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

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

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Sep 24, 2020 5:42 am


Victoria records 12 new coronavirus cases and two deaths, as Melbourne's rolling average drops to 26.7
Victoria has recorded 12 new coronavirus cases, bringing Melbourne's daily case average down further, but the Premier's warning Victorians not to expect too much when he details how restrictions will ease on Sunday.

Two more deaths have been recorded. Both were women aged in their 80s in aged care.

There were 13,337 test results received yesterday.

Daniel Andrews said this was "another strong number", and with just 12 positive results among them, it showed the "strategy is working".

Melbourne is due to move to the second step of its roadmap out of restrictions on Monday, and Mr Andrews yesterday said he was looking at easing extra restrictions in light of the better-than-expected figures.

But today he warned: "Sunday will not be a day of massive steps, the roadmap does not speak to that.

"It is not a day when we essentially throw the doors open.

"It will be, however, steady and safe steps, and that sense of gradual, continual progress is what we are able to do because we have a gradual and continued decline in these numbers."

Mr Andrews said the Government was in talks with meatworks, distribution centres and the construction industry about proposals to allow more staff to get back to work.

Melbourne's 14-day rolling average is now down to 26.7.

Of the 12 new cases, eight are linked to known outbreaks and four are under investigation.

Dozens of mystery cases recorded over fortnight
Today's numbers are a further decline on yesterday's figures, when the state recorded 15 new cases and Melbourne's 14-day average was 29.4.

The threshold the Government set for Melbourne moving to the second step was a 14-day rolling average of between 30 and 50 new cases.

This is the second consecutive day Melbourne has been below 30.

Regional Victoria's 14-day rolling average is 1.1.

Victoria's coronavirus death toll now stands at 773.

There have been 37 mystery cases in metropolitan Melbourne in the 14 days to September 21, and zero in regional Victoria.

There are now 532 active cases in Victoria. Ten of those are in regional Victoria.

Battle brews with Health Workers Union
Victoria's Health Minister Jenny Mikakos is facing the hotel quarantine inquiry today, to answer questions about how failures in the program contributed to the state's coronavirus second wave.

She is also under pressure to resign from the portfolio, with the Health Workers Union (HWU) publishing a scathing letter accusing her of "repeated mismanagement of the Victorian health system".

The letter, addressed to Mr Andrews, said Ms Mikakos lacked "even a basic understanding of her portfolio".

"Sadly, our union's relationship with your government is now officially dead," HWU secretary Diana Asmar wrote.

"Ms Mikakos, through her incompetence, has turned the HWU, a once supportive stakeholder of your government, into an actively hostile one.

But the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch) threw its support behind Ms Mikakos, describing her as "a hard-working Minister who is across her portfolio".

Mr Andrews said he had confidence in all of his ministers, "otherwise they wouldn't be in my Government". ... d=msedgdhp

Victoria records just 12 COVID-19 infections and two deaths
Victoria has recorded another drop in coronavirus cases with just 12 infections and two deaths.

Thursday's new cases bring the state's death toll to 773 and the national fatalities figure to 861, as infection numbers continue to fall.

Metropolitan Melbourne's crucial 14-day rolling average has dropped from 29.4 on Wednesday to just 26.7.

The case range must be between 30 to 50 for the state to move into the next phase of recovery on September 28.

The regional Victorian average remains steady at 1.1.

There are currently 67 Victorians in hospital with eight people in intensive car and six of those on a ventilator. There are 532 active cases across the state.

Cases with an unknown source in Melbourne between September 8-21 were down to 37 and there were none in regional areas.

The figures come as the Health Workers Union called for the dismissal of Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos, accusing her of 'breathtaking incompetence'.

The union's letter to Premier Daniel Andrews has been made public ahead of Ms Mikakos's appearance before an inquiry into Victoria's hotel quarantine program, which led to the state's devastating second wave of coronavirus.

'Sadly, our union's relationship with your government is now officially dead, due solely to the breathtaking incompetence of your current Health Minister,' HWU Secretary Diana Asmar wrote.

'For the good of all Victorians, and health workers, I ask that you insist on Ms Mikakos' resignation, effective immediately.'

Meanwhile, Mr Andrews has hinted Melbourne's coronavirus restrictions could be lifted faster than planned as the state steadily manages down its second wave.

With Melbourne's crucial 14-day new case average now well below the 30 level, it appears likely the city will soon move to the next phase of the state government roadmap.

In Thursdays press conference the premier admitted that further announcements will be made on Sunday, but it won't be a 'day of massive steps.

'The roadmap does not speak to that, it is not a day when we essentially throw the doors open,' Mr Andrews said.

'It will be, however, steady and safe steps, and that sense of gradual, continual progress is what we are able to do because we have a gradual and continued decline in these numbers.'

'At 12 cases or at an average just under 30, that is still too much for us to take steps. We have got to be safe, steady and cautious, otherwise those new settings simply will not last.'

Under the government roadmap announced earlier this month, the changes could include allowing public gatherings for five people from two households.

Schools, child care and some workplaces would open, along with outdoor pools, while personal trainers could operate with two clients.

There could be outdoor religious services for up to five people, plus a leader.

A union has called for the dismissal of Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos, accusing her of 'breathtaking incompetence'.

A Health Workers Union letter to Premier Daniel Andrews urging her removal has been made public, with Ms Mikakos to appear on Thursday before the inquiry into Victoria's hotel quarantine program, which led to the state's devastating second wave of coronavirus.

'Sadly, our union's relationship with your government is now officially dead, due solely to the breathtaking incompetence of your current Health Minister,' HWU Secretary Diana Asmar writes.

'For the good of all Victorians, and health workers, I ask that you insist on Ms Mikakos' resignation, effective immediately.'

Ms Mikakos' appearance comes after fellow ministers Lisa Neville and Martin Pakula claimed the Department of Health and Human Services was in charge of the program.

Their evidence on Wednesday contrasted that of DHHS secretary Kym Peake, who told the inquiry there was 'shared accountability'.

While Mr Pakula's Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions was tasked with contracting hotels and security companies for the program, he said the DHHS held 'overall responsibility'.

Neither he nor Ms Neville, who is police and emergency services minister, knew who made the decision to use private security in the program.

Ms Neville said the issue 'didn't jump out' immediately, noting contractors were used at parliament, hospitals and police headquarters, as well as for major events.

'Reflecting on the question now, there are clearly things that went wrong,' she wrote in her submission to the inquiry.

'I do not know whether that was because of the use of private security at all or because of issues with the management and oversight of the private security arrangements, infection control management or both.'

More than 30 staff and guards working at two quarantine hotels - the Rydges on Swanston and Stamford Plaza - caught COVID-19 from returned travellers and spread it into the community.

It was also revealed Ms Peake and her deputy Melissa Skilbeck denied a request from Mr Andrews to house passengers from the Greg Mortimer cruise ship at a hotel near the airport.

Eighty of the passengers were COVID-positive.

'Premier has also requested that we use a hotel that is close to the airport, not in the CBD,' Ms Peake wrote in an email on April 9.

Ms Skilbeck replied: 'At this late stage of planning it would be risky to seek to convince another hotel to contract to take such guests.'

The passengers were sent to the Rydges on Swanston.

Ms Peake also failed to brief Ms Mikakos on two Safer Care Victoria investigations that identified problems with the program.

Mr Andrews will appear before the inquiry on Friday afternoon in its final week of public hearings. ... d=msedgdhp

Victoria records 12 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths
Victoria has recorded 12 new cases of COVID-19 down from 15 yesterday.

Two further people have died as a result of the pandemic, bringing the state's death toll to 773.

The state's two fatalities were both women aged in their 80s. The deaths were linked to aged care outbreaks. ... 6362210309
The 14-day rolling average for Melbourne is now 26.7 down from 32.8 yesterday.

The average for regional Victoria has also dropped to 1.1 down from 1.6 with 20 active cases remaining in regional government areas.

There are now 20,076 confirmed aggregate cases of coronavirus in Victoria since the beginning of the pandemic.

Victoria's 12 new coronavirus cases are made up of eight infections linked to known outbreaks and five which are under investigation.

There were seven COVID-19 cases which were reclassified historically across July, August and September.

There are 67 Victorians in hospital, eight patients in intensive care and six people on ventilators.

The numbers come four days out from the state's proposed date to ease stage four lockdown restrictions.

It is still unknown which restrictions will be lifted this Sunday however under the current roadmap, changes to rules around gatherings, school and workplaces are scheduled to loosen.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the government is considering further relaxation of restrictions depending on case numbers. ... d=msedgdhp

Victoria Covid hotspots: list of Melbourne and regional case locations
List of case locations in Victoria
If you were at the following venues on these dates, you should watch for coronavirus symptoms and, if symptoms occur, immediately get tested and stay at home while you wait for your results.

Park House, 627 Victoria St, Abbotsford: 18 September
Chemist Warehouse, 433 Sydney Road, Brunswick: 11 September
Burwood One Shopping Centre, Burwood East: 13-14 September
Carrum Foreshore SLSC, Carrum: 18 September
Sarawan Spices, Clayton: 19 September
Coles, Clayton: 20 September
Clayton Supa Wash Coin Laundrette, Clayton: 20 September
Provans Mitre 10, Clifton Hill: 10 September
Craigieburn Shopping Centre, Craigieburn: 11 September
DH Corrosion, Dandenong South: 17 September
FacadeX, Dandenong South: 17-18 September
Pacific Shopping Centre Werribee, Hoppers Crossing: 17 September
Woolworths, Hoppers Crossing: 19 September
McDonalds, Terminal 2, Melbourne Airport: 20-21 September
Neo Apartments, Melbourne: 17-18 September
Victorian Market Communications, Queen Victoria Market F Shed, Melbourne: 16-17 September
Primary Medical and Dental Centre, Melton: 16-17 September
Woolworths, Coburns Central Shopping Centre, Melton: 16-17 September
Woolworths Central Shopping Centre, Niddrie: 18 September
Woolworths, Oakleigh South: 14 September and 16 September
FMIG Radiology, St Albans: 10 September
Baby Mode, Sunshine: 13 September
Dan Murphy’s, Sunshine North: 14 September
Coles Tarneit West, Tarneit: 20 September
KFC, Westgate, Port Melbourne: 11 September and 12 September
Coles, Brandon Park Shopping Centre, Wheelers Hill: 4 September ... d=msedgdhp

COVID-19 outbreak in Colac may have been sparked by swingers party
A swingers party may have sparked a second coronavirus outbreak in a Victorian country town.

Police have issued fines following investigations into an illegal gathering that took place at a home in Colac, 150km south-west of Melbourne, late last month.

A second outbreak of coronavirus rocked the town soon after, with the number of active cases in the Colac Otway Shire growing from eight in late August to 25 on September 8.

The spike in cases occurred weeks after an earlier cluster at a local abattoir sparked almost 100 cases.

Word on the street according to angry locals is the illegal gathering in question was a swingers party, the Herald Sun reported.

It's unclear whether there's any connection between the gathering and the fresh outbreak of new cases.

ABC reported earlier this month the town's second outbreak after a resident contracted the virus while being treated in a Melbourne hospital.

He returned home and unknowingly passed the virus to his family, which spread into the community.

Victoria Police confirmed they had been investigating a private gathering at a Colac home on August 29.

A spokesman added police were unaware of the incident until days later.

'Police did not attend the address on the day of the gathering, and only became aware of the potential breach of Chief Health Officer directions after they were alerted in the days following,' the police spokesman told Daily Mail Australia.

'Once the reports were received Victoria Police investigated and two fines for $1652 were issued to the homeowners.'

Department of Health and Human Services is also aware of the illegal gathering but declined to comment on the specific case.

'We respect the privacy of patients and we do not provide details about individual cases, unless it is necessary to do so in the interests of public health,' a spokeswoman said.

'There are strict procedures in place to protect the public whenever someone tests positive to coronavirus.'
Home to 12,000 residents, Colac's first outbreak originated at the local Australian Lamb Company abattoir, which grew from two cases on July 17 to 92 by August 6.

The outbreak prompted a community campaign which involved videos of local teachers, students, nurses, football coaches and business owners spreading a safety health message.

The number of active cases is now down to five in Colac, ... hp#image=4

More COVID-19 restrictions may be eased in Victoria on Sunday. Here's what the health experts think
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is considering further easing of the coronavirus restrictions on Sunday, when Melbourne should meet the criteria to move to step 2 of the roadmap out of COVID-19.

At a media conference on Wednesday, he said the changes to be announced were "nowhere near settled" and they only wanted to do things that were safe.

The risks are still being assessed based on a "deep analysis of the actual data", then trying to extrapolate about what that says about the next few weeks going forward.

The first step of the roadmap has already been altered, with the curfew kicking in an hour later and an extension of the time people can get together outdoors. Social bubbles have also been created.

Melbourne has already reached the trigger for step 2 on September 28 by having an average daily case rate of 30-50 cases. Wednesday's average was 29.4.

Regional Victoria is already on step 3.

When step 2 comes into force in Melbourne, outdoor gatherings of up to five people from two households will be allowed.

Childcare and early education will reopen and there will be a phased return to onsite learning for the youngest and the oldest children.

More workplaces will be permitted to reopen with a COVID-safe plan, allowing 101,000 workers to return to their jobs.

It's all about contact tracing in a timely manner
Mr Andrews said any changes would be dependent on having enough people getting tested to provide a "clear picture" of how much virus is out there.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said if health officials can keep a lid on all of the last cases, the average case number could fall fairly quickly.

"But … one case that happens to be in the wrong place before they become symptomatic or in a situation where they can spread to a lot of people and it can be away very quickly," he said.

Epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaws, an advisor to the World Health Organization, supports that cautious approach.

"I admire the achievement of the Victorians. Sadly, they [Victorians] need to hold their mettle and hold the line," Professor McLaws said.

She does not advocate any easing of restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne, saying they should remain in place until case numbers fall to five a day, to ensure contact tracing can be done in a timely manner.

For example, highly mobile young people could have 10 contacts a day, or 140 over a two-week period.

She said a contact tracer would have to speak to 140 people within 72 hours in order to prevent the rapid spread of an outbreak.

Five cases a day makes that target achievable, she said.

"It's all about maximising the ability to do a rapid, really good contact tracing within two days, and then put in place proper checks and balances," she said.

From an outbreak management perspective, she said, the "only safe option" to further ease restrictions would be in regional Victoria.

She said more freedom of movement could be allowed in border regions with New South Wales and South Australia.

'We don't need baby steps'
Epidemiologist Catherine Bennett from Deakin University has a different view — she thinks as soon as Victoria has met the target for new cases, and mystery cases are in check, restrictions should be eased.

"I'd like to see step 3 come forward," she said.

She said there was plenty of time built into the roadmap to be sure what was being done was working and the public will be clear about what they can and cannot do.

"If people are taking care and we're moving to step three … [the outbreak] is contained, it's not high-risk," she said.

"It's better to do that than take bits off. We don't need baby steps in between."

Victorian Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien said the Premier was trying to under-promise on restrictions and over-deliver.

"It's all about political spin and management," he said.

"We expect Sunday's roadmap to be a lot more generous than his previous roadmap."

ony Blakely from the University of Melbourne said the roadmap had good bones and a much more significant easing of restrictions was planned for October.

He suggested relaxing the curfew and the 5-kilometre zone and bringing forward household bubbles.

There should also be some measures to get people back into economic activity, he said.

"Whatever the mix, it will be important to settle on something that is a balance of increasing liberties and social interaction and opening up the economy a bit — without unduly slowing the rate of fall in cases," Professor Blakely said. ... d=msedgdhp

Daniel Andrews tempers expectations ahead of changing restrictions, Victoria's Health Minister Jenny Mikakos fronts hotel quarantine inquiry
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says although daily coronavirus numbers are trending downwards, he won't be "throwing the doors open" in announcing the next step out of restrictions.

It comes as Health Minister Jenny Mikakos fronted Victoria's inquiry into the hotel quarantine scheme, saying she was "not part of any decision-making process to use private security contractors".

Meanwhile, Western Australia recorded three new cases of COVID-19 — two of them crew members on a ship off the coast. ... d=msedgdhp

Melbourne aged care: dying mother with Alzheimer's spent final weeks of life separated from family
The last time 81-year-old Marie Mallia was able to hold hands with her husband and children was in late June – more than two months before her death from advanced Alzheimer’s disease in Melbourne.

Mallia spent the final weeks of her life looking out towards her family through a window of the Royal Freemasons aged care home in Footscray. But due to her difficulty seeing, focussing and hearing, her relatives wonder if Mallia even knew they were there.

They have lodged a formal complaint with the home saying being unable to comfort Mallia as she died caused them anguish and breached the health department’s industry code for visiting residential aged care homes during Covid-19. The code states that “residents who are dying should be allowed in-room visits from loved ones on a regular basis”.

The code also states that for any resident “where additional ways to connect (such as a window contact) are not effective for the resident (eg people living with dementia or sensory loss) the home will explore alternate approaches”.

Guardian Australia has heard stories from carers and peak bodies including the Cancer Council that different hospices, hospitals and residential homes are implementing inconsistent policies when it comes to visitation, leaving some families too scared to put their loved ones into much-needed care in their final weeks of life.

A complaint to the Royal Freemasons in Footscray made by Mallia’s daughter states that even after all staff and residents of the home had been cleared of Covid-19 by 17 August, and residents were no longer isolated to their rooms, she and her family were still only allowed to see her mother through a window.

“It was very difficult given that my mother’s condition was rapidly worsening,” the complaint says. “She was unable to hold the phone to her ear, to even hear our voices, or when a staff member held the phone for her, she either couldn’t remember that she was on a phone call or hear us to communicate.

“It was becoming clear to both my family, and the care staff at the facility, that my mother was fading fast, she had not been eating for over a month and had now stopped drinking water. The care staff advised me to call the manager of the facility to organise end of life visits.” However, Mallia’s daughter said, when she called she could never get through to the manager – the only person who could approve in-person visits – and despite leaving at least five messages the manager never returned her calls.

During one of these calls, a doctor involved in Mallia’s care granted the family a one-off visit through the window.

“I was unhappy with this arrangement and continued to try to call [the manager] to organise a more appropriate visitation for my mother,” the complaint says. “On Monday 24 August, once again despite my messages, [the manager] failed to call me back.” While a doctor finally agreed to allow the family as many window visits as they needed, they were still not allowed into the facility, and instead had to enter through a back gate and stand in the garden to view Mallia.

The first time the family heard from the manager was on 27 August, hours after Mallia died. Her daughter said in her complaint that she was too distressed to talk to the manager by that point, and quickly ended the call.

Mallia’s granddaughter, Kara Mallia, said the window visits were particularly distressing for her 86-year-old grandfather, who speaks English as a second language and was having difficulty understanding why he could not be with his dying wife.

“The window was really a big glass door and he kept trying to open it to get to her but it was locked,” she said. “I don’t want any other family to go through what we did.”

