleaning, separating of communities, and the use of full personal protective equipment," the spokesman said.

"We continue to monitor the health of all our residents closely."

All residents and employees at the Bupa aged care home in Traralgon will undergo further testing today.

The operator said it would be in touch with residents and their loved ones as soon as their results were available.

Visitors have not been allowed into the nursing home since July 8, almost a month.

In Ballarat, a cluster of five staff and residents were infected at the dementia specialist aged care home Bill Crawford Lodge run by Ballarat Health Services. ... d=msedgntp

Victorian coroner to investigate deaths at St Basil's aged care home during coronavirus pandemic
Victoria's coroner John Cain has launched an investigation into the deaths of five residents at St Basil's Homes for the Aged in Melbourne.

So far, 160 cases of COVID-19 have been linked to the aged care home at Fawkner, in Melbourne's north.

Victoria Police has been directed to compile a brief of evidence for the investigation.

The investigation is in its early stages, but if further deaths are reported to the coroner, it might expand to look fatalities at other locations, not just St Basil's.
"If during the investigation other relevant deaths are reported or identified, these may be included in the scope of the inquiry," the coroner's court said in a statement.

COVID-19 fatalities are considered to be deaths by natural causes, similar to deaths from the flu.

As such, they are not usually investigated by the coroner.

The St Basil's home in Melbourne is one of about 100 aged care facilities in Victoria affected by coronavirus outbreaks, which between them have been linked to more than 100 of Victoria's 170 deaths.

All of the staff from the home were placed into quarantine on July 22 after they were determined to be close contacts of confirmed cases and all remaining residents were evacuated last Friday.

St Basil's prepares for residents to return
The ABC has attempted to contact St Basil's for comment.

A statement on the home's website does not specifically address the investigation, but chairman of the board, Konstantin Kontis, acknowledged the "devastating" deaths.
"We mourn their loss with their families and their loved ones and send the condolences of all of our staff that looked after them at the home since the day that they arrived.
"We all feel their loss and we will miss them."

Mr Kontis said St Basil's had been sanitised and declared safe for occupation.

He said residents would be returned in small groups of five and tested regularly. Any infected residents would be housed in separate sections of the home.
"We were one of the first aged care homes to be hit by COVID-19," he said. "But we are now told that almost 100 homes are battling this insidious silent virus which has devastated the whole of Melbourne to the point that we are now living under a state of disaster."

'Don't risk further lives', family says
The son of one of the St Basil's residents to die from COVID-19 called on authorities to "take away their licence.
"Shut the doors and don't risk any further lives," said Ivan Rukavina, whose mother's funeral was held yesterday.
"There is no reason to reopen those doors so quickly when everyone is still in mourning."

He said the families of some St Basil's residents had grouped together and had sought legal advice.

Relatives of residents have told the ABC of their concerns about the management of the crisis and a lag in communication.

Mr Kontis did not say when residents would begin returning to the home.

Victorian Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng declined to comment specifically on St Basil's when asked if he was comfortable with residents returning to the facility. But he said there were procedures in place for the return of residents to aged care.
"There is certainly a risk assessment that's done when people need to go to hospital and when they can go back to what is their home," he said.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said infected residents would not be returned to the facility.
"The advice from the Aged Care Minister … is under no circumstances would a positive resident be returned," he said.

He said the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner would be overseeing this and nothing would happen without the commissioner's approval.
"Nobody will be returned unless the quality and safety commissioner is comfortable, supported and utterly convinced that the standards and protocols are in place to protect all residents," Mr Hunt said.
"In particular, where there are any doubts around the ability of management to provide a safe environment then the commissioner has stepped in, and will continue to step in."

Opposition wants government 'negligence' investigated
Under the Coroners Act of 2008, a "reportable" death is one that "appears to have been unexpected, unnatural or violent", or, for example, a death in police custody or during a medical procedure.

Deaths by natural causes, including illness, are not normally "reportable", because a doctor can provide a death certificate and the circumstances are known.

However, if there are questions surrounding the circumstances of a death, it can be reported to the court and investigated by the coroner.

After his investigation, the coroner can make recommendations to prevent similar deaths in the future.

Shadow Minister for Workplace Safety Nick Wakeling wants the investigation to also examine the "actions and decisions" of the State Government.
"Criminal investigations into COVID-19 associated deaths in Victorian workplaces must examine alleged negligence at the hands of Daniel Andrews and his ministers," he said in a statement. ... d=msedgntp


Outbreak of bosses behaving badly reveals the ugly side of business
Why is it that often the contenders for the Bosses Behaving Badly in a Pandemic Award have form in other dubious areas?

Take this week’s public enemy number one, Jim Penman of Jim’s Mowing, who caused widespread outrage after a television interview where he encouraged his franchisees to keep working in Victoria despite the lockdown. He even offered to pay the fines of mowers caught flouting the rules.
“It is a ridiculous measure that has caused misery to tens of thousands of Victorians,” he said without irony, given the misery of catching COVID-19 for millions more.

Premier Daniel Andrews quickly swatted him down, warning mowers are not essential. But Penman’s unlikely to disappear given his controversial background.

You see Jim’s expertise goes beyond cutting grass — lucrative as that is for him. He spends his millions in the bizarre pursuit of the “science” of epigenetics which believes in altering people’s behaviour by altering their actual genes.
He has admitted in previous interviews to conducting experiments on rats and guinea pigs to induce hormonal change.
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a green truck parked in front of a building© Provided by Crikey
Why is it that often the contenders for the Bosses Behaving Badly in a Pandemic Award have form in other dubious areas?

Take this week’s public enemy number one, Jim Penman of Jim’s Mowing, who caused widespread outrage after a television interview where he encouraged his franchisees to keep working in Victoria despite the lockdown. He even offered to pay the fines of mowers caught flouting the rules.

“It is a ridiculous measure that has caused misery to tens of thousands of Victorians,” he said without irony, given the misery of catching COVID-19 for millions more.

Premier Daniel Andrews quickly swatted him down, warning mowers are not essential. But Penman’s unlikely to disappear given his controversial background.

You see Jim’s expertise goes beyond cutting grass — lucrative as that is for him. He spends his millions in the bizarre pursuit of the “science” of epigenetics which believes in altering people’s behaviour by altering their actual genes.

He has admitted in previous interviews to conducting experiments on rats and guinea pigs to induce hormonal change.

In times of turmoil, many business leaders are only looking out for themselves
Forget about the rest of us: in a national crisis, business leaders are working hard to protect their own interests.
In times of turmoil, many business leaders are only looking out for themselves
Forget about the rest of us: in a national crisis, business leaders are working hard to protect their own interests.

If you thought lack of political leadership was a problem, the dearth of business leadership is exposing the difference between self-interest and the national interest.

Surprisingly it’s not the usual suspects. With the exception of profiteering petrol companies, perhaps.

Banks and supermarkets for once are not the most-loathed behemoths, but instead are being lauded for their efforts at the front lines of the crisis. ... ronavirus/
In Sydney, we had a similar situation with the pushy owner of the garish Le Montage function centre in Western Sydney, Sal Navarra, who told Network Ten last month that he would not be abiding by new rules to reduce crowd numbers.

He too has priors. He made a similar threat on Sky News back in June during the first round of restrictions, vowing to host as many guests as he wanted because he “didn’t want to deal with angry brides anymore”.

Presumably dealing with sick customers is easier.

And it’s not just men behaving badly. Beauty influencer Kristin Fisher of Sydney’s upmarket Double Bay dared authorities to shut down her eyebrow salon to the stars over her disgust at being treated differently to hair salons. Eyebrows raised but no arrest so far.

Since then we’ve seen a few more people gaining attention, including Melbourne lawyer Juan Martinez — managing partner of the giant HWL Ebsworth legal — who encouraged staff to return work rather than work from home, only to record six COVID-19 cases in a “key outbreak”.

Martinez is clearly not one to back down. Last week he filed an official complaint with the Human Rights Commission about an AFR headline that punned on his name, claiming it offended, insulted and humiliated him, based on his Spanish heritage.

Hurt feelings obviously a priority even when your staff are actually hurting from COVID-19.

Penman and the more recent names join a growing list of business people putting self interest before the national interest since the pandemic began in March, as outlined in my Crikey column back in April.

So what of my first batch of Businessmen Behaving Badly?

Well, there is the selfish billionaire retailer Solly Lew who very publicly rushed to close shops and stop paying rent to his landlords at the outset of the crisis.

Lew is unpopular with many in the business community over his stance but is still obviously beloved by the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who continues to consult him. Only this week Lew was once again handing out gratuitous advice to the government on economic policy.

Then there was Twiggy Forrest, who became a pariah in April over his close China links when he blindsided the federal health minister to do a bit of PR with the Chinese consulate-general.

This week ABC Chair Ita Buttrose made a captains pick to give him the prestigious role of delivering the annual Boyer Lectures.

Picking the controversial capitalist, whose wealth topped $20 billion only last week, will not just upset the lefties but plenty from the right who are angered by his constant spruiking for China.

Good old Sky staple Gerry Harvey, who was criticised back in March when he boasted to 60 Minutes that he was making plenty of profits off the pandemic, looks positively benign given what his corporate counterparts have been doing since. ... d=msedgntp

Over 50 Victorians flout curfew
Over 50 Victorians have flouted curfew, being caught driving to buy fast food or visit friends.
51 NOT FOR WEARING MASKS ... d=msedgntp

Maskless woman, 25, attacks two police officers
A maskless woman allegedly assaulted two police officers after refusing to give them her details.

Victoria Police said the woman, 25, was walking along Yarra Street in Geelong, southwest of Melbourne, without a face covering on Monday afternoon.

She allegedly refused to tell the constable and sergeant her name and became aggressive when they attempted to arrest her around 3.30pm.
'Police have arrested and charged a woman in Geelong after she allegedly assaulted two police officers and breached the directions of the Chief Health Officer.
'The officers made multiple attempts to confirm her identity and the woman allegedly refused to provide her details,' a police spokesman explained.

The spokesman said the 25-year-old 'became aggressive and assaulted them' when 'the officers then attempted to arrest her'.

The constable and sergeant both required treatment after receiving minor injuries to their arms and hands.

The 24-year-old was charged with assault police, resist police, fail to provide address and fined $200 for failing to wear a face covering.

She was bailed and is set to appear at Geelong Magistrates' Court on August 10.

A 36-year-old West Melbourne man was arrested in Geelong on Tuesday after failing to wear a mask and allegedly threatening to injure the officers.

A 38-year old woman also allegedly bashed an officer's head into the concrete at a Frankston shopping centre after refusing to wear a mask.

The 26-year-old Constable and her partner approached a woman about 5pm Monday near the Bayside shopping centre before the alleged scuffle.

The woman was taken to a police station, charged with assaulting police, recklessly causing injury, two counts of assaulting an emergency worker, two counts of resisting an emergency worker on duty and refusing to state her name and address.

It is mandatory to wear a face covering when outdoors in Victoria and anyone caught flouting the rule faces a $200 on-the-spot fine.

Victoria Police have issued a total of 176 fines for health breaches across the state in the last 24-hours.
51 Victorians were fined for failing to wear a face covering and 55 Melburnians were penalised for breaching curfew.

Melbourne is currently in its first week of a strict stage four lockdown where residents must remain at home between 8pm and 5am.

Non-essential businesses have been closed and residents are only permitted to leave home for essential reasons such as exercise and shopping for supplies.

Melburnians allowed to work on-site now have to show a permit or official work ID or face fines of up to $99,123 for businesses and up to $19,826 for individuals.

Victoria reported 471 new COVID-19 cases and eight deaths on Thursday after a record 725 cases and 15 deaths on Wednesday.

The state is currently battling against 7449 active cases with 575 Victorians in hospital and 42 of those in intensive care.

CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Fri Aug 07, 2020 6:24 am


'We are on a knife-edge': NSW premier
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has appealed to the state's youth to modify their social life as the state enters a critical phase of the coronavirus pandemic.
"We are on a knife-edge, and we are about halfway through what is a really critical period," she told Sydney radio Triple M on Thursday.

She was speaking a day after announcing travellers returning from Victoria to NSW would be forced into hotel quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.
"When we realised how bad Victoria's situation was we know we had four-to-six weeks of a real nail-biting situation and we are about halfway through," she said

She thanked the 22,000 people who presented for testing for COVID-19 on Wednesday but urged young people to curb their social life, particularly in the next few weeks.
"To the young people, try and modify the number of places that you go to. If you have the virus and you go out five times a week to different places you could potentially be spreading it to five different locations, and then we have to contract trace everybody."

She warned people had to social distance, even with friends, as Victoria had shown that the greatest spread of the disease happened among friends and family members.
"It only takes a few cases to get out of control."

She also confirmed that Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk didn't notify her she was shutting the border to NSW.
"She didn't actually," Ms Berejiklian said.
"I said to the boys we've got to win State of Origin this year. Everybody does everything in a different way and we move on!" ... d=msedgntp

NSW health authorities confirm 12 new coronavirus infections, alert issued for Newcastle following 2 cases
Newcastle is on high alert after at least five hotels and a stadium were visited by a confirmed coronavirus case, as 12 new infections were confirmed in NSW today.

Of the new cases to 8:00pm yesterday, 10 have been traced back to known clusters, NSW Health's Jeremy McAnulty said.

"2 cases are under investigation, one is a man in his 20s from Sydney, and another is a teenager from Newcastle," Dr McAnulty said.

He said patrons of a restaurant in Glebe called Jamba Jamba should immediately isolate and seek testing if they visited on July 31 from 7:30pm as they were considered close contacts of the Sydney man.

Health authorities also urged anyone who visited the Wests Leagues Club in New Lambton — one of the biggest clubs in Newcastle — on Sunday evening to self-isolate and seek testing.

Patrons of several Sydney restaurants have been told to monitor for symptoms and seek testing after an infectious Sydney man visited, including:

The Eveleigh Hotel in Redfern on July 31 from 8:30pm to 10:00pm
Warren View Hotel in Enmore on August 1 from 4:00pm to 4:20pm
Mary's in Macquarie Place, Sydney on August 1 from 6:45pm to 7:15pm
Cubby’s Kitchen in Sydney on August 1 from 7:35pm to 9:30pm
Burrow Bar in Sydney on August 1 from 9:35pm to 11:15pm
Woolworths Marrickville Metro on August 2 from 7:00pm to 7:20pm

Shoppers urged to get tested after coronavirus scare at Westfield
Shoppers are being being urged to get tested for coronavirus after a scare at one of Sydney's busiest shopping centres.

New South Wales Health has issued a public health warning after a man who tested positive for COVD-19 visited the Penrith Plaza, in western Sydney.
He spent around two hours at the shopping centre on Saturday between 10.30am and and 12.00pm.

The man in is 20s also dined at the Master Hot Pot restaurant at Canley Vale between 1pm to 2pm,
and the BBQ City Buffet in Bankstown from 7.00pm to 8.30pm
Another seven venues across the city are on high alert after a second man was diagnosed with COVID-19.

He was infectious during visits to a string of pubs and restaurants in the city's inner west and CBD.

They include the Jambo, Jambo African restaurant in Glebe which he visited from July 31 from 7pm to 8.30pm.

NSW Health said anyone who attended the restaurant during this time is considered a 'close contact' and should immediately self-isolate for 14 days and get tested even if they have no symptoms.

He also attended the Eveleigh Hotel in Redfern the Warren View Hotel in Enmore, Mary's restaurant at Macquarie Place, Burrow Bar in Sydney and Woolworths Marrickville Metro.

People who visited these venues during the below times are being urged to watch out for symptoms, get tested and self-isolate.

Eveleigh Hotel Redfern: July 31: 8.30pm-10pm
Warren View Hotel Enmore August 1: 4pm to 4.20pm
Mary’s in Macquarie Place, Sydney August 1: 6.45pm to 7.15pm
Cubby’s Kitchen in Sydney August 1: 7.35pm to 9.30pm
Burrow Bar in Sydney August 1: 9.35pm to 11.15pm
Woolworths Marrickville Metro August 2: 7pm to 7.20pm.
Penrith Plaza - 1 August from 10.30am to 12.00pm
Master Hot Pot, Canley Vale - 1 August from 1.00pm to 2.00pm
BBQ City Buffet, Bankstown - 1 August 7.00pm to 8.30pm ... d=msedgntp

It comes as a Newcastle student diagnosed with coronavirus played a soccer game in a Sydney stadium on the weekend.
He is a member of the Newcastle Jets under 15s representative squad and travelled to Sydney's Dulwich Hill in Sydney's inner-west on Saturday.

The boy, who attends St Pius X High School in Kotara, contracted the virus on the weekend according to local health authorities, prompting the school to shut for cleaning.

Several Newcastle venues are closed for cleaning today after a Newcastle man in his 20s visited night-spots and a local stadium while unknowingly infectious with coronavirus.

It is understood the man was a close contact of the boy who contracted the virus in Sydney.

Residents are being urged to self-isolate and seek testing if they visited the following hotels:

Bennett Hotel, Hamilton on Friday, July 31 from 5:30pm to 10:00pm
Greenroof Bar and Restaurant, Hamilton on Friday, July 31 from 10:00pm to midnight
Wests New Lambton on Sunday, August 2 from 5:00pm to 7:30pm.
The infectious man also visited Sushi Revolution in Hamilton on Saturday between the hours of midday and 1:00pm.

Those who attended an A-League game on Sunday at Hunter Stadium have been asked to monitor for symptoms.

More than 2,500 fans attended the game on Sunday between the Newcastle Jets and Western United.

Jets CEO Lawrie McKinna said the exposure to coronavirus at Sunday's game was "very low risk".
"The person in question, he was there with two friends and they were very happy for the people around about them because the seating was isolated from other people," Mr McKinna said.

New South Wales Health has also issued an urgent warning for a string of venues in Newcastle, north of Sydney.
A male in his 20s was infectious while visiting four pubs, a sushi restaurant and an NRL match at a local sporting arena.

3 venues have been closed and will undergo cleaning while health authorities race against the clock to conduct contract tracing for close contacts.

They include the Bennett Hotel in Hamilton,
Bar 88,
Wests New Lambton
and the Sydney Junction Hotel in Hamilton. ... d=msedgntp

As of July 1, coronavirus restrictions eased for cultural and sporting events in stadiums, permitting up to a quarter of the normal seating capacity.

NSW Health said all events must be ticketed, seated and socially-distanced to allow four square metres between patrons.

Dr McAnulty also confirmed St Margaret Mary's Primary School in Merrylands closed for cleaning after a known case attended the campus in Sydney's west.

A total of 28,035 people were tested for the virus to 8:00pm last night.

There have been a total of 1,589,861 tests completed in NSW since the beginning of the pandemic, and 3,643 people have been diagnosed.

NSW Health are treating 104 people, and 10 of those are in intensive care. ... d=msedgntp ... irus-cases


Newcastle becomes COVID-19 hotspot
Fans at Sunday's A-League clash in Newcastle has been advised to be alert for COVID-19 symptoms.
Newcastle has become a NSW COVID-19 hotspot after a SYDNEY man with the virus visited several pubs at the weekend and attended a local A-League match.
The man in his 20s is a close contact of a Newcastle teenager whose diagnosis shut down his high school on Thursday and sent two football teams into self isolation.

The man in his 20s is a close contact of a Newcastle teenager whose diagnosis shut down his high school on Thursday and sent two football teams into self isolation.

The man attended several venues in Newcastle between Friday and Sunday, including Bennett Hotel in Hamilton, Sydney Junction Hotel in Hamilton and the Wests leagues club in New Lambton.

NSW Health wants anyone who attended those venues between specific times to immediately self-isolate for 14 days from the day they attended, and get tested.

There were 2570 spectators at the Jets game but only the lower level of the stadium was open, with seating in the bays capped at 25 % to allow for social distancing.

Football Federation Australia says the match operated under the COVID Safe Plan and the stadium was undergoing a full clean.

Meanwhile, Premier Gladys Berejiklian appealed to the state's youth to modify their social life.
The teenager last attended school on Monday when he caught the No.26 Hamilton to Adamstown school bus. Everyone on that bus is required to isolate for 14 days and seek testing.

He was also in the Jets under 15s squad that played against the Stanmore Hawks at Arlington Oval in Sydney's Dulwich Hill on Saturday.

All players in that game have been asked to isolate for 14 days and the teen's close contacts will be notified and must also isolate.

Hunter New England Local Health District said it was still investigating where the boy contracted the virus.

The teenager is among the 12 new cases reported in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday.

Aged care facilities in the Hunter have been advised to lockdown "effective immediately" following new cases of COVID-19 in the Newcastle community.
Staff at Newcastle and Lake Macquarie aged care facilities have said they had been advised by the NSW Public Health Unit to close to all visitors for at least the next seven days after community transmissions of coronavirus. ... /?cs=19265 ... 55j2g.html ... d=msedgntp

Newscastle NSW: Local high school closed after student tested positive
here are increasing concerns over the spread of coronavirus in the Newcastle region, with the closure of a high school after a student tested positive.

St Francis Xavier's College student tests positive, school closed
St Francis Xavier's College at Hamilton is closed for deep cleaning after a student at the school tested positive.

The SFX student, a close relative of a 15-year-old St Pius X Adamstown pupil who tested positive earlier in the week, returned a positive test on Thursday evening.
Hunter New England Health is continuing to investigate the source of infection for all three cases.

It said anyone who attended SFX on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday should be on the lookout for COVID-19 symptoms and get tested immediately should any respiratory symptoms or fever occur.

"All close contacts of the teenager are being notified and are required to seek testing and isolate for 14 days, regardless of their test result," HNEH said in a statement.

SFX is a senior Catholic college for year 11 and year 12 students, with 941 students and 125 staff.

The school notified parents of the positive test via email on Thursday night and said the campus would be closed on Friday.

"NSW Health will be directly in contact to provide advice to any students or staff identified as a close contact," principal Greg Ptolemy wrote.

"All students and staff are required by NSW Health to self-isolate until you are notified that you are not a close contact."

A Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle spokesperson said "the safety and wellbeing of our staff and students is of paramount importance and we will continue to work closely with NSW Health to ensure all necessary health advice is adhered to".

A third relative of the 15-year-old, a 20-year-old man, visited several Newcastle nightspots last weekend and attended the Jets game against Western United before testing positive.

St Pius is closed for cleaning at least until the weekend.
"The source of infection of the Newcastle family cluster is still unknown, so it is vital people in the community continue to present for testing if experiencing symptoms to limit the spread of the virus," HNEH public health controller Dr Kat Taylor said.
"I encourage everyone to follow directions they receive about home isolation and quarantine and maintain COVID-safe practices of physical distancing, coughing or sneezing into their elbow, and regularly washing their hands."
The Hunter remains on high alert after two positive tests forced the closure of a Newcastle high school, hotels, and a restaurant for cleaning - prompting hundreds of residents to rush to get tested.

There are now 10 confirmed, active cases in the region, bringing the Hunter's total number of cases to 296.

There were 12 new cases recorded in NSW in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday.

St Pius X High School at Adamstown has been closed for deep cleaning since a 15-year-old student tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

As investigations into how the Newcastle soccer player contracted the virus continued on Thursday, public health officials confirmed the case's 20-year-old brother had also tested positive.

Contact tracing efforts have since determined the latest case attended seven Hunter venues while infectious.
Hunter New England Health is urging anyone who attended the Bennett Hotel in Hamilton on Friday, July 31, from 5.30pm to 10pm to immediately self-isolate and seek testing.

Those who attended Bar 88 at Wests New Lambton on Sunday, August 2, from 5pm to 7.15pm, and the Sydney Junction Hotel on Saturday, August 1, from 11pm until 1.15am on August 2, were also asked to isolate and get tested.

Hunter New England Health is also urging any patrons who visited the Greenroof Bar and Restaurant in Hamilton on Friday, July 31, from 10.30pm to 12.15am to be alert for symptoms, and get tested and self-isolate if they develop. The same advice was given for people who attended Sushi Revolution, Hamilton, on Saturday August 1 from noon until 12.45pm; Queens Wharf Hotel on August 1 from 9.30pm to 11pm; and McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday, August 2, from 7.30pm until the end of the Newcastle Jets game.

Related: Who, what, where, when: Everything you need to know

Queens Wharf licencee Steve Smyth said he called 000 on Thursday morning to clarify the situation after his staff found out about the case's visit through social media.
Queens Wharf Hotel closed for cleaning after a COVID case was confirmed to have visited the pub briefly recently
Dr Kat Taylor, Hunter New England Health public health controller for the COVID-19 response, said they were still trying to track down the source of infection for the 15-year-old case.
"He was potentially infectious while playing soccer in Sydney - that's why both of the teams have been identified as close contacts," Dr Taylor said. "In terms of a walk-back investigation, when we try to work out where somebody picked it up from, we take it from the time they developed symptoms and go back 14 days, which covers the incubation period.
"Interestingly, the Sydney game also falls into that 14-day period, so it is also possible he may have contracted it from the game.
"We are still trying to work out the relationships."

Dr Taylor's advice to the community was to avoid all non-essential travel to Sydney.
"It seems as though it is really on our doorstep now, so it is really a matter of people trying to crackdown on what they can do to really limit community transmission," she said. "That means thinking about whether they need to make that trip out, or go to that social gathering - those sorts of things, and certainly isolating themselves if they have any symptoms."

Dr Taylor said there were no plans to close any other schools for cleaning yet.
"In terms of the risk posed by a venue, and in terms of where cleaning is required, it is only when a case has spent a prolonged period at the venue - so longer than two hours, and Hunter New England Health does do a risk assessment based on specific venue locations for each situation," she said.
"In terms of risk of people who attend other associated schools - the case was never on those campuses, so we are really only looking at people who have been in direct contact with that person."
"Everyone had heard of it before we were contacted by any authority," Mr Smyth said.

He said he had been advised cleaning was not required but proceeded immediately as a precaution.
Hotel Bennett Hamilton, closed for deep cleaning after a COVID-19 case.

"I've got a duty of care to all my staff and customers," he said. "It's money well spent. It puts everyone's minds at ease."
Dr Kat Taylor, Hunter New England Health public health controller for the COVID-19 response, said they were still trying to track down the source of infection for the 15-year-old case.

"He was potentially infectious while playing soccer in Sydney - that's why both of the teams have been identified as close contacts," Dr Taylor said. "In terms of a walk-back investigation, when we try to work out where somebody picked it up from, we take it from the time they developed symptoms and go back 14 days, which covers the incubation period.

"Interestingly, the Sydney game also falls into that 14-day period, so it is also possible he may have contracted it from the game.

"We are still trying to work out the relationships."

Dr Taylor's advice to the community was to avoid all non-essential travel to Sydney.
"It seems as though it is really on our doorstep now, so it is really a matter of people trying to crackdown on what they can do to really limit community transmission," she said. "That means thinking about whether they need to make that trip out, or go to that social gathering - those sorts of things, and certainly isolating themselves if they have any symptoms."

Dr Taylor said there were no plans to close any other schools for cleaning yet.
"In terms of the risk posed by a venue, and in terms of where cleaning is required, it is only when a case has spent a prolonged period at the venue - so longer than two hours, and Hunter New England Health does do a risk assessment based on specific venue locations for each situation," she said.
"In terms of risk of people who attend other associated schools - the case was never on those campuses, so we are really only looking at people who have been in direct contact with that person."

Dr Taylor said the public health team was "going hard" on identified venues as a precaution in an attempt to prevent a lockdown.
"By erring on the side of caution of who we consider close contacts, we are really trying to avoid more wide-scale lockdowns," she said.
"We are doing all we can to contain, because we understand from the Victorian situation and ongoing Sydney situation that this virus can get out of hand very quickly if given any kind of breathing room.
"So we have enhanced our responses over the past week to be more stringent on venues attended by confirmed cases."

Dr Taylor said contact tracing and isolating contacts was about "ring-fencing" the infection.
"So that if those contacts go on to get sick, they have limited contact with others. It is really stopping that next generation of transmission," she said.
"The key thing is if you have been identified as a potential close contact of a case, please do your bit and isolate for the full 14 days. Even if you are tested and it comes back negative, you still need to wait out that full 14-day period to allow adequate time for the virus to show itself."

Dr Taylor said anyone with any respiratory symptoms - a sore throat, cough, runny nose, unexplained fever or a change in sense of taste and smell - should get tested for COVID-19. She reminded people to be vigilant about hygiene practices, avoid touching the face, and keep at a distance from others.

She expected there would be a higher demand for testing due to the recent venue announcements, and thanked the community for its patience.
"Even though you can be swabbed in less than a minute, it can take time to move through the queue," Dr Taylor said.
The recent cases of COVID-19 were a "regional issue" given students from St Pius X live across the greater Newcastle and Lake Macquarie area, Charlestown MP Jodie Harrison said.

She said another point of concern was the students who played for the under-15 Jets side, who come from multiple schools.

Ms Harrison is calling for masks to be mandated rather than "strongly encouraged" in order to limit further community transmission.
"Obviously having a school closed as a result of a student testing positive to COVID is concerning," Ms Harrison said. "The school takes students from all over the area - it's not just a local school, so this is a regional issue.
"If masks were mandated, the risk of transmission would certainly be reduced." ... /?cs=17267 ... d=msedgntp ... d=msedgntp

Second coronavirus case linked to St Pius X High School at Adamstown in Newcastle, Sydney buffet closed
A second coronavirus case has now been linked to a school and two football teams in New South Wales.
A student at St Pius X High School at Adamstown in Newcastle tested positive to COVID-19 yesterday.
A man in his 20s, a close contact of the teenager, has now also tested positive to the virus, Hunter New England Health said today.
Three bars and restaurants have been closed as a result and are undergoing deep cleaning.

The school will also be closed today and tomorrow as the site also undergoes deep cleaning. NSW Health has asked anyone who went to the Bennett Hotel in Hamilton between 5.30pm-10pm on July 31, the Greenroof Bar and Restaurant in Hamilton between 10pm-midnight on July 31, and The Hopsmith Sports Bar at Wests New Lambton between 5pm-7.30pm on August 2 to immediately self-isolate.

A restaurant in Sydney has been linked to a separate confirmed case and has closed for cleaning.

The BBQ City Banquet in Bankstown said it was contacted by health officials and told a person with the virus was at the restaurant on Saturday night.

Anyone who was at the restaurant between 7.30pm-10pm on August 1 must self-isolate immediately and get tested.
"We have also provide contact details of the patrons who dined during that time to NSW health for contact tracing," the restaurant wrote in a statement on Facebook.
"We take COVID-19 seriously so BBQ City Buffet will be closed until further notice. All our staff will be undergoing COVID-19 test and venue will be deep cleaned."

Parents and carers were notified about the case at St Pius X High School by the school's principal, Robert Emery, in a letter sent yesterday. "We are now working with NSW Health to identify any close contacts," Mr Emery wrote in the letter, which has also been shared to the school's Facebook page.
"NSW Health will be directly in contact to provide advice to any students or staff identified as a close contact. All students and staff are required by NSW Health to self-isolate until you are notified you are not a close contact. This notification will come from the school as soon as possible.
"If you develop symptoms, please also get tested."

The student who tested positive to the virus is also a player with the Newcastle Jets Football Club.

"Newcastle Jets can confirm that a player in its Academy has tested positive for COVID-19," the club said in a statement issued overnight.
"The player's close contacts, including fellow teammates and the coaches of the team in question, are currently following Public Health protocols for a confirmed case of COVID-19.
"At this stage, ALL Academy training has been cancelled for the remainder of the week and this weekend's game will be reviewed pending advice from Public Health and Football NSW."

The teenager did not attend academy training at Hunter Sports High School while infectious, the statement said.
"Our Academy sides have been following guidelines from the NSW Government and Football NSW around playing games in Sydney, and we haven't put any pressure on our players to travel to Sydney if they did not wish," Newcastle Jets CEO, Lawrie McKinna, said.
"The most important person in this situation is our young player with the virus, and we wish him all the best."

The boy played in a Newcastle Jets youth against Stanmore Hawks game on August 1.

In a statement, Stanmore Hawks FC said: "We are co-operating with the authorities in line with their processes around contact tracing.
"All of our players who participated in the game will be required to isolate for 14 days. We have advised our under 15's families and one player from the under 14's who played up in that game.
"NSW Health have been provided with their contact details to advise them further." ... d=msedgntp

Uber urging all customers to wear face masks in NSW
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Uber is urging all customers to wear a face mask when using the service in NSW.

The ride sharing giant sent an alert to all users of its app this evening.
"Uber now recommends wearing a face cover in NSW when riding or driving with the Uber app," the message to customers said.

An Uber spokesperson told 9News the company is also working to make face masks available "at no cost for driver-partners" who are actively using the Uber Driver app in New South Wales as they did in Victoria.

The alert echoes a coronavirus message made by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian this week.

Ms Berejiklian rolled out strong new state-wide face recommendations as the COVID-19 situation worsens in Victoria.

"If you are in an enclosed space and you cannot guarantee social distancing, such as public transport, such as when you are buying groceries, you should be wearing a mask," she said. The NSW government declared there were four key situations when it strongly encouraged residents to wear masks.

Staff in customer facing roles, such as retail and hospitality, should also wear masks.
"Whenever they are facing customers, we strongly recommend that they wear masks," she said.

She said people attending places of worship should also wear masks or face coverings.

Victoria recorded an additional 471 coronavirus cases today and eight further deaths.

The breakdown of those new deaths are: two men in their 60s, three men and two women in their 80s, and one woman in her 90s. Four of those eight cases are linked to aged care. ... d=msedgntp

NSW Labor call for mandatory masks
he New South Wales Labor Party has criticised the state government for inconsistent messaging on masks and is calling to make them mandatory in some settings.

Opposition leader Jodi McKay said “the only reason the masks are not mandatory is because they do not have a stockpile of masks to get us through”.

“And that is hugely concerning.”

The government has strongly recommended and encouraged citizens to wear masks while using public transport and when it is impossible to socially distance but stopped short of making them compulsory. ... d=msedgntp

Final Melbourne-Sydney flights arrive before compulsory hotel quarantine
From midnight tonight, anyone arriving in New South Wales from Victoria - except for those living in border communities - will be put into hotel quarantine at their own expense. ... d=msedgntp

How this Sydney aged-care home averted a coronavirus disaster
It's a stark contrast to the aged-care disaster unfolding in Victoria — a group of nurses clapping and dancing in a nursing home, celebrating a major win against the coronavirus.