In a statement, a spokesman for the Royal Freemasons told Guardian Australia: “We’ve sincerely apologised to this family as we understand window visits are not ideal during such emotional times.” The spokesman said part of the reason for not allowing in-person visits was because the home was in a hot-spot location and Mallia shared a room.

However, he did not explain why in-person visits weren’t allowed once the home was cleared of the virus. In her complaint to the home, Mallia’s daughter stated she was told her mother could be moved to a private room, but that even then in-person visits would not be allowed. Because the window to the private room was smaller than that of the shared room, Mallia’s family decided to keep her where she was.

The spokesman for the home said: “During these visits, the family were comforted and provided with food and drink.”

“We fully understand that this is not ideal and since this time we have reviewed this facility’s processes and put in place mechanisms where families can visit loved ones who are palliative, privately and safely,” he said.

The chair of Palliative Care Australia, Meera Agar, said the peak body was in contact with many families experiencing difficulties seeing their loved ones due to local restrictions or border closures.

“While Palliative Care Australia and its member organisations understand and support that measures need to be taken to protect individuals from Covid-19 contagion, there needs to be a balance between the needs of patients and protection,” she said.

“In addition to a more standardised approach implemented consistently and communicated openly across facilities, we require a compassionate response to the visiting arrangements for dying patients and those receiving palliative care.”

Agar said families needed to be given regular updates about their loved ones because families were at risk of prolonged or more complicated grief and bereavement if they had not been able to spend time with them before they died.

“Support from loved ones is an important part of the mental, emotional and social support for palliative care patients,” she said. “It is essential to their wellbeing and quality of life.” ... d=msedgdhp

Aged care watchdog investigating Melbourne "High Tea" party
The aged care watchdog is now investigating a video taken inside a facility in Melbourne's east, showing staff without PPE and dancing during a high tea party. ... d=msedgdhp

Number of Melbourne families providing palliative care at home soars under coronavirus lockdown
The COVID-19 pandemic has not only changed the way Victorians live, it has changed the way they are dying, with the number of families providing palliative care for loved ones at home almost doubling in some Melbourne suburbs over the past six months.

The surge has led to greater stress in families already struggling with the ramifications of COVID-19 lockdown measures, and "immense" strain among palliative care support staff, who say they cannot meet all the needs of everyone requiring their help.

More than 80,000 Australians require palliative care each year.

Eastern Palliative Care (EPC) said the percentage of its patients choosing to die at home in the outer-eastern suburbs of Melbourne had leapt from 48 per cent prior to the pandemic to as high as 83 per cent during some weeks since the city's first lockdown in March.

Michelle Wood, chief executive of Banksia Palliative Care, which services Melbourne's north-eastern suburbs, said 65 per cent of palliative care patients were now choosing to die at home — compared with 35 per cent who were opting for hospital care in their last days.

Prior to the pandemic, about 45 per cent of terminally ill patients chose to die at home, while 55 per cent died in hospital or in hospices, Ms Wood said.

She said the increase was largely driven by relatives' fears that strict visitation limits at hospitals during the lockdown would mean terminally-ill patients would "die alone, surrounded by people covered in PPE".

"The restrictions around hospital admissions has seen fewer people opting for hospital care and has removed the option for respite," Ms Wood said.

"To a large degree, the pandemic has removed people's choices."

Families influenced by aged care coverage
Ms Wood said many carers underestimated how difficult providing end-of-life care would be — especially during one of the most stressful periods in living memory.

"The challenges for carers range from the obvious, watching a person that you care about deteriorate and ultimately die, to the physical demands as that person deteriorates," Ms Wood said.

"Not only in needing to care for them and assist them in their daily activities, but also picking up their role, and chores and all of the other responsibilities that may have been shared in the past.

"Add to this stress a global pandemic with lockdowns, job losses, homeschooling and restricted visiting in hospital settings, and the stress on carers has increased exponentially."

Recent media coverage of appalling conditions in nursing homes had also influenced some families' decisions to provide end-of-life care for their relatives at home.

As a result, palliative care support providers say they have never been so stretched and many families who have chosen to care for dying relatives at home may not be receiving all the support services they require.

Services stretched
Palliative Care Australia chair Professor Meera Agar said the palliative care system needed an overhaul, as not all Australians requiring end-of-life care had "access to services when they need to, particularly at home and in community settings".

"As we prepare for an ageing population and other unexpected stresses to our health care system, like COVID-19, we must look seriously at reforming our system to ensure it can meet people's needs into the future," Ms Agar said.

EPC chief executive Jeanette Moody said the centre was dedicated to providing the highest standards of care for its patients, but the surge in at-home care meant its services had been stretched, and many staff were stressed.

"The impact of COVID-19 on staff has been immense," Ms Moody said.

"Our staff are members of the community just like our clients and the impact of lockdowns, school closures, and job losses of family members or partners has all impacted on staff.

"The anxiety that COVID-19 has caused for staff has been, at times, very difficult to manage with support services to assist staff with this not appropriate or not existent."

Ms Moody said the average number of calls to the EPC's overnight triage service for families providing palliative care at home leapt by 59 per cent in March to 367 calls (more than 11 per night), fell after the first lockdown eased, but soared again to between 300 and 350 calls during July and August when Melbourne was in the grip of the second wave.

"In the initial months of the pandemic, we were also getting calls from clients asking if we could supply foods and groceries as clients and carers did not want to expose themselves to the risk of getting COVID-19 in a public place," she said.

"One of the biggest impacts on clients and carers has been the Stage 3 and 4 lockdowns where clients and carers have had to limit visitors and supports to their home."

She said many families were "having to make very difficult decisions about which family members/friends will be able to see their loved ones at the end of life".

Increase in demand for services
Kylie Draper manager nursing and medical services at EPC said that in the 30 years she had worked as a palliative care nurse specialist, she had never seen such a dramatic increase in the need for palliative care support in the home.

"We've seen the percentage of families in the outer east of Melbourne choosing to provide end of life care at home rise from 48 per cent to 83 per cent since COVID-19 restrictions came into effect," Ms Draper said.

The increase in the demand for services, while adhering to the additional COVID-19 infection-prevention measures, has been a challenge for both Banksia and EPC.

EPC family support worker Trish Delany said family played an integral role in the spiritual wellbeing of patients living with a terminal diagnosis, and it was understandable that people did not want their loved ones to die in isolation.

As a result, many patients and their families who would normally choose an inpatient service for their end-of-life care, were now choosing to die at home.

"Choosing to provide end-of-life care to someone at home is a difficult choice — the care required is full-time and can be 24/7," Ms Delany said.

"It takes a specialised team of palliative care nurses, doctors and therapists to ensure patients, carers and their families have the support they need to provide the care for these patients at home.

"We are continually inspired by families who take on the important role of providing end-of-life care for patients in their home — many finding it very rewarding."

Banksia Palliative Care's Ms Wood said: "We have an exceptional team of people who have come to work every day, worked very hard making a real difference in peoples' lives, and have flown well under the radar throughout the entire pandemic … as palliative care is prone to do." ... d=msedgdhp

Off-peak pricing on Melbourne's trains, trams, buses could prevent public transport congestion in post-COVID era
Almost three-quarters of public transport users in Melbourne would save money if cheaper off-peak fares were introduced, according to Victoria's infrastructure body.

Varying the pricing of transport depending on the time of the day could also help avoid congestion, which will be crucial in a post COVID-19 world, according to Infrastructure Victoria chief executive Michel Masson.

"Cheaper fares can also encourage people to return to the city and other shopping centres as restrictions ease, supporting Melbourne's economic recovery," he said.

A new report from Infrastructure Victoria proposes creating a peak fare time of 7:30am to 9:30am, and 4:30pm to 6:30pm.

A trip from most Melbourne suburbs into the city during the morning peak would cost $5, while an off-peak trip would be $2.50.

Off-peak pricing would also apply to commuters going against the main flow of people.

"Our research finds many commuters would benefit from the option of off-peak fares, especially during the COVID-19 era, as it creates an incentive to choose less crowded services and support social distancing," Mr Mason said.

The report is only a recommendation from the independent body, but Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the Government would consider it.

Households on low income will benefit the most
Infrastructure Victoria is also proposing to abolish the free tram zone in Melbourne's CBD, and introduce a city zone, which would include all train stations on the city loop and the yet-to-be-completed metro stations.

Fares within the new city zone would be subject to the peak pricing.

The report suggests 71 per cent of people would pay less under the proposal.

It suggests households in the lowest incomes would benefit the most, with a 26 per cent saving on their transport costs.

Poorer households would also benefit from a drop in bus fares, with modelling showing that 47 per cent of bus users come from the bottom 40 per cent of household income.

Trains and trams are being used proportionately by wealthier households, with the top 20 per cent of incomes being the largest group of public transport users.

"Cheaper prices for under-used services such as buses and all off-peak travel gives public transport users power to decide how much they want to pay for public transport, based on when and how they travel," Mr Masson said.

Today, the Premier said Melbourne's road and public transport networks would look different as coronavirus restrictions eased, because of consumer preferences and social distancing requirements.

"I'm not necessarily agreeing with that specific proposal," Mr Andrews said.

"But we will certainly look at it because we are in the process of looking at lots of different things."

The report said other cities that have emerged from lockdown are seeing a boom in the the number of commuters driving to work, up 15 per cent in Perth and 10 per cent in Brisbane on pre-COVID levels.

The numbers of people catching public transport are 70 per cent and 63 per cent of pre-COVID levels. ... d=msedgdhp

Proposed COVID detention law
Proposed legislation branded the 'Omnibus bill’ would empower authorised officers to detain residents suspected of breaching public health rules.

High profile legal figures want the bill defeated in parliament and key cross benchers have signalled they will oppose the bill.

Speaking of the key cross benchers preparing to vote on the new bill, Victorian Liberal MP Richard Riordan said, “if they were to fold without expecting some sort of accountability back from the government, then God help them really and God help Victorians”.

“It’s just getting beyond ridiculous here in Victoria in the power Daniel Andrews keeps giving himself”.

The Andrews government have attempted to alleviate fears by saying the powers are essential and will be applied appropriately”.


Health Workers Union calls for Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos to resign over 'repeated mismanagement'
Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos is under pressure to resign after the Health Workers Union (HWU) published a scathing letter accusing her of "breathtaking incompetence" and "repeated mismanagement of the Victorian health system".

The letter, addressed to Premier Daniel Andrews and signed by HWU secretary Diana Asmar, said Ms Mikakos lacked "even a basic understanding of her portfolio".

"Sadly, our union's relationship with your government is now officially dead," Ms Asmar wrote.

"This is not about a personality clash with Ms Mikakos. I'm accustomed to dealing with individuals who display pomposity and arrogance, even when their ability does not warrant it.

"Ms Mikakos, through her incompetence, has turned the HWU, a once supportive stakeholder of your government into an actively hostile one."

The letter calls on Mr Andrews to "insist on Ms Mikakos' resignation, effective immediately".

At the Premier's daily coronavirus briefing this morning, Mr Andrews said the HWU was "entitled to a view".

"They have put that view in fairly colourful terms," he said.

He said the Chief Health Officer and others met with Victoria's health sector unions weekly, and the Health Minister attended most of the meetings.

"If there are issues that group or any group in the community, particularly the health sector, want to address, we are more than happy to sit down and work with those issues," he said.

"We have done that as a feature of the pandemic."

When asked whether he still had confidence in Ms Mikakos, Mr Andrews said he had confidence in all of his ministers, "otherwise they wouldn't be in my Government".

Hospital Public Private Partnership plan 'the final straw'
The letter said the HWU had a "functioning working relationship" with the State Government for many years, due largely to the work of former health minister Jill Hennessy, who the union described as "highly competent".

But Ms Asmar said a meeting on Monday about Ms Mikakos's plans to enter a Public Private Partnership (PPP) to rebuild the Frankston Hospital was "the final straw" for the union, after 18 months of witnessing her "hazy blankness" in respect to the Victorian health system.

"Ms Mikakos failed to answer simple questions. She had no understanding of the difference between clinical roles and non-clinical roles within a hospital, nor could she comprehend the details of the PPP proposal," Ms Asmar said.

"She instead referred to scripted notes.

"She is still clueless."

Ms Asmar also accused the Health Minister's office of being "completely dysfunctional" and said it was only through the "good work of [the Premier's] personal staff" that Monday's meeting had been arranged.

The union — which represents a broad range of clinical and non-clinical staff working in public and private hospitals, pathology, community health, disability and aged care — also raised concern about the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers, particularly in aged care.

"As long as Minister Mikakos and DHHS insist on the existing tiered guidelines to PPE in aged care, it is our view that Victoria will not achieve its infection targets to warrant a return to even stage 2 lockdowns. Many more deaths in Victorian aged care homes will ensue," Ms Asmar said.

"In Victoria, aged care cleaners, admin workers and cooks have acquired COVID, as have registered nurses and patient care workers.

"The virus does not discriminate within facilities. Yet aged care workers are treated differently with respect to accessing sufficient levels of PPE."

Mikakos a 'hard-working Minister', says ANMF
Not all Victoria's health sector unions are publicly critical of Ms Mikakos's performance, with one linking the attack to internal Labor politics.

A statement from the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Association (ANMF) said the union did not support calls for her resignation or sacking.

"Ms Mikakos has demonstrated she is a hard-working Minister who is across her portfolio," the statement said.

"She has provided steadfast leadership through the uncertainty of the pandemic, including in areas that are not her responsibility, such as private aged care — a Commonwealth responsibility."

The union confirmed Ms Mikakos had attended weekly pandemic response meetings with health union leaders and listened and responded to the ANMF's concerns.

"ANMF does not usually comment on ALP left and right politics, but on this occasion is concerned that matters unrelated to the health portfolio are at play," the statement said.

Ms Mikakos is due to face the COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry today where she will likely face questions about the lines of accountability in the botched program. ... d=msedgdhp

Andrews defends Victoria's Health Minister as unions call for her resignation
Daniel Andrews has defended the role of his Health Minister as a prominent health union calls for the resignation of Jenny Mikakos.

The Health Workers Union accused Ms Mikakos of “breathtaking incompetence” as senior ministers in the Victorian government claimed they were left in the dark about who made the decision to use private security guards in the state's bungled hotel quarantine.

"All ministers are fully aware of the accountability for those matters that go on within their portfolio, Premier Andrews said during his COVID-19 briefing.

"I have confidence in all of my ministers or they wouldn't be in my government."

Mr Andrews said "all health unions" were engaged in all matters pertaining to the portfolio and claimed his Health Minister attended "most" meetings with unions.

"If there are any specific issues that need raising, need to be addressed, then I am very confident that the officials I have mentioned, and indeed, many more are focused on those things, he said.

"They have been focused on these issues for months and months."

Victoria overnight recorded 12 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths. ... d=msedgdhp

Andrews says the ‘ultimate fix for JobKeeper’ is to control the virus and open economy
Daniel Andrews says the “ultimate fix to JobKeeper” is to reduce coronavirus cases, open the economy and get people back to work, calling for "more support rather than less" from the federal government as it prepares to reduce JobKeeper payments.

The best thing that I can do and the best thing I'd argue that we can all do is to get these numbers down, get business back open and get people back to work into their job," the Premier said.

The Victorian Premier said he had spoken with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, making it clear he “would always want more support rather than less”.

Mr Andrews said he requested the Commonwealth drop taxes on hardship payments and was “very confident that that's exactly what will happen”.

“We have a positive discussion about the things that we need to talk about but that doesn't mean we necessarily agree on every matter," he said.

“The pleasing thing is that the Prime Minister has continued - he has always maintained - and I don't believe that his position has changed - that hardship would drive all the policy that the Federal Government were about."

He said he was hopeful the new budget would introduce a significant program of investment. ... d=msedgdhp

Victorian government announces $11.3 million in food relief
The Victorian government has announced an $11.3 million boost to food relief across the state which will be distributed in food packages to supply food to people stuck in isolation, as well as boost community support groups.
Five new food hubs will also be established in Victoria in addition to those set up under a prior commitment from the government. ... d=msedgdhp
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: 12573
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Sep 24, 2020 6:23 am


NSW reports 2 COVID-19 cases as restrictions on weddings to be eased
NSW has reported 1 new COVID-19 case in the community and 1 case in a traveller in hotel quarantine.

The locally-acquired case was detected after 8pm on Wednesday night and will not be included in today's official tally, meaning NSW has officially recorded three consecutive days with no community transmissions.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the new local case was under investigation.

From Thursday, people in NSW can travel to South Australia without needing to quarantine.

South Australia's Premier Steven Marshall announced the border reopening on Tuesday if NSW did not record any community transmission between then and today.

NSW has since recorded two consecutive days with no local cases.

Ms Berejiklian said restrictions on weddings will be eased, with bridal parties of up to 20 allowed on the dance floor. She did not outline when this would take effect.

"But I stress it is the same 20 [people]. You cannot have a roster of different guests of 20," Ms Berejiklian said.

"This is really important because weddings and unfortunately funerals and other gatherings [are] where the virus is most contagious and spreads most readily because people know each other."

Weddings were still considered a high risk setting for coronavirus, with Ms Berejiklian urging organisers and venue managers to ensure the same identifiable 20 guests - including the bride and groom - were the only people on the dance floor.

Ms Berejiklian also said she plans for this year's Sydney New Year's Eve fireworks to go ahead "in one form or another".

But the event will look very different to what Sydneysiders have experienced previously.

Speaking on 2GB on Thursday morning, Ms Berejiklian confirmed the state government was in talks with local councils about plans for fireworks on December 31 with social distancing restrictions.

"We are working through those issues," she said, foreshadowing most people would likely watch the celebrations from home.

"But we are keen to demonstrate this will be a year of hope, and what better way to do that than with fireworks over Sydney," she said.

"I shouldn't get political, but that's another good Liberal state trying to do the right thing for the nation."

In Thredbo, The Rivers Restaurant has been forced to close for a week for serial safety breaches after repeated visits from police and the liquor regulator.

The venue exceeded the maximum capacity of patrons, had no spacing between seating, allowed people to mingle between tables, queues to grow to 30 people standing shoulder-to-shoulder, and drink shots at the bar.

Liquor & Gaming director of compliance Dimitri Argeres said the message wasn't getting through.

"This venue has consistently failed to maintain COVID-safety standards and has not complied with its own COVID-safety plan," Mr Argeres said.

It's the second NSW venue to be closed for a week. In August, Unity Hall Hotel in Rozelle was ordered to shut for a series of similar breaches.

On Thursday, Victoria recorded 12 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths. ... d=msedgdhp

NSW coronavirus testing rates are plummeting — here's why that's a problem
Key points:
No "mystery" coronavirus infections have been identified in NSW for two weeks
While cases in the state are dropping, so is the rate of testing
NSW Health said tests had declined in recent weeks, but remained above target of 8,000 daily tests

The number of daily coronavirus tests in NSW has fallen to its lowest level since mid-July, sparking warnings that getting swabbed is a "necessary overkill" even as new infections decline.

Australia's most populous state has averaged over 20,000 tests a day since July, after reaching a peak on September 12.

But testing has fallen steeply in the past week, despite health authorities insisting the virus is likely still circulating in Sydney.

No locally acquired coronavirus infections have been found in NSW in the past two days, prompting governments in Queensland and South Australia to relax their border restrictions.

However, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is concerned about people becoming complacent, and this chart shows why.

Catherine Bennett, chair of epidemiology at Deakin University said large numbers of tests were a "necessary overkill", even if few new cases were being found.

"You have to test more than 1000 people to find even one positive," she said.

"That's a good position to be in.

"You want to be erring on the side of getting all those negatives to find that one positive."


Ms Berejiklian yesterday urged people to continue getting swabbed.

"We know that there are still a number of risks in NSW, including the high likelihood that the virus is still circulating especially in Western Sydney and south-western Sydney undetected, which is why we really need to make sure that everyone who has the mildest of symptoms comes forward and gets tested," she said.

A spokesperson for NSW Health told the ABC that testing numbers have declined in recent weeks, but have remained above target of around 8,000 daily tests.

Last week more than 100,000 tests were reported.

Professor Bennett argued testing in states as large as NSW and Victoria did not need to stay above 20,000 per day.

She said testing needed to be driven by how many people were exposed at different sites.

She said the "mystery cases", where someone tests positive but the contact tracers can't find out where they got the infection, were critical.

"They can be an artifact of too little testing," she said.

"You are missing the links in between. We care more about the mystery cases than about the clusters."

NSW has gone more than two weeks without a mystery case.
While authorities regularly publicise large clusters of cases and order close contacts to self-isolate and get tested, Professor Bennett warned people associated with "mystery" infections had to be more proactive.

"That transmission chain could be lost if you don't get tested and we'll all be punished," she said.

She said that Victorians were testing as a way out of the lockdown restrictions.

"In NSW, testing is about staying open and following up with cases to make sure that's safe," she said.

Data from Flutracking, an online survey of volunteers who record any flu-like symptoms, showed that while only a very small number of people had fevers and coughs last week, just 45 per cent of those who did had a coronavirus test.

The data was collected in the week ending September 20 from nearly 62,000 people in Australia, including about 21,000 from NSW.

Professor Bennett said ideally, 100 per cent of people with symptoms would get tested, but in reality there were many reasons why people might not.

One of those, she said, was likely to be financial, although people in NSW can apply for a lump-sum Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment from the State Government if they cannot work because they are self-isolating.

"Then there's the people trying to avoid isolation, the people who don't recognise their symptoms, those who are scared of the test itself and those who don't want to leave their homes," Professor Bennett said. ... g/12694116

NSW Covid-19 hotspots: list of Sydney and regional 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.

The Crocodile Farm Hotel, Ashfield: 5.30pm to 6.30pm on Friday 4 September for at least an hour. Patrons who were there for less than an hour are considered casual contacts and must monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if they develop
The New Shanghai Night restaurant, Ashfield: 6.30pm to 8pm on Friday 4 September for at least an hour. Patrons who were there for less than an hour are considered casual contacts and must monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if they develop
Mama Wok, MacArthur Square, Campbelltown: 1.30pm to 2.30pm on Wednesday 9 September for a least one hour
Campbelltown Golf Club, Glen Alpine: 2pm to 4.30pm on Wednesday 16 September for a least one hour
Bannisters Pavilion Rooftop Bar & Grill, Mollymook: 12.30pm to 2.15pm on Sunday 13 September for a least one hour
Oatlands Golf Glub, Oatlands: 6.30pm to 8.45pm Friday 4 September
Albion Hotel, Parramatta: 8.15pm to 11.15pm on Saturday 5 September, guests who attended the beer garden and pavilion for at least an hour
Fitness First, Randwick: Anyone who attended between Sunday 23 August and Tuesday 1 September should monitor for symptoms and if they develop, get tested right away and self-isolate
Hyde Park Medical Centre, Sydney: Monday 24 August to Saturday 5 September. Anyone who worked at Hyde Park Medical Centre (including physiotherapy, pathology, dermatology and dental practices and pharmacy on the ground floor of the building) should get tested immediately and self-isolate until a negative result is received
Carlo’s Italian Restaurant Bar & Seafood, Ulladulla: 8pm to 9.30pm on Saturday 12 September for a least one hour
Milton Ulladulla Ex Servos Club, Ulladulla: 2pm to 6.15pm on Saturday 12 September for a least one hour
Eastern Suburbs Legion Club, Waverley: Tuesday 1 September from 6pm, Friday 4 September from 4.30pm, Saturday 5 September from 4.15pm, Sunday 6 September from 5pm, Monday 7 September from 3pm
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.

Bankstown (suburb)
Blue Mountains
Cumberland local government area (LGA)
City of Sydney (East) LGA (includes central Sydney and the suburbs Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Woolloomooloo, Potts Point, Rushcutters Bay, Elizabeth Bay, Centennial Park)
Fairfield LGA
Hunters Hill LGA
Liverpool LGA
Mt Druitt (suburb)
Parramatta LGA
Randwick LGA
Waverley LGA
Woollahra LGA
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.

Wray St Oyster Shed, Batemans Bay: 12pm to 1pm on Saturday 12 September
Anytime Fitness, Casula: 10.15am to 12pm on Friday 11 September
Five Stars Thaitanic, Casula: 4.20pm to 5.20pm on Saturday 12 September
Clovelly Hotel, Clovelly: 12.45pm to 1.45pm on Saturday 5 September
KFC, Concord: 1pm to 1.20pm on 6 September
Croydon Park Pharmacy, Croydon Park: 1pm to 2pm on Thursday 3 September
KFC, Emerton: 12pm to 9.30pm on Monday 7 September
Campbelltown Golf Club course, Glen Alpine: 9.30am to 2pm on Wednesday 16 September
Hunters Hill Bowling Club, Hunters Hill: 6.50pm to 9pm on Tuesday 8 September
Katoomba Sports and Aquatic Centre, Katoomba: 11.30pm to 1.40pm on Friday 4 September
Lawson oval, Lawson: 10.30am to 12.45 pm on Sunday 13 September
The Railway Hotel, Liverpool: 10.00pm to 11.30pm on Friday 4 September
Fitness First, Maroubra: 8am to 12pm on Saturday 5 September
Aldi, North Strathfield: 10am to 10.30am on Tuesday 1 September
Picnic Point Bowling Club, Panania: 3pm to 6pm on Friday 18 September
JB HIFI Penrith Plaza, Penrith: 4pm to 4.30pm on Sunday 13 September
Charles St Kitchen, Putney: 10.45am to 11.30am on Saturday 5 September
Rouse Hill Town Centre, Rouse Hill: 12.30pm to 1.30pm on Saturday 5 September
Stanhope Village Shopping Centre (including Kmart), Stanhope Gardens: 8.30am to 9.30am on Monday 7 September
Springwood Sports Club, Springwood: 1pm to 2pm on Saturday 12 September
Coles St Ives Shopping Centre, St Ives: 1pm to 2pm on Friday 28 August
Missing Spoon Cafe, Wahroonga: 4.45pm to 5.30pm on Saturday 5 September
Eastwood Netball Association, West Ryde: 12.15pm to 1.30pm on Saturday 5 September
China Doll Restaurant, Woolloomooloo: 6.30pm to 10pm on Thursday 3 September
If you travelled on any of the following public transport routes on these dates, monitor yourself for symptoms and self-isolate and get tested if symptoms occur.

Tuesday 8 September:

Bus route 316 Avoca St Randwick – Bondi Junction station, 8 September, 10.44am to 11.05am
Monday 7 September:

T1/T9 North Shore Line, between 9.17 to 9.29am from Milson’s Point to St Leonards
T1/T9 North Shore Line, between 9.53 to 10.14am from St Leonard’s to Milsons Point
Bus route 379 Bronte Beach – 11.08am to 11.24am Bondi Junction station
Bus route 316 Randwick – 10.44am to 11.05am Avoca Street, Randwick, to Bondi Junction Station
People who caught a taxi on 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 September in the following suburbs must monitor for symptoms and if any develop immediately get tested:

Chipping Norton
Warwick Farm
NSW Health is seeking to identify passengers who caught a Silver Service taxi on the following times and locations. These passengers should call the NSW Health Call Centre on 9391 9000 for further advice.

Tuesday 15 September:

Riverside Road, Chipping Norton 8.31am to Birnie Ave, Lidcombe 9.11am
Milperra 10.14am to Riverside Rd, Chipping Norton 10.25am
Birnie Ave, Lidcombe 3.22pm to Riverside Rd, Chipping Norton 4.07pm
Monday 14 September:

Riverside Road, Chipping Norton 3.50pm to the Mill Hotel, Beaconsfield St Milperra 4.04pm
Thursday 10 September:

Liverpool 2.38pm to Graham Ave, Casula 2.44pm
Haddenham St, Chipping Norton 7.15pm to George St, Burwood 7.48pm
Wednesday 9 September:

Liverpool TAFE college, Bigge Street 8.08am to Moorebank Shopping centre, Stockton Ave Moorebank 8.15am
Tuesday 8 September:

Liverpool TAFE college, Bigge Street 1.03pm to Hoxton Park Road, Cartwright 1.14pm
Liverpool TAFE college, Bigge Street 2.01pm to Glenwari St, Sadlier 2.11pm ... d=msedgdhp

Major changes for weddings, schools, and community sport in NSW
Major changes to restrictions for weddings, schools and community sport in New South Wales have been announced.

Up to 20 people will be allowed onto the dance floor at weddings, provided they are part of the bridal party.

"It's a case of still being cautious but opening up opportunity for not just the bride and groom but the bride and groom' parents and any of the other people who make up the bridal party," NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.

It must be same 20 people during the wedding and is not just 20 people at a time.

Mr Hazzard added one of the "single biggest requests to my office as health minister" has been about relaxing restrictions at weddings.

Changes to community sport in NSW were also announced, meaning more than one parent will be able to attend games again ahead of grand finals kicking off.

"We are saying to parents they can have much more freedom in terms of coming to see their children play sport," Mr Hazzard said.

Acting Minister for Sport Geoff Lee welcomed the news, saying the changes will come into effect from this weekend.

"We know that the finals start this weekend, this will allow more than two parents to actually go and watch their children play and enjoy the sport and enjoy the time, and it's a great opportunity to get as close to normal as possible," Mr Lee said.

NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell also announced the easing of several restrictions in schools, saying school sport will be "as it existed before the pandemic".

"We will be opening up inter-school and zone competitions, the only restriction that will remain is that we will not be able to have parents on school sites for school sport when a school day is on.

"That's just to limit the risk… but if school activities are taking place in community sport venues parents will be able to attend and follow the COVID-safe guidelines," she said.

Excursions and school camps will also resume in Term 4, and orientation for kindergarten and Year 7 students will also go ahead.

"Year 7 students will be allowed to go on high school sites after the 11th of November when the HSC finishes. For our kindergarten students they will be able to start their orientation programs from the start of Term 4," Ms Mitchell said.

Up to five people will be allowed to sing in choirs, and there can now be an unlimited number of students in musical ensembles, subject to social distancing. ... d=msedgdhp

Cap lifted on community sports attendance from this weekend in New South Wales
New South Wales Sports Minister Geoff Lee has revealed numbers will be lifted from this weekend on community sports attendance in a further easing of state restrictions.

"Community sport is so important to New South Wales... hundreds of thousands of people do sport during the week," Mr Lee said.

"This will allow more than two parents to get out and enjoy the sport as long as they practice social distancing, they follow the COVID safety plan and most of all use common sense.

"It's a great opportunity to get as close to normal as we can." ... d=msedgdhp

Jamberoo Action Park opens gates to 5,000 people with COVID-safe plan and NSW Government approval
Jamberoo Action Park on the NSW South Coast will open its gates to 5,000 guests on Saturday.
A water park in New South Wales has been given the green-light to open its gates to 5,000 people when school holidays start this weekend.

The cap on visitors to Jamberoo Action Park, south of Sydney, had been set at 500, but the State Government has this week given it permission to increase the limit by 10 times.

The venue's manager Matt George said the business has a strict COVID-safe plan in place to disperse the crowd, reduce queuing and mitigate the spread of the virus.

"We have 10 acres of guest accessible space so plenty of room for guests to socially distance and we're a chlorinated environment which provides ongoing sanitisation for guests," Mr George said.

"On rides, we'll be making sure that people are riding with are people that they're a close contact with so obviously your family members, school students and people you've travelled to the park with.

"In terms of queues, if it's a food or beverage outlet, ride or attraction, they'll all be 1.5-metre spaced and staff there as well to make sure everybody is adhering to social distancing."

Keeping the business afloat
During a regular season the outdoor park is one of the biggest employers in the region, attracting around 15,000 visitors per day.

Mr George said if the cap had not been raised the businesses would not have been able to operate.

"I think in the 40-year history of the park its been one of the more difficult years we've had to face," he said.

"The 500-person limit that was in place probably would have seen us close the park for the season, so it's a great boost of confidence we've been given by the NSW Government.

"We've been able to seek JobKeeper for our full-time staff and we do employ a lot of seasonal casuals, so it will be great to have them back on deck as of this weekend."

So excited
Illawarra Business Chamber Executive Director, Adam Zarth, said the region had been buoyed by news of the park's reopening.

"They're a huge contributor to our regional economy they employ a lot of people and it's fantastic news," he said.

"They're one of our members and I know they employed an external risk management consultant to put together one of the most comprehensive COVID-safe plans I've seen."\

"Across the region, we're just so excited they're able to open." ... d=msedgdhp

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says Sydney New Year's Eve fireworks will go ahead despite coronavirus pandemic
Sydney's New Year's Eve fireworks will go ahead "in one form or another" despite the coronavirus pandemic, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has declared.

The City of Sydney normally hosts the dazzling event but the council has expressed major hesitations about the cost of the multi-million-dollar display and holding the event during the pandemic.

Up to a million people usually crowd along the Sydney Harbour foreshore to watch the fireworks, which are also broadcast around the world.

Ms Berejiklian confirmed the State Government would help foot the bill for the fireworks to ensure the event goes ahead as planned.

Ms Berejiklian stressed it would be "an extremely different event" to previous years.

"Our strong intent is that there be some sort of fireworks display that evening," she said.

"But the vast majority of us will be watching it from home on the television."

She said she felt Sydney's fireworks were a symbol of hope and optimism, which was "important for our soul and for positive thinking about next year".

But it would be a "toned down affair" with a scaled back organisation and a limited fireworks display, she added.

Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore said Sydney's New Year's Eve not being held as a public event was a "real possibility we are facing".

"The community's health and safety is paramount and it may not be responsible to encourage large crowds to our foreshore," she said.

Ms Moore said she was working with the NSW Government on other major events like Christmas and Sydney Lunar Festival.

These events are subject to the NSW Government’s public health orders, which are continuously amended to address the local impact of the pandemic.

"Ultimately, if NSW Health and Police can't be certain that the event can be held safely, it won’t go ahead."

Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres conceded the majority of spectators would be watching from home and only people with tickets to specific events would be permitted into the harbour foreshore area.

"It's not going to be open slather with everyone being able to come into the city," he said.

"And we fundamentally believe people won't travel into the city in the numbers they have done in the past."

He flagged the possibility of free ticketed locations with capped spaces and restricted access to foreshore locations as options for controlling crowd numbers.

Mr Ayres said the State Government was in discussions with the City of Sydney, local councils, NSW Health, NSW Police and Transport NSW to see how the event can be held safely.

"Yes, we've got a bit of management to do about how we manage and control the city," he said.

"Police have already indicated they'll be running their usual New Year's Eve operation, we know that Transport is ready and geared up to be able to do this work.

"We will work with Health and we will work with Sydney Council to make sure we manage this and provide it as a COVID-safe event."

The State Government has left open the possibility the fireworks could be cancelled if there was a major outbreak of COVID-19 or a significant seeding event. ... d=msedgdhp

SA-NSW border reopening welcome news in Broken Hill
[quoteThe NSW city is expecting an influx of movement across the border, now the 14 day quarantine requirement for NSW residents travelling into South Australia has been lifted.][/quote] ... d=msedgdhp


University of Sydney protesters cop $21,000 in fines as riot squad deployed
Police issued 21 fines, totally $21,000, to student protesters objecting to uni fee hikes.
University protesters fined
Police have issued fines totalling $21,000 to a group of student protesters objecting to university job cuts and fee hikes.

The protest began at the University of Sydney campus yesterday and continued through to City Road, where 21 students sat.

NSW Police deployed officers from five departments, including the riot squad and mounted police.

The 21 students were each fined $1,000 for breaching public health orders which prohibit gatherings of more than 20 people. ... d=msedgdhp

Thredbo restaurant closed for a week after health breaches
Authorities found numerous COVID-19 breaches at a NSW restaurant. ... d=msedgdhp
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: 12573
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Sep 24, 2020 6:59 am


Queensland goes 14 days without a community case of COVID-19
Deputy Premier Steven Miles says it means restrictions on gatherings and visits to aged care in the state's south-east can be relaxed. ... d=msedgdhp

No new cases for Queensland reported overnight.
Thursday 24 Septmeber: Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles reports that Queensland has had no new COVID-19 cases overnight. ... d=msedgdhp


Queensland eases restrictions after reaching COVID-19 milestone
Queensland has recorded no new cases of COVID-19 marking 14 days since the last case of community transmission.

"That means additional restrictions in Brisbane metro and west Morton can now be lifted," deputy premier Steven Miles said.

Under current restrictions, aged care facilities are not allowed any visitors, gatherings are restricted to 10 people and there is no standing in licensed premises except when ordering food and drinks.
As of 1am tomorrow, gathering limits will be extended from 10 to 30 people and Queenslanders will also be able to visit hospitals and aged care facilities.

The changes will coincide with the ACT being de-listed as a COVID-19 hotspot meaning people from the ACT will now be able to visit Queensland via air.

Queensland's Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young said the decision to lower the gathering limit to 30 instead of 100 as it was before restrictions were tightened was a safety net to protect the community against undetected cases.

"We could have missed cases that we have not picked up but I think it's unlikely because of the large amount of testing we've done," Dr Young said.

Despite reaching the 14-day mark with no cases of community transmission, Ms Young said it's possible there are people who may be asymptomatic but still spreading the virus in the community.

"We might still get a case which is why we need to maintain those restrictions," she said.

She also encouraged Queenslanders to wear a mask in circumstances where social distancing is not possible.

"That is something I would like to see people doing more of … that might have to be a new way of living for the foreseeable future."

Today's announcements come after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced a shift in border zones to allow five NSW local government areas to travel freely across state lines.

From 1am on October 1, Bryon, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Glen Innes will be added to the border zone.

Residents will have to apply for a border pass to travel into Queensland.Queensland residents will also be able to travel to those areas. ... d=msedgdhp

Queensland aged care and hospital visits allowed from Friday after another day of zero coronavirus cases
Visitors will be allowed in aged care homes and hospitals across Brisbane, Ipswich and Logan from Friday, the Health Minister Steven Miles has announced.