The impromptu party at the facility in Sydney's inner west was sparked after confirmation it had averted a COVID-19 outbreak, despite an employee working while infected with the virus last month.

An email sent hours before her shift started at Ashfield Baptist Homes could be behind the success.
Once inside aged-care homes, COVID-19 can have devastating effects.

In Melbourne, more than 300 nursing home residents infected with the virus have been transferred to hospitals, and yesterday 12 of the state's 15 COVID-19 deaths were linked to aged care.

The Ashfield facility, and its 136 elderly residents, was also vulnerable when the employee turned up for her night shift at 10:00pm on July 15.

Unbeknownst to anyone, she had contracted the virus six days earlier while having dinner at the Thai Rock restaurant in Wetherill Park — a cluster which has since been linked to more than 100 COVID-19 infections.
Staff, residents and their families celebrated the facility's success

However, an email sent by the Sydney Local Health District (SLHD) just five hours earlier is believed to have been critical in stopping the nurse infecting elderly residents inside the facility.

After a small rise in the number of coronavirus infections in NSW, the email advised staff at aged-care homes to wear face masks while on shift.

The Ashfield facility's management acted immediately, instructing staff to wear masks along with the protective gowns and gloves they were already using. Two days later, the care home got the call from contact tracers from the SLHD informing them of possible exposure.
"To be honest there was a certain inevitability about it given what's happening in the local community," the facility's chief executive Leigh Kildey said.
"I feel any aged-care provider would probably feel the same, you're operating in an environment where you're just waiting for that call." Within an hour of being notified about the possible exposure, the facility was in lockdown.

It's impossible to know how many residents could have been infected had she not been wearing a mask.
"We certainly feel really fortunate … we had the systems in place to be able to react really quickly to the directive," Ms Kildey said. It was a scenario similar to the Newmarch House aged care home in Western Sydney, where a staff member had worked while unknowingly infected with the virus.

In that case, 37 residents and 34 staff became infected and 19 residents died.

At Ashfield Baptist Homes, there were fears they were heading for a similar catastrophe.
"Before the first round of testing most definitely, you play out those scenarios in your mind," Ms Kildey said.
"Once COVID-19 comes into a setting where the population's quite vulnerable, it can have a catastrophic outcome regardless of the good systems that are in place." She said lessons learnt from Newmarch House meant a specialist infection control team from NSW Health moved in immediately.
"What worked well for us was welcoming the advice that we received from our local health district and the Public Health Unit," Ms Kildey said.

She also credits another key decision taken back in March.
"We put all of our staff in surgical scrubs and we did that very deliberately so that we could launder and dry the scrubs at a certain temperature to kill any virus," she said.
"We did that conscious of the fact that a lot of our staff catch public transport to and from work and it's really about a risk mitigation strategy to try to stop any potential contact coming in." This week, families gathered in the car park outside the care home to thank the staff for keeping their relatives safe.

Wesley Stokes said he'd been really worried about his 84-year-old mother Elaine who suffers from dementia.
"I'm hearing so many stories of nursing homes and issues happening in nursing, especially down in Victoria," he said.
"I really feel for people in Victoria in nursing homes at the moment.
"Just having a slight scare here was worrying enough, let alone having COVID going right into the nursing home." ... e/12527518

Bennett breaches NRL COVID-19 protocol
South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett admitted to breaching the NRL's COVID-19 protocols, having dinner at a restaurant. ... d=msedgntp

Dog faeces attack prompts call for tolerance of cross-border residents amid coronavirus anxiety
There are renewed calls for greater tolerance of Victorian-plated motorists after a timber industry vehicle was splattered with dog faeces near a Mount Gambier shopping centre.

Green Triangle union official Brad Coates said people on the Limestone Coast should not target cross-border residents coming into Mount Gambier for shopping, work and other essential purposes.
"Some people think everyone from Victoria are infected with the virus, which is not the case," he said.

Mr Coates, who represents thousands of regional timber workers, claimed his car was sprayed with dog faeces and the words "Go back to Victoria" during the daylight incident.
"It was a shock to see that on the car. It was pretty concerning."

He said the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) vehicle was registered in Victoria because the union represented workers in western Victoria.
"I have also had a motorist flashing their lights at me while I was driving. I pulled over and he drove up to the side of me and verbally abused me," Mr Coates said.
"People have also looked at me funny when I pull up in my car at the supermarket."

Conceding emotions were heightened due to rising COVID-19 cases in Victoria, he said cross-border members of the regional community must be respected.
"I understand people are anxious, but there has been a lot of chatter on Facebook regarding Victorians and border breaches."

He said he did not report the incident to police because "[they] have enough to do at the moment".

Police urge people to report abuse
Limestone Coast Police acting officer-in-charge Inspector Campbell Hill said it was "frustrating and disappointing" to hear of the allegation.
"It's unfortunate that this was not reported to police," he said.
"We then simply cannot investigate matters nor make our patrols aware to provide a presence in the appropriate area."

Inspector Hill said police were conducting patrols in town centres and streets and warned people against taking matters into their own hands.
"If people have queries, they can ask our officers or flag concerns to us about persons entering South Australia," he said.
"We have seen successful apprehensions within the last week based on our good partnerships with the community.
"We have the systems available to investigate and take action based on facts, not ill-informed perceptions.
"It should also be noted that damage to vehicles may have nothing to do with the registration of the vehicle; some instances may well relate to antisocial behaviour, a collision or other circumstances.
"While we have empathy for the various levels of anxiety this pandemic poses to our community members, there is no excuse for this behaviour — it will not be tolerated in our community."

People are encouraged to contact police via 131 444 or CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000 regarding concerns about people in breach of pandemic directions. ... d=msedgntp

Coronavirus restrictions will move to stage 3.1 in the ACT on Monday, allowing food courts and the Canberra Casino to reopen
Coronavirus restrictions in the ACT will ease further from Monday, with the territory moving to stage 3.1 as it marks almost one month since the last confirmed COVID-19 case was recorded.

This morning the ACT Government announced that from 9:00am on Monday August 10, Canberrans would once more be allowed to dine-in at food courts and gaming could recommence in clubs and at the Canberra Casino.

Steam rooms and saunas, strip clubs, brothels and escort agencies can also reopen, and 24 hour gyms can have a maximum of 25 people when unstaffed.

But while some restrictions will ease from Monday, the Government said others originally flagged as part of stage 3 were not being introduced.

The rule of one person per four square metres remains in place, as do restrictions around keeping gatherings to a maximum of 100 people, both inside and outside.

Bars must continue to serve alcohol only to seated patrons, though there are no longer limits on the size of group bookings.

And while most businesses were already displaying occupancy limits, the ACT Government has now made it a requirement.
"However, the requirements under the public health directions are not just the responsibility of businesses, they extend to all of us, to all Canberrans," ACT Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman said.

The ACT has been at stage 2.2 of restrictions since June 19, with the Government deciding to hold restrictions in place on multiple occasions due to outbreaks in Victoria, Sydney and Batemans Bay.
"The ACT continues to be in a strong position in regard to COVID-19 cases and our readiness to respond to cases in the event that they were to occur," Dr Coleman said.
"We have in place firm travel advice on specific areas of New South Wales, including the Greater Sydney region. We also have in place border controls with Victoria, which have proved to be effective.
"Given these measures that are in place, I am confident that we are in a good position for this small number of businesses and activities to recommence under strict COVID-19 guidelines."

But Dr Coleman said while restrictions were easing once more, businesses must continue to follow their COVID Safety plans.
"In partnership with our colleagues in Access Canberra and ACT Policing, we will continue to work closely with all business sectors to support them to implement these public health guidelines and to implement COVID Safety plans that are a requirement," she said.

She said the next checkpoint to decide whether restrictions would be eased further would take place in a fortnight, on August 20.

Restriction easing comes one day after ACT declared a hotspot by Queensland
The decision to ease restrictions came one day after Queensland said it would close its borders to all of NSW and the ACT from Saturday.

The ACT's Chief Minister Andrew Barr said Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk did not warn him about the travel ban, but conceded the ACT was listed as a hotspot as it was being treated as if it is part of NSW.
"I'm surprised with this announcement," Mr Barr said yesterday.
"There was no advance notice. It's a matter for Queensland to determine."

Mr Barr said he understood Ms Palaszczuk's reasoning was that some NSW residents were flying into Queensland via the Canberra Airport.
"I'm not sure there is evidence to support that, but I'm happy to see it if it is the case and we could endeavour to address that specific question," he said.
"But the ACT has had no active cases for most of this week now and no new cases for the best part of three weeks."

ACT police testing fake COVID-19 flyers for DNA
ACT Chief Police Officer Neil Gaughan said investigations were continuing into the hoax letters containing false information about coronavirus which were distributed in some Canberra suburbs.

The flyer purports to contain an important COVID-19 health warning, but instead alleges that coronavirus is being spread by the government through the water supply, and that a possible vaccination against the virus could include a tracking device.
"I thank all Canberrans who have provided ACT Policing with some substantial information in relation to this investigation," Deputy Commissioner Gaughan said.
"The letters are being examined forensically, hopefully for fingerprints or DNA.
"We also have received extensive CCTV footage from different premises."

The flyers were distributed near testing centres in Garran and Watson.

Due to wet weather forecast this weekend in Canberra, the Government announced the drive through testing centre at Kambah would be temporarily closed from Friday August 7 until Sunday August 9.

Testing will still be available all weekend at the Garran Oval, Weston Creek and EPIC drive through sites.

On Friday testing will also be available at the West Belconnen Child and Family Centre in Kippax. ... d=msedgntp
Victorian politicians wanting to travel to Canberra for parliamentary sittings face two weeks in quarantine
Federal Parliament was meant to sit this week but was cancelled due to the Victorian coronavirus outbreak
Key points:
The Acting Chief Medical Officer is concerned about the risk of Victorian politicians coming to Canberra
He has requested that all Victorians quarantine for two weeks before attending Parliament
The Parliament was due back this week but was cancelled because of the Victorian outbreak
Victorian Federal politicians are being warned they will have to quarantine for two weeks if they travel to Canberra ahead of the next round of parliamentary sittings.
Parliament is due to return on August 24, after this fortnight's sittings were cancelled due to a surge in COVID-19 infections in Victoria.

The Acting Chief Medical Officer has issued advice to the Prime Minister, saying Victorian members and senators travelling to the ACT poses a "significant risk" to the Canberra community.

Professor Paul Kelly said politicians should go into quarantine once they arrive in the ACT, or they could self isolate at home in Victoria before travelling north.

He said his preference was for politicians to complete the quarantine in the ACT. If they do it at home, all members of their household will be prevented from leaving for the fortnight.
"While in home quarantine, nobody from the house can leave the home for any reason and no-one is allowed to visit," he said.

Sources have told the ABC that non-Victorian politicians and their staff will be encouraged to avoid public settings while in Canberra for Parliament.

The visitors will be encouraged to only split their time between Parliament House and their accommodation.

Politicians in quarantine will undergo COVID-19 testing on day 12 and need to receive a negative result before they can leave.

Senate President Scott Ryan said he would make further announcements about the resumption of Parliament before August 24.
Parliament to resume to extend JobKeeper, JobSeeker
The August 24 sitting fortnight is slated to be the last time Parliament meets until the Government hands down its budget in October.

The Government delayed May's budget as it contended with the early phase of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Government needs to pass legislation to extend its JobKeeper and JobSeeker programs beyond their slated September end dates.

The JobKeeper wage subsidy will continue until March next year, but payments will fall from $1,500 to $1,200 a fortnight for full-time workers after September. Part-time workers will receive $750.

The payments will fall again to $1,000 a fortnight, and $650 a fortnight for people working fewer than 20 hours, for the first three months of 2021.

The JobSeeker coronavirus supplement will continue for another three months but fall from $550 to $250 a fortnight, meaning people on the program will receive $815 a fortnight after September.

Labor wants a virtual Parliament for Victorians
Labor leader Anthony Albanese proposed a "hybrid" system where other politicians still met for face-to-face sittings in Parliament, and Victorians joined them online.
We believe this [is] a practical solution to the emergency circumstances which are there now, and one which should be time limited and restricted to where it's absolutely necessary," he said.

The Opposition Leader said other politicians who could not travel could also use the video link system, allowing them to ask questions or speak to legislation.

However, Mr Albanese said it would not affect quorums or voting patterns, which parliamentarians needed to be physically present for.
"As far as possible Parliament should operate in the normal way but these are not normal circumstances, which is why they require flexibility which Labor is prepared to engage with," he said.

Mr Albanese said he discussed the idea with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and hoped there would be more discussions ahead of Parliament returning. ... t/12529700

Qld records no new COVID-19 cases
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced the state recorded no new coronavirus cases, a day after declaring the border will close to New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.
The Premier said the border closure – which will come into effect from 1am on Saturday – was “tough on Queenslanders” but “the right thing to do because your health comes first”.

She visited the Queensland-New South Wales border earlier on Thursday and thanked the police and emergency services personnel for doing “a terrific job”.
“Every Queenslander should be proud of the work they are doing to keep Queenslanders safe.
“It is tough work, it is busy work but it is work that is necessary.” ... d=msedgntp

Queensland police brace for 'increased quarantine pressure'
Queensland's Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski says authorities have seen increased quarantine pressures on hotels as travellers from southern mainland states seek to beat the looming border closure on Saturday.

Yesterday Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk declared all of NSW and the ACT hotspots, effective from 1am Saturday.

Commissioner Gollschewski said four-kilometre backlogs along the M1 were already being reported by officers at the Gold Coast–Tweed border checkpoints.
He said Queensland police believed traffic flows and congestion would improve significantly by this time next week.
"In the last 24 hours, we have seen 60 additional flights into the state with 2,747 passengers checked. 60 placed into quarantine and seven refused entry," Commissioner Gollschewski said.
"At our road borders, we had 5,374 vehicles intercepted. 64 persons refused entry and 48 placed in quarantine.
"What we are seeing as we expected is an upshot in flows across those borders as we come into the weekend with the new restrictions in place as Queenslanders and others are coming to this state before that comes into effect."

Commissioner Gollschewski also provided some clarity on what changes would come into effect for people who are allowed to enter Queensland from Saturday.

The changes mostly affect residents of the border communities as well as freight and logistics workers."We move from what is the current G-pass, Q Pass and S Pass approach to include some new passes which are the F-pass for freight and X-pass which will be allocated to those persons who live in those declared cross-border communities along the New South Wales/Queensland border," he said.
"I have heard some reporting … the new passes will not have photos on them. What is required in applying for those passes, particularly the cross-border one, is you need to provide identification. ... 9519738880
"The message is pretty clear too - as of 1.00am Saturday, if you are not otherwise exempt, so you don't qualify for the X-pass, the F-pass or the specialist one which is a chief health officer's exemption pass … you're not going to be allowed into Queensland if you're coming out of any of the declared hot spots - that's Victoria, ACT or New South Wales."

Queensland residents will be allowed to return from declared hotspots but will have to pay for two weeks mandatory hotel quarantine out of their own pocket when the declaration comes into effect.

Woman returns mixed result
Commissioner Gollschewski's update came as the state confirmed no new cases of COVID-19 overnight.

However, speaking to ABC Radio, Health Minister Steven Miles said the case of a 68-year-old Ipswich woman who tested positive was still under investigation.

He said the woman's result could have been a false positive and said she was being re-tested after conflicting results.
"She certainly tested positive on that first test and that's why we reported it," Mr Miles said.
"We've done additional testing after that and it's had mixed results.
"Subsequent tests came back negative and so we're just working through what's happened there." ... 1508623360
He said the source of the woman's infection remained a mystery.
"There's no obvious links to a source case," he said. ... d=msedgntp

Couple in quarantine after allegedly lying on border passes a week ago
2 more people have joined Queensland's list of attempted border breachers after allegedly falsely declaring they had not been in a coronavirus hotspot.

The couple aged in their 60s allegedly travelled through the Goondiwindi police checkpoint with false declarations on July 27 but were detained in Nanango yesterday.

The 63-year-old man and 68-year-old woman were issued with notices to appear in the Richlands Magistrates Court on August 19 for failing to comply with the Queensland Border Direction and fraud.
They have been placed into mandatory hotel quarantine outside the South Burnett area.

In a separate incident a 22-year-old Weipa man was issued with a fine after being intercepted in Cairns airport.

Police will allege the man flew into Queensland from Canberra and failed to declare he had been in Sydney, a COVID-19 hotspot, on August 2. He was immediately placed into hotel quarantine.
"That person has expressed they were frustrated with the restrictions and didn't like them and wanted to go to work, so a quite selfish approach," Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said.

Since the border reopened on July 10, 36 people have been caught lying on border passes.
"The breaches will now stop," Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said this morning, declaring all of NSW and the ACT hotspots effective from Saturday.

Ms Palaszczuk said her decision was influenced by a number of people who had breached the state's border requirements, by lying to authorities about their whereabouts.
"This is the right decision for Queensland," she said.
"We cannot put Queenslanders at risk — it is too important."

Meanwhile, COVID-19 test results for three Logan men, who allegedly lied about having been to a coronavirus hotspot when re-entering Queensland at the weekend, have returned negative.

The men will be tested a second time.

The trio remain in hotel quarantine in Brisbane.

Police searching for quarantine options
It comes as Queensland Police have desperately reached out to dozens of hotels in the hope of expanding the state's quarantine options amid a drain on available space for people to isolate.
"In the last day, we've seen 53 flights come into Queensland, 2232 passengers processed (and) 126 placed into quarantine," deputy commissioner Steve Gollschewski told reporters today.

In total, 1480 hotel rooms are currently being used as quarantine centres for returned travellers, with police also door-knocking at the premises of 380 people allowed to isolate from home.

Concerns have also been raised that a statewide spike in COVID-19 tests could lead to people refusing to stay home in isolation as ordered.
"There is an increased risk that if people are waiting longer for results, they'll get frustrated and stop isolating," Bruce Willett from The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners said.

Across Queensland in the past week, 85,000 people visited local fever clinics to be tested for the virus. ... d=msedgntp

Man who declared Melbourne travel 'waved through' border checkpoint
While some individuals have provided false information to sneak into Queensland, 9News can exclusively reveal even those admitting they have travelled from an infection hotspot are getting through.

One man returning from Victoria and preparing to enter quarantine said he was waved through a check-point with no questions asked.
"He just waved us through," Patrick Maggs said. "I waved my hands a bit like this, like hey what are you doing? Aren't I supposed to stop here?"

Today marked the Brisbane northside resident's second day of 14 isolated in a Gold Coast apartment.

He had spent the past three weeks in Melbourne, allowed there on compassionate grounds to care for his elderly father who had undergone surgery. All of this was declared on his border passes but for whatever reason went unseen at the Coolangatta checkpoint.

He is worried who else may have slipped through.
"My concern is how many other people drove straight through the same roadblock," he said.
"They could travel anywhere, do anything, touch anything they wanted to." What you need to know about the coronavirus right now
Perth woman injured in second WA whale encounter in one week

While some individuals have provided false information to sneak into Queensland, 9News can exclusively reveal even those admitting they have travelled from an infection hotspot are getting through.

One man returning from Victoria and preparing to enter quarantine said he was waved through a check-point with no questions asked.
"He just waved us through," Patrick Maggs said.

a person standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Patrick Maggs said he was waved through a checkpoint despite honestly declaring he had travelled from a hotspot.© Nine Patrick Maggs said he was waved through a checkpoint despite honestly declaring he had travelled from a hotspot.
"I waved my hands a bit like this, like hey what are you doing? Aren't I supposed to stop here?"

Today marked the Brisbane northside resident's second day of 14 isolated in a Gold Coast apartment.

He had spent the past three weeks in Melbourne, allowed there on compassionate grounds to care for his elderly father who had undergone surgery.
All of this was declared on his border passes but for whatever reason went unseen at the Coolangatta checkpoint.

He is worried who else may have slipped through.
"My concern is how many other people drove straight through the same roadblock," he said.
"They could travel anywhere, do anything, touch anything they wanted to."

Moments after re-entering Queensland, it was Mr Maggs who called police.

He told them the story and authorities directed him to a quarantine hotel on the Gold Coast.
"My family live in this part of the state, I don't want to endanger my family by just driving around," he said.

Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said in a press conference today the border systems are working "quite well". But, he added, "we can't keep this up with the numbers that are coming".
"The vast majority are doing the right thing," Mr Gollschewski said.

Mr Maggs understands the system is not perfect.
"They're not going to get it right every time," he said.

But not getting it right every time is part of the reason why Queensland borders are now closed to NSW and the ACT. ... d=msedgntp

Queensland Premier considers court action to stop Brisbane protest over refugee detention
Dozens of men seeking asylum are being housed in an apartment complex at Brisbane's Kangaroo Point.

Key points:
About 3,000 people have expressed interest in the event on Facebook
Protesters plan to shut down Brisbane's busy Story Bridge from midday Saturday
Police say there will be a heavy officer presence

Queensland COVID-19 snapshot:
Confirmed cases so far: 1,087
Deaths: 6
Tests conducted: 638,011

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is considering court action to block a protest against refugee and asylum seeker detention, saying it could take the state backwards amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Thousands of people are threatening a mass "sit in" on the busy Story Bridge on Saturday in a bid to intensify protests that have been occurring for months.

The State Opposition has called on Ms Palaszczuk to seek a court injunction to block the action, amid the risk of coronavirus transmission.

Ms Palaszczuk said nothing has been ruled out.

"All options are being looked at," she said.

"Now is not the time to have mass protests.
"There are other ways that people can raise their concerns.
"And can I please stress to everyone, we are in a world pandemic.
"Queenslanders are doing a lot to keep each other safe and this would have the potential to take us backwards."
'You will be arrested'
Activists are protesting against the detention of about 120 refugees and asylum seekers in the Kangaroo Point Motel, under the Federal Government's medevac laws.

The planners, Refugee Action Collective Queensland and Refugee Solidarity Brisbane/Meanjin, have been threatening the Story Bridge shutdown for weeks if their demands were not met.

Their three demands are:

No more forced transfers to high-security facilities
Permission for those in detention to exercise and connect with the community
For them to be released by Christmas
"[They are] 120 people who were transferred here from offshore detention for urgent medical care — medical care that many of them have been denied," protest organisers said on the Facebook invitation.
"They're stuck in purgatory in a makeshift prison."

Thousands have expressed interest in the event on Facebook.

Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said protests were stretching police resources at a critical time.
"We could certainly do without it, we've got a lot happening at the moment," he said.

"Whilst we respect your views, you're really putting everyone at odds with what is important for our community at the moment.
"Having groups of up to 3,000 people gather for a protest activity is not sensible, it is not the smart thing to do.
"This does not need to happen, now is not the time, this is not the way."

Deputy Commissioner Gollchewski said police would be taking action against anyone who deliberately blocked the bridge.
"Shutting down the Story Bridge is not lawful protest activity in any sense, shape or form, we will not tolerate that," he said.
"Anybody who does attempt to do that can expect decisive police action.
"They can expect to be arrested. We will have a very large police presence there." ... d=msedgntp
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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Fri Aug 07, 2020 6:27 am

Stage 4 coronavirus restrictions in Melbourne could cost the economy $9 billion, Scott Morrison says
Key points:
The total cost of Victoria's lockdowns this quarter is estimated to be as high as $12 billion
The latest round of restrictions alone is set to cost between $7 billion and $9 billion
Unemployment will also rise higher than previously forecast
The newest measures in Victoria's harsh coronavirus restrictions could rip close to $10 billion out of the nation's economy in a matter of weeks, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says.
Melbourne has been plunged into stage 4 restrictions, which severely limit people's movements and how businesses are allowed to operate.

Mr Morrison said preliminary estimates from Treasury suggested those measures would shrink real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by between $7 billion and $9 billion in the quarter ending in September.

The Prime Minister said as a result, the headline unemployment rate was also forecast to peak at close to 10 per cent, with the real unemployment rate, which accounts for people not looking for work and those on zero hours, climbing into the realm of 13 per cent.
"It is estimated — the increase in effective unemployment — to be between 250,000 and 400,000," Mr Morrison said.
"That isn't necessarily people who have lost their employment, it also includes those whose employment has been reduced to zero hours."

Estimates made before the latest measures suggested stage 3 restrictions in parts of Victoria would cause a real GDP drop of $3.3 billion, or 0.75 percentage points in the September quarter.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the introduction of new restrictions would blow out those figures substantially.
"It's now Treasury's forecast that that hit to the economy will be at least three times bigger," he said.
"This is the economic cost of coronavirus and its impact will be felt beyond the Victorian border.
"The impact on the budget will also be very real."
Measures announced over the weekend, combined with previous restrictions in Melbourne, are now expected to cost between $10 billion and $12 billion, shrinking GDP by about 2.5 per cent.
"Treasury's assessed the impact of these new restrictions and notes there's a high degree of uncertainty in relation to any of these estimates," Mr Morrison said.
"This is a heavy blow."

Of the economic cost, 80 per cent, or $6 billion to $7 billion, is expected to come directly from affected industries and businesses in Victoria, while the rest will be due to broader supply-chain effects and impacts on national confidence. ... s/12530130 ... d=msedgntp

Fewer than 10% of Australian tenants received 'satisfactory' rent reduction during pandemic
Fewer than one in 10 Australian tenants who lost income during the Covid-19 pandemic obtained a “satisfactory rent reduction”, a new survey has found.

A report from the advocacy group Better Renting, to be released on Thursday, surveyed almost 1,000 residential tenants about their experiences during the health and economic crisis.

Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said they had lost income due to the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, but of those people, only 9% asked for and received a “satisfactory” rent reduction.

Related: 'I feel I will never get another job': Australian readers on searching for work in the Covid recession

The report found 20% had their request for rental relief denied, while 7.5% had their rent deferred, meaning they would have to pay the reduced rent back as a debt at a later date. A further 4.5% received a “trivial reduction”.
Despite the near doubling of the unemployment benefit and the jobkeeper wage subsidy, which the report said had made a significant difference, tenants still told of significant financial hardship during the pandemic.
The survey found 16% of respondents reported skipping meals to save money, while one in two (44%) said they had “struggled to make ends meet with rent and bills”.
“In their survey responses, renters described an initial period of fear and anxiety when they imagined paying full rent after a significant loss of income,” he said.
“For these renters the coronavirus supplement meant they could keep paying rent while also affording essentials such as food and dental care.
“However, this relief has been relatively short-lived. Although the economic crisis continues to deepen, people who rent now anticipate a cut to income support come September.”

The national cabinet agreed to a six-month moratorium on residential evictions in late March, although the failure to reach agreement on the details left a patchwork system of protections across the states and territories.

Most of these temporary measures are due to expire next month, just as the federal government’s boosted jobseeker and jobkeeper payments are set to reduce.

Tenants unions also note some renters obtained a deferral rather than reduction, prompting fears of a financial time bomb come the end of September.

In Victoria, which has entered unprecedented stage 4 restrictions, the state government has hinted that it would be prepared to extend these provisions, which prevent tenants from being evicted because they cannot pay their rent.

Related: 'We don't know how many timebombs are ticking': Australia's rent deferral debt trap

Joel Dignam, the executive director at Better Renting, said state and territory governments needed to extend and expand the evictions moratoriums, particularly in Victoria.
“Come October, many renters will still be struggling to find work, many will still be facing rental debt, often because landlords have not helped out with rent reductions,” he said.
“Extending moratoriums will help to keep these renters secure in their homes. At the same time, there’s a case to expand the moratoriums so that tenants aren’t being evicted on flimsy grounds.”

Dignam said it was “clearly” a time for Victorians to be supported to stay safe in their homes.
“This absolutely means ensuring that people who might be struggling to pay rent don’t face the prospect of losing their home,” he said.

The Better Renting report released Thursday noted that while Victoria and Queensland created an arbitration system that allowed tenants to seek an independent umpire to decide a request for a rent reduction, other states did not.

This meant that renters were forced to accept their landlords’ decision or move out.

An interim Victorian parliamentary report into the pandemic, released this week, found that Consumer Affairs Victoria had registered 17,852 rent reduction agreements on 5 July, representing 3% of all rental households in the state.

Of disputes that were handled by the consumer watchdog, the average weekly rental decrease was 27% or $155 per week per agreement.

A Victorian government spokeswoman said: “We’re assisting tenants and landlords wherever possible during this extremely challenging time.
“As the situation is evolving, we’re continuously reviewing the measures in place to ensure an appropriate response.” ... d=msedgntp

FEDERAL Health Minister urges mental health checks in wake of COVID-19 restrictions
The Federal Government has unveiled a near $15 million mental health package as concerns grow over the long-lasting effects of COVID-19 restrictions.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the additional spending would "literally save lives" as experts voice worries about the rise of illnesses like depression and anxiety.

The $14.6 million package will include $12 million for outreach services including $5 million for Headspace, $2.5 million each for Lifeline and Beyond Blue and $2 million for Kidsline.
"Many will be feeling anxious, some will be feeling depressed, many will have mental health challenges that are be being exacerbated. Can I start by saying, that's normal, that's okay," said Mr Hunt.
"These times are unprecedented. Each person will deal with it in their own way.
"What we are seeing is magnificent support for each other, whether it's on the telephone, whether it's assisting those who have care needs, but these times are extraordinary."

Mr Hunt said the mental health of Victorians currently enduring their harshest restrictions yet of the pandemic was of particular concern.
"These things are literally about saving lives and protecting lives but also giving Victorians the understanding that it's okay not to be okay, and there is real support, support that is available," Mr Hunt said.
"The first place for many people will be your general practice. With telehealth, we now have over 23 million services that are being provided and telehealth is available to anyone anywhere.
"That's a dramatic transformation but a powerful service to connect you with your GP."

The health minister stressed that it was not unusual for people to feel downtrodden during what is a once-in-a-century pandemic.
"This is a time when, because of these unprecedented restrictions and limits on our daily lives, people will feel anxious," Mr Hunt said.
"They will feel in some cases depressed or mental health conditions can either be triggered or exacerbated. Now is the time to reach out. Don't feel this is anything other than normal.
"It could be any of us at any time."

Prime Minister unveils new mental health support package
PM Scott Morrison said the country was behind Victoria following the move to stage four restrictions and has announced additional mental health support services.

"What you're going through is tough. We're here to help you push through this in every single way that we possibly can," Mr Morrison said.

"Over the course of this week, we've been responding to the changes that have been put in place by the Victorian Government to support them, to ensure that we can make this work as best as we possibly can."
Mr Morrison said pandemic payments are being paid starting today, and he has been working with the National Mental Health Commissioner and the Victorian Health department on mental health and suicide prevention. ... tp#image=1

Bushfires, COVID-19 take heavy toll on Australian tourism, and things are likely to get worse
[IMG] ... -CWr-V.jpg [IMG]
Kangaroo Island was devastated by fire during the last season.
Australia's tourism industry is reeling with the impacts of the summer's bushfires COVID-19 restrictions, with warnings domestic tourism may not fill the void left by foreign tourists.

New data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday shows the number of jobs in the tourism sector fell by three per cent in the year to March, the largest fall in 16 years.

The fall in jobs was likely driven by the bushfires, which burned almost 16 million hectares of land in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT.
"Tourism activities tend to be labour intensive and this data shows the impact of the bushfires and the early stages of COVID-19 on the tourism industry," ABS spokeswoman Amanda Clark said.

There were 702,700 tourism industry jobs at the end of March.

That figure is expected to fall further, when statistics for the June quarter are released next month.
Survey yields grim results
Australia introduced a ban on overseas travellers entering Australia in March, with some states adding restrictions since.

Earlier this week, Queensland announced it was closing its border to NSW and ACT residents once more.

But even if domestic travel was rebooted, it wouldn't help 35 per cent of businesses surveyed by the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC).

The survey of 500 tourism operators, provided to the ABC, was conducted in June as some state's border restrictions began to ease.

Of the businesses surveyed, 44 per cent said they would face closure within six to 12 months without government support.

Seventy-seven per cent of operators that relied on foreign visitors said they would be out of business in the next year unless international tourism was allowed.
"While the domestic tourism market may provide some support to industry businesses, this will in no way significantly supplant the yield derived from international visitor spend," an ATEC spokesman said.
"Expectations on the travel budget capacity of our domestic market are unrealistic given diminished consumer confidence, perceived economic insecurity, and disrupted leave entitlements experienced by many Australians this year."

The spokesman said almost 90 per cent of operators were using the Government's wage subsidy program JobKeeper to keep staff employed.

Tourism sectors in states without internal movement restrictions, including South Australia and Western Australia, can at least generate money from their own residents, whereas states with tougher movement restrictions, such as Victoria, cannot.

According to Deloitte, visitors to Victoria - including local, interstate and international - spend about $32 billion a year, with the bulk of that coming from Victorians.

About half of that (47 percent) comes from Victorian's travelling in their own state, 25 percent from interstate visitors and 28 percent from foreigners.
"That is why it was important for people to be able to travel domestically," said Adele Labine-Romain, Deloitte's tourism lead.
"Inter and intra state travel was meant to be the saving grace for tourism in the pandemic, but in Victoria that can't happen now because of the lockdowns."

Ms Labine-Romain said it was hoped that people stuck within their state's borders would spending their travel dollars locally, rather than overseas.

However, she said that is only happening in states that have come out of heavy lockdowns, such as South Australia
"South Australians usually spend quite lot of money travelling interstate and overseas, but in this period of time they have only been able to travel intrastate," she said.
"So they are re-directing the money they would have spent interstate and overseas to support the local industry right now."

'A year to forget'
Tourism in Victoria's alpine region has been hit hard by the effects of the bushfires and the pandemic.

Mark Hubbard runs a brewery at Dinner Plain, in the state's east, and estimates the business has had just 10 weeks of normal trading in 2020.
"This is a year to forget," Mr Hubbard said.
"We have had to close for the bushfires in January, closed for COVID in March, April and May, and now we're closed for COVID again in August and September.
"This is a kick in the guts, three times in one year."

A 2016 report found Victoria's alpine region contributed almost $800 million to the state's GDP, adding 7900 jobs, with more than half of those directly employed in the snow activities.