The announcement coincides with another day of no new cases in Queensland, and marking 14 days since the last suspected infectious case in the community.

From 1:00am tomorrow, private gatherings will also increase from 10 people to 30.

The easing of rules will also come into effect in Redlands, Moreton Bay, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and Somerset council areas.

"People can go ahead and organise that house party for Friday night," Mr Miles said.

The easing of restrictions coincides with the lifting of the ACT as a hotspot and comes a week ahead of the extension of the border bubble to residents in five new local government areas, including Byron Bay, Ballina and Glen Innes.

Miles says ADF support extension requested
The Australian Defence Force has been assisting police at the border checkpoint, and will be withdrawing from September 30.

Mr Miles claimed federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg had suggested Queensland authorities had not requested further support from the ADF in manning the checkpoint.

Mr Miles circulated a copy of correspondence to journalists from Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, saying the State Government would support further assistance from the ADF.

"This is yet another example of the Prime Minister sending out a minister to attack our Government in the local media here in Queensland, and being caught out lying," he said.

"I think it's time for the Federal Government to stop using the Australian Defence Force, which is after all for all Australians, to stop using them as a bargaining chip in their war against our COVID-19 restrictions," Mr Miles said.

The ABC has seen a letter requesting an extension of ADF support, sent by State Disaster Coordinator Steve Gollschewski on Monday.

At a press conference in Brisbane this afternoon, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton lashed out at Mr Miles and defended the actions of the Federal Government.

"His behaviour is beneath the position of Deputy Premier," Mr Dutton said, accusing the Minister of getting his facts wrong.

"I think he should be embarrassed frankly by his outing again today, suggesting that the Commonwealth is not providing support, or that we have got motivations for some other reason is just a nonsense."

In the letter to ADF Chief of Joint Operations Lieutenant General Greg Bilton, Deputy Commissioner Gollschewski wrote that he was writing "in furtherance to my recent letter dated 14 September".

"Following discussions at National Cabinet, we are planning our response to the agile environment we are faced with, specifically the heightened pressure on our hotel quarantine efforts, with an expected increase of international flight arrivals at our airports," Deputy Commissioner Gollschewski wrote.

"To ensure adequate resources and time to sustainably meet this demand, we are seeking ADF support to continue at our road borders until 19 October 2020."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk followed this up with a letter to the Prime Minister yesterday.

The ADF will continue to support hotel quarantine operations in Queensland beyond October 1.

30-person limit to remain indefinitely
Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young warned the new limit of 30 people at private gatherings would remain in place in Queensland for the foreseeable future.

The rule also applies to outdoor gatherings and any event that does not have an approved COVID-safe plan.

"We now know that indoor parties and family gatherings are the biggest risk," Dr Young said.

"That's why unfortunately as we go forward, to protect everyone, we need to permanently reduce that 100 gathering size down to 30."

Dr Young said there had been 55 cases connected to the most recent Queensland clusters connected to corrective services and the Ipswich Hospital.

"When I saw where we got those cases, and where they were spreading, I was amazed that we managed to contain it," she said.

"It was due to an enormous amount of work from the community in adhering to all of the requirements, and also from the public health units."

But she said the clusters could not be be dismissed completely in terms of ongoing risk.

"No, we can never say that," Dr Young said.

"Because as we saw between the first cluster related to those three young women who went to Melbourne and the second cluster which was the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre there was a missing case in the middle that we didn't pick up.

"We could have a missing case out of these past 55 people … we could have a missing case that we've not picked up.

"I think it is unlikely because of the large amount of testing that's been done.

"That's why I keep on saying each day I really want to see at least that 5,000 figure achieved, to give us some assurance that we don't have missing cases out there.

"We also know that around 20 per cent of people are totally asymptomatic." ... d=msedgdhp

Deputy Premier slams federal government as border controversy continues
The extension of the border zone if the first major step forward for residents in NSW wanting to travel north after weeks of mounting pressure to reopen the border between the two states.

The ongoing controversy over border restrictions came to a head again this morning after Mr Miles slammed the federal government over claims Queensland did not request help from the ADF to manage border restrictions.

The ADF will be pulled from checkpoints before the end of this month as the state prepares to reopen the border to NSW.

During this morning's coronavirus press conference, Mr Miles handed out copies of correspondence between the Queensland government and the ADF, documenting Queensland's request to have army support extended.
The correspondence included a response from the ADF to Queensland's request, saying "ADF support will conclude on the 30th of September," Mr Miles said.

Mr Miles also handed out a letter from Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, again asking for the ADF to remain in place border checkpoints.

Mr Miles described comments from Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg alleging the Queensland government was lying about asking for an extension to ADF support, as an "attack".

"That support was important but that request was denied," he said.

"The suggestion that the Queensland government did not request an extension of ADF support is just plain wrong.

"I think its time for Josh Frydenberg to apologise."

Today's comments come after Mr Miles accused the federal government of using the ADF as a "bargaining chip" to strongarm a decision to reopen borders.

Mr Miles said it was "no secret" Prime Minister Scott Morrison did not support Queensland's strict border protection measures and said the withdrawal of the ADF from manning the borders was "disappointing and will make the job of police harder".

"Our policy has worked and they should back off," he said. ... d=msedgdhp

Steven Miles releases letters asking PM to keep ADF troops in Queensland ( to bolster border checkpoints and patrols , and hotel quarantine guard).
Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles has released letters sent to Prime Minister Scott Morrison which show his state called for continued ADF support.

“This another example of a federal government minister being sent out by the prime minister to attack our government in the local media here in Queensland being caught out lying,” Mr Miles said.

“I think it’s time again for Josh Frydenberg to apologise for the statements he made this morning.

“It is time for the federal government to stop using the ADF, which afterall is for all Australians, to stop using them as a bargaining chip in the war against our COVID-19 restrictions.”

Queensland recorded zero new cases of the virus overnight, marking 14 days of zero locally acquired cases

The development came after Sky News Australia obtained letters under Freedom of Information laws which showed Mr Morrison pressured the Victorian Government to accept ADF support in July.

In one letter, sent on July 11, Mr Morrison suggested a combined operation between Victoria Police and the ADF which would include “an estimated 1,000 ADF” which “could be progressively deployed in this way over the next week, with greater scope beyond”.

“It is critical to the containment of the virus that the now thousands of people in isolation and quarantine are carefully tracked by phone and personal visits to ensure compliance (and to ensure their welfare),” Mr Morrison wrote.

In an earlier letter, on the 4th of July, before Melbourne went into full stage 3 lockdown, Mr Morrison wrote: "I note with concern that the Victorian COVID-19 case numbers have escalated to 108 cases today, as part of an increased trend of cases during the past week.” ... d=msedgdhp

NSW man avoids fine for crossing Queensland border
A New South Wales man who was caught by Queensland police after crossing the border illegally has avoided a fine. ... d=msedgdhp

Glencore's copper operations in North Queensland thrown another lifeline weeks before state election
The Glencore copper refinery is located in Mt Isa in the middle of three electorates, all with marginal seats.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday scored a trifecta — a high-vis jacket, a hard hat and a marginal seat.

The setting was a copper refinery in southern Townsville, and the announcement was an undisclosed "one-off incentive" payment to global resources company Glencore.

The 2020 state election campaign is indeed ramping up.

The reason for handing over taxpayers' money to a global company is to "secure the jobs of more than 1,000 people", but the public is given no opportunity to scrutinise this.

In effect, we're being asked to accept Glencore's assertion it needs the money to continue its Australian copper operations and to accept the Government's word it has secured the best deal possible.

But in the context of the looming election, the Government's bargaining position doesn't look strong, with hundreds of jobs at stake in some of the state's most marginal seats.

Glencore has been threatening to shut down its Mount Isa copper smelter and Townsville copper refinery for the best part of a decade.

A planned closure in 2016 was staved off when the Queensland Government agreed to amend environmental-licensing conditions — a deal which ensured the smelter and refinery would stay open until at least 2022.

With that deadline approaching, Glencore this year announced its copper operations were again under review, with a final decision to be made just before the state election.

The Glencore refinery is smack bang in the middle of the electorate of Mundingburra, and a short drive to the nearby electorates of Townsville and Thuringowa.

All three seats are held by Labor by the smallest of margins, and given Labor only has a majority of two seats in Parliament, it's impossible to underestimate the refinery's political importance.

Government 'leaving Queenslanders in the dark'
At a media conference on Tuesday, the Premier said the "investment" in the copper operations was "commercial in confidence".

Ms Palaszczuk argued it was about "securing the jobs of more than 1,000 people in Mount Isa and Townsville for the next three years".

Treasurer Cameron Dick would only go as far as revealing it was a "multi-million-dollar" deal.

"We enter into a number of arrangements with corporations and companies which support jobs, and we don't make any apologies for that," Mr Dick said.

Glencore Australia provided more detail in its public statement, describing the Government's contribution as a "one-off incentive".

"In addition to this incentive, Glencore will invest more than $500 million for the continued operation of the copper smelter and refinery," the statement said.

"This incentive will partially mitigate the negative cost of continuing these assets which face high costs and struggle to compete internationally."

Professor of economics at the University of Queensland John Quiggin said it was "pretty striking" this deal was announced as global copper prices had surged.

The business news service Bloomberg reported the global copper market could be "on the cusp of a historical supply squeeze as Chinese demand runs red hot".

Professor Quiggin said the Mount Isa smelter had repeatedly been on the brink of closure since 2011.

"So, this decision isn't really related to the pandemic or the global market," he said.

Economist Fabrizio Carmignani from Griffith University said a subsidy from the Government made sense if the operation was facing some temporary difficulty.

"[However] from the statement of Glencore, it would look like their problems are structural — high fixed costs, unable to compete," he said.

While he understood the need to protect jobs, Professor Carmignani said structural problems needed to be tackled by longer-term plans.

Opposition pledges $15m in manufacturing
Although the Opposition said the Government was "leaving Queenslanders in the dark" about the size of its investment in Glencore's copper operations, it did not directly criticise the deal.

Rather, LNP leader Deb Frecklington pointed out the Glencore incentive was about saving existing jobs, not creating new ones.

Also sporting a hard hat and high-vis jacket, the Opposition Leader announced an LNP government would provide money to another large company, Visy.

A Frecklington government would invest $15 million to complement the packaging and recycling giant's planned $135 million investment in a corrugated box-manufacturing plant in Brisbane.

"This is all about creating those manufacturing jobs, by making sure [we] have a plan for the future, by dragging Queensland out of this recession," Ms Frecklington said.

The project would create 300 construction and 140 manufacturing jobs.

Under media questioning, Visy executive Ian Harris said he was also negotiating with the State Government.

"We don't have a commitment at this stage," he said.

There was no suggestion of further investment, but there may be a need for more government assistance up north.

The Glencore copper commitment is to maintain those 1,000-plus jobs for at least three years — just in time for the next election cycle, when the matter will presumably be up for renegotiation. ... d=msedgdhp



David was blocked by Queensland's coronavirus border rules, so he flew to the Northern Territory
David Desira decided to quarantine in Darwin so he could travel on to Queensland
David Desira first enquired about travelling to Queensland in July after his 85-year-old father, Ray, was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive lung disease.

His father was given just weeks to live, but Mr Desira was locked down in the north-eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

Queensland's border controls prevent people travelling from hotspots without an exemption.

So David felt he had little choice but to remain in Melbourne while his father died, afraid he would not make it through the exemption application process and subsequent fortnight of quarantine in time.

"To be honest, I was not confident I could endure being isolated from my family in a hotel room while going through the trauma of seeing my father fighting for his life," he said.

Then his mother, Josephine, became unwell.

"Initially we thought it was grief and stress," he said of his mother's condition.

Further tests led to a diagnosis of lung cancer, and Mr Desira decided he would try to cross the border to support her.

Grieving man 'forgotten' by authorities
Making daily phone calls to health authorities in Queensland, Mr Desira waited to hear the outcome of the exemption application he eventually lodged.

But he did not hear back for two weeks. He said he felt "forgotten about" whenever he put down the phone.

He was told the approval process would take some time.

In the meantime, Mr Desira saw the news hundreds of AFL staff and their families would be ushered into quarantine in Queensland ahead of the AFL grand final.

He said it felt like "the last straw".

"[I'm] trying to get in on compassionate grounds and you're just being constantly shoved left and right and it sort of felt like often to the back of the queue," he said.

"All of a sudden AFL family members are being fast-tracked through the process to get them in quickly. That was a pretty bitter, bitter pill to swallow."

'I was torn and I was waiting'
Mr Desira heard from a friend that Darwin's quarantine centre, a former workers village in Howard Springs, could be his best bet to get to Queensland.

Travellers from coronavirus hotspots are welcome to quarantine at the site without having to go through an approval process.

If he spent two weeks at the facility, he would then be free travel to Queensland.

"I have never been so indecisive in my life leading up to that point because I was torn and I was waiting, waiting to hear from the Queensland Government," Mr Desira said.

"The relief when I finally made the decision was fantastic.

"[The Northern Territory Government] would just let you in open arms, which was wonderful."

Mr Desira was contacted by the Queensland Government during his time at the centre — his exemption had been approved.

But he said he did not regret travelling to the NT because he had far more freedom at Howard Springs than would have had if he isolated in a hotel.

"You still are isolated [at Howard Springs]," he said.

"But you had a balcony where you could sit outside.

"You get fresh air, you could walk the paths between all the buildings … and we were able to interact with neighbours."

Reunited at last
Mr Desira finished his quarantine period last week.

He said it was "beautiful" to finally be reunited with his mother.

She is now in chemotherapy and Mr Desira is on the Gold Coast helping her attend her medical appointments.

Mr Desira said he hoped the NT Government would continue allowing travellers from hotspots to quarantine at the Howard Springs facility.

It likely will, with Chief Minister Michael Gunner pledging to keep the current system in place.

"I've joked about sending an invoice to [Queensland Premier] Anastasia [Palaszczuk]," Mr Gunner said.

"But at the moment we're happy to help our fellow Australians in how we manage that.

"It's a little niggle rather than being a major problem."

In a statement, a Queensland Health spokesperson defended the long wait times for exemptions and said restrictions were in place to slow the spread of coronavirus.

"We understand this can be difficult for many, but it is necessary to save lives," the statement read.

"Every day there are countless applications to enter Queensland." ... d=msedgdhp
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 » Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:07 am


SA Health to investigate coronavirus travel exemption granted to AFL players' parents
South Australia's public health chief says an external review will investigate how and why 11 Victorian-based parents of Port Adelaide AFL players were granted exemptions to coronavirus travel restrictions while other families are being denied.

Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier yesterday revealed 11 relatives of Power players had been approved by SA Health to enter the state, ahead of the club's qualifying final against Geelong at Adelaide Oval next week.

After finding out about the "absolute mistake", Dr Spurrier revoked the exemption for six of them, while the other five — who have already arrived — will be able to continue their 14-day hotel quarantine.

The South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) this morning shed more light on the situation, saying the head of Events SA had played an initial role in the process but was not responsible for the decision.

Premier Steven Marshall apologised for the "error of judgement" by an SA Health employee.

"I'm very sorry this has occurred," he said.

"It was an inappropriate approval — I acknowledge that, the chief public health officer acknowledges that."

The bungle coincides with the lifting of travel restrictions from New South Wales into SA, with people in NSW now allowed to cross the border into SA without having to do 14 days' quarantine.

It has also prompted a backlash from others still stranded in Victoria — where restrictions still apply — who have accused authorities of double standards.

Angela Mead, who resides in the Victorian town of Echuca, said she has not been able to hug her 10-year-old daughter, who lives in Adelaide with her father, since May.

"There's a lot of people like me people in worse situations," she said.

"But I think people like us start seeing things like that … there's all these people mingling yet I can't."

She said it was unfair she could not enter South Australia but Power relatives, along with cross-border sports players, could enter the state.

Ms Mead has put in another application to visit Adelaide, where her father is terminally ill, but it is yet to go before the SA Health panel that decides on exemptions.

Dr Spurrier said someone from outside SA Health would review departmental processes around border exemptions to prevent the Port Adelaide situation being repeated.

"We're very keen to review this," she told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning.

"Our [chief executive] has spoken to the Department of Premier and Cabinet, and we're looking forward to having an external person come in and go through all of our processes."

Events SA boss spoke to families
The SATC this morning released a statement confirming Events SA executive director Hitaf Rasheed, who previously worked at the Port Adelaide Football Club, helped the players' families contact SA Health.

"She helped to initially connect a representative of the families to SA Health and then left the decision-making process to the relevant health officials to work through," a spokesperson said.

"SATC doesn't have any say in how SA Health view applications or approvals."

Dr Spurrier said it was her understanding that the person from SA Health who gave the exemption "had no connection whatsoever" with the Port Adelaide Football Club, including as a member or a fan.

"This was a mistake — it was a poor judgement," she said.

"I still haven't got to the bottom of how or why this happened but I join with all South Australians in saying I'm not happy about it."

She said disciplinary action was a matter for the department's chief executive, Chris McGowan, not her.

She will meet with him today, and will rejoin the committee that decides on exemptions.

The Premier said the findings of the investigation would be released publicly.

"There is no suggestion whatsoever there has been any interference or personal gain from this," Mr Marshall said.

Premier has questions to answer: Labor
Earlier this morning, Labor health spokesman Chris Picton said Mr Marshall needed to answer questions about any involvement from the Government in the matter.

"There are so many people that haven't been able to see dying loved ones, who haven't been able to go to funerals — how was it that people within the Marshall Government viewed football games and watching a football game as more important than those situations?" he said.

Port Adelaide general manager of football Chris Davies said neither the club nor Ms Rasheed had done anything wrong.

"Let's be really clear: SA Health were the ones who received the exemption request and SA Health were the ones who made the decision on the exemption," Mr Davies said.

"Whether the players' parents got that or not was not a matter for the football club — certainly.

"So, at the end of the day, I think it's a decision and a discussion that will continue to be had but it needs to be had with the right authority."

Two new cases of COVID-19 were reported in South Australia yesterday.

A woman and a man tested positive after arriving in Adelaide from overseas on Sunday — but a child who was travelling with them has so far not tested positive.

They bring the state's total number of COVID-19 cases since the virus was first detected in SA to 468. ... d=msedgdhp

Flights between Sydney and Adelaide resume as border reopens
The first flight from New South Wales to South Australia where passengers won't have to quarantine when they arrive has taken off following the opening of borders.

Passengers on board the Qantas plane left Sydney at 9.15am and will arrive in Adelaide just after 11am.

The SA border was reopened to NSW overnight, following the second consecutive day of no new community transmission of COVID-19.

It means travellers from NSW won't have to go into 14-day quarantine when they arrive in SA.

The aviation industry is hoping today's resumption is the start of a long road to recovery.

"Our staff was so happy to see flights going out of Sydney to Adelaide, this flight is all but sold out today," Qantas CEO of Domestic and International Travel, Andrew David told Today.

Qantas and Jetstar yesterday reported selling 6500 seats across the two brands since the border ban was lifted.

The Sydney to Adelaide route has been dormant since July.

Mr David said the huge interest had promoted Qantas to boost services, adding second flights per day.

"Clearly there is a pent-up demand for people to travel and families hanging out to see loved ones," he said.

"People are just happy to be back at work. We have to work hard behind the scenes to ensure that we are ready. We have got the planes in the air and matching that demand."

Mr David says airlines across the industry are calling for "consistency" with the reopening of borders across the country.

"We understand the Victorian situation, we know there's hotspots.

"We all have to work together on, but just this cry and plea for some consistency so we can get business moving again.

"We can get business moving again. We can get people in the air. We can get people holidaying, people seeing loved ones." ... d=msedgdhp

South Australia fights back against antisocial campers with quirky outback tourism campaign
The campaign educates rookie outback adventurers with tongue-in-cheek social media.
The behaviour of antisocial campers has spawned a quirky social media campaign in South Australia to educate newcomers about the unwritten rules of the outback.

Organised by a coalition of outback businesses and funded by the Outback Communities Authority, the Aussie Travel Code seeks to answer the big questions.

From what to do when someone is pulled over on the side of the road, to the dangers of "flying poo spiders", the campaign aims to educate outback rookies on the social norms of travelling in remote Australia.

Jo Fort from the Innamincka hotel is involved in the campaign.

She said the code, which was set to be rolled out on social media, came about after locals complained that tourists were not aware of how to behave in the outback.

"The outback is for everybody," Ms Fort said.

"Some people live and work in the outback, that is where they make their homes, they bring up their children, that's the way they make their income.

"Whilst travellers and visitors are more than welcome, we're asking them to remember that there is a particular code of behaviour that we expect of them.

"We just want to give people the insider knowledge for the region."

'No-one stopped to help'
Gillian Fennell from Lambina Station in far-north SA said inexperienced travellers had good intentions but were ignorant of the etiquette in outback Australia.

"The fuel pump in my car gave up on the Stuart Highway, plenty of caravanners and tourists cruised on past, but no-one stopped to help," she said.

"All I needed was someone to take a message 20 kilometres down the road to our local roadhouse … and I was watching caravans, camper trailers, just zoom past and it was just making me irate."

When travelling in remote areas, with limited phone range and services, the expectation is that people look out for their fellow travellers.

"If someone's in a vulnerable position, like I was with a couple of kids, you stay with them to make sure they are safe," Ms Fennell said.

"You don't know who's going to pull up next or maybe never pull up.

"You can't leave people on the side of the road — it's unAustralian."

Ms Fennell said some travellers had also been camping on private property without permission.

"It is a really beautiful part of the state and it's a part of the state that everyone should travel to at least once, but, while it looks like no one lives up here, these are our homes and we take it really seriously," she said.

"There's nothing worse than coming down a track, or water point, and having people just camped up willy-nilly and you had no idea they were there."

Campers may be trespassing
Ms Fennell said tourists should always seek permission before travelling onto pastoral leases — both as a courtesy and as a safety precaution.

"If you find an attraction on a map find out what pastoral lease it is on," she said.

"Ring the person who's on there and ask permission, give them times and dates.

"It's [for] your safety too. If we don't know you're there, there's a lot of things that can go wrong and if we're not visiting that country because we're resting it, you might get stuck for a really long period of time."

And as for the flying poo spider, it is best avoided at all costs.

The "spider" is, in fact, a tangle of dirty toilet paper that has not been buried properly and is picked up by the wind, becoming an unhygienic airborne outback menace. ... d=msedgdhp


3 new virus cases in Western Australia
Three new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Western Australia, including two on board a ship anchored off the state's north-west coast.

WA Health Minister Roger Cook on Thursday said one of the new cases was a returned traveller from the United Kingdom, while the other two were crew members of a bulk carrier from the Philippines.

All are men aged between 34 and 51.

The 3 coronavirus cases take the state's total number to 668.

Mr Cook said the Patricia Oldendorff, a bulk carrier anchored nine nautical miles off Port Hedland since September 16, held 20 Filipino nationals and its captain.

He said the vessel was scheduled to berth earlier this week before its captain informed the WA health department that two crew members were showing "flu-like symptoms".

Two nurses, both wearing personal protective equipment, boarded the ship via helicopter to collect samples, with preliminary results coming back positive on Wednesday night.

"They've had some carriage of the disease from the Philippines and there must be some spread among the crew there," Mr Cook said.

The two crew members remain in isolation on board the ship.

Mr Cook said a rapid response team would assess the situation in Port Hedland on Friday morning.

"We don't anticipate any of the crew coming to Perth," he said.

"The safety of Western Australians will be our highest priority in dealing with these cases." ... d=msedgdhp

FIFO worker fitted with ankle bracelet breached quarantine twice
A fly-in-fly-out worker had to be fitted with an electronic ankle bracket after allegedly breaching coronavirus hotel quarantine on multiple occasions.

Thomas Forster, 35, arrived on a flight from Queensland to Western Australia and was directed to undergo mandatory self isolation for 14 days in the Perth suburb of Redcliff.

But police prosecutors told Perth Magistrates court on Wednesday the Fortescue Metals worker invited a woman in his hotel room twice between September 12 and 14, and later went out to a party where he 'mingled with a small group of people'.

He has been charged with four counts of failing to comply with a direction from the state's Chief Health Officer.

The court heard that police and health authorities decided to fit Forster with the monitoring device after it was revealed he had breached quarantine laws in South Australia on July 20.

Forster and two others were fined a total of $9,000 after faking an urgent medical emergency to sneak into across the South Australian border from the coronavirus hotspot Victoria.

They had received a police exemption to attend the Riverland General Hospital at Yamba Point to treat a fractured ankle, but the group never arrived.

Forster was spotted the following day having a beer at the Mawsons Lake Hotel.

The court was also told Forster failed to answer bail on March 13 in Victoria after two bail breaches stemming from 2018.
WA Police fitted Forster with an electronic ankle bracket after it was revealed he had breached quarantine laws in South Australia on July 20

'After careful consideration of the circumstances of the breaches and the man's history, the State Emergency Co-ordinator formed a view that it was necessary to monitor his location during the quarantine period,' Police told the court, the West Australian reported.

Forster, who was the second person in Western Australia ordered to wear an ankle bracelet while under hotel quarantine, did not enter a plea at the hearing.

Magistrate Joanne Andretich said the allegations are 'very serious' and banned Forster from being 1km from an airport unless travelling to his work site in the Pilbara.

Magistrate Andretich also imposed several other bail conditions which included a $1000 personal undertaking and surety.

Police have since removed Forster's monitoring device upon the completion of his quarantine period.

The matter will continue in court on November 2. ... d=msedgdhp


Tens of thousands of businesses could collapse by mid next year as JobKeeper scheme ends, experts say
Tens of thousands of businesses could collapse by mid next year as changes to insolvency laws kick in and economic stimulus measures such as JobKeeper come to an end, insolvency experts say.

The insolvency industry has cautiously welcomed Treasurer Josh Frydenberg's biggest overhaul of bankruptcy law in decades, drawing from key elements of the United States' Chapter 11 laws.

But say they want to see the full details of the policy as that will likely determine how many businesses fall or survive.

Some insolvency experts believe the policy change could mean that "zombie" businesses, which have too much debt and poor management and have been ticking along due to emergency COVID-19 support measures, start to get identified.

Others fear the change could mean these zombie businesses keep trading, and there is not enough being done to tackle unqualified advisers who facilitate phoenixing and asset stripping.

Mr Frydenberg has not yet unveiled the full details of the proposal, but the premise is to allow business owners with liabilities of less than $1 million to stay in charge while they deal with their debts.

It helps the business avoid having to pay out hefty fees to administrators that deplete their assets and aims to give them more time to come up with a pathway out of debt.

Mr Frydenberg said an insolvent small business would have 20 days to come up with a restructuring plan, and creditors would have to vote on whether to accept it within 15 days after that.

For small businesses that cannot be revived, Mr Frydenberg said liquidation would be made quicker and easier, but has not announced the full details of how.

Insolvency spike expected once JobKeeper ends
Insolvency experts still fear a massive wave of business failures, which could be further exacerbated once the JobKeeper wage subsidies taper off and millions of employers and their workers lose access to the subsidy.

The Government plans to reduce JobKeeper from $1,500 to $1,200 per fortnight for full-time workers from the first week of October, with a further cut in January until the program ends in March.

Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe is among those who have warned of pending business failures.

"There will be insolvencies," Dr Lowe told a parliamentary committee last month.

"There will be bankruptcies. There will be some businesses that will not recover."

Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association chief executive John Winter said last year there were about 8,000 insolvencies, but he expects that number to leap.

He said there were 2.4 million small businesses in Australia and the ABS had previously suggested about 10 per cent (240,000) would shut.

But he said given COVID-19 stimulus measures such as JobKeeper were being slowly wound back, he thinks the number will be far less.

He estimated about 24,000 businesses could go under by mid next year.

"Some sectors in tourism and hospitality need to close because the market just isn't there anymore," Mr Winter said.

Under the Federal Government's proposed changes, creditors would still be able to take action to wind up a company.

"This is about helping businesses that are proactive and trying to survive — it's not about [saving] businesses that are dead in the water and are doing nothing," Mr Winter said.

But he conceded creditors such as suppliers and employees may not in practice accept businesses racking up more debt while the restructuring occurs.

Creditors may still take action against a business
Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell said the changes would help reduce the threat of creditors taking action against a small business.

"Crucially, these measures give otherwise viable small businesses more time to recover, preventing a wave of unnecessary insolvencies," Ms Carnell said.

But she noted ASIC data showing insolvencies are tracking at close to 50 per cent below 2019 levels.

"[This] goes to show the extent to which government stimulus and protection measures are keeping businesses on life support, including businesses that have not been viable for some time," she said.

EY Restructuring Leader Adam Nikitins said while the policy change was welcome — "in that the whole idea is to keep blood pumping into the business" — the market could still react poorly to businesses under stress.

"If there's no cash liquidity, the way the market reacts is that they stop supply or go on cash on delivery terms," Mr Nikitins said.

He said it was also common for the directors of small businesses to have guaranteed the company's debt personally, often by a mortgage on the director's home, leaving the directors personally exposed.

Given the restructuring process would run for 35 days, he said trade suppliers will almost certainly refuse to extend credit over this period and the business will need cash to operate over this period.

But he said the change would likely bring Zombie companies to light, and many of those poorly managed companies would fall over.

"Zombie companies are ones that should fall over — that should be closed or liquidated," he said.

"The triggers for intervention are coming back into place."

Mr Nikitins also agreed that there would be a rise in insolvencies but refrained from putting a number on it.

"We expect insolvencies to increase because of pent-up demand," he said, noting it would likely happen by mid next year.

Experts fear 'zombie' businesses get protected
Mr Frydenberg has said the reforms would cover about 76 per cent of businesses subject to insolvencies today, 98 per cent of whom who have less than 20 employees.

It would reduce the time they spend dealing with the insolvency process.

"And ultimately [it will] help more small businesses get to the other side of the crisis," Mr Frydenberg said.

But some insolvency practitioners worry that giving all small businesses facing financial hardship blanket protection is a bad idea.

Deloitte's national restructuring leader Sal Algeri said the only basis on which a business should be given the protection is if they have directly suffered because of COVID-19, not other factors such as poor management.

He said he wanted the right businesses to be able to access the regime, rather than all businesses irrespective of the circumstances.

"My question mark is, are we making sure that we are not allowing businesses that are poorly managed to continue," Mr Algeri asked.

Mr Algeri also predicted there would be an uptick in insolvencies by mid next year.

The chief economist at Creditor Watch, Harley Dale, said he was unsure Chapter 11-style bankruptcy laws were the best approach, and also feared this would mean zombie companies get protected.

"There are businesses out there that are not economically viable with or without government support," Mr Dale said.

"So why you would want to continue to support those businesses?"

He said it would be either later this year or in early 2021 when mass insolvencies numbers start to roll in, and the end of JobKeeper would heighten the number of businesses under stress.

Associate director at Pilot Partners and insolvency expert Cameron Woodcroft said there would "definitely be zombie companies out there now that should be in liquidation but aren't".

He said if businesses were severely cash starved, it would still be hard for them to devise a pathway out of debt.

"What funds will they be using to pay creditors if they are already cash strapped," Mr Woodcroft asked.

Call to shut down 'dodgy' advisers
The Federal Government is also seeking to address concerns that there would not be enough insolvency practitioners to deal with the number of businesses needing to restructure or liquidate.

It is proposing encouraging more professionals into the field, such as waiving registration fees for two years.

It has also said it will create a new class of insolvency practitioners who will only work with the simplified small business process.

Mr Winter said he wanted to see the detail of what was being proposed.

He said the Government needed to shut down the "exploding level of dodgy, unqualified advisers who facilitate phoenixing and asset stripping".

And he warned against the Government watering down qualifications for industry professionals.

"It would be of profound concern if the Government reduces the requirements on minimum education and competency," Mr Winter said.

"That would fly in the face of all that came out of the Hayne royal commission."

The proposed reforms will be put to Federal Parliament within weeks and the Government plans to have them passed so they take hold on January 1.

Opposition Treasury spokesman Andrew Leigh said the Government needed to do more to crack down on dodgy directors that were using current insolvency laws in order to "rip off workers, other businesses and taxpayers".

"This so-called phoenixing activity is costing the economy billions of dollars a year, and yet the Coalition has failed to act and put in place the sensible reforms we know would work," he told Sky News.

"Things like a director identification number, cascading trusts for large construction projects, would give a great deal of certainty that people aren't abusing insolvency laws in order to rip the money out of those firms and take it off to line their own pockets." ... d=msedgdhp

Australia to overhaul bankruptcy laws to help firms over COVID-19
Australia on Thursday unveiled its biggest shakeup in bankruptcy laws in nearly three decades, allowing small businesses to trade while insolvent and take more control over debt restructuring, in a bid to help firms through the coronavirus crisis.

The new rules will help manage an expected avalanche of insolvencies when wage subsidies introduced to help companies survive the virus-triggered recession start to wind down early next year.

Under the proposed rule changes, businesses with liabilities of less than A$1 million ($708,000) will be able to keep operating for 20 business days while they come up with a debt restructuring plan, rather than be placed in the hands of administrators.

The changes, effective from Jan. 1, 2021, aim to move the system "from a rigid, one-size-fits-all creditor in possession model to a more flexible debtor in possession model," Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in a statement.

The government would adopt some rules from the U.S.-style Chapter 11 bankruptcy process, he said, which gives struggling companies a window to restructure debt while being protected from the threat of legal action by creditors.

"It is welcome news that there will be a quick and cheap process for small business to either rehabilitate or be wound up," said Maria O'Brien, the Australian head of lawyer Baker McKenzie's restructuring and insolvency practice.

However, unlike the Chapter 11 process, Australia's new restructuring process will not be court-supervised, and she warned that the reforms, whose details have not been released, needed to ensure adequate oversight to avoid abuses.

Australia has largely escaped the high number of deaths from the coronavirus pandemic recorded in other developed nations, helped by strict lockdowns, but the curbs have taken a steep toll on the economy.

To lessen the impact, the government rolled out stimulus packages worth about A$314 billion, including wages subsidies, but it expects a wave of insolvencies when they expire. ... d=msedgdhp

Thousands apply for the same job as competition for work soars
Been there done that ( in the early 80s, and late 90s ) it destroys your selfworth to apply and hardly never even get an interview
Competition for work during the COVID-19 pandemic is seeing thousands of hopefuls apply for the same job.

One employment ad on Seek for a dishwasher in Sydney saw over 6,000 applicants, while a position for someone to hand out flyers on the street prompted almost 2,800 responses.

A Sydney woman who applied for the role doing street promotion spoke candidly about her struggles trying to find work during the coronavirus crisis.

Karen Perkins is currently receiving JobSeeker after her business was derailed by the pandemic and she's now applying for up to 30 positions a month.

But with so much many other also applying for the same job, she told Daily Mail Australia the process is becoming increasingly disheartening.

'I have a medical condition and have partial work capacity which restricts me from working full time. I'm also in my 50s,' Ms Perkins said.

'I was applying for a few office and administration jobs prior to COVID and there were about 100 to 200 applicants per job.

'But in the month of August it's was least 600 or higher for every job.'
<< she is in a hopeless situation, being over 50 means she'll very likely never get to anyone's shortlist , her best bet is try to convert by returning to university or tafe to reskill in an area where the age issue will not be so much of a deterrent to prospective employers , or to create her own job ( risky ) , or if she can satisfy the requirements , convert to the Disability Pension and study parttime .

For the past decade Ms Perkins had been running a successful business called Clear and Clutterfree as a professional organiser.

The interesting and unusual profession was made famous by the Japanese Tidying Up queen Marie Kondo in her smash hit Netflix show.

'I help people set up for success and bring a bit of organisation in their home or office,' Ms Perkins said.

She learned art of tidying up while working for the Salvation Army.
Ms Perkins would often be called out to collect items from homes which had been gathering dust in the corner.

She became so good at deciding what to keep and where to put it, others starting calling on her services professionally.

'The work tends to be very one-off and sporadic, but I was getting regular inquiries and clients', she said.

But since the onset of the coronavirus, her business has been decimated.

But despite the strain on the jobs market, official ABS unemployment figures recently improved, dropping from 7.5 per cent in July to 6.8 per cent in August.

Ms Perkings said in the past two weeks she has noticed the number of job applicants for each role have declined, but she's not convinced the situation is actually getting any better.

'I think people are just giving up because they're tired of seeing these high numbers,' she said.

'They think what's the point, the competition is too high.'
<< no , it's age discrimination pure and simple in 99% of cases . ... d=msedgdhp

Qantas underpaid workers by misusing the JobKeeper scheme, the Federal Court has ruled
* The Federal Court ruled against Qantas' interpretation of the JobKeeper wage subsidy program on Thursday.
* The arrangement the airline had been following paid workers less than they should have received, Justice Geoffrey Flick judged.
* While the decision could mean hundreds of workers are backpaid, the airline called the suggestion "misleading" and is considering appealing.

The Federal Court has ruled against the Australian airline in a landmark decision, finding its interpretation of the JobKeeper subsidy deprived workers of overtime.

Since the wage subsidy was introduced, Qantas had implemented the subsidy in such a way that overtime wasn't paid until the following fortnightly pay cycle. Such an arrangement, however, reduced the pay of airport staff, baggage handlers and cabin crew, and has been heavily criticised by the unions.

"This is an important win for Qantas workers who have had their pay raided by senior management in a disgraceful abuse of the JobKeeper scheme," the Transport Workers Union national secretary Michael Kaine said.

"These workers have endured systematic wage theft at the hands of an out of control management."

To understand the point contention, consider this example used in court. A baggage handler earns $1,500 in wages and $1,500 in overtime in one fortnight before being stood down in the next one.

Rather than receive $3,000 in the first fortnight and be paid $1,500 in the next, courtesy of JobKeeper, they would be paid $1,500 in both. In other words, Qantas came out $1,500 in front and the worker $1,500 behind.