Mr Hubbard expects his business could be down as much as 40 per cent on last year, but said "it's too depressing to look".
"We rely on tourism heavily, so if people are unable or not allowed to be here, we don't have a customer base," he said.
"If my brewery was in Melbourne I would still be able to sell takeaway beer, as I am able to do here — but I would have an audience, I would have people I am able to sell to.
"When tourists don't come here we don't have a business."

NZ travel bubble off until after September: Minister
Many in the tourism industry hoped exemptions for travel between New Zealand and Australia would reinvigorate the tourism sector.

But Australia's Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said a travel bubble was unlikely before the New Zealand election on September 19.
"We have done much of the preparatory work to be ready to open our borders to New Zealand," he said.
"But understandably New Zealanders can see what is happening in Victoria just as much as Australians can."

Mr Birmingham suggested some states with little to no community transmission may be able to resume travel with New Zealand sooner than others.
"It is very important that we don't let the failings of some states prevent other states from moving ahead if they can," he said.

Mr Birmingham said that the international travel bans had inspired Australians to holiday locally.
"There's a lot of reports that the recent school holidays were the busiest in years," he said.
"That's wonderful for those regions, and we want to continue to encourage that travel, but there are still huge parts of the tourism industry doing it incredibly tough."

Adele Labine-Romain, from Deloitte, said Australians from states with less restrictions were spending their money closer to home.
"They are redirecting the money they would have spent interstate and overseas to support the local industry right now," she said.

Last year domestic and international tourists spent about $150 billion across the country. ... tp#image=1

Virgin Australia CEO calls for continued govt support
Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah says the airline needs an extension of the JobKeeper wage subsidy due to the volatility of the industry and the uncertainty around borders.
“The prediction that this will go for a little longer will mean that we will need continued government support for the whole sector,” Mr Scurrah told Sky News.
“We will continue to lobby for that, and I think it’s necessary.”

The airline yesterday axed 3,000 jobs and discontinued the Tigerair brand, after the company released its plan for the new and improved version of the airline.

Mr Scurrah also could not definitively say whether more jobs would be lost.
“No CEO of any airline in the world right now can guarantee anything like that,” he said.
“We are still in the middle of a pandemic and the industry is going through the biggest crisis it has ever seen before.
“No one can give a guarantee like that.” ... d=msedgntp

Hundreds of types of face masks withdrawn from sale in Australia amid safety fears
Hundreds of different types of face masks have been withdrawn from Australia’s register of therapeutic goods and the regulator has started a mass audit of the equipment amid concerns that some may not adequately prevent infection.

Surgical or examination masks intended to reduce or prevent the transmission of disease are considered medical devices, are regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and must be included in the register of therapeutic goods before they can be supplied.

As of Thursday, 286 types of mask had been removed from the register as part of a post-market review triggered by concerns that many masks do not meet regulatory standards and, if used in medical environments, may increase disease spread.
Among the masks recalled by the TGA were single-use surgical masks

supplied by Jet Express Group. The TGA found the “single use surgical masks have not provided sufficient evidence to show compliance … Continued use of these particular surgical masks may increase the risk of spreading infections (including Covid-19) between individuals.”
A face mask may be cancelled from the register in two ways: the sponsor (the supplier within Australia) may voluntarily cancel the entry or the TGA may cancel it.

Related: Victorian nurses ask for urgent PPE as more than 730 health workers sick with Covid-19

Those products voluntarily cancelled by the supplier are not necessarily subject to a recall action because they failed to meet appropriate manufacturing standards or that they failed to perform as intended. Most products were cancelled by the supplier.

The news comes after Guardian Australia was sent images from nurses working in Victorian and New South Wales hospitals of masks and surgical gowns they were supplied with carrying labels in Mandarin that stated “Single-use protective masks (not for medical use)” and “Disposable not for medical use isolation gown”.

While other languages can also be used on masks on the register, they must also contain labels, packaging and instructions for use in English.

Guardian Australia has contacted the federal Department of Health and the TGA for comment.

The president of the Australian Medical Association’s New South Wales branch, Dr Danielle McMullens, said all personal protective equipment provided to healthcare workers should, at a minimum, meet regulatory standards and be made for medical use.
“AMA New South Wales has called on both the state and federal governments to ensure that there are zero healthcare worker deaths from Covid-19,” she said. “Providing them with sufficient PPE [personal protective equipment] that is of sufficient quality is vital to pursuit of this goal.”

On Tuesday Guardian Australia reported that nurses had written to the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, asking to “urgently know what’s being done to protect and care for Victorian nurses” as more than 700 health workers in the state remain sick with active infections of Covid-19. The letter to the premier, seen by Guardian Australia, states “the situation is still inadequate months after the outbreak started”. At least three Victorian health workers are in intensive care.

Jill Tayler is the founder of Global Health Workz, which supplies and imports PPE such as masks and gowns. She said she had been in contact with a number of nurses working in hospital wards with Covid-19 patients.
“They tell me they are not being given the correct PPE,” she said. “The masks are not even hospital grade or fluid resistant, and neither are the gowns.
“The nurses are scared to speak out and are concerned about the ramifications of being a whistleblower. They are not allowed to provide their own PPE.
“A friend who works at a major hospital in reception at radiology tells me she is not allowed to wear a mask or face shield and yet patients lean across the counter to speak to her. There are no perspex screens in place.”

A senior nurse who has been in the profession for 25 years and is part of a chat group of more than 200 nurses treating Covid patients said that in the past fortnight, large deliveries of masks had been made to hospitals but many of those had unclear labelling and were not appropriate for use in hospitals. She said there were also differences in standards between hospitals. Some major tertiary hospitals were providing nurses with similar standards of protection to doctors and surgeons, while other hospitals were telling some nurses they were “low risk” even if they were swabbing potentially positive Covid-19 patients.
“We are not saying the governments aren’t doing anything,” she said. “The supplies are getting better. But where are they procuring these masks from? Why aren’t they meeting standards?”

More than 1,100 Victorian healthcare workers have contracted Covid. The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee is reviewing its advice on PPE use by health professionals. ... tp#image=1

South Australia records 1 new case of COVID-19
The positive case was a woman in her twenties who attended Thebarton Senior College. 1100 staff and students will need to self-isolate, while 70 close contacts will go into hotel quarantine. ... d=msedgntp

South Australia achieving record-high testing numbers as cases dwindle
More than 1000 South Australians have swamped coronavirus testing facilities within 90 minutes.

It was the first day in more than a week where the state recorded no new cases.

In Adelaide's Victoria Park alone, hundreds drove into South Australia's newest clinic to be tested for COVID-19, despite a wait time of more than an hour.
In Adelaide's Victoria Park alone, hundreds drove into South Australia's newest clinic to be tested for COVID-19, despite a wait time of more than an hour.
The huge spike in testing demand comes after health authorities learned that one of the state's two confirmed virus cases from yesterday had recorded a false positive result.
"These testing platforms are not infallible. We have, in numerous cases in this pandemic so far, sent a test off to be tested again," Health Minister Stephen Wade said today.

There are currently just eight active cases of COVID-19 in South Australia, amid renewed calls for the state government to place any entering Victorian traveller into enforced hotel quarantine.
The huge spike in testing demand comes after health authorities learned that one of the state's two confirmed virus cases from yesterday had recorded a false positive result.
"These testing platforms are not infallible. We have, in numerous cases in this pandemic so far, sent a test off to be tested again," Health Minister Stephen Wade said today.

There are currently just eight active cases of COVID-19 in South Australia, amid renewed calls for the state government to place any entering Victorian traveller into enforced hotel quarantine.
"We should be following what other states are doing in mandating supervised quarantine arrangements," Oppositon MP Chris Picton said.

Another new testing clinic is expected to be opened in Aldinga tomorrow in a bid to continue record-high numbers of coronavirus tests.
"We're adding to our testing capability, getting extra staff available. We are trying to meet the demands that we need to meet for South Australia," Dr Ivan Bastian from SA Pathology said. ... tp#image=2

Concerns grow over 600-person Liberal Party dinner in Adelaide
Concerns are growing over the hosting of a Liberal Party event in Adelaide tonight after it was revealed hundreds of guests could attend.

Held at Adelaide Oval, the Liberal Women's Council's annual general meeting could attract as many as 600 women.

South Australia's Premier Steven Marshall has defended the event, saying the function will adhere to all current restrictions including the two-square-metre rule per person indoors.
"It's a very different event from a wedding or a dancing type event so people are spaced out," said Mr Marshall.
"I think it's important that we get on with – whether it's a business or political event – but they've got to conform to the very strict COVID-19 requirements."

That sentiment was echoed by Deputy Premier and Attorney General Vickie Chapman.
"All events, whatever the venue, have to comply with the rules and that's a matter for the event organisers," said Ms Chapman.

Yesterday South Australia re-introduced rules around gatherings, restricting family gatherings from 50 people to just 10.

Additionally pubs and restaurants would be limited to seated patrons only. Current density measures now require two square metres per person indoors, with numbers also restricted at football matches.

Overnight South Australia recorded one new case of coronavirus after a woman in her 20s tested positive after attending Thebarton Senior College.

In total 445 people in South Australia have tested positive to COVID-19 and four people have died.
SA Premier says 'strict guidelines' against coronavirus to be in place at Liberal function for hundreds of women
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall has defended a Liberal Party event to be held tonight that could attract as many as 600 women.

The Liberal Women's Council is holding its annual general meeting at Adelaide Oval tonight, attracting accusations from the Opposition of hypocrisy.

The State Government earlier this week announced home gatherings would be limited to 10 people after cutting back weddings to 100 people from last week.

Mr Marshall said he was sure the event, in a function room at the oval, would abide by the state's "very, very strict" COVID-19 restrictions.
"We have rules in place and they must be adhered to and they will be adhered to tonight," he said.
"There are very strict guidelines; I am absolutely 100 per cent sure that they will be [followed].
"Having a group of people at the right density levels is not anywhere near the same level of risk [as weddings and funerals]."

He said it was not a "sit-down dinner" but refreshments would be provided.

Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas said it was an unusual time for the event to go ahead.

"At a week where we're having the reimposition of restrictions, catering businesses being put out of work, weddings and funerals being restricted to 100 people, it does seem unusual that we'd have a political event that is for a far larger number all occurring at the same time," he said. ... d=msedgntp ... d=msedgntp ... d=msedgntp

Mindarie Halidon Cup moves to Murray Bridge ensuring more than 100 years of Mallee racing continues
The race that stops the Mallee has been thrown a lifeline by South Australia's peak horse racing body, ensuring the Mindarie Halidon Cup can go ahead in 2020.

The Mindarie Halidon Racing Club committee decided last weekend to cancel the September event due to uncertainty around the pandemic and difficulties meeting COVID-19 restrictions.

But the regional horse race that brings more than a thousand people to the tiny Mallee community of Halidon each year will still run after Thoroughbred Racing South Australia (TRSA) offered to transfer the meeting's location to Murray Bridge.

"The Mindarie Halidon races have always been an event to look forward to on the racing calendar," TRSA industry marketing manager Michelle Greene said.

"As part of our racing program we still have to run a meeting, so Murray Bridge was the logical venue.

"I think it's a great outcome for everyone."

104 years of history
Ms Greene confirmed this year is the cup's 104th anniversary, even though the club had to cancel the race last year because of an oversight with the upkeep of the racetrack.

An inconsistency in the grass cover in 2019 left both TRSA and the Australian Jockey's Association to deem the track unsafe for racing.

Mindarie Halidon Race Club vice president and stalwart Frank Griffiths told the ABC last year it was a disappointing outcome for the local community, but he was looking forward to running the race meet in 2020 and beyond.

"They have had a run of bad luck unfortunately, so hopefully they will get to host their meeting in 2021," Ms Greene said.

"Luckily for them we can still say they've had the [104th] Mindarie Halidon Cup — even though it's not at their venue this year."

TRSA confirmed the September 20 race at Murray Bridge will comply with all COVID-19 restrictions that are in place at that time. ... d=msedgntp

Masks on public transport call rebuffed
Meanwhile, the Transport Workers' Union has called for Adelaide commuters to be required to use masks while on public transport.

Mr Marshall said he listened to the union, but he listened to SA Health more, and Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier had not recommended such a change.
"Our principle advice to the people of South Australia [is], if you are unwell, do not get onto public transport," Mr Marshall said.

Labor has also criticised a lack of extra train carriages on services leaving after the AFL match at Adelaide Oval last night.
"It is completely unacceptable to have passengers cramming onto trains, breaching the 1.5m social distancing rule," the Opposition Leader, Mr Malinauskas, said,

Mr Marshall repeated his advice about not catching public transport if sick.

"We're not really listening to what Peter Malinauskas says we should do on a daily basis," the Premier said.

From today, patients at public hospitals' emergency and outpatient departments will only be allowed one visitor per day. ... d=msedgntp

Entire school goes into quarantine after new SA coronavirus case linked to cluster
Key points:
A woman in her 20s is South Australia's latest coronavirus case
She is the fifth person linked to a cluster linked to schools, businesses and a hotel
More than 1,000 staff and students at an adult education college will be required to quarantine

An adult education college in Adelaide's inner west will be shut and about 1,100 staff and students forced to isolate after the emergence of a new coronavirus case linked to a growing cluster.
SA Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said a woman aged in her 20s had tested positive for COVID-19, and that contact tracing had identified about 70 close contacts.

The woman is connected with a case at Thebarton Senior College announced on Sunday, in what SA Health is now calling the "Thebarton cluster".

The school will close, and Professor Spurrier said there were five positive cases in the cluster.

The new case was a close contact of two of those people.
"She has minimal symptoms and is stable, which is good news," Professor Spurrier said.
The positive case and about 70 other close contacts will go into two Adelaide hotels set up for returning international travellers.
"We have not got community transmission in South Australia in any way in a widespread form and this is why we're being absolutely over-cautious in this instance," she said.

They will also self-isolate until Saturday, August 15.

Professor Spurrier said Thebarton Senior College was unusual in that it catered to adult learners, so students could be in multiple classes with a range of people, rather than just their own year level like most schools.
"There are a large number of close contacts and this is because the Thebarton Senior College is a college for adult learners," she said.

For the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic read our coronavirus update story.
The cluster also forced three northern suburbs businesses to close and customers to self-isolate.

SA Health on Wednesday said the cluster was linked to a 20-year-old essential worker who was self-isolating in the Walkers Arms Hotel in Adelaide's inner north-east, but transmitted the virus to a cleaner and another woman in her 20s.

SA Health had been conducting mobile testing at the school on Thursday.
Social workers to provide support
Professor Spurrier said students required to quarantine in the hotels would be provided with mental health and social work support.
"The Thebarton Senior College does have a range of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds of the students attending," she said.
"These are young people, and vulnerable young people, and we'll also be engaging some support from social workers as well."

She said sending those 70 close contacts to a hotel was the best way to control the cluster.
"It's fine if you've got a very large house and you've got lots of separate bathrooms," she said.
"But for most people that's not the case, and so this is the safest way of doing that quarantine."

Department for Education chief executive Rick Persse said students would be provided with more information about learning tomorrow, as staff were also self-isolating.

The school has been shut to students this week but plans to reopen on Monday, August 17 — a fortnight after the last day of close contact.

Health Minister Stephen Wade likened the response to how clusters in the Barossa Valley and in north-western Tasmania were dealt with.
"Just as we were successful in closing down the Barossa cluster and the Burnie cluster we look forward to progress in closing down the Thebarton cluster too," he said. ... e/12532200


More arrests at border and airport
The new case was revealed after four people were charged with breaching COVID-19 directions in South Australia.

A 35-year-old Renmark man was found walking in a pine forest about two kilometres inside the SA border near Mount Gambier, after allegedly crossing from Victoria about 5:30pm on Wednesday.

A 17-year-old Christies Beach boy was arrested at Adelaide Airport on Wednesday after arriving from NSW via Victoria.

Police said that, when they tried to clarify his arrangements, the boy became abusive and did not comply with a direction to wear a face mask.

A 43-year-old Sturt woman was arrested on Thursday morning after allegedly failing to get tested after arriving from NSW on July 28 and claiming she had a negative result.

A 28-year-old man from Adelaide's southern suburbs was found in Renmark despite saying he was quarantining elsewhere. ... e/12532200


Driver shows the terrifying road crossing locals are forced to make
A Northern Territory couple have revealed what could be the world's most dangerous drive after at least 12 crocodiles blocked their path while crossing a river.

Video footage captured the terrifying moment a couple were stuck in the middle of Cahills Crossing, a popular spot in Kakadu National Park, notorious for saltwater crocodiles.

The clip, filmed on Monday, showed Rachelle Wastle and her husband Cooter's vehicle submerged in water as they tried to make their way to the other river bank.

But at least 12 crocodiles blocked the couple's path - and none of them seemed willing to move out of the way.

'Come on, move,' Mr Wastle could be heard saying in the clip.
Video footage captured the terrifying moment a couple were stuck in the middle of Cahills Crossing (pictured), a popular spot in Kakadu National Park, notorious for saltwater crocodiles
The couple sounded more frustrated than terrified at their circumstances - as a group of tourists watched on.

Mrs Wastle told Daily Mail Australia that she and her husband had been taking advantage of the Northern Territory's long weekend and had been camping in Cobourg Peninsula.

The couple were returning to their home in Darwin.
'We were fine with the crocodiles, we are used to them now,' she said.
'We had been camping in an area where you walk along the beach and a crocodile would appear two metres in front of you.'

Eventually, the crocodiles began to move out of the way of the vehicle in chase of some food.

'That one almost caught a barramundi,' Ms Wastle was heard saying in the clip.
'Don't run over his tail. He is still moving in front of you.'
The clip, filmed on Monday, showed Rachelle Wastle and her husband Cooter's vehicle submerged in water as they tried to make their way to the other river bank
She revealed that she had never seen that many crocodiles sat on the crossing before.

'The tide was at a certain height and there were loads of barramundi jumping from one bank to the other so they were all sat there trying to get food,' Mrs Wastle said.'
'At one point - right next to my window - one of the fish jumped up and onto the other side of the croc's head but he just missed it.'

The scenic road is known to attract hundreds of tourists each year, including dozens of bold drivers who attempt to make the daring journey across.
In September 2019 one a tourist was left in a terrifying situation after their car became surrounded by more than 30 saltwater crocodiles.

The car was forced to come to a complete stop for more than two minutes and wait for the reptiles to move off the road.

Operations manager at Kimberley Off-Road Adventure Tours Lucy Periton told Daily Mail Australia at the time it's not unusual to see the reptiles sprawled all over the road.

The infamous Cahills Crossing is only a few metres wide, but it's one of Australia's most dangerous bodies of water.

Along with varying tides, the water flow is strong enough to overturn vehicles, and it serves as a feeding ground for saltwater crocodiles.

Dozens of divers try to venture across the submerged crossing, but end up being washed in to croc-infested waters.

Many have lost their lives, including fisherman, children, photographers, and backpackers.

Crocodile expert Grahame Webb said for every crocodile you can see, there are 10 you can't.

The most famous fatality at the Crossing was in 1897 when 40-year-old Kerry McLoughlin was decapitated by a crocodile on a fishing trip.

Rangers counted 120 crocodiles in the six-kilometre stretch around Cahills Crossing.

There have been five fatalities in the area so far.


Uluru Closed to tourists
Uluru's Traditional Owners have been successful in their bid to keep tourists who arrived on a flight from a recently declared COVID19 Hotspot out of the Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park.

Mark McGowan urges Scott Morrison to back fresh trial in WA's coronavirus border fight with Clive Palmer
WA Premier Mark McGowan has written to the Prime Minister requesting federal support for the State Government's push for a fresh trial in Clive Palmer's legal challenge over WA's hard border.

The action was launched after the Queensland businessman was denied entry into WA, with the Commonwealth supporting his position on the basis it believed the hard border was likely unconstitutional.

The matter is before the Federal Court and last week a number of public health experts were called by the Commonwealth to give evidence.

After repeated calls by the State Government opposing the Commonwealth's involvement in the case, the Prime Minister wrote to Mr McGowan in a letter dated August 1, informing him the Commonwealth would take no further part in proceedings.

The WA Government has now made an application to the Federal Court for the current trial to be "vacated" so a fresh trial can take place without the Commonwealth evidence being included.

As part of that, the Premier has called on the Commonwealth to not just withdraw support for Mr Palmer, but to throw its support behind the State Government instead.

Palmer's case weakened, Premier argues
Mr McGowan said Mr Palmer's case was not as strong without the Federal Government's evidence.
"When we were fighting Mr Palmer and the Commonwealth Government, it was not as good as just fighting Mr Palmer," he said.
"Mr Palmer's case we don't believe is strong, and if the Commonwealth assisted us that would certainly help Western Australia's case."

He acknowledged his push to strike the Commonwealth's evidence from the record would delay the trial.
"Let's just start from scratch, let's have a blank sheet of paper, start again without the evidence that was already there," he said.
"That delays any trial of course, but that's naturally going to occur … we're trying to save lives."

Earlier, a spokesperson for Mr McGowan said the Commonwealth's move to withdraw from supporting Mr Palmer's legal bid was "meaningless" because its evidence had not been struck out.

WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt added to calls for the Prime Minister to support the WA Government in its bid for a retrial.
"In light of this unusual circumstance where the Commonwealth has pulled out, effectively halfway through the process but after they presented their evidence, I think there is a strong legal and political position that the Commonwealth should take around supporting a retrial," he said.
"We do need to revisit the initial arguments without the Commonwealth's evidence presented to the court.
"I think there's a strong case for that and I certainly hope that the Prime Minister supports that position."

While Mr Wyatt could not say exactly how much the trial was costing the State Government, he imagined it would run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, with a retrial adding to that cost.
He also said having the matter take up so much time and energy amid a global pandemic was not optimal.

Mr McGowan said WA had recorded no new cases of COVID-19 overnight.

Morrison says he 'will assist' WA
Mr Morrison said he received a letter from Mr McGowan about the issue yesterday.
"I'll be writing back to him in a way that I believe will assist the WA Government with what they're seeking to achieve," he said.
"The WA Government asked us to withdraw from the case, with no other requests. We did that on Monday and we did that fulsomely and comprehensively.
"The WA Premier — he has a quarrel not with me on this at all. His quarrel is elsewhere."
Later in the day, he told Perth talkback station 6PR: "We've got no issue with that being re-done or re-started".

Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter said in a statement the Commonwealth was no longer a party to proceedings.
"The course of action publicly requested of the Commonwealth by Western Australia was for the Commonwealth to effect a general and immediate withdrawal from these proceedings," he said.
"As set out in the Prime Minister's letter on 1 August 2020, we agreed to that request and on 2 August 2020, the Commonwealth discontinued its intervention, as requested by Western Australia.
"As a result, and at the specific request of the Western Australian Government, the Commonwealth is no longer a party to these proceedings."

The matter is set to be heard tomorrow morning.
It had been expected to head to the High Court later this year.
I want to keep WA residents safe: Palmer
In a statement, Mr Palmer said he supported keeping people from COVID-19 hotspots out of WA.
"Regardless of the outcome, one thing I feel very strongly about is that WA's border restrictions should be upheld against known COVID-19 hotspots," he said.
He also said he wished to reconfirm his "commitment to WA and Western Australians".
"I feel very strongly about protecting the health and wellbeing of Western Australian people as the Premier well and truly knows, and which will be revealed in the pending judgment," he said.
Palmer border battle costing WA hundreds of thousands
The Western Australian treasurer has revealed the state’s fight against Clive Palmer’s High Court challenge is costing the government hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Mr Palmer is taking the state government to court over the hard border closure – claiming he wanted to come to the state to meet the Australian United Party members but was refused entry.
It was later revealed that his application form was filled out incorrectly. ... usands/ar-
Mark McGowan urges Scott Morrison to back fresh trial in WA's coronavirus border fight with Clive Palmer
Key points:
The Federal Government has withdrawn its support for Clive Palmer
The WA Government wants the case "vacated" and a new trial ordered
The Commonwealth is "no longer a party" to the case, Christian Porter says

WA Premier Mark McGowan has written to the Prime Minister requesting federal support for the State Government's push for a fresh trial in Clive Palmer's legal challenge over WA's hard border.
The action was launched after the Queensland businessman was denied entry into WA, with the Commonwealth supporting his position on the basis it believed the hard border was likely unconstitutional.

The matter is before the Federal Court and last week a number of public health experts were called by the Commonwealth to give evidence.

After repeated calls by the State Government opposing the Commonwealth's involvement in the case, the Prime Minister wrote to Mr McGowan in a letter dated August 1, informing him the Commonwealth would take no further part in proceedings.
The WA Government has now made an application to the Federal Court for the current trial to be "vacated" so a fresh trial can take place without the Commonwealth evidence being included.

As part of that, the Premier has called on the Commonwealth to not just withdraw support for Mr Palmer, but to throw its support behind the State Government instead. ... w/12529014 ... d=msedgntp

New Zealand's unemployment rate is almost half Australia's, but is it really doing that much better?
New Zealand released its latest employment data this week.

At first glance, it seems like its labour force is in much better health than Australia's.

Its official unemployment rate has just fallen from 4.2 per cent to 4 per cent, despite New Zealand's much harsher initial COVID-19 lockdowns.

On this side of the Tasman, Australia's unemployment rate has recently risen from 7.1 per cent to 7.4 per cent, having started the pandemic just above 5 per cent, and the Reserve Bank thinks it could hit 10 per cent later this year.

What's going on? Is New Zealand's labour market really that strong?
Australia would love to have an unemployment rate as low as New Zealand's, but NZ's situation is not as clear as it seems.

Part of the reason for the apparently large discrepancy has to do with the way unemployment figures are measured.
New Zealand's latest statistics are quarterly figures, covering the second quarter of this year (April, May and June).

The data show 17,000 people left New Zealand's labour force in the second quarter, the largest exodus since the global financial crisis.

That caused NZ's participation rate to decline, from 70.5 per cent to 69.7 per cent, which has pulled NZ's official unemployment rate artificially lower.
"Without this result, the unemployment rate would have been mechanically higher," Citi economist Josh Williamson said.

And since NZ's quarterly unemployment rate is an average of the unemployment rates for April, May and June, it could be masking a recent upward trend in unemployment.

"That hard lockdown at the start of the quarter combined with the wage subsidy scheme meant that [NZ's] unemployment rate was estimated to be 2.7 per cent early in the second quarter," Mr Williamson explained.
"As lockdown restrictions eased and more people were able to seek work, the unemployment rate rose to 4.9 per cent towards the end of the quarter.
"We view the late Q2 unemployment rate of 4.9 per cent as a truer indication of actual labour market capacity."
"[These] data massively understate the weakness that was prevailing in the labour market in Q2, due to measurement issues," ANZ senior economist Liz Kendall observed in a note.

Total hours worked provide a better picture
In Australia, officials from the Bureau of Statistics, Treasury and the Reserve Bank say at the moment it's better to look at the total number of hours worked in the economy to get a clearer picture of the actual work taking place during the lockdown.

Why? Because, like New Zealand's wage subsidy scheme, the Federal Government's JobKeeper is keeping thousands of people officially "employed" even though they may be doing little or no work, so it's clouding the picture.
Hours worked fell in Australia by 9.5 per cent between March and April, which was double the decline in the number of employed people that month.

Then the decline in hours worked slowed considerably in May, falling by just 0.7 per cent, before recovering somewhat between May and June, when hours worked grew by 4 per cent.

A similar phenomenon has occurred in New Zealand.

According to its latest figures, hours worked in NZ fell by 10.3 per cent in the second quarter, the country's largest quarterly decline since 1998.

There were 81.4 million actual hours worked in the second quarter, which was 9.3 million hours (10.3 per cent) less than hours worked last quarter and 8.2 million hours (9.1 per cent) less than hours worked in the June quarter last year.
"This decline resulted in a 2.4 per cent drop in weekly earnings per full-time equivalent employee, the largest decline since the series began in 1989," Mr Williamson said.
"This data would have been worse without the government's wage subsidy scheme.
"Statistics NZ reported that about 30 per cent of gross pay in the second quarter came from this scheme with around 70 per cent of businesses having applied for and received the wage subsidy.
"Importantly, the wage subsidy scheme remains in place until September 1."

New Zealand's underutilisation rate, a broader measure of spare capacity in the labour market, also rose in the second quarter from 10.4 per cent to 12 per cent — the largest quarterly rise since 2004.

New Zealand's Reserve Bank thinks things will get much worse
The NZ Government's wage subsidy scheme is scheduled to end at the start of next month.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is forecasting the headline unemployment rate will peak at 9 per cent in 2020 — more than double the current figure.
he RBNZ estimates NZ's unemployment rate will gradually decline from 2021 when spending and economic activity recover.

It also thinks the participation rate will decline slightly from here, to around 69.5 per cent, and remain near that level until the second half of 2022 before it starts to recover.

With the RBA forecasting a peak unemployment rate close to 10 per cent later this year before a gradual decline to 7 per cent over the next couple of years, the forecasts aren't that different.

And, if the central banks are both right, the employment outlook on either side of the Tasman doesn't look too bright for the near future. ... a/12527776

Australian health workers travel to PNG to help after a spike in cases
A team of Australian health workers has flown to Papua New Guinea to help with coronavirus infections, after a recent spike in the capital of Port Moresby.
PNG has now recorded 110 cases, following a recent spike in the capital, Port Moresby.

A team of seven people, including emergency doctors and nurses, and lab and logistic specialists, will be working in the country as part of an Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT), at the request of the PNG Government.

Team leader Dr Mark Little said they will work alongside PNG health workers and provide whatever support is required.
"Our expertise is really that medical surge capability, to really work out where the problems are and try to come up with solutions," he said.

PNG's COVID-19 Incident Manager, Dr Daoni Esorom, said while the focus is utilising local health expertise, the rising cases mean outside help will be needed.
"It's a big challenge for us, we don't have enough doctors, we don't have enough nurses," he said.
"It's going to come to a level where we require support." ... d=msedgntp

Virus halts PNG's Ok Tedi copper mine
Papua New Guinea's Ok Tedi copper and gold mine has suspended output for at least 14 days after seven workers tested positive for the coronavirus, the mine operator says.
The company was immediately suspending operation for at least two weeks "to limit further transmission and allow contact tracing, isolation and testing procedures to be implemented," Chief Executive Musje Werror said.

"We are hopeful resumption of operations will occur at the conclusion of the 14-day lockdown and quarantine period," Werror said in a statement on Thursday.

Reopening would depend on the results of contact tracing, he said.

The suspension, which began on Wednesday, is expected to cut the mine's copper output by about 4000 tonnes and gold production by about 12,000 ounces, the company said.

The disruption is the latest blow to the PNG economy, already suffering from a sharp drop in oil and gas prices that have hit exports of liquefied natural gas, while it battles a surge in coronavirus cases.

The suspension of mining at Ok Tedi is likely to reduce US dollar revenue to the government by about $US40 million, the company, which is 67 per cent owned by the national government and 33 per cent owned by the country's Western Province, said.

PNG recorded a record rise of 39 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, taking its tally to 153, with two deaths, said the controller of pandemic response, David Manning.

While the numbers are low compared with many other countries, they have jumped sharply over the past few weeks.

The source of transmission to the workers at Ok Tedi was a person who had travelled from the capital, Port Moresby, to the town of Kiunga, on a commercial flight on July 31, OTML said.

To prevent any further infections, the company has asked for all commercial air services to Kiunga to be halted, having already halted charter services into Tabublil, near the mine ... d=msedgntp

Tahiti cruise ship hit with coronavirus
About 340 passengers and crew are confined on a cruise ship in Tahiti after a traveller tested positive for the virus, the commissariat for French Polynesia says.

All those aboard the Paul Gauguin cruise ship are being tested, and will be kept in their cabins pending the results.

The South Pacific archipelago started reopening to tourists last month.

All visitors must be tested before arriving and must test themselves again four days after entering the territory.

A passenger aboard the Paul Gauguin reported a positive self-test last week, and a second test carried out by medics confirmed the infection on Sunday, the statement said.

The person traveling with the sick passenger tested negative, and both were taken off the ship, the commissariat said.

CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys Sicko
Posts: 12469
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:42 am





















CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys Sicko
Posts: 12469
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Aug 08, 2020 8:03 am

Victoria records 450 new coronavirus cases
Victoria has recorded 450 new cases of COVID-19 and another 11 deaths.

The state's death toll has risen to 181 after one woman in her 50s, two men in their 70s, three men and women in their 80s and two women in their 90s died of coronavirus overnight.

Among the deaths, seven were connected to aged care.
There are 607 Victorians in hospital, including 41 patients in intensive care.

Victoria's COVID-19 tally has surged to 13,867 cases.

An additional 66 mystery cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in Victoria overnight.
The infections take the state's total to 2454 cases with an unknown source of transmission.
"That number is lower than it has been in recent days," Premier Daniel Andrews said.
"But there is still far too many of those mystery community transmission cases that we can't find the source or the circumstance behind that infection."
“That’s 66 additional mystery numbers that we can’t find the source for or circumstance behind that infection,” he said.

There are 911 active cases of COVID-19 among healthcare workers.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said nurses had a larger representation than doctors in these active cases, due to the "closeness of interaction" with patients.
"Certainly, it is a very concerning number, it is a very big number," he said.

Professor Sutton says Victoria is seeing "stabilisation" in its COVID-19 figures.

"We've seen very significant ups and downs with numbers," Prof Sutton said.
"But the trend overall is that we're kind of sitting at 400-500 cases a day. That is relatively flat over the last week."

Prof Sutton said health experts were expecting numbers to fall over the coming weeks due to stage four restrictions being in place.
"We are now looking to see the effects of various interventions, obviously masks may show in the numbers in days to come, and obviously the stage four restrictions will show after that."
Number of coronavirus cases BY suburb
Suburbs in Melbourne's west have the greatest number of active coronavirus cases, health data has revealed.

Infections were the highest in the suburbs of Hoppers Crossing, Tarneit and Truganina - which obtain the 3029 postcode – with 459 active cases and a total of 830.
While the suburbs of Craigieburn, Donnybrook, Kalkallo, Mickleham and Roxburgh Park – with the postcode 3064 – in Melbourne's north, had 331 active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 671. ... r-BB17FZcp

Major changes to ATAR scores << UNIVERSITY ENTRANCE SCORES >>
All Year 12 students in Victoria will be given an ATAR score which considers the "adverse impacts" of COVID-19.
"Every single VCE student will be individually assessed and any adverse impacts from COVID-19 will be reflected in their ATAR ranking," Education Minister James Merlino said.

"This is quite an extraordinary change. So every single student will be individually assessed.
"We'll look at things such as school closures, we'll look at things such as long absences. We'll look at things, for example, such as significant increase in family responsibilities as a result of COVID-19 and we'll of course consider the mental health and wellbeing of students during this period."

Mr Merlino said there was "no reason" to push back VCE exams any further due to COVID-19.

"In terms of the VCE exams, they will go ahead as scheduled," he said."So I think the last VCE exam is on the 2nd of December. That will enable students to receive their VCE scores and their ATAR before the end of the year.
"What we have announced today is to give confidence to every VCE student and their parents that when they go into their VCE exams, they can go in there with confidence that they'll be in at no disadvantage."

Hotel quarantine suspended
Victoria's hotel quarantine program has been suspended and remains unlikely to return anytime soon.
"Those Victorians or others who might have flown home through Victoria, and there's more than 20,000 of these people that were part of our hotel quarantine program, that's not running anymore," Mr Andrews said.

The premier would not budge when asked about this role in the running of hotel quarantine.
"I'm not going to grade my own paper or mark my own exam. That's a matter for Judge Coate."
Professor Sutton has admitted the first time he heard of misconduct in hotel quarantine was in the news.
"We were aware of the transmission that occurred, but in terms of other rumours and reporting around deficiencies - the first I heard was when I read it in the newspapers," he said.
"When the genomics report came through, is when I was aware that a significant proportion of our current cases was in hotel quarantine."

Professor Sutton back on deck after 'retirement'
Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton re-joined the premier for today's press conference, off the back of false reports he had quit his post on Victoria's deadliest day of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rumours circulated on Twitter earlier this week Professor Sutton had resigned from his position, but today he told reporters he had "absolutely no idea" where they came from.
"It was a complete surprise to me," he said.
"I will see us through this pandemic."
He was also welcomed back after his "retirement".
"Yes, it was a good retirement," Professor Sutton quipped.
[/QUOTE[ ... i-BB17FPzZ ... r-BB17FmZh

Coronavirus outbreaks grow in Victorian group homes for people living with disabilities
More than 70 cases of coronavirus have been recorded in disability care in Victoria, and advocates fear the sector could be headed for a similar crisis to aged care without greater support.

Women with Disabilities Victoria chief executive Leah Van Poppel said the disability community was worried about the spread of the virus in group homes that support people with disabilities.
"It is a real concern and it has been a real concern in the disability community since the start of the pandemic," she said.
"Because of the casualised nature of staff and the sometimes small staff pool organisations are relying on, and because of the close nature of contact that people with disabilities have."

The Victorian Government has recorded 71 cases of coronavirus in disability accommodation, including 24 residents and 47 staff members.
There have been 2 deaths.
Positive cases have been detected at more than 30 sites.
More than 30 residential disability services linked to Covid-19 outbreaks in Victoria
More than 30 residential disability services are linked to active Covid-19 outbreaks in Victoria, according to state government figures, as people with disabilities brace for the effects of the city’s six-week stage four lockdown.
Respite Services Australia, a group home in Moonee Ponds with 10 residents, has 30 recorded cases linked to the facility, authorities said on Thursday, while a total of 10 infections have been previously connected to Aruma Disability Services in Pascoe Vale. Aruma confirmed to Guardian Australia a further three cases at separate facilities it operates on Thursday.
Government figures obtained by Guardian Australia show there were 71 active cases in residential disability services across 37 sites, consisting of 24 residents and 47 staff. There are 6,500 people receiving disability accommodation or respite services across the state.
Meanwhile, figures provided to Guardian Australia by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission on Thursday showed three Victorian NDIS participants and one worker have died after testing positive since March. The Guardian sought clarification on when the deaths occurred but did not receive a response by deadline, although the Age reported a Victorian disability nurse had died in April.
An NDIS Commission spokesperson did confirm a total of 42 Victorian NDIS participants and 78 workers have now tested positive for Covid-19 since March.

She said the majority of the “reports in Victoria have been received since June”, during Victoria’s second wave. Of Victoria’s 100,000 NDIS participants, 5,300 live in group settings.

The new figures come as people with disabilities and their advocates warn they are expecting to do it tough during the second lockdown, with some raising concerns about access to testing, the impact of panic buying on their access to groceries, and potential impacts on the services they rely on.
Under Victoria’s stage four rules, disability services are considered permitted workers and people with disabilities are able to travel beyond the 5km limit for essential therapies. Informal carers will also be able to continue to assist when required despite the tough new rules.

Jae Evergreen, 34, is autistic and moved to Melbourne for work reasons just over a week ago.

“I need help with cleaning due to executive functioning difficulties and being autistic,” Evergreen said.

Related: Victorians urged not to panic buy as supermarkets get extra time to meet Covid staffing levels

“I’ve decided for my safety and wellbeing that I’m going to pause in-home services until the stage four restrictions end, and hopefully manage myself in the meantime.”

Evergreen, who receives an NDIS package, was pleased about being able to use the funding on priority access to supermarket deliveries, but said there had been “ongoing issues with panic buying and receiving the things I order”.

“I also need regular physiotherapy and podiatry due to a physical disability, and I’m not sure the best options for these as they can’t be provided via telehealth.

“Telehealth is great for some services – I see an OT and psychologist via telehealth, but it’s not helpful for the hands-on services I need.”

On Thursday, the federal government announced it would loosen NDIS rules to allow people to divert funds from now-closed day programs or special schools towards support workers.

In an announcement welcomed by participants last month, the NDIS also clarified that participants could use their funds to purchase PPE equipment.

Comparisons have been made between the casualised workforce in aged care – where the majority of deaths have occurred during Victoria’s second wave – and the disability sector, though the latter caters to far fewer residents per facility, usually between four and six.

Survey results from a University of Melbourne report released this week found 23% of disability workers had not received any Covid-19 infection control training, while some workers were buying their own PPE.

The report, from the university’s disability and health unit, warned infections in group homes presented “very real difficulties for workers with little or no training who now have to implement meticulous infection control procedures and use full PPE”.

A Victorian government spokeswoman said the commonwealth was “the primary funder and regulator of disability services in Australia” but state authorities had been working with the federal government to ensure the safety of staff and residents.

The spokeswoman said all disability support workers were required to wear a single use surgical mask when at work at all times and that the government had provided more than 195,600 masks to service providers from the state stockpile.

Related: Hundreds of types of face masks withdrawn from sale in Australia amid safety fears

“We have stood up a dedicated disability rapid response outbreak unit to coordinate our coronavirus response with the commonwealth and to supplement the role of the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission – we have also been helping the commonwealth to distribute PPE to providers of residential care and supported residential services,” the spokeswoman said.

An Aruma spokeswoman said no workers or staff had been hospitalised due to the outbreak at its Pascoe Vale home and only mild symptoms were experienced and that staff would likely be cleared to return in the next few days.

The spokeswoman said the organisation had activated a full lockdown and isolation of the home, including a deep clean, full PPE, and special pay entitlements for staff including paid pandemic leave and boosted rates for people working with Covid-19 cases.

She said three staff had also tested positive within Aruma’s other facilities.

An NDIS commission spokeswoman said it was working closely with Victorian authorities and the National Disability Insurance Agency “to monitor the disability sector and to support providers where infections are identified in residential and other settings”.

The spokeswoman said Victoria was responsible for regulating “around 45% of residential disability services” due to existing transition arrangements.

Respite Services Australia did not respond to a request for comment. ... r-BB17EhB9

Ms Van Poppel said people living with disabilities were more prone to complications from coronavirus because of the conditions they may already have.

She said there was a concern the sector could see case numbers rise quickly, similar to what had happened in Victorian aged care, where there had been more than 1,500 cases and more than 100 deaths.
"We need to do everything we can to make sure the situation doesn't escalate," Ms Von Poppel said.

She said disability care providers and government organisations needed to learn from the aged care experience.
"We shouldn't see staff going from one site to another to work while they might unknowingly be infectious," she said.
"We should see staff being able to self-isolate as they need to."

It is estimated more than 6,000 people with disability live in group home settings — supported accommodation for up to six people — or respite care across the state.

The chief executive of the Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability (VALID), Kevin Stone, said the sector had feared coronavirus would spread into and between group homes.

Mr Stone, who has a son living in a group home, said the figures made it clear a lot more needed to be done to protect people with disability.
"My real fear here is that the absence of a professionalised, well-supported, well-trained, well-paid and stable workforce for people with disability could actually be one of the disasters that this country may well live to regret."

He said he was aware of a staff member wearing a mask incorrectly while supporting a resident, and those kinds of practices were "unforgivable".

Victoria's Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton, said specific guidance had been issued to disability care providers about stopping the spread of coronavirus.
"It is another vulnerable setting, we certainly want to make sure it is protected to the fullest extent possible," Professor Sutton said.

He said the sector had differences to aged care.
"Certainly the workforce is a little bit more stable in the sense of not working across as many locations as has been the case in aged care," he said. "That is one positive."

In a statement, a State Government spokesperson said a dedicated disability rapid response outbreak unit had been set up. It had helped to distribute personal protective equipment (PPE) to the sector, which it said was largely run and regulated through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

But the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission said the Victorian Government had oversight of about 45 per cent of residential disability services.
"The NDIS Commission is working closely with the Department of Health and Human Services and the NDIA (National Disability Insurance Agency) to monitor the disability sector and to support providers where infections are identified," it said in a statement.

The NDIA said it had been supporting the sector by offering outreach services to NDIS participants and helping to distribute PPE.

Victorian Opposition health spokeswoman Georgie Crozier said the spread of the virus in disability housing showed the problems the state was having with community transmission.
"That is what happens when you don't do the proper contact tracing and have widespread community transmission — the coronavirus will get into vulnerable communities like the disability sector," she said.

Ms Crozier said the sector needed more federal intervention, similar to what had occurred with the state's aged care sector. ... Lg#image=1

Over 139 health care workers test positive in Victoria
139 Victorian health-care workers have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 24 hours.
Victoria reports 940 healthcare workers have Covid-19
There are now 911 healthcare workers with active infections of Covid-19 in Victoria, a rise of 101 since Thursday
<< UPDATED TO 139 >> .
Hospitals are already under pressure as nurses are diverted to tackle the crisis in aged care homes and 607 people in the state’s hospitals with the virus.
Victoria’s chief health officer, Prof Brett Sutton, said on Friday it was “a very concerning number, it is a very big number” that was placing “stresses and strains on staffing”.
“In our hospital system, nurses are more represented in these healthcare workers numbers than doctors,” he said. “The number of doctors is much less. That, I think, relates to the closeness of interaction that nurses are engaged in with their care provision. But I think a lot of the numbers in healthcare workers are actually aged care workers and some of the ancillary staff in healthcare.”

Nurses have expressed increasing concerns in recent weeks about the infections affecting their workforce. Hundreds more nurses have been furloughed due to exposure to infected cases while they await the results of Covid-19 testing. Sutton said “it is hard to know” why so many healthcare workers were getting infected.
“This is not my area,” he said. “The chief medical officer [Prof Brendan Murphy] is looking into this. It does require really significant investigation to try to ascertain where healthcare workers have picked up their infection. Some of it will clearly be in the hospital setting, in the aged care setting. Some of it is outside. But it’s not always easy to make a final determination because people don’t necessarily know that they’ve been in contact with a positive case, either inside work or outside of work.”
On Friday, Victoria recorded 450 new cases of the virus and 11 more deaths, in people ranging in age from their 50s to 90s.

Safer Care Victoria, the peak state authority for quality and safety improvement in healthcare, is now working with hospital CEOs to identify issues. The Age reported that at least three Victorian healthcare workers, including a young trainee doctor, were in intensive care units after contracting the virus.

The Australian Society of Anaesthetists (ASA]) said it was “seriously alarmed at the increase in healthcare workers” with the virus. Its president, Dr Suzi Nou, said not enough was being done to protect frontline workers.
“Existing infection control guidelines in Victorian hospitals are clearly not protecting healthcare workers and our frontline workers are not being provided with adequate respiratory protection,” Nou said. “We are growing increasingly concerned by the lack of health and safety expertise being engaged by the healthcare industry to implement fit-for-purpose, risk-based control strategies to manage the hazards associated with caring for Covid-19 infection in healthcare settings.
“We continue to call for P2/N95 masks to be mandated in high-risk clinical areas when interacting with known or suspected Covid-19 cases and for these healthcare workers to be offered fit-testing.”

Meanwhile, there is concern that student nurses and trainee doctors with less experience in PPE and infectious disease are being asked to fill health worker gaps. On Thursday, Ballarat Health Service in Victoria confirmed a nursing student had tested positive to the virus.
“Contact tracing with staff, patients and other students is under way. All patients on the ward deemed a close contact of the student will be tested as a precaution, and their families are being contacted,” the health service said in a statement.

Naomi Kemp, the chair of the Australian Institute of Health and Safety, told Guardian Australia that young workers were over-represented in injury statistics compared with older and more experienced workers. “We are putting them into an already bad situation,” she said.
“Because of their lack of experience, young workers have a unique risk profile which means they may not perceive when something becomes unsafe and it isn’t effective to rely on them to ask questions or speak up with concerns. Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace.” The institute is calling for immediate government action to stop the spread of Covid-19 among healthcare workers, after its examination of current health and safety standards in healthcare found they were inadequate for the current crisis.

Kemp said that current health and safety practice gave the lie to the assumption that hospitals were some of Australia’s safest workplaces.
“The current infection rate is unacceptable,” she said. “But more tragically, it is preventable. Workers on many building sites currently have better protection than our healthcare workers when it comes to personal protective equipment, protocols around common work and recreation areas and transmission management.”

Ross Lomazov is a third-year medical student with Melbourne University, on placement in rural Victoria. During the placement, he has conducted Covid-19 swabs. “We are provided with full PPE and training for this,” he said. But he said there was concern among the student cohort of exposure to Covid-19.
“Already one student at the university, located at the Western hospital, has tested positive – it is strongly believed they picked it up on placement,” Lomazov said. “There is also concern about adequate PPE supply and financial remuneration – some students mention being paid minimum wage, which they believe is unfair during such a situation.” He said students did everything from swabbing through to contact tracing and administration tasks.
“To keep our health system running as efficiently and cheaply as possible, there is not much slack in the system when it comes to the labour force,” he said. “As such, when there is a large surge of patients needing care, the system gets disrupted and turns to additional help.” ... r-BB17FTbh ... i-BB17G9Lk


Thousands of Melbourne businesses close under stage 4
Erik Locke is CEO of Incolink, an industry fund that administers insurance and redundancy payouts to construction workers. He describes how the move to stage 4 has been handled. ... i-BB17G8Gx

Supermarkets make deal with Victorian government
The Victorian Government has struck a deal with supermarkets and grocers to avert a food shortage and discourage more panic buying.

Premier Daniel Andrews had previously ordered warehouses to cut their workforces by 33 per cent, but now they will be able to work at full capacity as long as strict guidelines are met.

The big chains including Woolworths, Coles, Aldi and Costco and independent food retailers will be allowed to reduce staff levels in other parts of their businesses, instead of just the distribution centres, to achieve the same reduction in staff movements.
At Woolworths, which has 4500 staff across its Melbourne distribution centres, staff will be cut by about 1500 across stores, support centres and distribution centres by halting non-essential store maintenance, postponing stocktakes, and asking non-store staff to work from home.

That includes workers who are vulnerable or over the age of 70, who will still receive full pay.
The Victorian government also agreed to postpone the workforce reductions until midnight on Sunday instead of midnight on Friday.

It's believed the compromise came after an intervention by the Federal Government over fears the national food supply would be affected by Victoria's stage four lockdowns.

Speaking before the changes were announced, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had "very frankly and very fully" passed on advice to the Victorian government about industry supply chain concerns.

Earlier, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews had moved to reassure residents the food supply will not be affected, warning against panic buying.
"You may not necessarily be able to get exactly the cut of meat that you want but you will get what you need and you will get all the products that are, basically, fundamentally important to you," Mr Andrews said.
"They will be there.
"There's no need to buy three months' worth of meat. That will only make it harder to make sure everybody else has got what they need." ... Vk#image=1

Bunnings to pay Melbourne employees full wages during lockdown
DIY giant Bunnings will pay all permanent employees impacted by stage four restrictions in Melbourne their full wages for the duration of the lockdown.
All staff will remain employed by the hardware juggernaut, despite metropolitan Melbourne stores operating on severely reduced service schedules for trades and industry partners only.

Casual employees who work 12 hours a week or more will be paid the equivalent of their regular hours for the remainder of the six-week lockdown.
Those who work less than 12 hours a week will be paid the equivalent of two weeks of their normal rostered hours.

Bunnings Managing Director Mike Schneider said the retailer was determined to stand by its Victorian workers even if there was no work available.
"We have a history of doing the right thing by our team, and I'm really pleased to confirm we will support our Melbourne team members through this six week period irrespective of whether there is work available in our stores," Mr Schneider said.
"They are doing a phenomenal job looking after each other and our customers and keeping everyone safe - it's only right for us to look after them and provide certainty during this time.
"There's still lots of important work for our teams to do during this period including looking after our trade and industry customers."

Customers in stage four affected areas can still use Bunnings' "Click & Deliver" and "Drive & Collect" services to access retail products.
Customers in states outside of Victoria are being strongly recommended to wear a face covering when in store.
"Customers will be provided with an option to purchase a mask as they enter our stores should they wish to do so," Bunnings said in a statement.
"We want to make sure we are doing everything we can to help reduce COVID-19 community transmission and we thank customers for their patience during this time." ... r-BB17FLGu

Families ‘stuck’ as Victorian government announces mandatory permits for childcare
Herald Sun columnist Susie O'Brien says parents in Victoria are currently stuck as the state government has announced permits will now be required to place children in childcare centres.

Many parents who have continued working from home throughout the pandemic have not been deemed essential workers which means they have been forced to supervise children while working.
“In order to access childcare, one parent needs to be a permitted worker,” Ms O’Brien told Sky News host Rita Panahi.
“Of course, being Victoria, there is no less than five different permits that they can choose from.”
“Most families are stuck because even if they’ve got one person who is a permitted worker … if they’ve got the other person in their family at home then even if they have an important job and they work full-time, they are stuck without childcare.” ... r-BB17GaW8


Police instructed to isolate after arrests
Several frontline police have been forced into isolation after arresting teenagers infected with COVID-19 ... i-BB17G3eq

Brett Sutton questioned over hotel quarantine failures blamed for Victoria's second coronavirus wave
Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton says he first learned about problems with the workforce in Victoria's hotel quarantine system from the media.

Tensions are running high over the lingering questions surrounding the system's failures, which are believed to be responsible for the state's second wave of COVID-19 infections.

After a grilling of Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday that yielded few detailed answers, Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton was asked what he knew about hotel quarantine failures.
"Obviously we were aware of outbreaks at the Stamford Hotel and the Rydges Hotel that my public health team responded to as outbreaks, so we were aware of the transmission that occurred," he said.
"But in terms of other rumours and reporting around deficiencies with the workforce in those settings, the first I heard was when I read it in the newspapers."

He said it appeared the Stamford outbreak was more contained than that at the Rydges, but he didn't know the proportions.

No trace of 'original virus' from February
An inquiry into the hotel quarantine scheme has been delayed due to stage 4 lockdown restrictions. But its head — former judge Jennifer Coate — this week said the inquiry did not mean those in authority could not answer questions about the scheme.

That prompted further media scrutiny of who within government was aware of problems with the scheme, and what action was taken to rectify them.

Professor Sutton said it only became clear to him that infection control breaches at the hotels were linked to cases cropping up in the community after a genomics report came in.
"[That] was when I was aware a very significant proportion of our current cases were linked to hotel quarantine," he said, adding he didn't suspect hotel quarantine errors were responsible for the outbreak before then.
"It was information that was only available when that genomics report was through. We didn't have the epidemiological links back to hotel quarantine that allowed us to link all of those cases."

That echoed responses from Mr Andrews yesterday, who said he publicly revealed those links hours after being briefed on the genomic report on June 30 and set up the inquiry.

Professor Sutton was asked if Victoria had eliminated community transmission of the deadly virus before it seeped out of hotel quarantine.
"It's impossible to say," he said.
"We've got genomics for many, many cases in Victoria at the moment. There's no evidence of original virus in the genomics reports.
"But we haven't tested everyone. Not everyone can have the virus grown. For those who can have the virus grown, not everyone gets that genetic fingerprint.
"So we can't say for those individuals where we haven't got the genetic fingerprint, but where we do, there isn't evidence of virus that goes back to February, March, April."

Emotions run high as second wave takes toll
Federal Treasurer and Victorian MP Josh Frydenberg told Sky News that hotel quarantine failures were a matter for the Victorian Premier to explain, but that he wouldn't engage in a "slanging match" in the media.
"As a Victorian, I feel so devastated about what has transpired in my state. It should never have got to this," he said.
"What happened in hotel quarantine were significant failures that cannot be repeated."

His voice cracked when speaking about the impact of COVID-19 on Victorians.
"We are in a state of crisis right now," he said.
"The emotional toll on Victorian families, on young women who are trying to home school their kids and hold down a job at the same time, on grandparents who are not seeing their kids, on businesses that have had to close their doors with millions of people uncertain about their future — they're the real issues.
"I'll let Daniel Andrews explain what happened on quarantine. That's for him to explain, that's for him to account for. But there's no doubt mistakes have been made."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was asked if he was disappointed about the Victorian Government's handling of the quarantine process.
"I'll leave disappointment, frustration, anger — all entirely understandable in [the] circumstances — to others. But I don't think as Prime Minister I can indulge those feelings for myself," Mr Morrison said.

He added all leaders of governments would have to answer questions, be transparent and face the consequences of their decisions.

When Mr Andrews was asked about whether he had made his own enquiries to find out who was responsible for the hotel quarantine scheme, he said he wouldn't "grade his own paper" and would instead wait for the outcome of the inquiry.

Mr Andrews was asked how he personally was holding up.
"Look, you just gotta push on. You just gotta keep going. It's not not about me. It's about getting the job done. And that's what we will do," he said.

He has fronted the media 35 days straight, but said he would be back at the podium on Saturday and Sunday.

Professor Sutton was asked about false reports of his retirement and denied any friction in his role.

He said he was confident he would remain at the helm throughout the pandemic. ... r-BB17FIkb ... i-BB17G3eq
Premier reveals 500 people not at home while under isolation orders
Mr Andrews said ADF personnel and health officers doorknocked another 1150 homes yesterday, and 1000 were home and 150 were not.
He said there were an estimated 500 people cumulatively who were found not at home while under isolation orders.
He said every single one of them was referred to Victoria Police for further investigation.
There were 60 teams including 120 defence personnel doorknocking across the state yesterday.
"That's the biggest single-day effort since the program began and that number will only increase as we move beyond simply doorknocking," the premier added.

Mr Andrews said the state would move to doorknocking all close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases.
"That is all about making sure people are doing the right thing." ... r-BB17EUUj


Anti-maskers plan to protest in Melbourne
Victoria Police are doubling down on public health orders as hundreds of anti-maskers are expected to protest at the ‘March For Freedom’ rally this weekend.
Melbourne cops shut down m0ronic conspiracy theorist
A rambling 'sovereign citizen' has been taken down by no-nonsense cops for refusing to wear a face mask or provide his ID and slapped with a $1,652 fine.

The Melbourne man filmed himself arguing with officers inside a 7-Eleven service station in Sunshine just before the 8pm curfew on Tuesday night.

After repeatedly ignoring orders and ranting about his rights, the video was abruptly cut short when a policeman grabbed his phone and placed him under arrest.
The man, who posts bizarre conspiracy theories online about 5G 'genocide', told the officers he was filming them 'for evidence' when he walked into the store with his brother.

He was asked why he wasn't wearing a face mask and told police he had a 'medical exemption', but refused to elaborate or provide evidence he was exempt.
'I don't need to provide it to you. I don't have to provide any ID either. I haven't committed a crime. I'm free to go,' he said.
But the officers stopped him as he tried to walk away, asking him again to explain why he was not wearing a mask in public.
'We're asking you what is your medical exemption. You do have to provide that to me,' one officer said.

The policeman repeatedly asked him to provide his identification, but the man wouldn't budge, this time demanding the officer hand over his orders in writing.
'Show me the law, piece of paperwork that shows exactly what you're trying to state,' the man continued.
'I told you I've got a medical exemption. We have both got asthma. We are free to go.'

Police tell him to show evidence he is an asthmatic, but he refuses.
Officers calmly tell refusing to obey their directions is against the law.
'You have committed a crime,' the officer says.
'One is you're not showing your identification and the second is you're not wearing a mask.'

At this point the police have had enough as the man continued with his 'sovereign citizen' jargon.

'Stop talking over me. Be quiet. You want to be arrested? Put your phone away, you're under arrest,' the officer says as the video cut out.

Footage of the arrest was shared alongside an image of the $1,652 penalty notice the man received for breaching COVID-19 health orders.
The man's Facebook page is littered with anti-5G propaganda videos, as well as likening wearing a face mask to 'slavery'.

He has also shared bizarre posts from 'The Conscious Truth Network' group run by James Bartolo which offers to help followers 'unplug from the matrix.'

One video advises viewers they have been 'deceived by the government' through a 'fraudulent' legal system which should be challenged by citizens.

He suggests road tolls, speeding fines, the ATO and even Vicroads are all 'illegal and unlawful.'

Another video promotes an anti-vaccine message which suggests the government will be using inoculation to brainwash citizens.
So called 'sovereign citizens' are a loosely coordinated group who have provoked outrage with their stunts making a mockery of police checkpoints and mandatory mask laws.

Others have called masks the 'mark of the beast', bragged about talking their way past police blockades, and threatened officers checking they were self-isolating.

Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent slammed the movement in a strongly-worded statement this week.
'Thankfully this selfish behaviour is an exception and the vast majority of people are doing the right thing to protect the health and safety of our community,' he said.
'However, the behaviour of those who blatantly choose to disregard the rules on the insistence their human rights being breached is alarming.
'Worse yet, it seems these people are more interested in notoriety and getting likes on social media than the health and wellbeing of their fellow Victorians.
'My message to anyone planning to break the rules is simple: No one has a human right to infect other people and place the entire Victoria community at risk.
'In fact, this type of behaviour is childish and is completely unacceptable when police are working incredibly hard to keep the community safe.' ... r-BB17EjWW
Anti-mask rally organisers arrested
The organisers of an anti-mask rally planned for Melbourne's CBD this weekend have been arrested.

Police arrested the two men following an investigation into the protest, which would have seen more than 400 people march through city streets in breach of the Chief Health Officer's directives.

Two search warrants were last night executed in Mooroolbark and Chirnside Park, where police seized mobile phones and a computer.

A 41-year-old man from Mooroolbark was charged with incitement. He was bailed and is due to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on 21 January 2021.

A 41-year-old man from Chirnside Park was also arrested last night, but was released with intent to summons. He is expected to be charged later today with the same offences.

The "Freedom Day Celebration" was scheduled for Sunday on the steps of Parliament by organisers who reportedly believed a conspiracy that COVID-19 is a "biochemical" weapon.

Police said they would not tolerate the "selfish" behaviour.

They are anti-masker, anti-vaccination and anti-business shutdowns, but police said the planned action was a blatant breach of Victoria's Chief Health Officer's directions.

It comes as a new poll has shown that more than half of Australians surveyed believe police should have the power to fine those who spread COVID-19 conspiracy theories.

The latest 9Nation poll exclusive to revealed that 56 per cent of those surveyed think Australian police should be able to penalise those who intentionally induce chaos using misinformation

Police warned the protesters they would not hesitate to hand out $1652 fines and make arrests.
"This selfish behaviour will absolutely not be tolerated," Victoria Police said in a statement.
"Be assured Victoria Police will be responding and will take appropriate action.
"There will be a highly visible presence in and around the city to ensure the community is complying with stage four restrictions.
"We will have no hesitation in issuing $1,652 fines or making arrests on the day, if necessary.
"Police are also making enquiries into the organisers of this event and we will be holding them to account."

Officers issued a $1600 fine to a Hoppers Crossing woman accused of protesting with her daughter at the weekend.

Last Friday, police moved on anti-mask protesters holding Australian flags who gathered at Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance.

About 30 people gathered at the city landmark just and held a minute's silence.

The protesters said their motivation was to "exercise their claim to freedom". ... r-BB17EYLc ... i-BB17EQWz

Fines for 196 Victorians
Victorian authorities have handed out 196 fines to people flouting the lockdown rules. ... i-BB17FD0b

NSW records 11 new cases
Fears of an outbreak in Newcastle / Lake Macquarie and Lowe Hunter are growing as NSW recorded 11 new COVID-19 cases.
New coronavirus infections reported in NSW as health boss warns authorities can't trace all cases
Health authorities in New South Wales have reported 11 new coronavirus infections, with the source of one mystery case in Western Sydney a concern.

Of the new cases, nine were locally acquired from known cases, including one person who attended the Apollo restaurant in Potts Point.

One case is under investigation — a woman in her 60s from south-western Sydney.

The other case was acquired in Victoria and that person has been self-isolating.

The Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD) has also confirmed that seven previously reported cases at a farm in Peats Ridge have been linked to the funeral cluster in south-west Sydney.

"The residents are believed to have contracted COVID-19 while sharing private transportation to the farm," a CCLHD spokesperson said.

"Two Central Coast residents who live and work on the farm have been identified as close contacts. Both have tested negative for COVID-19 and will remain in home isolation for two weeks as a precaution."

The spokesperson said there was no ongoing risked posed to the Central Coast community.

NSW Deputy Chief Health Officer Jeremy McAnulty reiterated the four-pronged approach to tackling coronavirus, with people being asked to stay home, maintain social-distancing and good hand hygiene, and wear a mask where social distancing wasn't possible.

"While most cases in the past week have been associated with local clusters and close contacts with known cases, some have not been linked to known cases," Dr McAnulty said.

A total of 27,937 people were tested in NSW in the 24 hours to 8:00pm Thursday.
There have now been 3,653 cases of coronavirus in NSW since the pandemic began.
NSW Health is treating 109 people for the virus, with 10 in intensive care and five on ventilators.

Elsewhere, a household contact of a previously reported case attended St Francis Xavier's College in Hamilton East, Newcastle, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week.
The school is now closed for cleaning and contact tracing is underway. ... r-BB17FwFv
NSW Covid-19 hotspots: list of regional and Sydney outbreak locations
New South Wales has seen an uptick in community transmission of coronavirus in recent weeks, putting the state on high alert to prevent further spread.

Many cases can be traced back to the Crossroads Hotel cluster and the Thai Rock restaurant in Wetherill Park, but new locations have cropped up in the news briefings each day.

Here is an overview of the state’s current hotspots and what to do if you’ve visited them. More detailed information is available at the NSW Health website.

List of outbreaks in NSW
If you were at the following venues on these dates you must get tested and self-isolate for 14 days, even if your test is negative.

Mounties, Mount Pritchard:
12:01am to 2:30am Monday 20 July;
12:15pm to 5:30pm Tuesday 21 July;
8pm to midnight on Tuesday 21 July;
Midnight to 12:30am on Wednesday 22 July;
7pm to midnight on Wednesday 22 July;
Midnight to 3am on Thursday 23 July;
7pm to midnight on Thursday 23 July;
Midnight to 3am on Friday 24 July;
11am to 3:30pm on Friday 24 July;
7pm to midnight on Friday 24 July;
Midnight to 3am on Saturday 25 July.
Thai Rock Restaurant, Potts Point:
Wednesday 15 July to Saturday 25 July inclusive if you attended this restaurant for two hours or more.
The Apollo in Potts Point: Wednesday 22 July to Sunday 26 July
Tan Viet in Cabramatta: 23 July from noon to 2pm
Harpoon and Hotel Harry in Surry Hills: 26 July, from 2.15pm to 11pm
Jambo Jambo African restaurant, Glebe: 31 July from 7pm to 8.30pm
Fitness First St Leonards: Monday July 27, 9am to 10.30am. People who were at the gym at this time but only attended a group fitness class are not required to isolate, but should monitor for symptoms and immediately self-isolate and seek testing if they develop symptoms

Hotel Jesmond, Jesmond: 7pm to 9pm on Wednesday 29 July
Lambton Park Hotel, Lambton: 8pm to 9pm on Thursday 30 July
Wallsend Diggers, Wallsend: 9pm to 11pm on Wednesday 29 July and 9pm to 11pm on Thursday 30 July.
Bennett Hotel, Hamilton: Friday 31 July, from 5.30pm to 10.00pm
Bar 88, Wests New Lambton: Sunday 2 August, from 5.00pm to 7.15pm
Sydney Junction Hotel, Hamilton: from 11pm Saturday 1 August to 1.15am Sunday 2 August
With the growing number of cases in the area, NSW Health is asking all people who live in, or have visited, the following areas in the past two weeks to get tested if they have any symptoms of Covid-19 at all, even the mildest of symptoms such as a runny nose or scratchy throat.

Potts Point area
Carnes Hill shops
Wetherill Park
Mt Pritchard
Bankstown City Plaza
If you were at any of the following locations on these dates, monitor yourself for symptoms and self-isolate and get tested if symptoms occur.