While Qantas maintains this squared with a long-held enterprise agreement, Justice Geoffrey Flick ruled on Thursday that it was inconsistent with way JobKeeper was to be administered.

"The overtime... and the amount received by the employee during the second fortnight being the JobKeeper payment, cannot be 'set off' or otherwise called to account by Qantas to relieve it of its obligation to also pay the JobKeeper payment," Flick said.

While orders have not yet been finalised, Flick said that if the ruling meant that Qantas workers would have to backpay workers, "so be it".

Qantas told Business Insider Australia that the airline is "carefully considering" whether it will appeal the judgement, and that "it is misleading of unions to suggest employees should expect a sudden windfall".

"Qantas has based all of its decisions on JobKeeper on the legislation and guidance provided by the ATO and made sure all employees receive a 'safety net' payment of $1500 per fortnight. That 'safety net' assurance is a central part of the Government’s JobKeeper policy. Today’s judgement appears to cut across that principle," a company spokesperson said.

"The judgment will likely have adverse implications for all companies receiving JobKeeper, who are already reeling from the impacts of COVID."

While Flick noted the unions hadn't argued that Qantas' interpretation had been made with an ulterior motive, the TWU certainly hasn't shied away from the allegation outside the courtroom.

"[Workers] have worked overtime, public holidays and weekends and Qantas management has deliberately manipulated JobKeeper so they don’t have to pay workers a dollar more than the public subsidy," Kaine said.

"Qantas management has had the full support of taxpayers during this crisis, receiving $800 million in public funding. It has taken that money and abused our systems, ripping workers off and planning to outsource workers whose jobs the airline admits are needed."

It's simply the latest war of words between the unions and the airline, both of whom have been locked in a tense struggle over not only this pay dispute but also Qantas' plan to cut 2,500 ground staff jobs.

The TWU continues to call for CEO Alan Joyce's resignation and has requested the federal government force Qantas to return taxpayer money.

Qantas has repeatedly denied any deliberate wrongdoing and publicly explained how it has used taxpayer money. ... d=msedgdhp

JobSeeker benefits to be slashed by $300 as new assets test debuts
Australia's 1.45million JobSeeker recipients are having their unemployment benefits slashed by $300 from tomorrow as a new assets test begins.

The coronavirus supplement is being diluted from $550 a fortnight to $250 from September 25.

This will see JobSeeker payments fall from $1,115.70 to $815.70, following a temporary doubling of unemployment benefits for six months.

Those who go on the dole from Friday will also face a new liquid assets test waiting period if they have more than $5,500 in the bank.


The revived rules will affect Australia's 1.45million people on JobSeeker, who are either jobless or are receiving sickness or bereavement benefits.

Another 234,690 Youth Allowance recipients, students and apprentices also facing longer waiting periods for welfare.

reasurer Josh Frydenberg hinted JobSeeker could be permanently raised from its base rate of $565.70 a fortnight in the October 6 budget.

The coronavirus supplement to the dole ends on December 31.

'We will reassess the situation closer to the end of the year,' Mr Frydenberg said.

Mr Frydenberg, the Liberal Party's deputy leader, said his boss Prime Minister Scott Morrison was in favour of providing welfare to those in need with Australia now in recession for the first time in 29 years.

'The Prime Minister has signalled very clearly we are leaning in to providing additional support for those who need it into next year,' the treasurer said.

Labor's social services spokeswoman Linda Burney said an economic downturn was the wrong time to cut JobSeeker payments.

'Now that money is going to be reduced dramatically at the end of this week,' she said.

'It will mean people will go without food. It will mean people will not be able to look after their children and get them to school as they'd like to.

New assets test to get JobSeeker benefits
Singles with no dependent children and less than $5,500 in the bank won't have to wait for the dole

The waiting period is one week for bank balances of $5,500 to $5,999

That increase to a fortnight for $6,000 to $6,499 in the bank

The waiting period is increased by one week - up to 13 weeks - for every $500 increment in the bank

Criteria for couples and parents also applies to get JobSeeker or Youth Allowance

The liquid assets test was suspended in March during the start of the COVID-19 shutdowns but is being revived on September 25

'And quite often, the decision is between medication and eating.'

Under the new liquid assets test, a waiting period of between one and 13 weeks is being reintroduced.

Single, unemployed Australians with less than $5,500 and no children won't have to wait for welfare if they lose their job.

Those with more than that amount in the bank will have to wait for a week.

If they have more than $6,000 in the bank, the waiting period is a fortnight.

This waiting period is lengthened by a week, up to 13 weeks, for every $500 increment of savings in the bank.

That means Australians with $11,500 or more in the bank would have to wait until Christmas to receive the dole.

The federal government had suspended the liquid assets test in March, during the early stages of the COVID-19 shutdowns of non-essential businesses.

From September 28, JobKeeper wage subsidies are also being scaled back from a flat rate of $1,500 a fortnight to $1,200 for those working 20 hours or more.

This will see two million workers lose out as JobKeeper 2.0 covers 1.4million employees instead of 3.5million.

During the three months to August, 421,800 jobs were created, although much of that was a rise in the number of jobless people declaring themselves to be self-employed.

Jobs rose in 17 of the 19 sectors listed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday.

Employment fell, however, in the electricity, gas, water and waste services category (down 14,200) and construction (down 11,200).

CommSec senior economist Ryan Felsman said the coronavirus lockdowns were disproportionately affecting women and those in insecure jobs.

'The downturn has taken a huge toll on younger and older Aussies, females, casual and part-time workers, in particular,' he said. ... d=msedgdhp

Australians stranded overseas willing to wear ankle bracelets while quarantining to return home
An Australian who is stranded overseas says most people in his situation would be prepared to wear an ankle bracelet while quarantining at home if that was what it took for authorities to lift international flight caps.

A Senate committee on Covid-19 will hear directly from Australians stuck overseas on Thursday. They want politicians to consider options other than hotel quarantine to repatriate more than 27,000 citizens unable to return home.

Pieter den Heten, a 44-year-old Dutch Australian user experience designer, has been stuck in Amsterdam for more than six months after his return flight was cancelled. He’s separated from his partner, Fran, who is living in their Sydney home.

Spurred on by stories of other stranded Australians, den Heten started, a website that shows the locations of Australians stuck around the world. So far, more than 2,600 people across 40 countries have registered.

Den Heten plans to tell the committee on Thursday that more needs to be done beyond national cabinet’s decision last week to increase the weekly national arrival cap from 4,000 to 6,000.

After reading the stories submitted to his site, he believes most stranded Australians would tolerate alternative quarantine methods. He said it was tough to hear governments argue quarantine was at capacity when many hotels were almost empty and the system coped with higher numbers earlier in the pandemic.

“When they announced these caps they didn’t anticipate or clearly think through what they would lead to,” den Heten told Guardian Australia ahead of Thursday’s hearing.

“From a government, that shows incompetence and a lack of insight. When you test positive in Australia, the government lets you quarantine at home, and authorities check up on you that you haven’t left. But when you’re a citizen and you arrive home, even from a safe country and if you test negative, you have to quarantine in a hotel.”

Related: 'Shattered, heartbroken, financially ruined': stranded Australians plead for help

Den Heten thinks most stranded Australians would be prepared to wear an ankle bracelet in their home if it gave authorities the confidence to allow returned travellers to quarantine without going to a hotel.

“We have asked for a very clear explanation as to why there are no alternatives to [hotel] quarantine – it’s not rocket science,” he said.

The Senate committee on Thursday will also hear evidence from the Australian Border Force commissioner, Michael Outram, the Department of Home Affairs secretary, Michael Pezzullo, and foreign affairs and transport department officials.

Since arrival caps were introduced in July to ease pressure on hotel quarantine, flights have been landing in Australia with fewer than 30 passengers, and as few as four economy passengers. Frustrated airlines have acknowledged they are cancelling economy, and increasingly business class tickets, so they can prioritise more expensive passengers to remain profitable.

Deanne Vowels, who has been stuck with her husband and five children in London since their April flight back to Sydney was cancelled, is also set to speak before the committee on Thursday.

In August, Guardian Australia revealed how the family had been forced to live in a trailer in a relative’s backyard, after exhausting their savings while waiting for a flight home, with several subsequent flights they were booked on also being cancelled.

Stranded Australians have reportedly being told by embassy officials to start crowdfunding campaigns to pay for their living costs or upgraded flights home.

Related: Raised flight caps welcome but much more needed to help stranded Australians, airlines warn

Nicola Britton, a GoFundMe Australia senior regional manager, told the Guardian more than 130 campaigns have been set up to help Australians return home, generating in excess of $300,000.

“It tends to be the place that people turn to in their time in need and when traditional support sources have fallen out, and when campaigns start up it’s a warning sign of certain societal issues,” she said.

In the past six weeks, there has been a “new wave” of campaigns start “particularly around helping people afford business class flights home”.

“The trends are very tied to government announcements on borders. While I’m really glad our platform exists to offer the support, we would prefer these people not be in these situations,” Britton said.

Earlier this month, the Australian high commission in London began deploying teams of Australian diplomats to Heathrow airport to help stranded Australians who have been forced to camp at the airport. Citizenship law experts have also raised concerns the arrival caps are unconstitutional.The caps last until 24 October ... d=msedgdhp

ADF to withdraw troops from Queensland border
Amid an ongoing feud about the tough restrictions on the Queensland border, the Australian Defence Force will be removing its personnel from the state’s border in order to prepare for storm season.
The Courier Mail has reported the Queensland Police could be left with inadequate numbers to man the border checkpoints after the ADF withdraws its troops.

Adoni Media Managing Director Leisa Goddard commented, “today we’ve seen her (Annastacia Palaszczuk) announce that border bubble grow, let’s see how long it takes her to open that border.” ... d=msedgdhp

Fraudsters are pretending to be COVID-19 contact tracers in new scam
Con artists are pretending to be government COVID-19 tracers in an elaborate new text message scam.

Fake SMS messages warn innocent Australians that a possible coronavirus case has been detected in their neighbourhood.

The alert then asks victims to click on a link on a map to find out 'the most dangerous places to avoid tomorrow'.

Scamwatch, which is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, posted the message on Twitter with warning to all recipients.

'Beware of the latest COVID-19 themed government impersonation scam,' Scamwatch wrote.

How to protect yourself against scams:
Don’t click on hyperlinks in text/social media messages or emails, even if it appears to come from a trusted source.

Go directly to the website through your browser. For example, to reach the MyGov website type ‘’ into your browser yourself.

Never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for personal or financial details, even if they claim to be a from a reputable organisation or government authority - just press delete or hang up.

Source: Scamwatch

'If you receive this text, don't click the link, just delete it.'

The watchdog also urged people who are unsure whether a message is legitimate to to contact the relevant agency.

According to scamwatch, fraudsters have collected more than $3.3million from Australians who have fallen victim to scams since the outbreak of COVID-19.

'Scammers are hoping that you have let your guard down,' Scamwatch said on its website.

'Do not provide your personal, banking or superannuation details to strangers who have approached you.'

A new tax office scam was also found on Wednesday to be targeting people in the form of a phone voicemail message or SMS.

The ploy urges people to hand over their credit card details - threatening taxpayers with arrest if they don't comply.

'Attention: this call is from the legal department of Services Australia,' the message says.

'Your Tax File Identification Number has been suspended and we have filed a case under your name.

'So, before this matter goes to Federal Court and you could get arrested kindly press 1. I repeat press 1 to know about your legal case.'

A spokesperson from the Australian Tax Office said the body is concerned about the increasing number of people paying fake tax debt scammers.
'Scammers pretending to be from the ATO are contacting members of the community, telling them that they have a tax debt and that if they don't pay it straight away they will be arrested,' they said.

'These scammers will often request payment through unusual methods, such as cryptocurrency, pre-paid credit cards or gift cards, and will try to keep people on the line until they have paid.'

They urged anyone who received a phone call, text message or voicemail demanding money not to send a payment or provide personal information.

'We will never threaten you with immediate arrest or demand payment through unusual means.' ... d=msedgdhp

Arrests over 'extremely sophisticated' bulk SMS scam that targeted thousands
Police have arrested two men over an alleged large-scale SMS fraud operation targeting the identities and bank accounts of tens of thousands of Australians.

The two men are accused of using advanced technology to send out bulk text messages purporting to be from banks and telcos, attempting to trick the recipients into handing over sensitive financial and personal information.

In a joint operation, Australian Federal Police and NSW Police cybercrime teams raided locations in Macquarie Park and Burwood on Tuesday, seizing hundreds of SIM cards, phones, computer hardware and nine "SIM boxes" - valuable devices that can send out messages to tens of thousands of people in one go.

Investigators also seized fake identification documents, $50,000 found in a safe and some methamphetamine.

A text-based phishing scam like that alleged by police is called "smishing". At least 45 people from one bank are said to have been affected by the operation, including one person who had $30,000 stolen from their account. One telco identified 49,000 messages that were sent on its network in one week.

A 50-year old man was charged with a range of offences, including eight counts of false or misleading information. The man was denied bail and will next appear in court in November. The other man, a 36-year-old, will be hit with similar charges at a later date.

Federal Police cybercrime operations commander Chris Goldsmid said the technology used by the alleged offenders was extremely sophisticated.

"The success of Operation Genmaicha has prevented further Australians from seeing their hard-earned savings siphoned off to criminal entities," Commander Goldsmid said.

NSW Police cybercrime squad commander Matthew Craft said people should never hand over confidential personal information to people they didn't know, and legitimate businesses would not ask them to.

"The ability of offenders to adapt technology for all the wrong reasons is a growing issue; however, police are equally up to the task of detecting and investigating these criminal syndicates," Detective Superintendent Craft said.

"This technology, while not frequently encountered by law enforcement, was on this occasion successfully deployed against victims as part of this SMS phishing scam." ... d=msedgdhp

Immigration minister's conduct 'criminal'
A coalition minister has been accused of "criminal conduct" by a Federal Court judge for denying an Afghan asylum seeker his freedom because he disagreed with a tribunal that ordered his release.

The Federal Court decision handed on Wednesday condemned acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge's conduct as "disgraceful" and claimed it potentially exposed him to civil and criminal sanctions including contempt of court.

Justice Geoffrey Flick described the minister's behaviour as "not unprecedented" and warned Mr Tudge he was placing himself above the law.

The 34-year-old asylum seeker at the heart of the conflict, referred to as PDWL, applied for a protection visa in 2016.

More than three years later in December 2019 a delegate for the minister denied the visa on the grounds PDWL failed the character test after being convicted in March 2018 of a criminal offence.

On March 11 this year the Administrative Appeals Tribunal reversed the decision, on the basis that PDWL was not a risk to the Australian community.

The minister immediately appealed the decision and refused to release the refugee from the Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Centre in Western Australia - despite the tribunal decision. But he was released five days later following an earlier Federal Court ruling.

In his judgment, Justice Flick found the minister was not entitled to keep PDWL in detention merely because he had filed an appeal and no "real explanation" had been provided.

"He has intentionally and without lawful authority been responsible for depriving a person of his liberty," Justice Flick said.

"The Minister cannot place himself above the law. The Minister has acted unlawfully.

"His actions have unlawfully deprived a person of his liberty. His conduct exposes him to both civil and potentially criminal sanctions, not limited to a proceeding for contempt.

"In the absence of explanation, the Minister has engaged in conduct which can only be described as criminal."

Mr Tudge has been contacted for comment. ... d=msedgdhp

Fear of contacting GPs during Covid outbreak 'fuelling missed diagnoses'
Concerns around contacting GPs during the coronavirus outbreak could be fuelling a rise in missed or delayed diagnoses, researchers have said.

A growing body of research has suggested that patients have avoided seeking medical attention because of the pandemic. Figures have revealed a large increase in the numbers of people dying at home, while visits to A&E have been markedly reduced.
Meanwhile results from a poll by NHS England, released in April, revealed that 40% of people said they were avoiding contacting their GP because of concerns about burdening the NHS.

Now researchers say an analysis of GP records has revealed diagnoses of conditions from cardiovascular problems to mental health problems were up to 50% lower over the spring than expected.

While the study only covers Salford, the team say a similar situation could be occurring elsewhere, particularly in other areas of high deprivation.

“It is not unreasonable to assume this is also happening across the country,” said Richard Williams, first author of the research from the National Institute for Health Research Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre.

Writing in the Lancet, Williams and colleagues report how they analysed records from January 2010 onwards for more than 240,000 people in Salford to predict the diagnoses of common conditions expected between 1 March to 31 May. They then compared these predictions with the actual number of diagnoses recorded during this period.

The results reveal that while 2,147 diagnoses were expected for common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, just 1,073 diagnoses were recorded.

Reductions were also seen in diagnoses of circulatory system diseases – such as coronary heart disease and stroke – and type 2 diabetes, with cases of the latter about half those expected.

While the pandemic has triggered a major shift to predominantly remote appointments, the team say it is unlikely their findings are down to GPs having problems diagnosing patients by phone or video, or forgetting to record diagnoses, noting they also found a reduction in prescriptions of medications relating to these conditions, despite prescriptions being possible without a formal diagnosis.

Instead, the team say the reduction is probably down to patients avoiding seeking medical care.

“There are going to be people, especially in the early days [of the pandemic], who were just afraid, and not going to a healthcare setting for fear of catching coronavirus,” said Williams.

And while remote appointments have been welcomed by some, Williams added that for others it might have brought new challenges in accessing GP care – particularly in areas of high deprivation. .

While the team saw no clear signs of a reduction in cancer diagnoses during the spring, they say it is likely due to such patients being referred to specialists, who then make the diagnosis, meaning that there is a lag before a diagnosis is recorded in GP records.

The team warn there could be a surge in demand for healthcare, with delayed diagnoses meaning some patients could have severe illnesses by the time they approach the NHS.

Williams said it was important that it is made “crystal clear” that healthcare services are safe and that patients should engage with them as usual, despite local or nationwide coronavirus measures.

“If you have got patients who are undiagnosed and untreated, then the effect on their long-term health and mortality is obviously going to be significant,” he said.

Prof Martin Marshall, the chair of the Royal College of GPs, said the findings chime with data from the Royal College that showed a drop in demand for routine GP consultations at the height of lockdown.

However, he said demand for such appointments was back to near-normal levels, adding while many consultations are conducted remotely, face-to-face appointments are available.

“During a pandemic, other health conditions do not cease to exist, and we’ve seen from health crises in the past that there are sometimes more deaths from conditions unrelated to the pandemic than the virus causing the pandemic itself,” said Marshall.

“As GPs and our teams approach a likely second wave of Covid-19, we do not want to see this happen and we urge patients who have concerns about their health to seek medical assistance, particularly if they have signs that could indicate serious conditions, such as cancer.” ... d=msedgdhp
Last edited by kingofnobbys on Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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: 12573
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:25 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: 12573
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Fri Sep 25, 2020 7:27 am


Victoria records 14 new coronavirus cases, eight more deaths
Victoria has recorded 14 new cases of coronavirus overnight with another eight people losing their lives.