An Restaurant, Bankstown: Thursday 23 July, 9am to 11am
Frank’s Pizza Bar Restaurant, Camperdown: Sunday 26 July, 6pm to 8pm
Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL, Canterbury: Monday 27 July, 6.30pm to 8pm
Woolworths, Crows Nest: Monday 27 July, 10.30am to 11am
Neeta Shopping Centre (including the Soul Pattinson Chemist, Woolworths and Fresco Juice Bar), Fairfield: Thursday 23 July to Thursday 30 July
Matinee Coffee, Marrickville: Sunday 26 July, 8am to 9am, and Monday 27 July, 7am to 7.45am
Pritchard’s Hotel, Mount Pritchard: Friday 24 July, 5pm to 7pm
Cruising Yacht Club Australia (CYCA), Rushcutters Bay:
Thursday 23 July, 6pm to 7.30pm;
Friday 24 July, 3.30pm to 5pm;
Sunday 26 July, 4pm to 5.30pm
The Eveleigh Hotel, Redfern: 31 July from 8.30pm to 10pm
Warren View Hotel, Enmore: 1 August from 4pm to 4.20pm
Mary’s, Macquarie Place, Sydney: 1 August from 6.45pm to 7.15pm
Cubby’s Kitchen, Sydney: 1 August from 7.35pm to 9.30pm
Burrow Bar, Sydney: 1 August from 9.35pm to 11.15pm
Woolworths Metro, Marrickville: 2 August from 7pm to 7.20pm

Salamander Bay Shopping Centre, Salamander Bay: Wednesday 15 July.
Salamander Bay Woolworths, Salamander Bay:
17 July between 2.30pm to closing time,
18 July between 4pm to closing time,
19 July between 12.45pm to closing time,
20 July between 3pm to closing time.
Salamander Bay Shopping Centre, Salamander Bay: Wednesday 15 July
Toronto court house (Toronto drug court), Toronto: Monday 27 July, 7am to 2pm
Greenroof Bar and Restaurant, Hamilton: Friday 31 July, from 10.30pm to 12.15 midnight
Sushi Revolution, Hamilton: Saturday 1 August, from 12noon to 12.45pm
Queens Wharf Hotel, Newcastle: Saturday 1 August from 9.30pm to 11.00pm
McDonald Jones Stadium, New Lambton: Sunday 2 August, 7:30pm to end of game, Newcastle Jets match
St Pius X high school, Newcastle: Monday 3 August ... r-BB17Flh9 ... i-BB17FlUZ

Brad Hazzard and Jodi McKay’s mask stoush
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard calls Labor leader Jodi McKay “quite stupid” in a fight over MANDATING face masks during Question Time. ... i-BB17FZVQ

NSW health minister Brad Hazzard apologises after tirade at Labor's Jodi McKay
The New South Wales health minister, Brad Hazzard, has apologised to the state’s opposition leader Jodi McKay after he derided her as “quite stupid”, a “goose” and a “complete pork chop” during an outburst in the state’s parliament.

During a heated exchange in parliament on Thursday, Hazzard dismissed questions from McKay over the state’s supply of face masks.

Instead, the health minister, who has been a prominent face in the state’s efforts to control the Covid-19 pandemic, repeatedly attacked McKay, calling her “stupid” and saying to the opposition leader “you certainly need one”, referring to face masks.
In a joint interview with McKay on Sydney radio station 2GB on Friday morning, Hazzard apologised for the outburst, saying he was “tired” and “frustrated”.
“I think it’s fair to say I was a little bit frustrated with Jodi ... I know Jodi quite well but I was a bit frustrated with her yesterday,” he said.
“I was tired and I was frustrated and I shouldn’t have responded the way I did and I’m sorry for doing that to you, Jodi.”

In a press conference in Sydney on Friday, McKay said Hazzard’s comments were “unbecoming” but that she did not believe they were aimed at her gender.
“I never find minister Hazzard to target women, that’s not him. I don’t think [it was] in anyway related to gender. I think I’ll let people judge for themselves the behaviour exhibited yesterday in parliament.”

However she said the comments were inappropriate.
“I think that when you ask a serious question you want an answer when we’re in the middle of a pandemic ... it’s a legit question and I will keep asking that question. I think it was conduct unbecoming of a minister of the crown.”

The Guardian put questions to the state’s premier, Gladys Berejiklian, including whether the believed Hazzard’s comments were appropriate, whether she had spoken to the minister about the incident, and whether she believed his comments were sexist or gendered in nature.

She responded: “I note minister Hazzard has apologised.”

McKay though has also been accused of misrepresenting Hazzard in her questioning.

The health minister had appeared on 2GB on Thursday and, in answer to a question about why NSW had not made face masks mandatory, said: “if you were to impose it as a mandatory requirement, then obviously there’s a massive demand for those masks at times when people may not need them, and that diminishes the number of masks that are available”.

McKay then used that comment in parliament to claim she was “shocked to hear [Hazzard] say that he is not making face masks mandatory because the government does not have enough masks to meet demand”.

Hazzard said the question was “a complete misinterpretation”.
“To stir things up, carry on and play word games is as immature and juvenile as any leader of the opposition could get. It is quite stupid,” he said.

Related: Gladys Berejiklian under pressure to make masks mandatory as NSW records 13 new cases
“The government, reflecting the advice of the chief health officer, has been very clear on this: you wear a mask if you cannot maintain social distancing. That is absolutely crucial. That is the advice today.
“However, with advice from the chief health officer, the government is actively considering, as we have been for some months, whether any other changes should be made to that advice.
“But in the context of the question I was asked earlier today, I basically said that you do not need a mask except in those circumstances. If you want to, you can wear it.”

The NSW government has faced pressure from the opposition to mandate the use of face masks as it seeks to contain the low numbers of cases recorded throughout the state. The government has begun urging residents to wear masks in situations where they cannot socially distance such as on public transport.

But Labor has called for masks to become mandatory because the government’s position “doesn’t convey the severity of the situation”. ... r-BB17FChj

NSW offers to host Australian Open as Melbourne battles COVID-19 spike
ew South Wales deputy premier John Barilaro says his state would be willing to act as a temporary host for major sports events such as the Australian Open tennis Grand Slam if they cannot be held in neighbouring Victoria due to COVID-19.

Barilaro told Australian radio on Friday he had written to sports bodies and officials in Victoria offering help to stage the events, which he said held national significance.
"Some of these events down in Victoria are national events hosted in Victoria," Barilaro told 2GB radio.
"It's important for the economy, important for the Australian psyche when it comes to sport.
"Absolutely we should be able to work with Victorians to find ways to make sure these all happen, these events are far too important in this crisis to not have."

Victoria is undergoing a second lockdown and has nearly 8,000 active COVID-19 cases, while NSW has about 800.

The Australian Open, which has been held in Melbourne since 1972, is due to start in January and Tennis Australia (TA) said organisers had not drawn up contingency plans for the tournament to be moved out of Victoria.
"Our focus is to get through the next few weeks and our team is in full planning mode to deliver a great Australian Open in Melbourne," TA Chief Executive Craig Tiley said in a statement emailed to Reuters on Friday.
"We obviously have great facilities in Melbourne and the AO is contracted and committed to Melbourne Park."

Melbourne is also home to the Australian Football League's title-deciding Grand Final, scheduled for October.

AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan told reporters the Grand Final, which draws a capacity crowd to the 100,000-seat Melbourne Cricket Ground, was contracted to the stadium and it was "not appropriate" to look at alternative venues.

The state capital also hosts the Spring Racing Carnival, the country's biggest horse racing program, from October-November. Racing Victoria said in a statement it had no intention of relocating marquee races such as the Nov. 3 Melbourne Cup.

Victoria's sports minister did not provide immediate comment. ... r-BB17FJBd


A 31-year-old woman has been fined $1,000 and ordered to return to Victoria after crossing the border at a checkpoint in Albury.
Checks found she was not at the Nimbin address she had given for her 14-day isolation period.

In an unrelated incident, a 50-year-old woman playing a poker machine in an Albury pub was found to have a cross-border travel permit for work only.
She was fined $1,000 and ordered to return to Victoria. ... r-BB17FwFv

Bars fined for breaching social distancing rules
A Sydney inner city bar was issued a $5,000 fine this week for failing to enforce social distancing measures.
The Darlo Bar in Darling Harbour received the fine when patrons were found seated less than 1.5 metres away from each other.
A Maitland bar was also fined for not having a COVIDsafe plan in place. ... r-BB17Fcb2

Broncos legend stood down after pub session
Club legend Allan Langer and two other Broncos staff members have been stood down by the NRL for two weeks on 'COVID Hold' after it emerged that they had breached THE FOOTY BUBBLE by visiting a pub.

First revealed by The Sydney Morning Herald this afternoon, Langer and two other Broncos staff members attended the Caxton Hotel after the club's devastating 36-26 loss to the Sharks last Friday in contravention of the NRL's strict bio-security rules.

The Broncos confirmed that the three staff members would take COVID tests and self-isolate "as a precaution".
"Three Broncos staff members will undergo COVID-19 testing after attending a private function in Brisbane," the statement said
"The club became aware of the matter today involving football staff Allan Langer, Ryan Whitley and Blake Duncan, and contacted the NRL immediately.
"As a precaution, those staff have been placed on "COVID Holds", and will undergo testing before returning to the Project Apollo bubble."

The trio are the latest to be outed for breaking the rules, in what has been a disastrous 24 hours for the image of the competition.

Yesterday Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett and Dragons prop Paul Vaughan were the first to be placed on 'COVID Hold' after news broke that Bennett had lunch at a Leichhardt restaurant and Vaughan had breakfast at an Illawarra cafe.

The Broncos are in Sydney to face the Rabbitohs in tonight's late game, which will be televised live on Nine from 7.30pm (AEST).

Both sides will have key figures missing in action due to the bubble breaches, with Bennett forced to coach Souths from his home and Brisbane to replace Langer as their runner, a role that allows the legendary halfback to play a pseudo coaching role on the field. ... r-BB17FLTJ


ACT residents trapped at NSW-Victoria border after overnight changes to travel restrictions
Canberrans who were granted permits to return home from Victoria were turned back at the Victoria-New South Wales border on Friday due to a serious problem with overnight changes to NSW’s travel restrictions, prompting the ACT to make urgent representations to Gladys Berejiklian and Scott Morrison.

The NSW government made last-minute changes to its travel restrictions on Thursday night, mandating that all NSW residents coming home from Victoria must travel through Sydney Airport and go immediately into hotel quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.

Border communities were exempt, but not ACT residents who had already been granted permission to transit through NSW while returning from Victoria to Canberra.
The change caused police at the border to deny re-entry into NSW to ACT residents, regardless of whether they had permits to return to Canberra.

The ACT chief minister, Andrew Barr, has taken up the issue with the NSW premier and the prime minister, seeking urgent action.

The ACT Government is scrambling to help dozens of Canberrans who have permission to return home but have been left stranded at the NSW-Victoria border
— (@The_RiotACT) August 7, 2020
“We are aware that there is currently a serious border restriction problem for people wishing to travel by road from Victoria, through NSW, to the ACT,” a spokeswoman for Barr said.
“We have significant concerns that ACT residents, or those with an exemption (such as federal MPs), to enter the ACT are no longer allowed to transit through NSW.
“These concerns have been urgently raised with the NSW Premier’s office and the Prime Minister’s Office.”

Health worker Anne Cahill Lambert said she was trapped at the border for four hours before deciding to return to Victoria as darkness fell, with temperatures near freezing and heavy rain falling.

Cahill was trying to return to Canberra with her husband, also a health worker, and their dog, after working in north-east Victoria.

I am at the NSW/Vic border with relevant passes to transit and return home but NSW has changed the rules since passes issued.
Setting up a refugee camp. @VictorianCHO @ACTHealth @ABarrMLA #covid @RachelSS_MLA
— Anne CL (@ACLambert) August 7, 2020
Both she and her husband were granted permits to return from Victoria by both the ACT and NSW governments, and had agreed to enter two-week home quarantine in Canberra.

Cahill Lambert received approval to return home from the ACT government on Monday and from the NSW government on Wednesday.

Related: NSW reports 11 new coronavirus cases as Gladys Berejiklian asks young to curb social activity

But when she arrived at the border on Friday, she was told the new directive meant she had to drive back into Victoria, fly to Sydney airport, quarantine in Sydney and then return to Canberra.

She said she was far from alone.
“There are hordes of Canberra people, they’ve gone into Wodonga waiting for this to be resolved,” she told the Guardian on the phone from the border.

The NSW change enforces a regime that appears at odds with the current ACT health advice.

The ACT government has advised its residents not to travel to greater Sydney, because it is considered a hotspot. The ACT has been Covid-19 free for almost a month.
“I think the public health initiatives are terrific, but this is just madness,” Cahill Lambert said.

The NSW premier has been contacted for comment. ... r-BB17FVoK
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Aug 08, 2020 8:05 am

Queensland flags easing restrictions as state records no new cases
Queensland has recorded no new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the state's deputy premier has confirmed.

The number of active cases has also dropped to 11 after a false positive test, Steven Miles said.

Six people remain in hospital.
"I've continued to be blown away by the support of Queenslanders in going and getting tested," Mr Miles said.
"In the last 24 hours, 16,183 people got tested. That is a fantastic effort."

In the nine days since two women were found to have entered Queensland illegally from Melbourne via Sydney, the state has carried out 119,495 tests, bringing the total number of Queenslanders now tested to nearly 580,000.
"It is more than a week this weekend, the stakes remain high, but we would hope in coming days to have some level of satisfaction, some level of comfort that there hasn't been additional community transmission caused by those cases," he said.

Mr Miles also flagged restrictions on visiting aged care centres across Queensland could be lifted from Monday if the state gets through the weekend without any new coronavirus cases.

He said it was critical people follow the rules on Saturday and Sunday.
"That's what is at stake here, whether hundreds of Queenslanders can have their families visit them in their nursing homes or not," Mr Miles said.
"They should not think for a moment that they are part of one of the world's great protest movements."

Demonstrators have planned to rally on Brisbane's Story Bride in defiance of police orders to stay away.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young emphasised the coming days would determine if restrictions on aged care homes could be softened.
"Please, we can't yet relax," Dr Young said.
"This weekend it is really, really important that if anyone is unwell, developed any symptoms, has any symptoms, they immediately isolate and come forward and get tested.
"And I ask every single Queenslander, this weekend we have to absolutely follow all those social distancing rules."

Queensland authorities have also pleaded for patience ahead of a tightened border shutdown with New South Wales and the ACT, which comes into effect from 1am Saturday.
"We have been working hard these last couple of days to prepare for that hard border closure at a 1am tomorrow morning" deputy premier Steven Miles said.
"I would ask people returning to the state for their patience today and over the next few days."

Additional information has been made available online regarding the closures, he said.

Those who live along the border communities in Queensland and New South Wales will be exempt.
"They can only come into the adjacent communities on the other side of the border," Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said.
"They can't go through the rest of Queensland. That's really, really important. They know their lives are lived across the border, which is why they need to be able to come in.
"Anyone else from anywhere else in New South Wales or the ACT or, of course, Victoria, cannot come into Queensland unless they fly, and they come through the airport and they've got an exemption to be in Queensland.
"There are some exemptions that people will need to apply for. But there are very, very few and that is so important for us to do." ... r-BB17FfEe

Aboriginal-led initiatives spare communities from COVID-19 spread
When the pandemic hit, there were concerns the virus would wreak havoc on Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.

With poorer health, cramped living conditions, over-representation in prisons, and limited access to health specialists, experts were concerned the virus would decimate Indigenous communities.

But under community-led responses, Indigenous populations have fared better than the rest of Australia, making up less than 1% of all COVID-19 cases.

What does the data say?
At the beginning of July, the federal Health Department had recorded 69 COVID-19 cases in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Of those cases, 43% caught it overseas, and 73% were in residents of major cities of Australia. There have been no confirmed cases in remote communities.

While 12% of infected Indigenous people were admitted to the hospital, this is about the same percentage as the general population. No Indigenous people were admitted to intensive care, and none have died from the virus.

What went right?
The success has been attributed to Aboriginal led-responses. Social media videos and radio panels quickly informed communities in a relevant and health-literate way, while Aboriginal-controlled services trained their staff around infection spread. The approach was fast and cheap.

Travel restrictions for remote communities were quickly implemented. WA and SA only recently reopened access to their remote communities.

Australia’s COVID-19 emergency response plan also placed First Nations peoples as priority populations — an initiative which drew praise from the United Nations.

However, the response has also drawn criticism from the National COVID-19 Health and Research Advisory Committee, which found that while measures in remote regions were adequate, the plan relied on a misconception that Indigenous people mostly live in remote communities.

In fact, 79% of Indigenous Australians live in urban areas.

Some communities still struggling
Despite the success in limiting transmission, Indigenous communities have still been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make up 2% of the Australian adult population, but 27% of the national adult prison population. When six Victorian prisons were placed into lockdown in late July, there were renewed calls to urgently release low-risk offenders into the community.

Similarly, when nine public housing towers were put into strict lockdown in Melbourne last month, many First Nations families — several of whom had family members with disabilities — were shut in with limited access to culturally relevant health information.

Mental health a major concern
The impact of the pandemic on Indigenous people’s mental health is a major concern: 30 leaders in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health have written a report warning self-determination and targeted funding will be critical in averting a mental health crisis.

An increase in suicide rates — which are already double that of other Australians — is predicted in the Indigenous population, with mainstream mental health support not always effective at meeting their specific needs.

The report calls for a response led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, communities, and people.

Given their success in stopping the COVID-19 spread, it would make sense for the government to support this initiative.

The post Aboriginal-led initiatives spare communities from COVID-19 spread appeared first on Crikey. ... r-BB17Cqr7

Dreamworld to re-open in Queensland
Dreamworld is being handed a multi-million dollar lifeline, allowing the theme park to reopen in September. ... i-BB17GahJ


Queenslanders urged to return before hard border closure
No new coronavirus cases have been recorded in Queensland overnight. It comes as the state prepares to close its southern border again tomorrow and QLD residents are urgent to return home before the closure deadline else they will have to quarantine in a border quarantine hotel for 14 days at their own cost. ... i-BB17FjGI

Queensland border closure prompts questions about who can and can't enter the state. Here's what you need to know
Queenslanders who have missed the 1:00am deadline will not be allowed to drive into the state through a declared COVID-19 hotspot under tough new border restrictions.

They will need to fly, and then quarantine in Queensland Government arranged accommodation for 14 days at their own expense.

Motorists will still be able to enter via the Northern Territory border.

Where are the declared hotspots?
All of Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT have been declared COVID-19 hotspots.

Who will be exempt?
Exemptions will be very limited and will only apply to those deemed "absolutely essential for the functioning of Queensland".

These may include freight and transport workers, people in the construction, manufacturing and mining industries, elected government representatives on official duties, emergency service workers and air or maritime crew.

It does not include healthcare workers, except in exceptional circumstances.

FIFO workers who live in a hotspot will only be permitted to enter Queensland for work if they fit the criteria of a specialist worker.

They will be required to quarantine for 14 days at the worksite or employer provided accommodation in Queensland and leave quarantine only to carry out duties.

Freight workers going into hot spots will be allowed to cross without going into quarantine, but will need to be tested every seven days.

They will not have to isolate while waiting for results, unless they are unwell.

What about people who live near the border?
Those living within a prescribed border zone postcode will be able to cross into Queensland for any reason, but will need to apply for a new border pass. Proof of residence will also be required.

Can border residents visit areas outside the zones?

Queensland border zone residents cannot travel outside the border zone in NSW and NSW border zone residents cannot travel outside the border zone in either Queensland or NSW.

The zone stretches from the Ormeau on the northern end of the Gold Coast to Brunswick Heads in NSW.

It's a similar story running all the way along the Queensland-NSW border with residents in declared postcodes able to move freely if they have a border pass.

How do you apply for a border pass?
A border declaration pass can be applied for online.

Applications can be processed at the border, however there may be delays.
Identification, such as a driver's license or Medicare card will be required.

A border declaration pass is valid for seven days from the date of completion.
A new border declaration pass will have to be renewed every seven days, or more regularly if your circumstances have changed.

Does everyone flying into Queensland from a hotspot have to enter quarantine?
Yes, unless:

It's to perform an "essential" activity.
Arrive into Queensland by air and transfer directly to another flight to leave Queensland or quarantine until boarding the flight out of Queensland.
Were in a COVID-19 hotspot for the sole purpose of transiting through an airport, excluding Melbourne Tullamarine airport.
Can provide evidence that mandatory hotel quarantine was completed in a COVID-19 hotspot and immediately transited to Queensland, unless flying out of Melbourne Tullamarine airport.
Are a border zone resident and have not been in a hotspot in the last 14 days.
Can people enter Queensland on compassionate grounds?
Yes, but only in exceptional circumstances, and if an exemption is granted by the Chief Health Officer.

If an exemption is granted to visit a dying relative, 14 days quarantine would be required, however, the visitor would be able to leave quarantine to visit the sick relative.

An exemption to attend a funeral is only likely to be granted if 14 days of quarantine in government arranged accommodation is completed prior to the funeral. ... r-BB17FBC2

Queensland borders close to COVID-19 hotspots Victoria, NSW and ACT. Here's what it means for you
Who can enter Queensland and how, has changed.

As of 1:00am on Saturday August 8 2020 the state's borders closed to people coming from COVID-19 hotspots: Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

Here's what it could mean for you.

Border residents
People living in communities on the Qld-NSW border are exempt.

"This includes both sides of the border — people who live in Queensland but work or go to school in their neighbouring border town, or people who live in New South Wales but come to work or school in their neighbouring border town in Queensland," Queensland Health said.

Residents in this zone can cross the border for any purpose.

However, Qld border zone residents cannot travel outside the border zone in NSW and NSW border zone residents cannot travel outside the border zone in either Qld or NSW.

Other road-border exemptions
Truck drivers, freight and logistics workers and people performing essential activities are the only other exemptions who can cross the road-border into Qld from a hotspot.

The full list of essential activities is extensive but includes:
National and state government employees: security, police, military personnel, elected officials
Health and emergency services
Time critical specialist skills: construction, energy, manufacturing, utility workers
Airtime and maritime crew
You will need to complete a Queensland Border Pass Declaration before you come into the state.

That involves committing to get tested if you develop symptoms within 14 days of entering the state.

Flying into Queensland
You can only enter Qld from a hotspot if you fly in but you will have to quarantine.

If you are not a Qld resident, you will have to apply to fly in.

Qld residents who have been in a COVID-19 hotspot can return home but will be required to quarantine in government provided accommodation at their expense.

A non-resident entering Qld must quarantine in the 14 days prior to entering the state.
"The tightening of restrictions means people who have been in a COVID-19 hotspot within the last 14 days will no longer be able to quarantine in Queensland and will be turned away at our border."

There are exemptions for people entering the state for essential activities.

People who have not been in hotspots in the preceding 14 days can enter the state.

These restrictions will be in place until the end of the declared public health emergency, or until the state government revokes or replaces them. ... r-BB17FS3U

THE QLD – NSW BORDER BUBBLE to apply from 8 August.’
The Queensland-New South Wales border will close this weekend, but Gold Coast and Tweed residents will be able to move freely under a new "border bubble".
Queensland Health has released a list of Queensland and New South Wales postcodes, which are eligible for an "X" declaration pass.

Tweed Shire and Gold Coast residents, however, will not be allowed to travel deeper into respective states without special exemptions.

A Gold Coast resident cannot travel to Byron Bay, for example, and a Tweed resident cannot commute to Brisbane.

The border will be close at 1:00am on Saturday.

What does the closure mean?
Along with Victoria, all of NSW and the Australian Capital Territory have been deemed COVID-19 hotspots.

You can only enter Queensland from a hotspot if you travel by air and everyone – including children – must quarantine in Government-arranged accommodation.

The only people who will be allowed to enter Queensland by road are truck drivers, workers related to the transport of freight and logistics, people performing essential activities, and border zone residents.

Queensland Police say road checkpoints will remain in the same locations for the time being.

What you can and can't do
If you live inside the border zone, you can apply for an X pass.

This will let you travel freely to anywhere else within the border zone.

That means you will still be able to travel for work, health appointments, and to check out your favourite local beach.

If you are a NSW resident who lives in the border zone, you must stay in the border zone, whether for work, appointments or fun.

If you travel outside the zone into other parts of NSW you will be blocked from entering Queensland for 14 days.

If you are a NSW resident and you need to travel outside the zone in Queensland, you will need a special exemption.

What you asked
What about travel from 4275 to Newcastle for medically necessary surgeries for my son? Will quarantine be necessary on return to Qld?
- Claire
You will have to quarantine, because Newcastle is within a declared hotspot.
Border zone residents who receive medical care inside the border zone will not have to quarantine.
Anyone receiving medical care in South Australia, the Northern Territory, Western Australia or Tasmania and who does not travel through a hotspot to get there will not have to quarantine.

My son boards at a Southport school and he has told me he possibly won't be able to come home on weekends now. Are we allowed to go and see him at weekends?

- Jenny, Kingscliff
Both Southport and Kingscliff are within the border zone.
Your son can travel from Southport to Kingscliff to visit you, but must not go to Byron Bay, or further south.
You can visit him at Southport but are not allowed to travel north of the Gold Coast.
You will be refused entry to Queensland if you have travelled outside the border zone in NSW within the 14 days prior to entering Queensland.

I am a farmer. Will I be able to cross the border to sell my produce at weekend markets like Carrara?
- Kevin, Murwillumbah
You are eligible for an X pass and will be travelling within the border zone.
As long as you have not travelled to areas of NSW that are outside the border zone, you will be allowed to enter Queensland to sell your produce within the Gold Coast Council area.

My daughter's father lives in northern New South Wales, outside the border zone. I take it I can't drop her off for her weekends then, as I live on the Gold Coast?
- Name withheld
There are some provisions that relate to the enforcement of court orders, but because the father lives outside the border zone quarantine requirements will apply. ... r-BB17FSyv

Two pass categories will apply , one for essential workers , one for residents ( of the bubble ) .

Elderly bus passengers stopped at Queensland border after Sydney transit stop triggers coronavirus restrictions
A number of elderly bus passengers have been unwittingly caught up in Queensland's tough border restrictions because they "spent an hour stretching their legs" in Sydney.

The travellers arrived by bus at the Queensland-New South Wales border checkpoint at Coolangatta this morning, but were told by authorities that it was the end of their journey.
The Greater Sydney area was declared a COVID-19 hotspot by Queensland, meaning anyone who has spent time there in the past 14 days will be turned around at the border or placed in quarantine at their own expense.

At 1:00am Saturday, all of NSW and the ACT will be added to that declaration.

Karen Warren, 69, said she had travelled 25 hours from Merimbula in southern NSW to visit her son in Brisbane.
"I'm sad because I haven't seen my son for so many years," she said.
Mrs Warren said she and other passengers were informed they could not continue their bus trip because they had been forced to disembark in Sydney.
Mrs Warren said she would return to stay with a friend in northern NSW.
"I'll just hope [the Premier] might open up the borders so I get a chance to see [my son] before I go back home," she said.
"I understand the Queensland Government doing what they're doing, because of Victoria. We don't want this sort of thing happening at our place either.
"But, I don't think she [Annastacia Palaszczuk] should've done it for the whole of NSW."

Gold Coast resident Graham McKerlie, 78, said he merely sat in the bus company's transit centre office for an hour.
He had been returning from a trip to NSW to celebrate his brother's 80th birthday and had been travelling since 7:00am on Thursday morning.
He said he was told he would have to quarantine for 14 days, but was unsure whether he could do so in his own home.
"I don't know what they're going to do," Mr McKerlie said.
A short time after speaking to reporters, a distressed Mr McKerlie was taken away by ambulance to Robina Hospital on the Gold Coast.

Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said Mr McKerlie was questioned by officers and discovered that he'd come from a COVID-19 hotspot.
"So by virtue of the Chief Health Officer's direction he had to go into mandatory quarantine," Chief Superintendent Wheeler said. ... Bu#image=1

Couple quarantining in Brisbane claim their booze is being withheld
A couple stuck in hotel quarantine have complained that their Dan Murphy's booze orders are being confiscated by staff.

The travellers, who returned from Melbourne, have paid $3,710 for a room and food service as they quarantine in Rydges South Bank in Brisbane.
The pair said when staff brought it to their room they were told they were only allowed six beers a night, rather than the two cases and bottle of rum they ordered.
'(The hotel) would only send six of each beer up and they wouldn't send the rum,' the couple told the Courier Mail.

The couple branded the act 'un-Australian' and questioned if this would have happened if they weren't in quarantine.
'If I was a paying customer … and I walked through reception with a carton of beer, would they pull us up and say that we can't take that up to our room.'

The couple claim they were told by staff the decision was made to 'limit the ramifications of hooliganism'.
'How do they have the right to confiscate my alcohol when I haven't done anything wrong? I wasn't drunk and disorderly, I wasn't drinking in the street,' one of the pair said.

Queensland Police said it was unaware of any alcohol limits being imposed in hotels for returning travellers.

The hotel's alcohol rationing would comply with strict liquor licensing regulations under the Responsible Service of Alcohol.

Allowing guests a six pack of beer or a bottle of wine is standard procedure.

Daily Mail Australia contacted Rydges South Bank for comment. ... r-BB17FlXp

Queensland protest negotiations take new turn
Queensland refugee protestors have said they are willing to stop the demonstration if ABF officials agree to a meeting. ... i-BB17G5me

Queensland police hopeful refugee protest called off amid heightened concerns of coronavirus outbreak
The Queensland Police Service says it is hoping a refugee protest planned for Brisbane on Saturday will be called off over concerns it will seriously increase the risk of another coronavirus outbreak.

On Friday afternoon, QPS reached an agreement with protest organisers to meet next week.

Earlier today, police had indicated they would consider applying for a court order to stop the weekend protest from going ahead.

Thousands of people had been threatening to stage a mass "sit-in" on Brisbane's Story Bridge on Saturday in an attempt to intensify pressure on the detention of refugees, under the Federal Government's Medevac laws.

A QPS spokesman said police would still monitor the Story Bridge for protesters on the weekend.

Police have indicated there will be a heavy police presence at the event if it goes ahead and said they were prepared to arrest anyone who blocks the city's Story Bridge.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday said she was also considering obtaining a court injunction to block the action and that "nothing has been ruled out".

Earlier on Friday, Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said legal options to stop the protest from going ahead were still being considered.
"If we can get an instrument to prevent this protest happening, we will do that," he said.
"I'm still waiting for the legal advice on where that's at. We'll continue to push that [legal option] right up to the moment [of the protest].
"There are legal issues — you have to prove who the organisers are and all those sorts of things so we're trying to work through that.
"But we're realistic enough to know that that may not discourage people anyway, so we're ready with our operation to go."

Activists are protesting against the detention of about 120 refugees and asylum seekers in the Kangaroo Point Motel, under the Federal Government's medevac laws.

About 3,000 people have expressed interest in attending the protest on social media.

The planners, Refugee Action Collective Queensland and Refugee Solidarity Brisbane/Meanjin, have been threatening the Story Bridge shutdown for weeks if their demands were not met.

Their three demands are:

No more forced transfers to high-security facilities
Permission for those in detention to exercise and connect with the community
Detainees are to be released by Christmas

'It's not selfless, it's selfish'
Health Minister Steven Miles labelled the protest action as "selfish" and said it could jeapordise plans to lift harsh restrictions on aged care homes next week.
"If the weekend goes well and we continue to not record cases of community transmission, the Chief Health Officer hopes to, next week, be able to lift the restrictions on people visiting aged care facilities," Mr Miles said.
"That's what's at stake here — whether hundreds of Queenslanders can have their families visit them in their nursing homes or not.
"Anyone's decision to breach these directions and put that at risk ... is not selfless, it's selfish.
"They shouldn't think for a moment that they are part of one of the world's great protest movements.
"Those great protest movements put their own lives at risk, not the lives of others, not the lives of innocent people.
"We will not allow them to proceed."

The call to stop the planned protest came as Queensland recorded no new cases of coronavirus overnight. ... kq#image=1

Over 1 million temporary visa holders cannot get Federal Government payments
They are not eligible for JobSeeker or pensions.
Many of them worked in hospitality, one of the most devastated industries, and five months in, they are getting desperate. ... i-BB17FkdZ

National Cabinet discusses coronavirus vaccines, JobKeeper and international travel
The leaders of Australia have discussed preparations for a coronavirus vaccine, new changes to JobKeeper and the future of international travel in the latest meeting of National Cabinet.

It comes after a horror week in Victoria which saw Australia's number of recorded cases surpass 20,000.

If you didn't have time to watch the hour-long presser, here's what was said by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly.
Australia is ready to pounce on a vaccine
The prospect of scientists around the globe finding a vaccine for coronavirus still isn't a sure thing, but Professor Kelly said National Cabinet discussed how Australia would respond if one was discovered.
"We're looking very clearly and carefully at advance purchasing options as well as local manufacturing options," he said.
"We're looking of course at the regulatory aspects to make sure that whatever does become available works, as well as being of high quality and, of course, being safe."

Professor Kelly said researchers around the world were working at "warp speed", and that his optimism was growing.
"Silver bullets and crystal balls, I don't have either," he said.
"What we have got in front of us is a very detailed plan about how we can get in the game in terms of vaccines and making sure that we are well ready if it comes.
"I'm much more hopeful than I was even a few weeks ago.
"In the last couple of weeks there have been published papers … demonstrating there are several different types of vaccine that are now absolutely developed and appear to be effective at least in terms of making antibodies against this virus, and they remain for at least a few months."

Mr Morrison also reconfirmed that if Australia was the first to develop a vaccine, it would share its findings around the world.
"We pledge that if we find the vaccine we'll share it. I think every country's leader should say that," he said.

International arrivals will remain at current levels
For several weeks now, international arrivals have been restricted to about 4,000 a week.

Mr Morrison said he, along with state and territory leaders, had no plans to change that quickly.

The restrictions have been a source of woe for Australians overseas who have been trying to return home, but Mr Morrison said current arrangements would remain for months.
"International travel constraints on inbound arrivals to Australia should be continued in their current form," he said.
"At some point, that might be able to be altered. But at this point we are not going to put any further strain on the quarantine arrangements around the country.
"That will remain in place now for some months."

Palmer ditching WA challenge would be a 'good decision': PM
On the topic of borders (at a state level this time), Mr Morrison called on businessman Clive Palmer to drop his legal challenge against Western Australia's border closure.

The Commonwealth had initially intervened in the court case in favour of Mr Palmer's position, but pulled out last weekend.

Mr Morrison said the only person who could put an end to the case was Mr Palmer, and made it pretty clear that's what he hoped would happen.
"I have an outstanding relationship with the Western Australian Government, and we've pulled out of the case as they asked us to pull out," he said.
"The only way out, I think, is for Mr Palmer not to proceed with the case.
"I think that would be a good decision."

JobKeeper expansion
National Cabinet's meeting coincided with changes to the JobKeeper program.

The new rules relax the eligibility requirements, to allow more businesses, particularly in Victoria, to apply.

But Mr Morrison said any changes would remain on a national level, with none of the changes applying solely to the worst-affected areas.
"I have said consistently that JobKeeper needs to be a national program," he said.
"It will find the need wherever it happens to be. Whether that's in Bunbury or Brunswick, it'll find it.
"With the scale of the Victorian wave, that necessitated us to look at a more recent experience to ensure people qualified."
Coalition extends JobKeeper 'lifeline' to $100bn
The federal government has allocated an additional $15 billion to the JobKeeper scheme – taking the total to more than $100 billion as part of a ramped up response to the coronavirus crisis.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday confirmed the scheme would be extended to cover hundreds of thousands more Victorian workers as the state battled a devastating surge in virus cases.

Under the changes, the employee eligibility test will be extended to allow workers hired from July 1 to access the scheme.

Businesses will also be required to prove a fall of 30 per cent in their GST turnover in the quarter ending in September.
“JobKeeper has been a lifeline to people's livelihoods. It's been a lifeline to businesses. It's been a lifeline for the certainty and assurance that it's provided Australians,” he said.

The prime minister also revealed the Commonwealth’s total fiscal commitment to its coronavirus response now totalled more than $300 billion with a combined state and territory commitment valued to at least $40 billion.
“I can assure you the federal government has a very clear and strong plan for the road out to ensure that Australia will emerge strongly from this, and I believe we will emerge more strong think than many if not most of all developing nations in the world,” Mr Morrison said.
“That is because of the resilience and spirit of the Australian people and the capacity of our economy as it's been demonstrated on so many occasions.” ... i-BB17FIco ... r-BB17FJ3G ... i-BB17FGnn

Remote Parliament
On Thursday, it was announced Victorian MPs would have to undergo a two-week isolation period if they wished to attend Parliament on August 24.
"When you consider how the Parliament House works, people come from every state, we don't want to be sending cases to other places," Professor Kelly told reporters today.

Some MPs, including Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Health Minister Greg Hunt, will travel to Canberra to begin their two-week isolation period this weekend.

Labor has been calling on the Government to explore options for MPs to participate remotely, without being able to vote in divisions.

Mr Morrison said he was open to that, but the details would need to be worked out.
"One of the points that the Leader of the Opposition and I very much agree on, is that if you're voting in the Parliament, then you've got to be here," he said. ... r-BB17FUDi

No international travel for 'many months': Prime Minister
Scott Morrison has ruled out any changes to international travel for "many months".

The prime minister said there was a discussion during the National Cabinet meeting about Australia's borders and it was decided current restrictions would remain in place.
"We also agreed that international travel constraints on inbound arrivals to Australia should be continued in their current form," Mr Morrison said today.
"We look forward to at some point that that might be able to be altered but at this point we are not going to put any further strain on the quarantine arrangements around the country and that will remain in place now for some months."

Currently Australian borders are closed. Only citizens, residents and immediate family can enter the country.

Regardless of where people arrive from, they must self-isolate for two weeks.

In NSW, where most international flights are arriving, anyone who purchased a ticket after July 12 must pay for their own 14-day hotel stay.

There are a limited number of international flights leaving Australia each week for Europe and the UK, but anyone who returns is subject to the above requirements. ... r-BB17FFKd

National cabinet plans rapid-response units to curb Covid-19 outbreaks in Australian aged care facilities
Rapid response units aimed at preventing Covid-19 outbreaks in aged care could be rolled out across Australia as leaders plan ways to prevent a repeat of the heartbreak seen in Victoria.

Governments across the country are “preparing for the worst, hoping for the best” when it comes to responding to outbreaks in the aged care sector, according to Prof Paul Kelly, the acting chief medical officer.

As Victoria reported 450 new cases of the virus and 11 more deaths, the national cabinet meeting on Friday focused heavily on the situation in that state and the need to avoid a repeat of the problems in aged care in other states and territories.
Scott Morrison, the prime minister, said the meeting had committed to an audit of state and territory aged care emergency response capabilities because there was a need to “stress test” the systems in place across Australia.
“I think states and territories are very mindful of this and keen to adapt and apply the lessons that have been picked up in Victoria,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Friday.

The two levels of government will spend the next fortnight developing plans covering a range of activities such as face-to-face infection control training with aged care facilities even where there are no known cases of coronavirus.

The plans would also include “compulsory use of face masks, workforce controls and the use of private hospital resources that will be actioned in locations where there are active cases of Covid-19”, according to a statement issued after the national cabinet meeting.

The federal government has also flagged the establishment of coordination centres, similar to the “Victorian Aged Care Response Centre” that was created on 25 July.

The Victorian centre brought together a range of federal and state government agencies with the aim of coordinating and expanding resources to tackle the challenges of Covid-19 in aged care services.

Morrison said it was important to be “in a position to put in place quite quickly an aged care response unit similar to that which we’ve been able to stand up in Victoria, which has aided greatly in our ability to stabilise that situation”.

He acknowledged that “the hardest task” of the past week or so “was stabilising aged care”. The prime minister said the national cabinet’s commitment to work together on aged care preparedness plans was “very important”.

Over the past few weeks the Morrison government has faced increased scrutiny over the problems that have beset the aged care sector, which is a federal responsibility.

A parliamentary inquiry was told this week that 97 Victorian aged care facilities had been affected in the second wave, with 657 residents and 594 staff infected with Covid-19. A further 25 home care services for the elderly were also affected. Seventeen recipients of these services were infected, as were 24 staff working in home care. There had been 108 fatalities.

On the issue of paid pandemic leave, Morrison signalled the federal government would increase funding for residential aged care providers to provide leave outside hotspots.

On 27 July the Fair Work Commission ordered residential aged care providers to give workers two weeks’ paid pandemic leave. Peak aged care bodies warned they would struggle to implement the nationwide rule because existing commonwealth funding only provided for paid pandemic leave at centres in hotspots.

On Friday Morrison was asked if the government would increase funding to the sector to implement the decision outside hotspots. He replied that “the commonwealth will support the decisions of the Fair Work Commission as they’ve made those orders”.

Morrison also revealed that no state other than Victoria had taken up the commonwealth’s offer to co-fund the $1,500 pandemic leave disaster payment. The program provides a hardship payment for people required to self-isolate, but Labor has accused the federal government of simply changing funding arrangements for an existing Victorian scheme.

The South Australian premier, Steven Marshall, told reporters in Adelaide he had not taken up the offer because he had no desire to declare a state of disaster to access the program.

The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, updated the meeting on the developments in his state and thanked his counterparts for the support they had provided. On Friday it was revealed that there were now 911 healthcare workers with active infections of Covid-19 in Victoria, a rise of 101 since Thursday.

Kelly told reporters there would be a lag time of a week or two before Victoria’s stricter lockdown measures made a difference in Covid-19 case numbers.

The acting chief medical officer said he was “much more hopeful” than he was a few weeks ago about the development of a successful vaccine because of recently published papers showing progress.

But Morrison signalled his concern about the potential for hoarding, saying whichever country ultimately found the vaccine “must share it” with the rest of the world or be “judged terribly by history”.

Related: ACT residents trapped at NSW-Victoria border after overnight changes to travel restrictions

While Morrison declined to specify who he was talking about, he insisted that every leader should be prepared to say: “We pledge that if we find the vaccine we’ll share it.”

The meeting also agreed to extend the current caps on international arrivals into Australia until 24 October, “subject to further advice on quarantine capacity”.

Such measures were likely to remain in place “for some months” because of the need to ensure no additional strains on the hotel quarantine arrangements for people arriving in Australia, Morrison said.

After calls from the opposition to find a “hybrid” solution for Victorian parliamentarians to participate in the next sitting of federal parliament by videolink, Morrison said he had no objection to allowing people to make speeches or ask or answer questions remotely.

Morrison said he, too, would hope to participate in question time remotely “if I had to be isolated for whatever reason”. But he said any technical barriers needed to be ironed out so the government could have confidence it would “work well.” ... r1#image=1

Any nation that withholds COVID-19 vaccine will be 'judged terribly' by history: PM
Scott Morrison has said any nation who develops a vaccine for COVID-19 and withholds it or sells it for profit would be "judged terribly by history".

Speaking after a National Cabinet meeting, Australia's Prime Minister said the nation is currently jostling to "take a position" on promising early trials of a vaccine.

Part of this involves readying labs around the country to manufacture a vaccine if it is discovered.
"Australia is positioning itself well to take advantage and be in a position to be able to manufacture and supply vaccines should they be developed," Mr Morrison said.
"There are many projects that are under way around the world and we have a process for identifying those that we can are believe we can take an early position on."

Acting Chief Health Officer Professor Paul Kelly said his team is optimistic a vaccine will be developed but it is currently too early to say when it will be ready.
"Many companies, well over a hundred different types of vaccine that are in development, and many of those are already in clinical trials in what has been described by some as warp speed," Professor Kelly said.
"So these things normally take years. It's taking months, even weeks, to get here."

Professor Kelly alluded to Australia "advance purchasing" a vaccine or the materials to manufacture one based on clinical trials.
"We're looking very clearly and carefully about advance purchasing as well as local manufacturing options," Professor Kelly said.
"We're looking of course at the regulatory aspects to make sure that whatever does become available works as well as being of high quality and, of course, being safe.
"We can't promise that there will be a vaccine or when it may occur.
"We have never had a vaccine for a coronavirus in the world before, but the very best minds in the world are concentrating on this."

Mr Morrison said said only time will tell if a coronavirus vaccine will be discovered.
"So, we look forward to that. But you can't count on that. That's why the economic plan that we're putting in place and have been now for many months is so important," he said.
"You have to address the health issues and perhaps it will be a treatment first as opposed to a vaccine that will mitigate the impact and enable broader restrictions to be eased." ... r-BB17FuTB

Australians taking $10,000 from superannuation WON'T hurt retirement
Struggling Australians who have taken out $20,000 from their superannuation accounts using the COVID-19 early-access program will only be one per cent worse off in retirement, research has found.

Since the scheme was announced in March, three million Australians have already dipped into their super and more than 500,000 have completely emptied their accounts.

Applicants can take out $10,000 from their superannuation in the 2019-20 financial year and another $10,000 in 2020-21.

A report has found a 35-year-old earning $60,000 who drew down the full $20,000 would retire with a super balance worth $58,000 less than if they had not withdrawn the funds because of lost earnings on their savings.

Grattan Institute economist Brendan Coates said though with the combination of age pension payments that worker would only be $900 a year poorer.
He explained the decrease in super would be made up for by higher Age Pension payments.

The Age Pension is paid to eligible Australian residents in addition to their superannuation to help them live comfortably during their retirement.

'The median worker earning around $60,000, who takes out $20,000 in super at age 35, would see their replacement rate fall from 89 per cent to 88 per cent,' Mr Coates said.

The replacement rate refers to the percentage of someone's pre-retirement income that is replaced by their income when they retire.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development recommends retirees receive at least 70 per cent of their working life earnings in retirement.

'Even if COVID means they remain unemployed for the next three years, making no super contributions, that worker would still end up with a retirement income of 86 per cent of what they earned in the years before retirement,' the economist said.

Guaranteed superannuation contributions are set to rise gradually to 12 per cent by July 2025, but Mr Coates said a 9.5 per cent increase was sufficient to ensure Australians had adequate retirement funds.

Australians and Kiwi expats have meanwhile been warned if they wrongly withdraw from their superannuation they face a hefty $12,600 fine plus a big tax bill.

Under government rules, workers are only allowed to take out $10,000 from their superannuation if they had lost their job or seen their rostered hours drop by 20 per cent or more.
H&R Block director of tax communications Mark Chapman said those who mistakenly withdrew cash from their super could be hit with a $12,600 fine unless they managed to convince the Australian Taxation Office they had made an honest mistake.

'Further down the track, the ATO could come back and ask for some evidence that you met that eligibility criteria,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

'If it turns out you didn't, you first of all would have to pay tax on the amount you've taken out and secondly, you could be looking at a fairly hefty penalty.

'The penalties would kick in if there's been some element of culpability on the part of the taxpayer, if they knew that they weren't eligible but applied anyway, they made some kind of false statement.'

Citizens and permanent residents
Citizens and permanent residents are able to apply to access up to: $10,000 of their super until June 30 and a further $10,000 from July 2020 1 until 24 September 2020.

CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys Sicko
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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Aug 08, 2020 8:07 am

Two new cases of coronavirus in SA linked to repatriation flights, not Thebarton cluster
South Australian health authorities have confirmed two new coronavirus cases in the state, but say neither is linked to a cluster which has forced 1,100 people — including the SA Opposition Leader — into isolation.

SA Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said a woman in her 20s and a man in his 50s arrived in Adelaide on repatriation flights on Tuesday.

Dr Spurrier said the pair were unrelated and travelled separately.
The cases involve a woman in her 20's and a man in his 50's who returned from overseas on Tuesday.
They were tested on Wednesday and returned positive results "yesterday afternoon", Dr Spurrier said.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in the state since the pandemic began stands at 459, including 10 active cases.

Dr Spurrier said she was "not worried about these cases" and that the individuals only had "mild respiratory symptoms" and were in a medi-hotel.
"These are not cases that are causing us concern," Dr Spurrier said.
"Both of these people have some mild respiratory symptoms, but they are stable.
"They'll continue to be looked after in the hotel, using our medi-hotel model that has been very successful."

She said SA Health had now identified 94 close contacts — up from 70 — of the Thebarton Senior College cluster.

They will be required to go into supervised medi-hotels, while members of their families have been asked to isolate at home.

SA Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas is among more than 1,100 people forced to self-isolate after a fifth case, linked to what SA Health is calling the "Thebarton cluster", emerged yesterday.

Mr Malinauskas said he and deputy Susan Close have gone into isolation along with staff and students, having visited the school last week.

"We visited last Thursday for an hour — just met with the principal and complied with all the guidelines at the school at the time," Mr Malinauskas told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning.
"It's an inconvenience, no doubt about it [but] a lot of people in our state are still out of work at the moment, and what they're going through represents a far greater challenge than an inconvenience of self-isolation for a week."

Premier Steven Marshall said this morning's meeting of the state's transition committee had decided against imposing any new restrictions on SA.

But he said authorities would continue to consider new changes as necessary, singling out fitness activities, churches, density requirements in businesses and home gatherings as areas of possible tighter limits.
"We are constantly looking at the restrictions … making sure that they're commensurate with the risk," Mr Marshall said.

He said ongoing high numbers of people getting COVID-19 tests had given authorities confidence that the current restrictions are adequate.
"We are very, very impressed with the way that people are going to have their COVID-19 tests when they develop symptoms," he said.

But the Premier warned of "complacency" at some venues in SA last weekend and said that authorities would continue to monitor compliance carefully.

'Extra cautious' mass isolation to prevent outbreaks
Speaking about the Thebarton cluster on ABC Radio Adelaide this morning, Dr Spurrier said asking an entire school's population to self-isolate was an extraordinary measure, beyond the requirements of national guidelines.
"Normally we would only be asking people … [who] would have been in the classroom with one of these three students [to self-isolate]," Dr Spurrier said.
"It's not part of our national guidelines. Normally we wouldn't be asking them to quarantine but we are in this instance.
"We are being extra, extra cautious here, because we do not want to go down the path of having an outbreak that then spreads to families and the greater community."

Dr Spurrier said SA Health was determined to prevent the cluster spreading.
"We're really wanting to ring fence, this cluster, this little outbreak," she said.
SA to enforce “double ring” around Adelaide cluster
The South Australian government will be putting a “double ring” around the Thebarton Senior College cluster, as the state rushes to contain a possible outbreak of coronavirus. ... i-BB17FFPi

South Australian cluster
Health authorities in South Australia are re-tracing the steps of the more than 1200 close and casual contacts of a positive coronavirus case in Adelaide's west. ... i-BB17FIrZ
Over 1000 people forced into isolation as school cluster grows
A coronavirus cluster at an adult education college in Adelaide has forced approximately 1100 staff and students into self-isolation.

Five people have now tested positive in connection with the growing cluster. The latest case is a woman in her 20s who was a close contact of two the pre-existing cases.

SA Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said contact tracing had identified about 70 close contacts to the latest case.
"She has minimal symptoms and is stable, which is good news," Professor Spurrier said.
outh Australia's Opposition Leader, Peter Malinauskas, has announced he is also going into self-isolation after visiting the Thebarton Senior College where five people have tested positive to COVID-19.

The latest case is a woman in her 20s, prompting the school to close and approximately 1100 students and staff to isolate at home.

They will go into a "medi-hotel", which is a normal private hotel that is staffed by qualified nurses and mental health professionals.
Mr Malinauskas visited the college alongside the Deputy Labour leader, Susan Close, last Thursday.

Mr Malinauskas announced this morning they followed all the relative COVID-19 protocols while at the school but is going into isolation to follow the usual precautions.

The state government has said all precautions should be taken to prevent the spread of community transmission after the state went weeks without any new cases of COVID-19.

"We have not got community transmission in South Australia in any way in a widespread form and this is why we're being absolutely over-cautious in this instance," Ms Purrier said. ... r-BB17FhWm
SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens warned that it was too early to tell whether that would be the case.
"It's early days in terms of monitoring that," he said.
"We still have eight days to go from that infectious period … we are not in a position now to say that we have dodged that bullet.
"We want to see a level of concern represented in the community that ensures … that people are taking it seriously."

He added that authorities were considering the practicality of imposing an obligation on people who seek to quarantine in private hotels that they are doing so, and of prohibiting those establishments from refusing people accommodation on that basis. ... r-BB17FpUk ... i-BB17FO35

No new restrictions for SA
South Australian authorities have not imposed harsher coronavirus restrictions despite new cases. ... i-BB17GahK

Remote education space in Pinnaroo keeps Murrayville students engaged in studies during shutdown
A small regional Victorian school has established a remote learning hub in its neighbouring South Australian town, ensuring cross-border students do not feel isolated during the school's mandatory coronavirus closure.

Murrayville Community College has a cohort of students that live across the border in the South Australian farming community of Pinnaroo.

But for the second time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the school has been forced to shut and .

Principal Natasha Mudie said students who lived in Pinnaroo had struggled to cross the border prior to stricter rules and a remote learning centre appeared the best solution.

The hub will operate from the Pinnaroo Lutheran Church hall four days a week with staff that live in SA rostered to work at the centre.
"We're really focusing on them producing their best work … and we think if they're in contact with their teachers more that's more likely to happen," Ms Mudie said.

The school has also altered the way it delivers remote learning, focusing on four subject areas with four set tasks due a week.
"We feel this will be much easier for the kids to manage, easier for the families and easier for the teachers supervising as well," Ms Mudie said.
"This is obviously a change from last time [we did remote learning], but everyone has been really positive and I've been very thankful for the support I've been getting from my school community."

Families say student isolation is challenging
In Pinnaroo, the Schiller family is among those impacted by the school closure and hard border measures.

Lelle Schiller said her 14-year-old daughter Ruby, who is currently completing Year 9, will work from home in the coming weeks.

It is the second time Ruby has home-schooled this year, but Ms Schiller said already appears it will work better this time around.
"She has got a lighter workload, compared to term two when she home schooled," Ms Schiller said.
"She manages herself quite well being in year nine and the age she is, but it doesn't have its challenges and it is isolating for her to be home-schooling again."

Ms Schiller said while Ruby will work from home, having the option to use the space and get a change of scenery is great.

Principal Natasha Mudie added that the Murrayville and Pinnaroo community had been forced to separate due to South Australia's hard border closure restrictions, making a space for interaction even more crucial.
"I've lived my whole life between the two towns, and I think what's going on now is probably the saddest phase of my nearly 50 years of living here," she said.
"The main thing is to keep those kids in Pinnaroo on track." ... 1H#image=1

Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Blue Mountains and Eurobodalla Shire no longer COVID-19 hotspots for NT
Northern Territory health officials have revoked coronavirus hotspot declarations for the first time, allowing travellers from parts of Queensland and New South Wales to travel freely to the NT.

People who live in or have travelled through Brisbane, Ipswich and Logan in Queensland, or the Blue Mountains and Eurobodalla Shire in NSW, can now come to the NT without quarantining.

The NT Government's emergency agency, Secure NT, said the changes applied immediately.
"If you are arriving in the Territory from one of these locations today, you do not have to complete the mandatory supervised 14-day quarantine," Secure NT said.

Northern Territory health officials have revoked coronavirus hotspot declarations for the first time, allowing travellers from parts of Queensland and New South Wales to travel freely to the NT.

People who live in or have travelled through Brisbane, Ipswich and Logan in Queensland, or the Blue Mountains and Eurobodalla Shire in NSW, can now come to the NT without quarantining.

The NT Government's emergency agency, Secure NT, said the changes applied immediately.
"If you are arriving in the Territory from one of these locations today, you do not have to complete the mandatory supervised 14-day quarantine," Secure NT said.
The Queensland cities were only declared coronavirus hotspots seven days ago.

Victoria, greater metropolitan Sydney and Port Stephens in NSW remain declared coronavirus hotspots for the NT.

NT Chief Health Officer Hugh Heggie said the decision to revoke the hotspot declarations was based on public health risks.
"I closely monitor the daily data, review jurisdictional and modelling reports and the current epidemiology of COVID-19 in these Geographical Areas of Risks," he said.

The NT Government said anyone currently in mandatory quarantine from these areas could now leave.

The NT's borders partially re-opened to visitors last month.

Travellers from hotspot areas are required to undertake two weeks of supervised quarantine on arrival in the NT.

Data from New South Wales Health shows there are two active cases in the Eurobodalla Shire, and three in the Blue Mountains.

There are 11 active coronavirus cases in Queensland.

The NT has three active cases and no known community transmission ... r-BB17G4pP


WA Premier Mark McGowan announces delay to phase 5 of eased coronavirus restrictions
The further relaxation of coronavirus restrictions in Western Australia has been delayed again due to the outbreak in Victoria.

Phase 5 had been due to begin on August 15 and would have seen remaining restrictions removed, except WA's hard border and access to remote Aboriginal communities.

It would also see the removal of WA's two-square-metre rule and the 50 per cent capacity for major venues.

Today WA Premier Mark McGowan announced phase 5 had been delayed until at least August 29.
"I know this may cause some frustrations to members of the community and business community, but we need to be extra-cautious now," Mr McGowan said.
"We need to remain on high alert given what is happening across the country, we all know just how quickly things can change.
"We cannot afford to let our guard down."

WA had no new cases of COVID-19 overnight, with six active cases all in hotel quarantine.

Mr McGowan said the State Government would review the August 29 date and make an announcement one week before whether to ease restrictions from that date.

Truck drivers face mandatory tests
He also announced a new regime for testing interstate truck drivers.

"These arrangements mean that any truck driver entering WA will have to show evidence of having received a negative COVID-19 test result in the last seven days," he said.
"If they have not been tested in the last seven days they will be directed at the border to have a test within 48 hours.
"These arrangements will come into place next week."

Truck drivers were already required to wear masks when they got out of their vehicles in WA but will now also need to be tested every seven days.

Mr McGowan said he knew it would not be pleasant for drivers but it was necessary to protect people from the virus.
"I feel for the truckies, they probably do not want to go through the tests," he said.
"They have not done anything wrong, they are just doing their job, but we are just trying to protect people."

Call for workers to move to regions
Mr McGowan also encouraged people from the city to consider seeking employment in WA's regional areas.
"There are jobs in agriculture, tourism and mining," he said.
"It is time to look further afield for work and potentially move to the country."

John Rodrigues is the CEO of Indigenous-owned organisation Leedal, which runs five businesses in Fitzroy Crossing, in WA's north.

He said all of the businesses were short-staffed and he welcomed the State Government's calls for Perth people to look for jobs in regional WA.
"Normally this would be our biggest time of the year, tourist season, the Government has promoted the region well and we are getting a few people through, but what we are not getting is workers," he said.

Mr Rodrigues said the businesses usually employed local Indigenous people and backpackers, but those employees had been harder to find since COVID-19.

Across the five businesses, Mr Rodrigues said he needed more than 30 workers.
"It is putting the staff under a lot of pressure because the fatigue is getting to them, because of the extra hours they have to work," he said.
"Since COVID-19 came in, our local [employees'] communities got closed down and they would not come out of their communities, so they left work.
"We do [also] rely on a lot of backpackers up this area, and all of the north-west business people I speak to are all suffering in not getting enough people to work for us."

Jenna Clarke from the West Australian says the people of WA firmly support the state's hard border. ... r-BB17FMKA ... i-BB17G2MM

Fight over Clive Palmer's coronavirus border challenge leaves McGowan Government 'disappointed' < by ScoMo’s lack of real support >
The West Australian Government says it is "very disappointed" the Commonwealth has not supported its submission for businessman Clive Palmer's legal challenge to the state's closed border to be restarted from scratch.

The Federal Court has today heard an application from WA for the case to be reheard, after the Commonwealth withdrew from the legal proceedings over the weekend.

During the hearing today, Justice Darryl Rangiah was highly critical of the Federal Government for telling the media it was withdrawing from the case before informing him.

He described the actions as "extremely discourteous".

Commonwealth solicitor-general Stephen Donaghue apologised but blamed a dispute with WA over whether the Commonwealth could communicate with the court at the time.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday said he had no issue with Western Australia's submission to restart the case and would be writing a letter to Premier Mark McGowan that would help in that regard.

But Deputy Premier Roger Cook said that had not been the case.
"My understanding is the letter says the Commonwealth will withdraw from the action but will not support our submission the case now be reheard," Mr Cook said during a media conference this morning.
"We're disappointed in that approach. It does not go far enough. And obviously we expect the Commonwealth to support Western Australians in trying to keep themselves safe in our fight against COVID-19.
"This is a very disappointing outcome."

Prime Minister now calls on Mr Palmer to withdraw
Mr Morrison denied his letter to Mr McGowan was at odds with his earlier comments.
"I have written to the Premier in exactly the terms I said yesterday and we do and have provided support for the outcomes that the Western Australian Government is seeking to achieve," he said.

The Prime Minister also called on Mr Palmer to withdraw from the case.
"He's the only one who can prevent the case going forward. I think that will be a good decision," Mr Morrison said.

In court today, WA's solicitor-general Joshua Thomson said the Commonwealth Attorney-General made submissions to the court late yesterday saying the Commonwealth would not "press" any submissions it had made in previous hearings.

In its submission to the court the Federal Government indicated it would leave it to the court and other parties to decide if its evidence should be used or withdrawn.

WA Premier says Commonwealth could have gone further
Like Mr Cook, WA Premier Mark McGowan said he would have "preferred" the Commonwealth had gone "further" and supported WA's bid for a retrial.
"But what is done is done, I have to continue to work with the Commonwealth, I want to continue to work with the Commonwealth," he said.
"We're in a pandemic, in coming weeks and months we don't know what might happen.
"We have to keep up lines of communications, we have to keep up relationships."

But Mr McGowan remained critical of Mr Palmer, saying he was being selfish and should withdraw his case.
"An act of decency would be to pull out. So I'd say to Mr Palmer: 'Listen to the Prime Minister, listen to me and listen to Mr Cormann but most of all, listen to West Australians, they don't want you to do this'."

Palmer's lawyers may recall federal witnesses
The court also heard Mr Palmer's legal team was considering recalling the expert witnesses the Commonwealth had called.

Before adjourning the hearing, Justice Rangiah suggested that given it was the Federal Government's fault the hearing had to be held, the Commonwealth should pay costs for the hearing.

Mr Donaghue did not dispute the suggestion.

Mr Palmer brought the action against the WA Government after his application to fly into the state amid the coronavirus pandemic was rejected.

He says the state's hard border closure is likely unconstitutional.

The Commonwealth initially joined the case "in support" of Mr Palmer's position but withdrew from the action on the weekend, acknowledging the "high level of concern regarding public health in the Western Australian community".

Federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann urged Mr Palmer to drop the case.
"I would ask Clive Palmer to seriously consider pulling out of those proceedings, that is the only way that we can have absolute certainty that current border arrangements can remain," Senator Cormann said.

Clive Palmer's border case is back in court and WA is set to seek a retrial
Clive Palmer's bid to prise open Western Australia's hard border is scheduled to return to the Federal Court today, and WA Government lawyers are poised to use the opportunity to ask for a retrial.

Mr Palmer brought the action against the WA Government after his application to fly into the state amid the coronavirus pandemic was rejected.

He said the state's hard border closure was likely unconstitutional.

The Commonwealth initially joined the case in "support" of Mr Palmer's position but withdrew from the action on the weekend acknowledging the "high level of concern regarding public health in the Western Australian community".

Today's hearing before Justice Darryl Rangiah in Brisbane has been described as a "case management hearing".

It has been organised in response to the Commonwealth's withdrawal from the case.

The WA Government now wants any evidence presented by the Commonwealth struck from the record, revealing on Thursday it would ask for a retrial at today's hearing.

'Let's just start from scratch': McGowan
The Commonwealth provided a number of expert witnesses to the court, and WA Premier Mark McGowan believes WA's case would be stronger without the Federal Government's contributions.
"When we were fighting Mr Palmer and the Commonwealth Government, it was not as good as just fighting Mr Palmer," he said on Thursday.

He also acknowledged his push to strike Commonwealth evidence from the record would delay the trial.
"Let's just start from scratch, let's have a blank sheet of paper, start again without the evidence that was already there," he said.
"That delays any trial of course but that's naturally going to occur … we're trying to save lives."

On commercial radio on Thursday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had "no issue" with the case being "redone" or "restarted".

But it was unclear whether the Commonwealth would say as much in court.

'His quarrel is elsewhere': Morrison
Earlier on Thursday, Mr Morrison said he had received a letter from Mr McGowan about the issue.
"I'll be writing back to him in a way that I believe will assist the WA Government with what they're seeking to achieve," he said.
"The WA Government asked us to withdraw from the case, with no other requests.
"We did that on Monday and we did that fulsomely and comprehensively.
"The WA Premier — he has a quarrel not with me on this at all.
"His quarrel is elsewhere."

A retrial would increase the cost WA is bearing to defend the case, which WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt expected had already amounted to several hundred thousand dollars. ... r-BB17EPKB
WA premier speaks call for new trial High Court challenge and Clive Palmer
WA Premier Mark McGowan called for a fresh trial in regards to Clive Palmer's call to open the state's borders. ... i-BB17FCBm
WA’s battle with Clive Palmer , Palmer considering dropping it ?
WA's hard border battle could be about to come to an end with reports Clive Palmer is actively considering dropping his High Court challenge. ... i-BB17GiVg ... r-BB17FAgb

I travelled through five state borders in the middle of the pandemic, and what I experienced may shock you
My husband and I, along with our three kids, have just moved to Kununurra in Western Australia.

No-one has been left unaffected by the current pandemic.

While my home state of Victoria plunged into a second, devastating wave of the coronavirus, my family and I were trying to relocate to Western Australia for work.

But it took three weeks and five states to get to our final destination. What we saw and experienced along the way shows how ill-equipped Australia's current border system is to manage the spread of coronavirus, and how it risks failing us all.

My husband and I, along with our three kids aged seven, six and three, have just moved from Torquay in Victoria to Kununurra in Western Australia, where we will continue our work with Indigenous Australians — my husband working with Traditional Owners around the impact of the closure of the Argyle Diamond mine, and me with the Wanta Aboriginal Corporation.

When it became clear that the WA borders were not going to reopen, we decided to take the plunge and head into quarantine… kids and all.

We did everything right — we had our G2G passes issued to enter WA and gained approval to stay in an Airbnb to quarantine at our own cost.

We booked flights and we packed up our entire lives in 12 days so that we could get there as soon as possible.

If anyone has moved interstate with kids, 12 days is no small achievement.


Then, the police called...
Then, as we were literally putting our bags into the taxi to the airport, WA Police called.

Our exemption to enter was cancelled, effectively immediately.

It felt to us like a massive knee-jerk reaction to a spike in Victorian cases of COVID-19, and it was delivered with absolutely no warning.

We had already rented out our house in Torquay and the news left us effectively homeless. Our furniture and car were en route to the other side of the country.

We begged. We pleaded. We demanded our case be escalated. But there was no negotiating: just a very firm "no, you're not welcome".

We were told that if we got on the plane we would be turned around at the other end and fined $1,000 for each day we stayed.

Victoria: State #1
Having no home, no possessions, three kids in tow and our livelihood in jeopardy, we made a quick decision: fly to Alice Springs to quarantine there in the hope that WA would then let us in.

While we waited for the next available flight we stayed in Melbourne. The epicentre of Victoria's second wave was our State Number One.

New South Wales: State #2
The next available flight to Alice Springs was through Sydney and required an overnight stay.

We had valid exemptions to transit through NSW and enter the Northern Territory. We set off, nervous the entire time as we boarded a plane from Melbourne and arrived in Sydney.

Upon landing, we were met by NSW Health officials who interviewed us and sent us on our way, with a directive to head only to and from our hotel.

We were given a sticker to classify us as having transited and been processed.

We laughed at the idea that a sticker could deter any type of bad behaviour as we headed to our hotel.

Northern Territory: State #3
The next morning, we boarded a plane to Alice Springs. Upon landing in the NT, we were met by the Australian Federal Police.

With five people and five applications to be assessed, we were preparing for a lengthy interrogation.

However, only a few questions were asked and boxes were ticked about where we had travelled in the past 14 days and where we planned to quarantine.

Within two minutes, we were sent on our way. Welcome to territory three.

We settled into our quarantine in Alice Springs and woke up three days later to an email informing us that due to hardship caused, our exemption to enter WA had been reapproved.

It was made very clear to us that the quarantine in Alice Springs would not count for anything in the West.

We cut our losses and commenced making arrangements to fly to Perth and start round two of quarantine.


South Australia: State #4
The next flight out of Alice Springs to Perth was via Adelaide and so South Australia became the fourth state to host us on our quest to reach WA.