The 14-day rolling average is now 25.1.


Yesterday, the state recorded 12 new cases and another two deaths. ... wsrc%5Etfw

Victoria's death toll from the virus now stands at 778.

With the rolling average now at 25.1, Melbourne is on track to moving to eased restrictions at the end of the month.The Victorian Government said metropolitan Melbourne would move to the Second Step in their "Roadmap to reopening" when the daily average case rate was between 30-50 cases over the previous 14 days.

Now the average is 25.1, an announcement on restrictions is expected on September 28.

Regional Victoria moved to the Second Step on September 13, then the Third Step three days later.For Melbourne to move to the Third Step in the roadmap, the daily average number of cases will need to be less than five state-wide over the previous 14 days, with less than five cases with an unknown source in the last 14 days.

Regardless of when Melbourne numbers reach five or below, restrictions won't change before October 26 according to health officials.

It comes as Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews will front the state's hotel quarantine inquiry today, where he'll be grilled about the use of private security guards.

The inquiry has so far heard that 99 per cent of the more than 18,000 COVID-19 cases since May can be traced back to outbreaks at the Rydges on Swanston and the Stamford Plaza in Melbourne, housing returned travellers.

Many of those initial cases were among security guards stationed at the hotels, who then took the virus home and spread it throughout the community. ... d=msedgdhp

Victoria records 14 new COVID-19 cases as easing of restrictions nears
Victoria has recorded 14 new COVID-19 cases and eight deaths in the past 24 hours, as the state moves closer to the easing of restrictions.

The number of cases originating from an unknown source are down from Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Services said on Friday morning.

Despite the drop in cases Melbourne will not take 'massive steps' out of its lingering lockdown as Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews moved to temper expectations ahead of a much-anticipated announcement on Sunday.
On Thursday, the state reported 2 new cases have been diagnosed since yesterday, with the total number of COVID-19 cases in Victoria now at 20,105.

Of the known cases 67 are being treated in hospital while eight are in intensive care being treated with ventilators.

The city's crucial 14-day COVID-19 case average plummeted to 26.7 on Thursday, below the 30-50 threshold needed to trigger to the next stage of normalisation.

Despite a day earlier indicating some restrictions could be eased quicker than planned, Mr Andrews was talking down the prospect of major changes to Melbourne's lockdown.

'Sunday will not be a day of massive steps,' he told reporters on Thursday.

'The roadmap does not speak to that. It is not a day when we essentially throw the doors open.'

Under the metropolitan Melbourne roadmap announced on September 6, proposed changes include a staged return to school for some students and an allowance for pubic gatherings of five people from two households.

Victoria recorded just 12 new cases on Thursday, dropping the city's rolling average by 2.7.

Mr Andrews said the figures were still 'too much' to skip to 'step three' a month early.

He expects the state government and health authorities to settle on the new rules on Saturday night before publicly confirming the package.

It came as Mr Andrews stands by beleaguered Health Minister Jenny Mikakos after the Health Workers Union called for her dismissal.

Ms Mikakos appeared before the inquiry into Victoria's botched hotel quarantine scheme on Thursday, with the premier scheduled to be grilled on Friday.

Meanwhile, the state government suffered a blow in the Supreme Court on Thursday.

A judge ordered legal advice justifying the state's 9pm-5pm curfew must be handed over to the lawyers for Mornington Peninsula cafe owner Michelle Loielo, who is challenging the validity of the controversial measure.

The curfew is due to remain in place until October 26, with Mr Andrews refusing to be drawn on whether there would be any changes announced on Sunday.

Two further fatalities reported on Thursday took the state's coronavirus death toll to 773 and the national figure to 861. ... d=msedgdhp

Virus cases falling in Australia's hotspot state, restrictions may ease further
Victoria looks set to lift some tough lockdown restrictions in coming days, after reporting only 14 new cases and eight deaths in the last 24 hours on Friday, further reducing the rate of infections.

The two-week average of new infections in the city of Melbourne has dropped below 26, well below the 30-50 level which the state has set as a precondition to ease curbs.

"We are well and truly within the band in order to take those next steps," said Victoria's Premier Daniel Andrews, without providing detail on what those next steps would be.

Andrews has said he will announce further easing of restrictions on Sunday.

Australia's strict lockdown measures, social distancing rules and high levels of contract tracing have resulted in the country avoiding a major second wave of coronavirus, unlike much of Europe and the United Kingdom.

The country has logged just 869 coronavirus deaths and nearly 27,000 cases, of which only around 650 remain active.

While the Victorian capital Melbourne remains in lockdown, other states and territories have either no cases or very few local transmissions, resulting in state borders reopening.

Borders reopened between Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory on Friday, after months without any infections in the national capital Canberra, while Queensland has not had any fresh cases for four days.

Borders between Australia's most populous state of New South Wales, and the state of South Australia reopened earlier this week.

Western Australia, which has had zero or low single digit daily virus infections for months, has said it will keep its borders closed until eastern states get coronavirus under control. ... d=msedgdhp

Victoria drops below 500 active coronavirus cases
Premier Daniel Andrews has announced Victoria is below 500 active cases of coronavirus for the first time in a “considerable period of time”.
he state recorded 14 new COVID-19 cases and eight new deaths overnight.

Of the 14 new cases, nine are linked to known outbreaks and five are currently under investigation.

There are 482 active cases across the state.

Of the eight deaths recorded, seven are from aged care settings.

Victoria has a total of 781 deaths. ... d=msedgdhp

Daniel Andrews faces the security guard question
As the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, steps up to give evidence to the hotel quarantine inquiry he established to determine the cause of Victoria’s second wave of coronavirus, one question that has vexed the inquiry remains unanswered: who made the decision to use private security guards?

The inquiry has heard (IT IS CLAIMED) MORE THE 90% of the more than 18,000 cases of Covid-19 and 750 deaths in Victoria since the end of May can be traced back to outbreaks transmitted from returned travellers to staff at two quarantine hotels – the Stamford Plaza and the Rydges on Swanston. Those outbreaks could have been foreseen if the program had been set up with a greater focus on health, the inquiry heard last week.
Many of the initial cases out of the Rydges and Stamford Plaza were security guards working in the hotels. At least one security guard continued to turn up to work with symptoms, and worked as a delivery driver in addition to his security guard shifts.

Related: Victoria's health minister pleads ignorance over decision to use private security for hotel quarantine

The health minister, Jenny Mikakos, told the inquiry on Thursday the use of security guards was “high risk” and they and other hotel workers infected with Covid-19 spread it to their households and other social contacts in the community, which ultimately led to the second wave of Covid-19 cases, not seen in any other part of Australia.

As council assisting the inquiry, Rachel Ellyard, said last week, one of the most “vexed” questions facing the inquiry is who made the decision to recruit private security firms for the hotels.

Of the $130m the Victorian government has spent on the program, $60m was spent on private security and yet none of the ministers, senior public servants, commissioners, or anyone involved in the program who has appeared before the inquiry, has been able to say who made the decision.

The hotel quarantine program was announced following a national cabinet meeting on the early afternoon of 27 March. Between then and a 4.30pm meeting of the state control centre, chaired by the emergency management commissioner, Andrew Crisp, a decision was made to use private security, over Victoria Police or Australian Defence Force personnel, to guard returned travellers.

After that, the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions was tasked with getting the contracts signed before travellers began arriving in Australia 48 hours later.

Text messages, emails and meeting notes and transcripts released to the inquiry over the past few weeks have shown a reluctance from the Victoria Police’s then commissioner, Graham Ashton, for Victoria Police to have taken the role.

In the notes taken Crisp showed an awareness of the availability of ADF support, but recordings showed Crisp saying in March that Victoria could “manage this” and there was no need for “boots on the ground”.

Related: Victoria hotel quarantine inquiry: police minister 'doesn't know' who decided on private security

Ashton’s own text messages revealed just before the prime minister’s announcement, he believed a deal had been done with the Department of Premier and Cabinet for private security to be used. He couldn’t recall when giving evidence how he knew that, and the DPC secretary, Chris Eccles, was not aware of any deal being made.

Ashton has also denied that stating a preference for private security guards in hotels over Victoria Police was taken as a recommendation for the decision.

“I wasn’t the person who took that decision but I supported that decision because to me it seemed like a sensible decision at the time,” he said.

For Andrews, much of the focus when he appears at 2.15pm will be on the press conference he held in the afternoon after the prime minister’s announcement on 27 March, in which Andrews referenced the use of private security.

In that press conference Andrews said of hotel quarantine:

Police, private security, all of our health team will be able to monitor compliance in a much easier way, in a static location, one hotel or a series of hotels, as the case may be … That’ll mean, and this is the really important message, that will mean that more of those police that we have, those 500 police that are doing that work in terms of coronavirus enforcement, they’ll be able to get to even more homes where people are supposed to be quarantining.

Eccles, the head of Andrews’ department, said he was unaware who might have briefed Andrews about the use of private security.

Andrews will also likely face questions on the structure of the program, code named Operation Soteria, and whether it had an appropriate governance model, with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) being the agency with oversight of the program, but with DJPR responsible for contracts.

The inquiry has heard Mikakos and the chief health officer, Brett Sutton, were both unaware private security was being used in the program until the outbreaks. Mikakos told the inquiry that in June she determined there were “too many cooks” in the program and control needed to be given to a single government agency.

Andrews is the last witness to front the hotel quarantine inquiry. Closing submissions will be heard on Monday. The chair of the inquiry, Jennifer Coate, will report to government on Friday 6 November. ... d=msedgdhp

Daniel Andrews tells inquiry Jenny Mikakos had/has ( ministerial ) responsible for Victoria hotel quarantine program
n his long-awaited appearance at the hotel quarantine inquiry, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said he regarded his health minister, Jenny Mikakos, as “accountable for the program”.

The premier’s written statement provided to the inquiry on Friday said Mikakos and jobs minister Martin Pakula were responsible for informing cabinet about the program, and the pair provided a submission on the model for the program to the crisis council of cabinet on 8 April.

“The CCC [crisis council of cabinet] was provided with regular reports by Minister Mikakos containing data relevant to Victoria’s response to the public health emergency, key insights from the data, as well as other updates, including in relation to the program,” the submission read.he premier stopped short of saying who was behind the decision to use private security guards, but the claim potentially puts Andrews at odds with health minister Jenny Mikakos.

The health minister’s statements to the inquiry on Thursday said she was not aware security guards were used in the program until the outbreak at the Rydges Hotel in late May.

Mikakos released a statement to the inquiry after Andrews’ submission was released denying she had misled the inquiry.

The premier told the inquiry it was “very disappointing” that the decision on private security guards was supposedly made by a “collective” of officials, with no one taking responsibility.

Counsel assisting the inquiry, Rachel Ellyard, put it to the premier that the decision appeared to be made by a “creeping assumption” that private security would be used instead of police or the Australian Defence Force. Andrews said that would be even more concerning to him.

“That is not a decision at all, that is just a series of assumptions,” he said.

“We are left with a situation where no one owns the decision for the purposes of following up, if it was the right one, and if it wasn’t the right one, making necessary changes.”

Throughout the past few weeks, the inquiry has heard of poor communication between agencies responsible for the program, poor cleaning and infection control at the hotels, and the reliance on insecure workers.

The latter is particularly crucial as security guards, hired on a casual basis, worked at the hotels and at other casual jobs while symptomatic.

Related: Victoria may be able to pursue security company for cost of hotel quarantine failures

Witness after witness involved in the development of the program – from emergency management commissioner Andrew Crisp, to then-Victoria police commissioner Graham Ashton, to the members of the state control centre, and staff at the department responsible for signing the contracts – denied being responsible for making the decision to use private security guards.

Andrews’ ministers, Jenny Mikakos, Martin Pakula or Lisa Neville, also pleaded ignorance over the decision.

Chief health officer Brett Sutton, who was sidelined from having a state controller position to better oversee the Covid-19 response, also claimed to have no knowledge over the use of private security guards until the outbreak in late May.

The Victorian government has spent $130m on the program, including $60m on private security. That does not include the cost of the inquiry, or the cost for legal representatives for the departments and ministers.

On the matter of the offer of ADF support, Andrews told the inquiry he was unaware of the offers in late March and early April, despite evidence shown that senior public servants were aware.

He said the offer was not what he understood at national cabinet.

“I had absolutely no expectation whatsoever that in the establishment and the running of hotel quarantine there would be significant extensive ADF support,” he said.

“I had no expectation at all that we would receive that type of support.”

Andrews said he had not seen an email containing the offer from the head of the department of prime minister and cabinet, Phil Gaetjens, to department of premier and cabinet secretary Chris Eccles until it was released to the inquiry.

Highlighting the disconnect in internal communications, the premier said he only became aware his government had requested ADF support in late June “after there had been media reports”.

Once he became aware, the day after the request, he cancelled the request because the hotel quarantine program was being “reset”.

“It seemed that there had been a disconnect between a process that was being run by the executive with input from departments and requests commissioner Crisp had put in.”

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

Nearly all of the 18,000 cases and 750 deaths in Victoria since the end of May can be traced back to Covid-19 outbreaks transmitted from returned travellers to staff at two quarantine hotels – the Stamford Plaza and the Rydges on Swanston. Those outbreaks could have been foreseen if the program had been set up with a greater focus on health, the inquiry heard last week.

Andrews told the inquiry he would wait for the findings before deciding on the final model for hotel quarantine, and at the end of his evidence he offered an unreserved apology for the failures of the program:

“I want to make it very clear to each and every member of the Victorian community that I am sorry for what has occurred here. And I want to issue an unreserved apology to all Victorians and I want to say [to] you, Madam Chair, I await the final report, the conclusion of your work, so we can understand better what has occurred, and so that I, as leader of the government, can take the appropriate action to ensure that these sorts of errors never occur again.”

The outcome of the inquiry could have major ramifications for both the government and the security firms. A class action was filed this week against two of the security companies involved with the hotels associated with the outbreak, Unified and MSS.

Closing submissions for the inquiry will be heard on Monday, and the chair of the inquiry, Jennifer Coate, will report to government on Friday, 6 November. ... d=msedgdhp

Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos may have misled COVID-19 hotel quarantine inquiry about use of guards
Victoria's Health Minister Jenny Mikakos appears to have misled the inquiry into the botched hotel quarantine program after claiming the first she learnt of the involvement of private security guards was in May.

But more than a month earlier, on March 29, Ms Mikakos stood alongside Jobs Minister Martin Pakula at a press conference when he confirmed that private security would be patrolling hotels housing returned travellers.

"All of those passengers returning will now undergo mandatory two-week quarantine at those Melbourne hotels with security guards in place," Mr Pakula said at the press conference.

Ms Mikakos was asked by the inquiry on Thursday: "When were you first aware of a decision to engage private security contractors as part of the HQP [hotel quarantine program]?"

"I believe I first became aware of the use of private security guards contracted by DJPR [Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions] in the HQP after the Rydges [hotel] outbreak occurred in late May 2020,'' her written response said.

Her evidence has left some Labor MPs furious, who say they were briefed in April about the use of private security guards.

A briefing note to caucus from the Premier's Office on April 8 states: "People returning to Australia will be fed and transported at no cost to them, while police, private security and health authorities will be able to more efficiently monitor their compliance with quarantine requirements."

Mikakos stands by her evidence
At the inquiry on Friday, Georgina Schoff QC, appearing for Ms Mikakos, said the minister categorically denied the suggestion she misled the inquiry.

Ms Schoff said the issues about when Ms Mikakos may have learned about the use of private security guards were not put to her during cross-examination. She requested that Ms Mikakos be allowed to submit a brief supplementary statement to address the issue.

The statement was accepted into evidence.

In it, Ms Mikakos said she stood by her testimony.

"It is reported that at a media conference on 29 March 2020, Minister Pakula mentioned the use of security guards in the HQP (Hotel Quarantine Program), and further, that I may have received a briefing note sent to caucus by the Premier's office on or about 8 April 2020.

"Consistent with the evidence that I have given the Board, I do not recall becoming aware of (and had no reason to turn my mind to) the use of security guards in the HQP on these or any other occasions prior to the Rydges outbreak in late May 2020.

"As I gave my evidence the Board on 24 September 2020, this was not an issue that I specifically turned my mind to (nor did I have reason to do so) prior to the Rydges outbreak in late May 2020.

"In this regard, I note that there may have been other references to the use of security between the time of commencement of the HQP and late May 2020.

"However, as I gave evidence to the Board on 24 September 2020, this was not an issue that I specifically turned my mind to (nor did I have reason to do so) prior to the Rydges outbreak in late May 2020."

When asked about Ms Mikakos's inconsistencies, Premier Daniel Andrews said it was a matter for the inquiry's board.

"What people knew, when they knew it, what people did and the degree to which that was right, wrong or indifferent, that is a matter that the board is actively examining today and every day until they produce a report," he said.

"I cannot and I will not pretend to be the chair of the inquiry. That is not why it was set up."



Victoria rolls out support measures for VET, VCAL students
The Victorian government will roll out additional measures to support thousands of Year 12 students as they complete their final studies amid extra pressures placed on them by the coronavirus pandemic.

Deputy Premier James Merlino announced about 10,000 VCAL students will be assessed in a special consideration process which will look at where the pandemic prevented them from being able to complete some of their required units.

The assessment will specifically focus on how remote learning impacted the completion of practical units of study, as well as the impact of mental and physical health issues and long absences.

The academic year will also be extended by a month to December 18 for VET students, and will be receive guaranteed enrolment at a TAFE or dual sector provider in 2021 if the pandemic prevented them from completing their course.

Mr Merlin revealed the government allocated an additional $4.6 million in funding to provide continued support to students and families. ... d=msedgdhp

Shearing and wool handling classes prove popular in Victoria
Shearing and wool handling classes in Regional Victoria are attracting record numbers of students this season. That's partly because COVID-19 has stopped teams coming from interstate and New Zealand creating a national shortage. ... d=msedgdhp

Swim instructors call for indoor pools to reopen in regional Victoria after three-fold increase in drownings
Swim instructors are calling for indoor pools to be allowed to reopen early in regional Victoria following a spike in drowning deaths across the state since July.

Life Saving Victoria reported 12 drowning deaths, including five toddlers — a 300 per cent increase on the five-year average for the same period.

Ballarat's former Olympian and swim school operator Shayne Reese said she feared this trend would continue if indoor pools remained closed until the scheduled date of November 23, given kids have already missed six months of classes.

"They just haven't had that constant repetition, that message drilled into them, and that's the thing, they learn through repetition," she said.

"Our lesson plans are pretty much the same message every single week so when it comes time they know, 'Ok, if I fall in, I turn around and reach; if I can't take a breath, I look up to the roof'.

"It's little things that can save them or give them enough time for somebody to get to them."

Outdoor pools in regional Victoria were granted permission to open as part of the third step of the recovery roadmap.

While the City of Ballarat was unable to commit to opening outdoor pools earlier than November, a spokesperson confirmed maintenance workers have begun preparations.