We packed up again and tried to eat as much of the $300 worth of groceries I had arranged to be delivered to our quarantine accommodation before we caught a taxi to Alice Springs airport for the first leg of the flight to SA.

We were told it was fine to leave NT quarantine, as we simply "became WA's problem".

In Adelaide, we were again met by the AFP — five applications and five assessments.

After a short conversation, we were taken on our word about where we had been and no further checking was done.

We were free to roam the airport for a five-hour transit before our flight to Perth.

Western Australia: State #5
After hours hanging out in the airport, we finally boarded a flight to Perth and set off for our fifth, and final, state.

We arrived late and with a sleeping dead weight of a three-year-old and two ratty kids, we presented to the AFP again for processing.

They had no idea about our prior journey, and although very helpful, we could have told them anything.

We repeated our story for a fifth time, boxes were ticked and once again we were sent on our way to our next Airbnb to start quarantining.

What did we learn: our states must work together
We travelled through five states in the middle of a pandemic just to get to WA, because we were harshly and abruptly locked out at the 12th hour.

Although we were honest and did everything asked of us by authorities, had we actually picked up the coronavirus along the way we could potentially have spread it across the country.

What is clear is that each Australian state or territory has its own processes and procedures.

What else is clear, is that they do not seem to care or know anything about each other's. The system across this country feels like it is completely set up to fail.

It's not surprising to me at all that people are bypassing the rules one way or another.

We have been told what to do (and more specifically what not do) for months now, but in return we have a right to expect we are protected so that people don't lie or sneak their way across an invisible line.

How can one country be so segregated and operating so individually in the middle of a global pandemic? We should be working together to keep everyone safe.

I don't pretend to know anything about how to manage a pandemic. What I do know is that if our state and territories don't start talking to each other, working together and caring about each other, then people will continue to slip through the cracks because the current system seems to be full of them.

Clare Smith works for the Wanta Aboriginal Corporation and has just moved to Kununurra with her family.


Evolutionary origins of the SARS-CoV-2 sarbecovirus lineage responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic
Maciej F. Boni, Philippe Lemey, Xiaowei Jiang, Tommy Tsan-Yuk Lam, Blair W. Perry, Todd A. Castoe, Andrew Rambaut & David L. Robertson
There are outstanding evolutionary questions on the recent emergence of human coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 including the role of reservoir species, the role of recombination and its time of divergence from animal viruses. We find that the sarbecoviruses—the viral subgenus containing SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2—undergo frequent recombination and exhibit spatially structured genetic diversity on a regional scale in China. SARS-CoV-2 itself is not a recombinant of any sarbecoviruses detected to date, and its receptor-binding motif, important for specificity to human ACE2 receptors, appears to be an ancestral trait shared with bat viruses and not one acquired recently via recombination. To employ phylogenetic dating methods, recombinant regions of a 68-genome sarbecovirus alignment were removed with three independent methods. Bayesian evolutionary rate and divergence date estimates were shown to be consistent for these three approaches and for two different prior specifications of evolutionary rates based on HCoV-OC43 and MERS-CoV. Divergence dates between SARS-CoV-2 and the bat sarbecovirus reservoir were estimated as 1948 (95% highest posterior density (HPD): 1879–1999), 1969 (95% HPD: 1930–2000) and 1982 (95% HPD: 1948–2009), indicating that the lineage giving rise to SARS-CoV-2 has been circulating unnoticed in bats for decades.
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys Sicko
Posts: 12469
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Aug 08, 2020 8:58 am













CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys Sicko
Posts: 12469
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Sun Aug 09, 2020 7:08 am


Victoria records 466 new coronavirus cases as man in 30s among 12 deaths
The number of healthcare workers with active coronavirus infections has increased by 140, to 998
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton says stage 3 restrictions may have averted thousands of cases
There are now 636 Victorians with coronavirus in hospital, including 44 in intensive care

A man in his 30s is among 12 people who have died from coronavirus in Victoria overnight, with Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton saying it may take a week or more for Melbourne's stage 4 restrictions to have an effect on case numbers.
Victoria recorded 466 new cases of coronavirus and 12 deaths overnight, including six connected to aged care settings.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the man in his 30s was not a healthcare worker, but could not provide more information about the case.
2 men in their 70s, 2 men and 3 women in their 80s, and 4 women in their 90s were also among the dead.
The man in his 30s, the youngest fatality recorded in the country to date, is the second person under 40 to die with the virus in Australia.

Professor Sutton said stage 3 restrictions in Victoria had averted an estimated 20,000 or more cases, but warned "that hasn't been enough".
"It's been able to stabilise the numbers, but we can't have 500 cases every single day and the associated morbidity, hospitalisation, intensive care requirements and debts that are associated with that number every day," he said.

Melbourne is approaching one week of living under stage 4 restrictions, after a night-time curfew and a 1-hour limit on outdoor exercise were imposed last Sunday.

Victorian schools returned to home learning on Wednesday and restrictions on workplaces and businesses took effect from Thursday.

Professor Sutton said stage 4 restrictions would make a difference but it might not be seen in the numbers for another week or more.
"We can drive numbers down, and we will drive numbers down," he said.

Healthcare and aged care remain a 'challenge' for authorities
Among Victoria's new infections are 140 healthcare workers, bringing the total number of active infections in the sector to 998.

Professor Sutton said nurses and aged care workers made up a "significant proportion" of active cases in healthcare settings.

A survey conducted by the Australian College of Nursing, published this morning, found Victorian nurses were concerned about access to safe personal protective equipment (PPE)."What we are hearing is they can't access what they need, when they need [it], " Australian College of Nursing chief executive Kylie Ward told the ABC.

But Mr Andrews said Victoria had "adequate supplies" of PPE — 68 million gloves, 19 million surgical masks and 2 million face shields — sitting in a warehouse.
"We have a significant challenge in the amount that is needed," he said.
"What I want to do is to better understand the results of that survey. And if there is any improvement, any changes that need to be made, we would stand ready to do that."

Child in intensive care with coronavirus as cases climb
5 people under the age of 20 are in hospital, including 1 child under 10 in intensive care.
Professor Sutton said part of the challenge of battling a second wave of infections was "behavioural fatigue": people's ability to adhere to restrictions over a long period of time.
"That's why Israel's second wave is four times bigger than its first, why Spain is looking at a second wave, almost as substantial as its first," he said.
"That is why Iran never really moved through its wave, they couldn't get those changes to come into place."

Mr Andrews said he acknowledged the difficulties faced by parents and businesses affected by restrictions, but said it was the only way to get cases under control.
"[This pandemic] is a public health bushfire, but you cannot smell the smoke and you cannot see the flames, it moves so fast that unless you make these changes, we just have no chance whatsoever of driving down these numbers," he said. ... s/12537686

There are now 636 Victorians in hospital with coronavirus, including 44 people receiving intensive care.

5 people under the age of 20 are in hospital, including 1 child under 10 in intensive care.

Professor Sutton said part of the challenge of battling a second wave of infections was "behavioural fatigue": people's ability to adhere to restrictions over a long period of time.
"That's why Israel's second wave is four times bigger than its first, why Spain is looking at a second wave, almost as substantial as its first," he said.
"That is why Iran never really moved through its wave, they couldn't get those changes to come into place."

Mr Andrews said he acknowledged the difficulties faced by parents and businesses affected by restrictions, but said it was the only way to get cases under control.

"[This pandemic] is a public health bushfire, but you cannot smell the smoke and you cannot see the flames, it moves so fast that unless you make these changes, we just have no chance whatsoever of driving down these numbers," he said.
The new fatalities include a man in his 30s, two men in their 70s, two men and three women in their 80s and four women in their 90s. Six deaths are linked to age care.

Mr Andrews said there are now 7,808 active infections across the state and 988 of them are healthcare workers - an increase of 140 from Friday.

There are 44 coronavirus patients in intensive care and 29 of them are fighting for their lives on ventilators.
The latest figures come after the state reported 450 infections on Friday, a dramatic decrease from its record of 750 cases on Wednesday.
Mr Andrews warned Victoria is not likely to see a steep decline in coronavirus infections for 'a little while' amid strict stage four lockdown.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the state was seeing a 'stabilisation' of cases with daily number around the 400 and 500 mark each day.
'That is not good enough but it's a positive that we have averted an exponential increase through the last couple of weeks,' Professor Sutton said.
'If we hadn't stabilised these numbers, we would have seen thousands of cases per day and there are estimates that we've averted 20,000 or more cases by virtue of the stage three restrictions but that hasn't been enough.
'Stage four restrictions will make a difference but we won't see them for another week or more.'
Australia's Victoria sees "stabilisation" in new coronavirus cases
Victoria's Chief Medical Officer Brett Sutton welcomed a "stabilisation" in coronavirus cases, saying the state had averted an exponential increase in infections due to its strict lockdowns.
"If we hadn't stabilised these numbers, we would have seen thousands of cases per day," Sutton said. Coronavirus cases in Victoria have averaged at 400-500 per day over the last week.

Melbourne, the country's second-biggest city, went under a strict Stage Four lockdown on Thursday, shuttering shops and business and requiring its five million inhabitants to stay home.
"We have a zero chance of driving these numbers down if we don't drive movement down, the amount of person-to-person contact, the amount of people moving through the community," Andrews said.
"This thing is... a public health bushfire, but you cannot smell the smoke and you cannot see the flames, it moves so fast that unless you make these changes, we just have no chance whatsoever of driving down these numbers." ... d=msedgntp
Experts say COVID-19 cases showing stabilisation as Victoria told to hold its mettle
It was a week of firsts.

Soldiers patrolling the streets, the introduction of stage 4 restrictions and Melbourne — the city known across the world for its vibrant nightlife — put under an extraordinary 8pm curfew.

Yet, there was another first — a very much unwanted first.

On Wednesday, the number of positive COVID-19 cases hit a record 725 in Victoria, with a record number of deaths.

The numbers — those dreaded numbers — just kept going up.

The next day, "secret modelling" attributed to the Victorian Government was splashed on the front of the national broadsheet newspaper suggesting the worst was ahead. Much worse.

It predicted COVID-19 cases rising to 1,100 by the end of next week, with cases likely to stay above 1,000 for eight days.

The modelling was quickly dismissed by Victorian officials — and a range of epidemiologists — who suggested stage three and four restrictions in place throughout the state should lead to a decrease in cases in about seven to 10 days.

While the numbers themselves — 471 on Thursday, 450 on Friday and 466 on Saturday — suggest those dire predictions are, indeed, way off.

But it raised the question: will we see actually see a turning point in Victoria next week?
Virus 'stubbornly persistent'
According to UNSW epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaws, there is a "stable pattern" in the numbers — and it is slowing.

Professor McLaws, an advisor to the World Health Organisation, said there was little point in looking at the daily case count for something to "celebrate".

She said she instead looked at a 14-day pattern to detect a "smoothing out" of the virus's behaviour in Victoria.
"It is being stubbornly persistent," she said. "But I believe that the rate of growth has slowed several times since the introduction of masks in public.
"I've been using several rates to get a feel for the data, because you can't use daily numbers."

She said predicting future case numbers through modelling, in general, often gave too much focus on "worst-case scenarios".
"The inability with modelling is that it doesn't take into account how community behaviour adapts through social distancing and masks, for example," she said.
"It can look doom and gloom. I think it's probably best to look somewhere in-between."
This was backed by University of Sydney clinical epidemiologist Fiona Stanaway.

She said modelling was "hard to interpret".
"Modelling [is] based on assumptions, not based on fact," Dr Stanaway said.
"What you need to do is look at the hard data coming in."
Monday, the magic day?
Speaking on the Coronacast podcast on Thursday, the ABC's Dr Norman Swan said he was "taking a punt" on a "pretty dramatic" reduction in numbers in Victoria, starting from Monday.
He said, however, deaths would continue, with a "lag" of deaths coming from the past two week's high rate of infections.

He said the introduction of masks, social distancing, and restrictions of movement would have an impact on the raw numbers.
"It will work," he said. "It should turn the needle."

Dr Stanaway declined to predict a day when the "needle" would turn, but said the cases reported this week were legacy infections from before the tighter restrictions — particularly in the workplace — were brought in.
"There's no guarantees," she said. "In the UK, back in March, it took three weeks to drop.
"But you'd hope to see a turn in the next seven to 14 days.
"The tighter measures and the changes in the workplace will hopefully see those big numbers of mystery cases die down."
Professor McLaws said the draconian measures such as the curfew were harsh but necessary.
"Unfortunately you can't allow 6.35 million Victorians to interpret the rules," she said.
"The curfew certainly aimed at stopping the 20 to 34-year-olds moving around.
"Staying at home orders stop people trying to break the rules."

She said the measures would work, but patience was required.
"[Victorians] just need to hold their mettle," she said.
"You will see the benefit, it will happen.
"Give it a week or two weeks. I mean, you won't see life going back to what it was like on July 1, for example. That won't happen for at least six weeks.
"But there is light at the end at the end of the tunnel." ... n/12534908

The fresh infections come amid fears Victorians could be left without medicine, alcohol and school supplies after major businesses were closed by the state'sstage four lockdown.

Australia Post were told that it could keep open 200 outlets facing closure but the business is struggling to operate with just two thirds of its staff.
Chief executive Christine Holgate said there could be long delays as demand for deliveries soars amid Melbourne's strict Stage 4 lockdown.

She said that demand in coronavirus-stricken suburbs was already up 200 % and orders from Chemist Warehouse, Dan Murphy's and Office Works were under pressure.

Ms Holgate said Australia Post was responsible for deliveries for 200,000 online businesses and had a team of 21,000 people in Victoria.
'All the major medical distribution centres are based in Victoria. API, Sigma - they supply pharmacies right across the country,' Ms Holgate told the Australian Financial Review.
'So this isn't just about keeping Victorian businesses running and Victorians safe, we have to keep the whole country safe. We run the risk of being late getting important medicines out to those pharmacies.'
[/QUOTE] ... d=msedgntp ... d=msedgntp

Melbourne extends international flights ban
Melbourne's ban on international flights has been extended, effectively shutting down the state's hotel quarantine system.

National Cabinet agreed to lock-in caps on overseas arrivals for each capital city to ease pressure on resources.

Tullamarine Airport will not accept international flights until at least October 24.

Meanwhile, an independent inquiry is examining whether hotel quarantine failures triggered the city's second wave of coronavirus infections.

A growing chorus of senior MPs is demanding the Premier explain the disaster. ... d=msedgntp

SA-Victoria-NSW border dogleg leaves locals in state of confusion amid coronavirus restrictions
A close-up of the borders between South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales shows the anomaly.
Key points:
Residents of Lindsay Point say they think of themselves as South Australian
Their community is located close to a dogleg in the border with Victoria
One local is concerned about possible emergency service delays because of coronavirus restrictions

A 170-year-old border anomaly at the crossroads of three states has left residents of a tiny outback community in limbo amid coronavirus restrictions — with one local now calling for the line to be redrawn.
The slight dogleg in the otherwise straight boundary near the junction of South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales might not look like much, but it caused one of Australia's longest-running border disputes.

The meeting point between the three states is known as MacCabe Corner, near the small almond-growing community of Lindsay Point on the bank of the River Murray.

A cartographical error originated during a drought in the late 1840s, when surveyors ran into difficulties mapping out the border.

It culminated in South Australia accusing Victoria of wrongly appropriating more than 1,000 square kilometres of its land — prompting a dispute which lasted for more than 60 years.
After being taken to London's Privy Council in the early 1900s, Victoria won a lengthy legal battle.

It now claims the territory around Lindsay Point — some of which would have fallen into Victoria regardless, but includes farming country which would have been designated SA if the border had been mapped accurately.

While the dispute has been mostly dormant for the past century, border restrictions between states imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have reignited the issue.

Amid a worsening coronavirus situation in Melbourne, Victorians have been mostly banned from entering South Australia after a hard border lockdown was put in place, leaving Lindsay Point partially isolated.
Lindsay Point almond farm manager Tim Preusker, whose home is only about five kilometres into Victoria, said local residents mainly conduct their business in South Australia and it would "make sense" for the state boundary to be redrawn.
Mr Preusker said several of the properties at Lindsay Point are owned by South Australians who travel to Paringa, 25 kilometres away, for their post, have SA prefixes on their phone numbers, and mostly work in the Riverland.
"We've been exempt [from the restrictions] up until now, and we've been classed as South Australia," he said.
"For us here, we pretty much completely run our life out of South Australia … me and my wife own a business in Renmark, and this has had implications on that."
The closest Victorian regional centre is Mildura, which is about 155 kilometres away by sealed road via Paringa, or 122 kilometres by unsealed roads through the Murray-Sunset National Park.
"Even our power comes in from South Australia," Mr Preusker said.
"Really the only thing here about Victoria, to us, is that we're on the wrong side of the fence.
"It would make sense, really, for Lindsay Point to be included in South Australia." Mr Preusker said under the new restrictions his children, who go to school in Renmark, are no longer allowed to play sport on the weekend, despite being allowed to attend school.

He said he was frustrated that some of the full-time workers on his farm — up to 70 per cent of whom come from SA — have been denied travel exemptions while others have been approved.
"What we don't want is heavy restrictions put on them … and there's potential for us to start losing full-time staff," he said.
'We live in no man's land'

Another local almond farmer, who did not want to be named, echoed Mr Preusker's thoughts.
"We're classified as remote — we're certainly in a remote area," he said.
"About three or four years ago, or even less, we were allowed to register our vehicles in South Australia.
"If you call me now, the prefix on the phone is 08 … my postal address is Paringa, and my partner, she works in Renmark."

He said he did not think of himself as Victorian, and considered Lindsay Point part of South Australia's Riverland region.
"We live in no man's land essentially," he said.
"It's a weird place to be."

Concerns over emergency services access Mr Preusker said residents were concerned about how the restrictions will affect emergency services for Lindsay Point — and whether the area will experience delays waiting for Victorian services based further away than those in the Riverland.
"If we need ambulance, or fire, or police out here now, how does that happen?" he said.
"In the past we've had ambulances come out here, and they do come from Renmark.
"We've had a few incidents out here in the past few years … with fire and police, where it's been a bit of confusion.
"Our worry for us is the time it would take for fire or emergency services of any type to come from the Victorian side."

Mr Preusker has written to authorities including South Australian Member for Chaffey Tim Whetstone and SA Health to share his concerns about the restrictions.
"We feel like we're being tarnished with the same brush as the rest of Victoria and Melbourne," he said.
"We've been part of South Australia through all of this, and now all of a sudden it's this pretty hardball line." ... s/12445142

Amid Victorian coronavirus deaths, pressure mounts for respirator masks to protect Australian doctors
Key points:
The Government has ramped up procurement of PPE for the sector
However, doctors say they're sitting on a "time bomb" waiting for COVID-19

It's a workplace uniform which has scared little children, but for Perth doctor Sean Stevens the alternative to not wearing it is far more terrifying.

The GP says a respirator mask and face shield are essential personal protective equipment, or PPE, for healthcare workers like himself, who are seeing patients who have potentially contracted COVID-19.
"We've seen with our colleagues in Melbourne — there's two GPs, at this very moment in ICU, with COVID infection that it appears was caught at work," Dr Stevens said.
"We've seen nationally and internationally that healthcare workers are three times more likely to contract COVID than the general population. There is a lot of concern."

In Victoria, more than 1,100 healthcare workers have been infected with COVID-19, including some who feared they were not protected with the PPE they needed.

Specialist clinics prepare to shoulder the burden
Dr Stevens — like many healthcare workers around the country watching on as the Victorian health system deals with its current coronavirus outbreak — is hoping that his state is prepared for a similar situation.

This includes adequate supplies of PPE — the gloves, gowns, hair and foot nets, respirator masks (known as N95s) and shields which he wears to see patients at his respiratory clinic in Victoria Park.

His clinic is one of about 100 nationally, established with the help of the Federal Government to treat patients with respiratory symptoms, and to help conserve stocks of PPE.

It can also be quickly scaled up to treat and test triple the number of current patients if there's a coronavirus outbreak.

Patients can self-refer or be sent to the clinic by their GPs, who can find themselves churning through multiple sets of PPE in a day when dealing with the coughing, sneezing and spluttering symptoms of respiratory patients.
"We're able to see patients all in a row, so that we only need to use one set of PPE to see 18 patients instead of 18 different GPs using 18 different sets of PPE," Dr Stevens said.
"So it preserves the very important and scarce PPE that's available."

Health professionals fear 'time bomb' is ticking
While WA has reported no active community transmission of the coronavirus, there is increasing anxiety among health professionals that it will make its way into the state via overseas or interstate travellers.

"I think I can best summarise the mood of doctors in Western Australia at the moment as we are sitting on a time bomb," the Australian Medical Association's WA president, Andrew Miller, said.
"This state is ready to blow up with COVID."

Dr Miller is particularly alarmed at how the impact of the Victorian outbreak has depleted the healthcare workforce — including those in aged care — at such a crucial time.

He is increasing his pressure on the WA Government to supply all frontline healthcare workers with N95 masks, saying they provide more protection than surgical masks.
"A Level 3 surgical mask is designed to protect you from splashing and you suck a lot of air around the side of them," he said.
"A respirator mask means you suck the air through the mask so it is properly filtered."

Agency 'watching and learning' as it prepares to ramp up
Behind the scenes, Health Support Services — the WA Government agency responsible for sourcing, supplying and procuring PPE for public hospitals — says it has been watching and learning from Victoria's experience.

Its chief procurement officer, Mark Thompson, says it has led them to adjust their clinical model for PPE supplies, which was originally developed to deal with a surge in coronavirus cases.

It has sharpened its focus on certain products because of the Victorian outbreak.
"Masks, gowns, gloves, testing kits. They're all the things we're looking at in the clinical modelling and buying the volume of supply to that clinical modelling," Mr Thompson said.

On Friday, a fresh delivery of 2.5 million gloves and 80,000 gowns arrived.

Mr Thompson said WA's current stocks of PPE would last for between 40 and 60 weeks at current usage, allowing for disruptions in supply chains.
PPE shipments arriving almost daily to Victoria
Victoria's PPE warehouse includes 19 million surgical masks and 2 million face shields. ... d=msedgntp

Victoria competing with rest of the world for PPE during coronavirus pandemic, Premier Dan Andrews says
Victoria has a warehouse containing "19 million surgical masks" along with other items of personal protective equipment, Premier Daniel Andrews says, but accessing supplies was "very challenging" due to worldwide demand amid the coronavirus global pandemic.

A recent survey conducted by the Australian College of Nursing found nurses were also struggling wearing PPE for long hours, with some suffering bruising from wearing masks.

Within 48 hours, 1,500 responses from nurses reported that having access to appropriate and safe personal protective equipment was one of the main concerns raised, along with the issues of wearing it all day.

They called for more support from management and a safe place to share concerns and unload the mental burden.

They also asked not to be judged if they contract the virus, saying they were at risk like everyone else in the community.

There have been more than 1,500 Victorian healthcare workers infected since the pandemic began.

Asked at his daily coronavirus briefing about reports of "shortages of PPE", Mr Andrews was adamant there were "adequate supplies" — but acknowledged "everybody in the world is after this at the same time".
"We have 68 million gloves, 19 million surgical masks, 2 million face shields, we have adequate supplies of PPE," Mr Andrews said.

He was not pressed on whether the supplies of "surgical masks" provide the suitable level of protection needed against the coronavirus, by providing a more snug fit against the wearer's face than masks described as being of a surgical model.

The ABC reported on Thursday a Melbourne nurse had requested an N95 respirator mask while caring for COVID-19 patients, but was told it was "unnecessary" and that there "wasn't the science to back it up".

She later tested positive to the illness.

In July, Mr Andrews said the State Government would order millions more reusable masks for community distribution and boost local manufacturing capabilities.

On Saturday, he said he could confirm "we approved a whole lot of additional orders".
"Everybody in the world is after this at the same time. That always makes it very challenging," he said.
"The team has done a mighty job to have what we need. I can confirm that last night … we approved a whole lot of additional orders. All sorts of other masks.
"There are adequate stocks. An enormous amount of work has gone [to procure] that PPE, it's sitting in the warehouse."

Australian College of Nursing chief executive Kylie Ward said healthcare workers "can't access what [PPE] they need when they need".

She said many nurses were feeling scared and in need of emotional support.
"One of the things I am hearing is the level of guilt because they don't feel like they are doing enough even though they are the spirit of Australia and doing an incredible job, it's the burden that we place upon ourselves in a life of choosing to be a nurse and a life of service."

Professor Ward said the ACN was in the final stages of compiling a national COVID-19 strategy response to address issues nurses are facing across the healthcare system.

Get help if you need it, DCMO urges
Later on Saturday, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth said he had been in "personal communication with the Victorian Chief Medical Officer [Brett Sutton] in the past weeks and that, amongst other things, has led to a significant change in Victoria's P2 and N95 masks policy".

Dr Coatsworth said he understood the stress on healthcare workers in Victoria.
"I know that feeling of not being able to feel refreshed in the morning, I know that feeling of concern, moving to anxiety and something that can be constantly there, and stay there for a long time," Dr Coatsworth said.
"What I would strongly encourage all Victorians to do, if that is not reason enough to support the stage for restrictions, do everything you possibly can to bring these numbers down, for healthcare workers and residential aged care workers.
"And my colleagues in Victoria, please avail yourself of assistance if you are feeling that way. Whether that is formal assistance, often through your general practitioner, whether it's going through the Black Dog Institute or talking with colleagues."

'Surgical masks' insufficient for high level contact: AMA
AMA federal president Omar Khorshid said health authorities in Victoria had realised PPE classified as surgical masks were "not appropriate in high-risk circumstances", such as practitioners attending large numbers of COVID patients — hence the change in mask policy.

The change in policy, Dr Khorsid said, was in part due to the recognition the illness is "not just spread by droplets" but that when "aerosolised", the virus can "hang in the air".

Transmission can occur, he said, when "someone enters a room two minutes after someone has been in there coughing".
"I hear there is appropriate access to P2 or N95 masks at the moment in those Victorian hospitals … [but] I don't believe the ordinary GP has access to those masks when seeing patients in their clinics. If they want N95 [mask supplies] they have to find it themselves."
Dr Khorshid said he could not speak for the aged care sector beyond that the DHHS is now requiring staff attending to COVID-19 patients "should" have access to the higher level of masks.
"We are seeing hundreds and hundreds [of healthcare workers] being infected … whilst they thought early on as they might have been infected at home, or in the community or in the tea room, now it is thought that it has happened in a workplace setting," he said.

At the moment, Victoria is the only state to require the higher level of protection for those in frequent contact with coronavirus patients, he said.
"The AMA has been complaining that anyone who comes into contact should be equipped with that higher level of protection."

In a statement, Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos said there was "sufficient PPE for all our healthcare workers".
"We're providing PPE to all our hospitals and have millions of items of PPE arriving at our warehouse regularly, ready to be distributed to all hospitals."

Ms Mikakos said Victoria's hospitals have "strict guidelines that protect the health, safety and wellbeing of our healthcare workers. Staff who are directly involved in treating patients across Victoria must wear eye protection and a surgical mask". ... tp#image=1

Six different suppliers of N95 masks have been secured, partly as a back-up plan in case one supply chain breaks down.

It's also crucial that the masks fit many different face shapes correctly, in order to be effective.

Mr Thompson said they had one million N95 masks, but if guidelines changed they could ramp up those stocks.
"We've got future orders with suppliers which will significantly increase the number of N95s that we're going to be holding shortly," he said.

Mr Thompson's agency plays a crucial, behind-the-scenes role in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, competing with other Australian states and other countries to source important supplies around the world.

In pre-COVID-19 days, it had one warehouse holding $7 million worth of stock, but today that has expanded to six warehouses with $37 million worth of stock, including one facility just for PPE.

But Dr Miller said a stockpile meant little if healthcare workers were being exposed to COVID-19.
"There is no point having thousands of masks in a warehouse and no one left to wear them on the front line," he said. ... d=msedgntp ... s/12532136 ... d=msedgntp


'The ground's been ripped from under them': mental health fears for the children of the pandemic
Hand sanitisers on school desks. Schools closed, then opened, and, in some places, closed again. Parents and carers working from home, or not at all. Masked adults at the supermarket. An omnipresent tally of sickness and death in the news and conversations around them. The emotional and physical world of children in 2020 is vastly different to the one they once knew, or that the adults around them expected.
“The ground’s been ripped from under them,” says paediatrician Prof Harriet Hiscock of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.
For many children, life will return to normal once the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis lifts. However for many others, particularly those vulnerable due to preexisting mental health conditions or difficult family situations, the disruption, stress and uncertainty of growing up during this crisis threatens to have mental health consequences that will trail them into adulthood, unless they can access mental health support early. That support, Hiscock says, is not yet there.
“I think the system as it is won’t cope with the demand,” she says. “We have to do something about that.”

Coronavirus has hit an Australian mental health care system already under strain. Even before the crisis, many children with mental health problems were not receiving the level of care they needed. Research by Hiscock and others at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute last year found that just one in four children with a mental health condition had accessed professional help.

Chronic uncertainty is much worse for mental health

Now early signs are that demand for mental health support across the board is increasing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and its fallout. Services such as Kids Helpline have reported a 28% year-on-year increase in calls over the last three months. This week the Australian Psychological Society, as it welcomed the federal government doubling the number of subsidised psychological care sessions that Victorians in need can access, reported that psychologists are experiencing unprecedented levels of demand for their services and that clients were quickly running out of sessions on their mental health plans.
“This [crisis] will see an increase in mental health problems in children and adolescents,” says Hiscock. “If we look at data from previous major events around the world, whether they’re natural disasters or pandemics previously, there are groups of children who go on to have lasting mental health effects into adulthood.”
She says that for children with preexisting mental health issues or for those already struggling with learning or connection with friends, “it’s all got a lot worse for them”. In her Victorian practice, Hiscock says she is seeing children and adolescents who had been “on the edge” begin to retreat from learning and socialising. “Some are just withdrawing to their bedrooms.”
“The mental health challenge is one of the most significant challenges Covid is going to cause,” says Prof Ian Hickie, co-director of the Brain and Mind Institute at Sydney University. “The mental health effects will, at the end of the day, be much bigger than the physical health effects.”

Before Covid-19, anxiety was already the number one mental health issue for children in Australia, says Hickie.
“That depends on the world around them. Do we know where we’re going? Have we got this under control? Is it safe for me to experiment with the world? For everyone’s world at the moment the answer is that, in truth, we don’t know,” he says.
“Chronic stress is much harder to cope with than acute stress. Chronic uncertainty is much worse for mental health. It’s affecting parents and teachers, and it may be transmitting to children. We don’t really know what happens.”

Government needs to take action now ... so that much better services are in place by early 2021

Prof Ian Hickie
The mental health impacts of the crisis will not fall evenly, he says. “It is likely that there will be groups of kids who will be more affected; more anxious kids by temperament, those exposed to more challenging circumstances because of what happens in their families and elsewhere, are likely to have more concerns.”

Economic insecurity alone can lead to negative mental health outcomes in children. A recent Canadian study, co-authored by Dr Nancy Kong, a health economist now at the Queensland University of Technology, tracked children over eight years to determine the impact of family financial instability. They found that in households with economic instability, girls were more likely to develop anxious behaviour while boys more likely to become hyperactive than children in financially stable households.

This impact, Kong says, is likely the result of children mirroring their carers’ worry, or changes in parental behaviour. Parents suffering economic instability were found to be more likely to be inconsistent with parenting, interact less with their children and more likely to use punitive methods of discipline.

Related: What's your emotional style? How your responses can help children navigate this crisis | Lea Waters

Kong says that there is limited research into the effects of economic anxiety on children, but what her study has shown is that intervention needs to be early and specific. Girls and boys may need different interventions, and specific support should be available for single-parent headed households. Without such intervention, the impacts could be long term.
“Imagine a kid is very anxious or hyperactive,” she says. “They’re less likely to sit down in a room and have a productive day of study. So once they develop the bad habits, it’s more likely to carry on and later affects their scores in school, their educational attainment and their labour market outcome.”
‘We don’t want it to be like aged care’
However, the trajectory is not unavoidable. Half of all mental health problems begin before a person is 14, says Professor Hiscock. Three-quarters of adults who suffer poor mental health first experienced problems before they were 25 years old. In Australia, some 14% of children in 2013-14 were reported to have suffered mental ill-health. But early intervention and treatment can prevent problems developing and lingering into later life.
“Mental health problems are preventable and tractable,” says Prof Hickie. “It needs rapid service change.”

The current system, however, say both Hickie and Hiscock, cannot meet the present and coming challenges. A lot needs to change, says Hickie. And quickly. “We don’t want it to be like aged care,” he says, where problems were known but not addressed.
“Government needs to take action now, in the next six months, so that much better services are in place by early 2021 as we see a surge in demand,” Hickie says. Children and young people, he says, have been two groups least well served by the existing mental health system.

A key issue is staffing. There is a known undersupply of child and adolescent psychiatrists in Australia. “We also have a shortage of psychologists who see children under the age of 12 years – even though they say they are child psychologists, they tend to see adolescents,” Hiscock says.

Governments have made a priority of mental health during Covid-19 and the summer’s catastrophic bush fires. Since the pandemic began, money has been allocated to supporting Covid-specific mental health phone lines and funding for psychological care sessions increased. The government has also funded a national pandemic mental health response plan, although Hickie criticises the plan as lacking in practical steps.

Both Hickie and Hiscock say much more needs to be done.

Hiscock says Australia needs to increase its mental health workforce, but also use the existing workforce better. She points to models in the UK and US whereby general practitioners, paediatricians and maternal and child nurses are trained and supported by mental health professionals to address and assess child mental health problems.

A productivity commission report into mental health submitted at the end of June is currently with government. In the commission’s draft report from last October, it warned that children with mental ill health often fall behind in school. It recommended that all schools in the country have a senior teacher dedicated to student mental health and wellbeing and charged with linking in to local mental health support systems. There is not yet a date fixed for the release of the final report.

Hickie advocates for better use of technology in identifying the risks and needs of young people, and signposting appropriate care pathways.

Governments could help reduce anxiety by providing longer term assurances about income support, he says, and parents and teachers could be supported to guide children through these uncharted waters. “A lot of what needs to be done with Covid and mental health is in jobs, education and social cohesion.
“But just like the Covid physical health crisis you need to have a mental health system that works, and it particularly needs to work for children and young people because in a situation of chronic uncertainty and difficulty, they will be two of the groups that will be most affected, and they are where the system itself is often very dysfunctional.
“We’ve been talking about [reform] for 25 years,” says Hickie. “So now’s the test. If you push it down the road, well, you’ve failed the test.” ... tp#image=1

Young Australians avoid COVID-19 news so traditional health messaging doesn't work
At the beginning of this month NSW Health took to Twitter to ask a favour.
"18-35 year olds have the highest rate of COVID-19 infections. We need your help to reach them."

Attached to the post was a video called #Itest4NSW which featured five young people explaining why they would get tested for COVID-19.

NSW Health urged their audience to share the video with any young people in their lives and in turn signalled a bigger problem — the difficulty of getting health messages to young adults during a pandemic.

Switching off more
Health officials are used to distributing information via the media through press releases and conferences but this means they're often talking to a half-empty theatre.

Many young people aren't comfortable getting information about coronavirus through the mainstream media recent research found, and while they have been consuming more news than usual, they have also been avoiding it more.
"They're just not used to the sheer volume, it's hard to see, especially COVID-19 news, so I think that explains why they are avoiding it more," says lead researcher Sora Park from the News and Media Centre at the University of Canberra.

The three main reasons people gave for switching off from coronavirus updates were fatigue with the coverage, feeling too overwhelmed and wanting to practice more self-care.

And that's understandable, Dr Park says, research has shown too much exposure to news during a health crisis has been linked to poorer mental health, as found after the September 11 terrorist attack and the Ebola outbreak.
But another big reason those between the ages of 18 and 35 have been tuning out is a lack of trust.
"They think COVID reporting is exaggerated and in general are more sceptical of news," Dr Park says.
"This is also linked to how relevant you think the pandemic is to you, if you're distant from an issue, it may seem exaggerated or fictional."

Although they have more trust in the Government than the media, a small proportion of young adults feel the authorities are also making exaggerated claims about coronavirus.

Age matters here, the closer you are to 18, the more you feel the pandemic is being dramatised.

Learning from climate change coverage
Prior to COVID-19, research showed that young people often find consuming news to feel like a chore.
"The role of news for young people appears primarily individualistic; it's about what it can do for them as individuals - rather than for society as a whole," a study by the Reuters Institute at Oxford University.

But if younger Australians feel the news is presented in a way that's relevant to them, they tend to become active consumers, Dr Park says.
"The matter of relevance is probably the most important. How do we make COVID news seem more relevant to them?" Some answers can be found in climate change coverage.

Younger generations say they are much less interested in mainstream news generally, yet they pay more attention to news about climate change than anyone else.
"You might think, how do they find relevance in climate change versus COVID when they could get infected today, whereas climate change is looking into the future?" Dr Park asks.
"But they talk a lot about climate change with their peers. In fact exposure to climate change information often starts in peer groups. Whereas with COVID, we were all first hearing about it through the media."

Research from the News and Media Centre indicates if you perceive climate change to be a serious issue, you have more favourable feelings towards the media coverage of it.

Dr Park says it's been somewhat difficult to convince young people to take coronavirus seriously due to early messaging in the pandemic.

Initially, evidence suggested the virus was predominantly an old person's disease and that gave young people a sense of immunity, she says.
"Even now a lot of people, even adults, still think it's only older people that get infected and die."

More social but also more experts
A lot of younger Australians never go looking for news, they simply bump into it on social media.

And the younger you are, the more likely it is that most of your information about coronavirus comes from social media.

But as Renée DiResta, technical research manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory recently wrote, the battle of voices on social media becomes a dangerous competition during the pandemic.
"The volume of content produced each minute exceeds the limits of human time and attention. Commanding a share of that attention has become a power struggle for states, media, and aspiring populist influencers alike."
"All too often, the people responsible for protecting the public do not appear to understand how information moves in the internet era." Dr Park says unfortunately it's harder to know how engaged younger people are with what makes it into their feed.
"Because it's incidental I think they pay less attention than they would if they sought out news, like turned the TV on to see the latest on COVID," she says.
"It's really difficult to have a communication strategy that works for young people, because it's not direct exposure to information it's hard to know if the message is getting through."

Finding your way to expert information
But on a positive note, Gen Z, Y and X have a flair for fact-checking and have been casting a wider net for COVID-19 facts, even if that means not engaging with mainstream media.

Dr Park's research found young people are visiting the World Health Organisation website more than older people and habitually check in with as well as particular scientists and experts.

Wafaa El-Sadr, from Columbia University's School of Public Health, says it's clear the best way to get young people to take their role seriously is by choosing the right voices to amplify.

It's about finding who they want to emulate and getting their attention that way, she says, not just solely through the traditional public health channels. ... s/12531468

Aged care coronavirus outbreaks highlight need to stop 'warehousing' people, Council of Ageing says
With more than 1,000 coronavirus cases linked to aged care homes and the death toll rising, experts and advocates are calling for major investment and reforms in the sector.

Last week the Victorian State Coroner launched an investigation into five deaths at St Basil's Homes for the Aged in Fawkner, the centre of a deadly coronavirus outbreak.

The facility in Melbourne's north is one of dozens of aged care centres that have been impacted by COVID-19, with linked to residential care.

For years experts, advocacy groups, and seniors have been calling for a better aged care system.

They say COVID-19 has widened the system's cracks into chasms and that major reforms and investment are urgently needed. Damning royal commission
In 2018 the Federal Government called a royal commission into Australia's aged care system after media reports uncovered disturbing stories of mistreatment at facilities across the country.

Last year the commission released its interim report, entitled .
"[Aged care] is sad and shocking system that diminishes Australia as a nation," the report said.

Despite having deinstitutionalised disability and mental health care, Australia has one of the in the OECD.

"Our work has shown a system that needs fundamental reform and redesign — not mere patching up," the report said.
Prisoners and the elderly
The Council on the Ageing (COTA) has been calling for the deinstitutionalisation of aged care for years.
"We got rid of doing it for people with mental health issues, we got rid of it for people with disabilities a long time ago, but we still do it for old people," chief executive Ian Yates said.

While there will always be a need for some residential care, COTA would like to see more support for people to stay home or move to smaller care settings.
"At least a third of people wouldn't need to be in aged care if they had proper support at home," Mr Yates said.

COTA said demand for home care packages had skyrocketed by 160 per cent in recent years.

The Federal Government announced an additional 10,000 packages last year.

But it takes more than 18 months for approved packages to be delivered, by which time the recipient may have been forced into an institution or even died.
"If you got home care packages within a month of being approved for them, you would get a huge number of people out of residential aged care," Mr Yates said.
"Good providers, with high demand, are prevented from growing their services due to the bureaucratic allocation of bed licences."

The current system
The royal commission found Australia's current aged care system was "characterised by an absence of innovation" that failed "to meet the needs of our older, often very vulnerable, citizens".
"This cruel and harmful system must be changed," the interim report said.
"We owe it to our parents, our grandparents, our partners, our friends."

More than half of Australian long-term care recipients over 65 are in institutions, compared to 21 per cent in Japan and 35 per cent in the Netherlands.

Residential care homes have been getting bigger and often fail to provide personalised care for their clients.

According to the Grattan Institute, despite repeated calls for help during COVID-19, private providers have struggled to get skilled staff and personal protective equipment.

Aged care staff are often casual, poorly paid and unskilled.

The insecure nature of their work can see staff working at more than one facility.

While aged care is run by the Commonwealth, healthcare is run by the states.
"There is an obvious need to bring aged care together with GP, hospital and emergency services," the Grattan Institute said.
"The Commonwealth's current centralised, loosely governed, market model dominated by private companies providing large-scale 'big box' institutional care for older people is no longer fit for purpose."

Providing person-centred care
It was widely acknowledged that more funding was needed in aged care, however debate continues about how much money was required and how it should be spent.
"There isn't one answer — we need to create an environment that supports innovation," Mr Yates said.
"If there is demand for a particular kind of service, you should be able to expand."

As well as large-scale residential care and home care packages, alternative care arrangements include:

Home-like models: Smaller-scaler residential aged care facilities where residents live in household units that have regular staff. As much as they are able, residents can live as if they are in a normal home.
Group homes: People using their home care packages to essentially create share houses where carers are brought into the home.
Dementia villages: Communities set up to support people with dementia, allowing them to receive care in a way that resembles normal life.
Other innovations could include:

Paid carers leave, similar to paid parental leave, so families are better supported to care for their loved ones.
Easier access to respite care, including day-stay respite care. This might be activity-based, rather than short stays at long-term residential facilities.
Smart homes: Smart technology has been used to keep older people at home for longer. Assistance can range from automated locks to heart rate monitoring, as well as learning a person's routine so healthcare providers are alerted to unusual behavioural patterns or accidents.
Increased access to telehealth, so people can get help without the difficulty of travel.
Age-friendly cities: Getting public planners to maximise accessibility and services for older people.
has shown smaller scale, home-like models of care are not necessarily more expensive and can provide a better quality of life and fewer hospitalisations.

"Older people are individuals and they need to have aged care that is suitable for them," RMIT professor Sara Charlesworth said.

Conditions of work are the conditions of care
If Dr Charlesworth could only do one thing to improve Australian aged care, she would invest more in staff.
"The quality of care all depends on the quality of the staffing and whether you have sufficient workers and continuity of care," she said.

Dr Charlesworth said it was not that workers were unskilled, it was that they were not well supported.
"We need a skilled, professional workforce with proper conditions," she said.
"The difference between a level 2 personal care worker and a level 3 care worker is 31c an hour."

found workers were worried about underemployment, low pay and not having enough time to give residents the best care possible. ... d=msedgntp

Under the current restrictions levels in Victoria, the "use of face coverings is mandatory" throughout the state.
62 people have been caught by police for breaking curfew, while 39 people were fined $200 for failing to wear a face covering while out in public.
The announcement comes after Victorian police announced they have issued a total of 197 fines to individuals for breaching the Chief Health Officer directions, including:

The fines have been issued for a number of reasons including 39 people who failed to wear a face covering when leaving home for one of the four approved reason, 62 for curfew breaches and 6 at vehicle checkpoints. ... 5323078656
Police have conducted 3554 spot checks on people at homes, businesses and public places across the state with over 230,000 spot checks conducted since 21 March.

One of the breaches included a man who was found at a service station at 1am buying cigarettes and lollies and wasn't wearing a mask.
Another was travelling on a city-bound train between Lalor and Thomastown outside of the 5km radius from his home and stated his reason for leaving was to "get some fresh air". ... tp#image=1

'Bunnings Karen’ has been identified by her former employer
The woman at the centre of an anti-mask video at Bunnings that went viral on the weekend has been unmasked by her former employer.

Melbourne woman Kerry Nash has been revealed as the woman behind the video where she refuses to put on a mask in the Bunnings.

She worked as a senior sales consultant at iSelect, with her former employer putting out a statement today.
“Kerry Nash has not worked for iSelect since Dec ‘18,” the company wrote in a tweet today.
“We are appalled by #BunningsKaren’s refusal to wear a mask without a legitimate reason. We fully comply with COVID restrictions any staff unable to WFH must wear a mask in our office, in accordance with guidelines.”

On her LinkedIn profile, Ms Nash describes herself as a “strong sales professional” with a “demonstrated history of working in the consumer services industry”.
Posts frequently online under a fake name
Ms Nash, who filmed herself berating staff at a Bunnings in Narre Warren on Saturday after they asked her to wear a face mask, also filmed herself telling off an Australia Post worker and ordering them to stamp her package.

Her Facebook posts also reveal she got into a heated argument with a security guard at her local chemist over masks on Thursday.

Ms Nash posts frequently online under a fake name, which have chosen not to share.

It was Ms Nash’s first of three posts over the next two days, when she would confront police and retail workers around Melbourne after they asked her to wear a mask while inside their shops.

The former iSelect worker believes a number of different conspiracy theories, including that there is a mass global conspiracy to manipulate the population into wearing face masks and social distance — and that these measures aren’t being used to stop the spread of coronavirus.
“How dare you! I have a medical exemption and you cannot discriminate against me!”
Ms Nash also has shared content claiming that Microsoft founder Bill Gates is trying to microchip the global population, and she says his face is untrustworthy.

On Thursday, she posted in an Australian anti-vaxxer, 5G, conspiracy theorist group that she’d begun the argument at her local chemist after being asked to wear a face mask.
“How dare you! I have a medical exemption and you cannot discriminate against me!” Ms Nash wrote in the long post. She also says she tried to film herself fighting with the guard, but in her own words, she “forgot to push the record”.

Ms Nash has also argued online that being asked to wear a mask is personally degrading, and tantamount to “being treated like a leper in a public area ins humiliting (sic) and is only adding further truama (sic)to you and that they are personally liable for this....”
Calling the magistrate “clearly illiterate!”
She also shared photos of herself unsuccessfully challenging a parking fine in the Supreme Court, where she called the magistrate “clearly illiterate!”

In Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire, it is mandatory to wear a face mask unless you’ve been granted an exemption — most exemptions are given for medical reasons.

Children under the age of 12 also don’t have to wear masks.

In a post on Thursday, Ms Nash said her exemption from wearing a mask was granted to her by a specialist she sees and is a “voluntary” exemption.

It’s not clear if this is an exemption given because she has a medical condition, or because she is voluntarily objecting to wearing a mask.

Ms Nash did not respond to’s questions.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, exemptions for wearing masks in Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire can only be granted to people in certain circumstances, including “problems with their medical conditions, breathing, a serious face condition, a disability or a mental health condition”.
Support for Bunnings stand
And while Ms Nash’s actions have caused widespread outrage and criticism, she’s also received praise and encouragement from within her conspiracy theorist circles.
“Go hard lov, you are well within your rights. As bunnings has now been made fully aware of the real law (sic),” commenter John Porter encouraged her. “Sue the sh*t out of them next time.”

Another woman called her “amazing” and “inspiring”.

Ms Nash regularly posts in conspiracy theory group The Conscious Truth Network, which promotes beliefs including: “we have all been born into slavery, through the use of birth certificate fraud and the social conditioning structure to imprison us in our own minds” and “chemtrails are real”.

One of the group’s administrators did suggest that yelling at Bunnings workers was not the best approach.
“I really think we should be approaching this in a delicate polite matter”, one of the group’s administrators commented on one of the Bunnings videos.
“Frustrating I know, but they are doing what they believe to be right.
“I think we should be cool calm and collective (sic) when speaking to retail workers.”

Andrews slams conspiracy theorists
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews commented on the conspiracy theorists today, calling their behaviour “appalling” and saying their views “have no basis in science or fact or law”.
“The thing with conspiracy theorists, the more you engage in an argument with them, the more oxygen are giving them,” Mr Andrews said.
“Ultimately, I think people can judge for themselves the efficacy, the credibility of people who are running those sort of keyboard warrior campaigns. Seriously, one more comment about human rights – honestly.
“It is about human life. If we continue with this stuff, standing in the car park of Bunnings reading whatever nonsense you have pulled up from some obscure website.
“Having said that, now that will run in the news tonight. That is not what I was wanting to achieve … Don’t focus on them.” ... my2gey3dga
<< She’s off with the pixies >>


NSW Health records nine coronavirus cases, three of them under investigation
New South Wales has recorded a single-digit rise in coronavirus cases, the first time new infections have dropped below double figures in more than two weeks.

The last time the state saw fewer than 10 overnight infections was on July 24, with 7 cases — 6 of them associated with the Thai Rock cluster in Wetherill Park.

Although COVID-19 daily cases numbers have been steadily decreasing over the past week, NSW Health has warned that mystery infections are rising.
"While most of the cases in the past week have been associated with local clusters and close contacts with known cases, nine have not been linked to known cases, indicating COVID-19 is circulating in the community," NSW Health said in a statement.
"It's extremely important we all play our part in prevention all the time."

In the 24 hours leading up to 8:00pm on Friday health authorities recorded nine new infections out of 24,421 COVID-19 tests.

3 cases are under investigation, 4 are close contacts of known cases, and the remaining 2 are returned international travellers in hotel quarantine.

One of the cases under investigation is a student of Tangara School for Girls in Cherrybrook, north-west of Sydney.

The school has been closed for cleaning and contact tracing.

The other cases under investigation are close contacts of each other.
Sydney Bunnings employee tests positive to COVID-19
Hardware store Bunnings is scrambling to locate hundreds of customers after a Sydney employee tested positive to the coronavirus.

Customers who attended Bunnings at Campbelltown on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week have been advised to be alert for symptoms.

The employee wore a mask during their shifts and practiced social distancing and close contacts among staff members have been identified and are self-isolating. ... d=msedgdhp

Bonnyrigg Shopping Centre has issued a COVID-19 warning
An urgent warning has been issued to customers at a western Sydney shopping centre after a shopper tested positive to COVID-19.

The customer is understood to have visited Big W and Bonnyrigg Fruit at the Bonnyrigg Plaza Shopping Centre on August 4.

No close contact to the COVID-19 positive customer has been confirmed.

The centre has was temporarily closed as it underwent deep cleaning.
'The health and safety of our customers, retailers and community remains our highest priority,' centre management said on Friday.

'As per our COVID-safe plan, we will complete a thorough deep clean throughout the centre tonight and will reopen for trade tomorrow at 9.00am.'

The Bonnyrigg Plaza Shopping Centre is the latest location to be added to the list of sites visited by COVID-19 positive individuals across Sydney.

Jambo Jambo African Restaurant, in Glebe, and Fitness First, in St Leonards, are just some of the other places that were placed on high alert.

The spread of COVID-19 in NSW has essentially confined residents to their own state after Queensland's new border restrictions came into effect early on Saturday.
Travel to Victoria is discouraged by the NSW government, leaving only the Northern Territory, which has barred Sydneysiders but is accepting travellers from some NSW regions.

Over half of the country's population is now banned from entering Queensland, with ACT and Victoria also declared hotspots.

It comes as NSW ramps up its own travel restrictions.

From Friday, NSW residents returning from coronavirus-hit Victoria must now complete two weeks of hotel quarantine.

Entry to NSW from Victoria is now restricted to flights landing at Sydney Airport, except for border community residents with permits.
Those returning through the airport will be sent into 14 days of hotel quarantine at their own expense, alongside those returning from overseas.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said hotel quarantine had been one of the state's most effective tools in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

'Make no mistake - mandatory hotel quarantine has undoubtedly saved many lives, particularly among our vulnerable community members, and will continue to do so as we navigate this public health threat,' he said in a statement on Friday.

Self-isolate and get tested immediately If you have been to any of these locations during the time and date indicated you should:

Glebe: Jambo Jambo African Restaurant 7pm to 10:30pm on Friday 31 July
Mount Pritchard: Mounties, 101 Meadows Road on Monday 20 July to Sunday 26 July
Potts Point: The Apollo Wednesday 22 July to Sunday 26 July (The period has been extended by two days to include Wednesday 22 July and Sunday 26 July.)
Potts Point: Thai Rock Restaurant Wednesday 15 July to Saturday 25 July inclusive
St Leonards: Fitness First (excludes patrons who only attended booked fitness classes or only went to the pool) 9am to 10:30am on Monday 27 July
Surry Hills: Hotel Harry (Harpoon Harry) 2:15pm to 11pm on Sunday 26 July

New Lambton: Bar 88 - Wests New Lambton 5pm to 7:15pm on Sunday 2 August
Newcastle: Hamilton to Adamstown Number 26 bus 8:20am on Monday 3 August
Hamilton: Bennett Hotel 5:30pm to 10pm on Friday 31 July
Hamilton: Sydney Junction Hotel 11pm on Saturday 1 August to 1:15am on Sunday 2 August
Jesmond: Hotel Jesmond 7pm to 9pm on Wednesday 29 July
Lambton: Lambton Park Hotel 8pm to 9pm on Thursday 30 July
Wallsend: Wallsend Diggers 9pm to 11pm on Wednesday 29 July 9pm to 11pm on Thursday 30 July ... d=msedgntp

The latest figures come after a slew of border restrictions implemented by the NSW Government in light of the large virus outbreak in Victoria.

NSW authorities have vowed to clamp down on social distancing breaches, and today announced they had handed out $5,000 fines to a pair of Sydney hotels.

Liquor and Gaming NSW said its inspectors visited the Unity Hall Hotel in Balmain and The Eastern Hotel in Bondi Junction on Wednesday and found several breaches.

The agency's director of compliance, Dimitri Argeres, said inspectors found Unity Hall had an out-of-date safety plan, failed to detail the time of entry of patrons, and did not digitise those records within 24 hours.

At the Bondi venue, inspectors viewed CCTV and found patrons at gaming machines were too close to each other.
"The licensee has since advised us that he will turn off every second machine to ensure compliance with the public health order," Mr Argeres said.
"These latest breaches mean a total of 18 venues across NSW have now been fined for COVID safety breaches in the past month."

He warned venues who were caught a second time would be shut down. ... d=msedgntp ... d=msedgntp

A COVID-positive person dines at your restaurant. What happens next?
The phone call from NSW Health came through on a Sunday afternoon. A couple who'd tested positive for COVID-19 had, in the days prior to their diagnoses, dined at Tan Viet, a Vietnamese restaurant with a 30-year history in Sydney's south-west.

It was around 4pm, well after the lunch peak, and a couple of hours before the dinner rush. The handful of diners in the restaurant at the time were allowed to finish their meals before staff flipped the "closed" sign on Tan Viet's doors.

Then, they went straight into "operations mode". "There was no emotion," says Jasper Parkes who works in Tan Viet group's operations team. "It was just a matter of going through the steps that NSW Health required of us."

By the evening, they had passed on customer and staff logs to assist with contact-tracing efforts. The very next day, Bams Hygiene Management, a cleaning company that's been hired for a number of COVID-related sanitation jobs, was onsite at the Cabramatta restaurant.
"There are three different tiers of deep-cleaning, and this was the highest: PPE, the masks, the [hazmat] suits, the cleaning of every surface. They cleaned every single page of the menus," says Lam who works in the operations team with Parkes.

It took six hours to deep-clean the Cabramatta premises. They're yet to receive the final invoice, but Parkes believes it could total $4500. The Bams website gives a much higher estimate – at least $5600 for a "red"-level cleaning service. As with all restaurant owners who are required by health authorities to deep-clean their premises, the cost is worn by the business. And for Tan Viet, that was just the beginning.
Coronavirus doesn't discriminate. It can strike regardless of age, gender, and nationality. Members of the public can, without knowing it, be asymptomatic carriers of the virus. The capriciousness of the disease is one of the most frustrating things about Tan Viet's experience – no matter how many safeguards are put in place, no restaurant is immune.
"We had a COVID-safe plan, we were adhering to it, all staff had been advised how to protect themselves, and if they felt sick they had to stay at home," says Parkes. "That didn't stop someone who was an active case from walking into the restaurant."

As then-recommended by NSW Health guidelines, the restaurant had a COVID-safe business plan in place. (As of Friday 24 July, it's mandatory for hospitality venues in the state such as cafés, restaurants, pubs, bars and cellar doors to complete a COVID-safe plan and register as a COVID-safe business.) Diners were required to sign in as they entered, hand sanitiser was available for customers and staff, and Vietnamese-English signs communicated good hand hygiene. Tables and chairs were removed from the dining room in line with the four-square-metre density rule.

These stringent hygiene measures were for the safety not just for customers, but employees too. There are staff members – one is in his 70s – who have worked at Tan Viet for years; some have underlying medical conditions.
"These are members of our family, members who are part of management. We don't muck around in regards to their health and safety," says Parkes.

As has been the case throughout the health crisis, misinformation spreads just as quickly as the virus itself. After news about Tan Viet broke, members of the public mistakenly held the restaurant and its staff responsible for the outbreak. Some were alarmed by footage of the PPE-suited cleaners at the Cabramatta premises.
"A lot of people think when deep-cleaning happens, [NSW Health] kicks down the doors," says Lam. "But we gave the cleaners the keys, we walked them through the space. It's very orderly. It's not a raid."

As with any crisis management transparency is important, as is taking control of the narrative. There are two public COVID incidents, on separate days, linked to Tan Viet Cabramatta. Information about these cases is available on the restaurant's website and social media where they've answered queries about their business operations. No, staff are not rotated across the three Tan Viet restaurants in Sydney; yes, all staff have undergone COVID testing. No, none have returned positive results.

They also took the extra step of contracting Bams for a voluntary "preventative clean" of the Tan Viet restaurants in Eastwood and Haymarket. These locations have not been connected to current COVID cases.

But these added precautions also go beyond business PR. "It's a social issue. It's a public health issue. It doesn't help anyone to be hiding anything, especially if you're doing the right thing," says Parkes. Lam points out the safety of their own social networks was paramount too. "Friends, family – we wanted to give them that piece of mind."

Coronavirus. "Ethnic" restaurants. If this all sounds uncomfortably familiar, it's because we've been here before. At the advent of the pandemic, the Chinese-Australian community, as well as the broader dining public, deserted Sydney's Chinatown over misplaced fears they could contract coronavirus from eating at a Chinese-owned restaurant.

On 26 July, NSW Health announced a COVID-positive couple had dined at Tan Viet Cabramatta and An Restaurant in Bankstown. Both are institutional Vietnamese restaurants, well-known in Sydney's Vietnamese community, and located in suburbs where the Vietnamese diaspora have settled.

Dr Sukhmani Khorana is a Western Sydney University senior research fellow whose study focuses on food, media and the migrant experience. She says restaurants such as Tan Viet, An Restaurant and Thai Rock face a bigger uphill battle in convincing diners to return.

Australia has a long history where racism, public health and perceptions of immigrant food intertwine, culminating in a narrative that restaurants in "ethnic" enclaves are deemed unsanitary.
"What's actually happening is that again, these racist assumptions are always dormant, and they come to the surface when incidents like this occur," she says.

When it comes to repairing the damage caused by being associated with a COVID case, these restaurants are already on the backfoot. The dining public will more easily forgive an inner-city pub compared to a restaurant run by people of colour in the western suburbs.
"Some people might be able to forget more quickly than if it's a restaurant that carries deep, deep prejudice with it," she says.

Tan Viet, however, deny they've been placed under higher scrutiny. "Our position is have all these restaurants, regardless of who they are, done the right thing?," says Parkes. "You're talking about 30 years' worth of reputation that could go under due to a public health issue. That's the stance we're taking. We're not a victim because we're an Asian restaurant. That's not it at all."

There's another barrier too. Restaurants associated with a COVID case are not required to hire professional cleaners. Safe Work Australia provides guidelines on DIY deep-cleaning of a business, but the document is five pages long and goes into great detail about bleach-solution ratios, hard versus porous surfaces, and how to sanitise mop heads. (They should be laundered with hot water, in case you're wondering.)
"To do that yourself, and to do it quickly, would not be very easy. We're lucky in the operations team – we've been educated, we can read and understand [the document]. I do wonder how hard it is for other restaurants who don't have staff members, or if they're first-generation migrants," says Parkes. "In the end, even though we're proficient [in English], we thought: let's get a professional in to do this."

The Lam family's eldest brother started the original restaurant some 30 years ago. It moved to different shopfronts around Sydney before settling at its current flagship location on Cabramatta's John Street in 2005. The Eastwood eatery opened in 2012, the Haymarket location in the Darling Square precinct, late last year.

The gà da dòn (crisp chicken) is the signature dish: a piece of chicken Marylands with a snap-crisp skin with juicy flesh, served with the diner's choice of rice or noodles. How exactly the restaurant achieves the crackling-like exterior while keeping the inside moist is a closely guarded secret.
The restaurant group had only recently emerged from the March lockdown. They closed throughout April, opened for takeaway in May and, as restrictions lifted, welcomed back dine-in customers in June.

It's no secret the restaurant industry operates on razor-thin margins, and the global pandemic has only tightened the financial bind on these businesses. On one hand they need to stay open so the bills get paid – Jobkeeper doesn't cover rent.

On the other, there is an inherent risk to staff members' health and safety. The restaurants caught up in rising COVID cases are not faceless institutions. They are run by people and families who have built up their businesses over the years.
"We forget that restaurants can be the victim as well. We've picked up the bill, but we've also picked up the bad publicity," says Parkes. "Restaurants are already in a vulnerable position, and the way that something is reported puts them further down that slope. It could make or break some restaurants."

All three Tan Viet restaurants remain closed for now. They're cleared by health authorities to reopen but are choosing to take a wait-and-see approach. At most, Eastwood and Haymarket will return to full service (with social distancing measures in place), while Cabramatta may operate in a takeaway capacity only.

The last few weeks of damage control has taken its toll. Parkes says she's "numb". Lam is more circumspect, buoyed by some positive feedback from customers about the restaurant's communication during this saga.
"I feel confident that we will do ok," she says. "It always comes back to the quality of the food. Our crispy chicken isn't something you can cook at home. This is something that is special and people will come out to eat it. That's what we believe in." ... d=msedgntp

'We were all 20 once': Deputy CMO warns against attending multiple venues in one night
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth has warned Australians not to attend multiple venues in one night, arguing that pub crawls would make COVID-19 contact tracing almost impossible.

Dr Coatsworth urged those out socialising to ask themselves whether they need to attend several venues, and to "pull back" on wild nights out.

"The actual idea of attending multiple venues on one night, people need to reflect on whether that is the right thing to do," Dr Coatsworth said.

The Deputy Chief Medical Officer was urged partygoers not to attend several venues in one night.

"We were all 20 once, and there will be people who remain in their 20s after the pandemic when this is all over who can go back to the old eight pub crawl but for the moment, I think we need to kind of pull back a little bit on our socialising.

"Just remember that when you visit many places in a night, you may be the person spreading the virus or you could put yourself at risk of spreading."

The Deputy Chief Medical Officer also spoke of the toll the virus was taking on health professionals in Victoria, imploring them to take care of their mental health.
"If you are a member of a healthcare worker's family, or you are the friend of a healthcare worker, do what I've done this week and just pick up the phone to those who are still on the front line down there," Dr Coatsworth said.
"And just check in on how they are going because I can tell you that from the feedback I've received this week, that is a really, really important intervention." ... tp#image=2

FOOTY BUBBLE BREACH - Anthony Seibold to quarantine for 14 days after dealing with 'serious family matter' in Sydney
The embattled Broncos will be without coach Anthony Seibold for the next two games after he stayed in Sydney following his side's Friday night loss to Souths.

Brisbane went down 28-10 at ANZ Stadium, though instead of returning to Queensland with his team, Seibold remained in Sydney to deal with a 'serious family matter'.

Club CEO Paul White released a statement on Saturday morning to confirm Seibold would be self-isolating for the next 14 days.
"Anthony is dealing with a serious family matter and could not fly back to Brisbane with the team after the Rabbitohs game last night," White said.
"He expects to be able to return to Brisbane within 48 hours but in line with COVID regulations he will need to self-isolate for 14 days once he is back in Queensland.
"Anthony will return to the Broncos after that. Assistant Coach Peter Gentle will coach the team in Anthony’s absence.
"We are working with Anthony to give him all the support he and his family need at this time, and we ask media to respect his privacy." ... d=msedgntp

Sydney venues fined as nine new cases recorded
Two popular venues in Sydney's inner-west and eastern suburbs have been targeted by police for breaching coronavirus restrictions.

The Unity Hall Hotel in Balmain and The Eastern Hotel in Bondi Junction are the latest venues to be fined $5,000 for breaching COVID public health orders.

The Unity Hall has been fined for failing to enforce social distancing between tables and chairs as well as having an out-of-date safety plan and improper recording of patrons' details.
The hotel also failed to detail the time of entry for each patron in the physical sign-in register and was not digitising the register within 24 hours.

The Eastern Hotel has been fined for allowing gaming machine players to sit side-by-side.

Liquor & Gaming NSW Director of Compliance Dimitri Argeres said the breach occurred only days after a previous inspection covered the social distancing procedures in the gaming room.

Mr Argeres said all pubs, licensed venues and cafes and restaurants must ensure their staff are constantly checking for compliance with all conditions in their COVID safe plans.
"These latest breaches mean a total of 18 venues across NSW have now been fined for COVID safety breaches in the past month," he said.
"The time for warnings is now long gone. Venues caught doing the wrong thing can expect to be fined for the first breach and shut down for second and subsequent breaches." ... d=msedgntp

Revealing CCTV shot shows why Bondi pub was fined $5,000
CCTV footage shows why a Bondi pub was fined $5,000 for breaching COVID-19 safety measures.

Patrons at the Eastern Hotel, in Bondi Junction, were found to be sitting too close together while playing the pokies.

The venue was found to be breach of public health orders when inspected by Liquor & Gaming NSW officials on August 1.

Two men were spotted sitting side-by-side at the gaming machines and not the recommended 1.5metre safety distance.

The inspectors also said there was a third patron sitting opposite the two men but still in close proximity.
The Eastern Hotel in Bondi Junction was fined $5,000 when Liquor & Gaming NSW inspectors visited the pub on August 1 and noted a lack of social distancing.
Liquor & Gaming NSW Director of Compliance Dimitri Argeres said the licensee will ensure COVID-19 safety measures are implemented.

'The manager told the inspectors that the venue had proper procedures in place to ensure gaming machine players are kept 1.5 metres apart,' he said.
'The licensee has since advised us that he will turn off every second machine to ensure compliance with the public health order.
'The time for warnings is now long gone. Venues caught doing the wrong thing can expect to be fined for the first breach and shut down for second and subsequent breaches.'

The Unity Hall Hotel in Balmain was also fined $5,000 for breaching COVID-19 safety rules.
In NSW, pubs must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan, enforce contact tracing, space out tables and have hand sanitiser at all times to keep in line with coronavirus public health orders.

Venues have been warned they need to fall in line with COVID-19 restrictions including customer limits and caps on group bookings or face closure.

Ms Berejiklian said the new rules were about reducing the risk for transmission, but she said it was important to keep the state open.

Weddings will also be capped at 150 guests, and funerals will be limited to 100.
'For weddings and corporate events, the maximum number is 150, but again, completely seated, no dancing, no singing, no mingling,' she said. ... tp#image=1
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
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