Ballarat lake swimmer warns locals against following her lead
When pools first closed in March accomplished open-water swimmer and coach Ebony Ebenwaldner moved her training to Lake Wendouree.

She said she has been braving the icy water three to four times a week ever since.

"I bought neoprene socks, gloves and a hat and I just went swimming in the lake," Ms Ebenwaldner said.

"My husband would join me every now and again until it got too cold."

But she said it was not a safe or accessible option for most people, which is why she is pushing for indoor pools to reopen.

"For me it's something I love to do, whereas for others it's a necessity," she said.

"It's for their general health and probably prevention of drownings when you're talking about little ones."

Although national drowning deaths decreased by 8 per cent over the past year, the Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report revealed 31 drowning deaths in lakes and dams, a 35 per cent increase on the previous year and a 19 per cent increase on the 10-year average.

Even with years of experience Ms Ebenwaldner said she took precautions when swimming in open water, to mitigate the dangers associated with freezing temperatures, changing conditions and poor visibility.

Peak industry body says swim schools need a lifeline
Swim Australia CEO Brendon Ward said some swim schools would not survive without revenue or additional support before the end of the year.

"That's going to have a massive flow-on effect for years and years to come around the learning, growth and development of our kids and for potential drowning statistics," he said.

A Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson said the decision to keep all indoor pools closed was made because "the nature of the exercise carries a high risk of transmission due to sweat and heavy breathing, as well as shared equipment and facilities."

Mr Ward said swim schools provide essential services for a community to ensure their health and wellbeing into the future, and the peak industry body has gathered scientific evidence that indoor pools are a COVID-safe environment.

Ms Reese said her swim school would not make a profit until it had honoured all the credit customers accrued when pre-paid classes were cancelled.

She stressed that was not why she was advocating to reopen.

"It's just for the kids, so then they are back in that environment they've got that awareness," Ms Reese said.

"Life is more important than money. You can always get back money. You can't get back a life."

Life Saving Victoria was working with the Victorian Government and aquatic industry to provide recommendations on reopening pools in a safe and economically viable manner, and a spokesperson said "we do expect to see more clarity from government about the reopening of indoor pools soon". ... d=msedgdhp
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: 12573
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Fri Sep 25, 2020 7:58 am


NSW records four new cases of coronavirus, one not linked to known infection
NSW health authorities are investigating a mystery COVID-19 infection after confirming four new cases.

Three are returned travellers in hotel quarantine and the other infection, a man in his 50s from Sydney's south-west, has not yet been linked to any known cases or clusters.

His positive swab was flagged by NSW Health on Thursday, but was officially included in Friday's COVID-19 statistics.

He lives in supported accommodation with two other people but neither of them have tested positive.

Contacting tracing teams are still working to determine how the man contracted the virus.

Anyone who visited Woolworths at Campbelltown Mall on September 17 between 1.00pm and 2.00pm is a casual contact of the case and must monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if they develop.

The new infection breaks NSW's three-day streak of zero locally acquired cases.

A total of 13,686 tests were completed in the reporting period.

NSW Health's Jeremy McAnulty said testing rates are still not where they need to be and those in south-west Sydney need to be particularly alert to symptoms.

"Particularly in the Campbelltown area, if people don't come forward for testing we can't keep the pandemic at bay," Dr McAnulty said.

On Thursday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she didn't want testing rates to dip again over the weekend as they have for many weeks now.

"We don't want people to wait if they have symptoms, we want them to get tested immediately and not wait because that means if the virus is circulating we won't be able to get on top of it."

On Friday morning, the NSW Government announced a relaxation of rules around audience capacity at theatres, cinemas and concert halls across the state.

From next week, these venues will be able to function at 50 per cent capacity to a maximum of 1,000 tickets.

Function centres will also be able to welcome 300 patrons at a time.

Tourism Accommodation Australia NSW said the move to double conference sizes will be a huge boost for hotels, particularly in the CBD, who haven't been able to rent out their function spaces.

"This is especially good news in the lead up to Christmas and accommodation providers are hopeful many events previously on hold will now get the green light," CEO Michael Johnson. ... d=msedgdhp

Coronavirus found in sewage in Sydney suburbs Bondi and Malabar
Traces of Covid-19 have been detected in sewage in two of Sydney's most popular beachside suburbs.

The virus was detected in wastewater at Bondi and Malabar in the city's south-east for two consecutive weeks earlier this month on September 6 and 13.

The positive samples were detected despite no cases of COVID-19 from an unknown source or any new clusters reported across the state in the past seven days.

'These samples were taken from Bondi and Malabar and are expected given the presence of known COVID-19 cases in the sewerage catchment areas,' the latest NSW Health surveillance report released on Thursday said.

COVID-19 was detected in sewage at Bondi ocean treated sewerage ( deep water ) outlets ) for two consecutive weeks earlier in September. Pictured are Sydneysiders at Bondi's iconic beach on August 20

The samples were taken from an area serving a population of more than two million Sydneysiders, including the CBD and quarantine hotels.

A person with COVID-19 can shed the virus in their body waste even if they no longer test positive or have any symptoms.

The NSW Sewage Surveillance Program has tested untreated sewerage at 42 sites across the state since July to track infection rates and provide health authorities early warning of a possible spike in infections.

'To date, the sewage surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 is in the preliminary stages, and further analysis is required to assess the significance of the results,' the report states.

The virus was also detected in wastewater at Malabar (pictured) in Sydney's south-east

Virus fragments have also been detected in previous samples across the state including metropolitan Sydney, Perisher in the Snowy Mountains, Newcastle, Byron Bay on the far north coast and the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.

All positive samples except Perisher were in areas with known COVID-19 infections.

NSW recorded just one new case on Thursday, which was a returned traveller in hotel quarantine.

The state's death toll remains at 55.

Health authorities urge residents to tested and isolate as soon as symptoms develop, even if they are mild. ... d=msedgdhp

NSW Covid hotspots: list of Sydney and regional case locations
List of case locations 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.

Campbelltown Golf Club, Glen Alpine: 2pm to 4.30pm on Wednesday 16 September for a least one hour
Bannisters Pavilion Rooftop Bar & Grill, Mollymook: 12.30pm to 2.15pm on Sunday 13 September for a least one hour
Carlo’s Italian Ristorante Bar & Seafood, Ulladulla: 8pm to 9:30pm on Saturday 12 September
Milton Ulladulla Ex Servos Club, Ulladulla: 2pm to 6:15pm on Saturday 12 September
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.

Bankstown (suburb)
Blue Mountains
Cumberland local government area (LGA)
Fairfield LGA
Hunters Hill LGA
Liverpool LGA
Parramatta LGA
If you were at any of the following locations or travelled by taxi or rideshare during the time and date indicated, monitor yourself for symptoms and self-isolate and get tested if symptoms occur.

Wray St Oyster Shed, Batemans Bay: 12pm to 1pm on Saturday 12 September
Woolworths, Campbelltown Mall: 1.30pm to 2pm on Thursday 17 September
Anytime Fitness, Casula: 10.15am to 12pm on Friday 11 September
Five Stars Thaitanic, Casula: 4.20pm to 5.20pm on Saturday 12 September
Campbelltown Golf Club course, Glen Alpine: 9.30am to 2pm on Wednesday 16 September
Moorebank Sports Club, Hammondville: Evening of Monday 14 September
Lawson oval, Lawson: 10.30am to 12.45 pm on Sunday 13 September
Picnic Point Bowling Club, Panania: 3pm to 6pm on Friday 18 September
JB HIFI Penrith Plaza, Penrith: 4pm to 4.30pm on Sunday 13 September
Springwood Sports Club, Springwood: 1pm to 2pm on Saturday 12 September
Taxis and rideshare

Thursday 10 September – Silver Service taxi: Chipping Norton, Burwood, Casula, Liverpool

2:38pm from Liverpool to Graham Avenue Casula, arriving 2:44pm
7:15pm from Haddenham Street Chipping Norton to George Street Burwood, arriving 7:48pm
Monday 14 September – Silver Service taxi: Chipping North to Milperra

3:50pm from Riverside Road Chipping Norton to The Mill Hotel Milperra, arriving 4:04pm
Tuesday 15 September – Silver Service taxi: Chipping Norton, Lidcombe, Milperra

8:31am from Riverside Road Chipping Norton to Birnie Avenue Lidcombe, arriving 9:11am
10:14am from Milperra to Riverside Road Chipping Norton, arriving 10:25am
3:22pm from Birnie Avenue Lidcombe to Riverside Road Chipping Norton, arriving 4:07pm ... d=msedgdhp

Entertainment coronavirus restrictions eased, major change to one of Sydney's busiest roads
Entertainment restrictions eased
Theatres, cinemas, concert halls and corporate events across NSW will be permitted to double their capacity from next week.

The eased restrictions allow 50 per cent capacity but cap ticket sales at 1,000, with corporate events capped at 300 attendees.

Minister for the Arts Don Harwin said this was a major step forward to recovery for the performing arts sector.

"For workers across the full spectrum of the performing arts — from box office staff to ushers, from technicians and roadies to the artists — this change means more jobs," Mr Harwin said.

Changes to Anzac Bridge access
Drivers are being warned they will face lengthy detours if they miss a new turn-off onto one of Sydney's busiest roads.

New, earlier access lanes near White Bay Power Station on Victoria Road will replace the current lane leading to the Anzac Bridge.

The change will be in place for about two years while works to develop the Rozelle interchange continue.

Howard Collins from Transport for New South Wales said the work would ease traffic congestion in the area.

DV reports on the rise
A legal service provider for women who are victims of domestic violence is urgently calling for extra funding for the sector.

Women's Legal Services Australia has written to the Federal Government asking for an emergency funding increase of $25 million a year.

It comes after the service noted a sharp increase in women seeking help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spokeswoman Joanna Fletcher said hundreds of women weren't able to access help because legal services were underfunded.

"Women's legal services was chronically underfunded even before COVID-19 and now the situations are worse," she said.

COVID-19 jab timeline explained
Australia has shored up access to some leading contenders for a COVID-19 vaccine and while it's hoped some will get the jab in early 2021, others will have to wait much longer.

This week the Federal Government signed onto the COVAX pool scheme, which puts Australia at the front of a queue to access one of several vaccines if they prove effective.

There are still several stages of testing and approval before Australians can get the coronavirus jab.

Bushfire threat begins again
The first total fire ban of this year's season has been declared for the state's Far North Coast today.

Hot and windy conditions are driving the very high fire danger and anyone caught lighting a fire without a permit could face heavy fines or even jail time.

The areas affected include the Ballina, Byron, Clarence, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Tweed local government areas.

Ben Shepherd from the Rural Fire Service said it would be a "wake up call for many residents" to prepare for the season.

Bushfire royal commission to hold final hearing
After more than 30 days of evidence, the natural disaster royal commission will hold its final public hearing today.

The royal commission has been investigating how to improve preparation for and recovery from natural disasters, including improving resilience.

More than 200 people gave evidence and in the past fortnight another 70,000 pages of documents have been handed to the commission.

Retired Air Chief Marshall Mark Binskin and his fellow commissioners, former federal judge Annabelle Bennett and law and environment academic Andrew Mackintosh now have about a month to complete their report. ... d=msedgdhp

Pokies venues could ban problem gamblers reported by family members under proposed NSW legislation

Family members of problem gamblers could apply to have their relatives banned from gaming venues under a sweeping set of changes designed to reduce gambling harm in Australia's biggest pokies state.

Under the proposed laws, NSW venues could also be charged tens of thousands of dollars if they fail to stop self-excluded problem gamblers from using their poker machines.

NSW Minister for Customer Service, Victor Dominello, said he wanted his state to lead the country on gambling reform.

"The reality is we are number one when it comes to how many poker machines we've got, but we're the laggard when it comes to harm minimisation measures," he said.

The Berejiklian Government wants venues to identify and assist problem gamblers in a way that's comparable to responsible service of alcohol laws — placing more responsibility on venues to intervene with problematic gambling behaviour.

Poker machine attendants in NSW have told ABC Investigations they have seen problem gamblers urinate at poker machines and felt powerless to act under the current laws.

Among the NSW Government proposals, which will be released today for community consultation in the form of a draft bill, are:

Fines of up to $27,500 for venues that allow self-excluded patrons to gamble
A new third-party exclusion scheme that allows family members to ask venues to ban their relative from playing poker machines
Requirements for venues to always have a gambling contact officer on duty who has advanced training in the responsible conduct of gambling
New whistleblower protections for staff
Australia still world leader in gambling losses
Mr Dominello told the ABC he has been influenced by a number of factors, including the tragic suicide of Gary Van Duinen after a 13-hour pokies binge at Dee Why RSL and the social dislocation caused by COVID-19.

"We've got a pandemic and JobKeeper coming to an end in March; we've got anxiety and depression and stress on the rise, and then we've got an increase in gambling," he said.

"We've got people using their super funds, and JobKeeper funds going into gambling. All of this amounts to a very nasty cocktail that we need to stay ahead of."

Australia has the highest per capita level of gambling losses in the world. The majority of those losses come from poker machines.

NSW has around half of the country's pokies and its clubs and pubs account for over $6 billion a year in losses.

NSW has always been the hardest jurisdiction to push through poker machine reform and Mr Dominello is under no illusion that the powerful lobby groups which represent clubs (ClubsNSW) and pubs (AHA) will automatically endorse his proposals.

"I'm expecting them to put their views and no doubt they've got their very robust views," he said.

"But that's what the purpose of public consultation is all about — they'll have their views, other industry groups and stakeholders will have theirs, the community will have theirs and we will bring it all together and hopefully get some good legislation through."

Late Friday afternoon, ClubsNSW and the Australian Hotels Association issued a joint statement, saying there are "deeply concerned by the potential impact and cost of the draft legislative changes."

"While several of the harm-minimisation measures contained in the legislation were originally proposed by the industry, the government's intended implementation would create unnecessary red tape and place a significant compliance burden on venues.

"ClubsNSW and AHA NSW are disappointed with the lack of effective consultation on the proposed legislation.

"The lack of effective consultation with key industry stakeholders has resulted in unworkable proposals which will be impossible for venues to comply with."

'Watershed moment' in NSW gambling history
Kate Da Costa from the Alliance for Gambling Reform said she was relieved there would be community consultation.

"We are pleased that the Minister has released a consultation draft, and intends to allow time for genuine engagement from all stakeholders, especially those with lived experience. Too often in the past, the industry has controlled legislative change," Dr Da Costa said.

"This legislation is a watershed moment in gambling history in NSW. For the first time, in real terms, the industry will be held responsible and accountable for its role in a system that inflicts harm."

Face ID for gamblers could be used
Dozens of problem gamblers and their friends and family members have contacted ABC Investigations to highlight the flaws in self-exclusion schemes around the country. The main criticism is that self-excluded patrons are being able to enter venues they have barred themselves from.

Gambling researchers from CQ University found in their 176-page report commissioned by the NSW Responsible Gambling Fund that the "monitoring of self-exclusion has numerous deficiencies".

The report suggested that the use of technology could help improve the scheme, including introducing a system that could scan a patron's ID and match it to the self-exclusion register or the use of facial recognition technology.

Mr Dominello said he was open to such suggestions.

"You can use technology to improve lives and reduce suffering. So provided there is privacy and security settings, absolutely," he said.

"First and foremost, I think this is a type of dialogue we need to have." ... d=msedgdhp

High school students grapple with being stuck at home for their gap year, as COVID-19 grounds INTL ( AND MOST INTERSTATE) travel
In the New South Wales Snowy Mountains, Jindabyne student Marlee Diver's plan to work and travel around America and volunteer as part of her gap year in 2021 will not be quite as envisioned.

It has been an unusually challenging HSC year for students in the Snowy Monaro and South Coast region, starting the year in a state of emergency as bushfires tore through their communities, then thrown into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic and now, growing uncertainty around opportunities as they leave school.

Senior students across NSW bid farewell to their Year 12 classmates today, as COVID-safe graduations commence before HSC exams begin.

Ms Diver, who attends Jindabyne Central School, is one of more than 60,000 students around the state who will complete their exams this year.

"There's definitely excitement that we're finally finishing after 13 years, but there's a lot of not knowing how life is going to be out of school," she said.

"Everything has been flipped on its head."

Gap years help form identities
Mental health service manager at Headspace Bega, Brianna Van Leeuwen, said transitions are particularly hard for all people, but the move from a family unit to becoming an independent adult is particularly difficult for young people.

"So having a 'transition year' can be helpful to work on developing identity," she said.

Ms Van Leeuwen said volunteering, travelling, interning and having new experiences can help young people to form a pathway into their future.

She said young people in south-east NSW are experiencing unprecedented uncertainty with work opportunities, post bushfires and COVID-19.

"We've been hit by fires and that's had a big impact on industries that young people might gain employment from out of school," Ms Van Leeuwen said.

"Like tourism and hospitality."

New opportunities on the horizon
Year 12 student, Molly Robinson, from Jindabyne Central School, said while her travel plans were also axed, she was open to new opportunities.

"I don't want to go to uni yet, because I still want time to think about what I want to do and earn some money," Molly said.

"It's been disappointing that we can't have the time to explore the world."

As she reconsidered her plans out of high school, she formed a new appreciation on life.

"I've learned to be more flexible, cause nothing is really predictable," Molly said.

As students prepared to gain their HSC and graduate high school, many walk away with more resilience to step into their future.

Headspace Bega's Ms Van Leeuwen is hopeful the changes teenagers experience in a post-COVID world will provide some life lessons.

"What we can hope for our young people is they develop some resilience," she said.

"Because the best plans don't always go as we might hope." ... d=msedgdhp

'Toned down' Sydney fireworks for New Year's Eve 2020 a symbol of hope, local leaders say

A cut-back, shorter version of Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks is set to go ahead this year, as local leaders push ahead with the event as a symbol of hope to be “beamed around the world”.

While the display traditionally attracts more than a million spectators, including international tourists – who begin lining Sydney Harbour days before the midnight fireworks begin – this year’s event is expected to be almost exclusively seen on TV.

Politicians in New South Wales have flagged restricted access to the city’s coastline as a way of preventing crowds from gathering, for a New Year’s Eve they say “will be nothing like” Sydney has seen before.

On Thursday, Clover Moore, the mayor of the City of Sydney council that usually organises the fireworks, announced she was handing over “temporary custodianship” of this December’s event to the NSW state government – citing the increased costs, and greater health and crowd management risks that Covid-19 posed.

The NSW state government will also foot the bill for this year’s fireworks, however it is expected to be considerably cheaper than the $6.5m spent on the event last year, which despite being held against the backdrop of smoke haze from bushfires, generated about $130m for the state’s economy.

Fines will be issued for those who don’t comply with social distancing, and events in restaurants and private venues will be encouraged over public spaces.

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian said that the normally 12-minute long midnight pyrotechnic display would be shortened and focused on the Sydney Harbour Bridge site, instead of being launched from several points across the city. The earlier 9pm fireworks geared towards children will be cancelled.

She said using less fireworks and significantly reducing public viewing areas and events meant the government didn’t have to justify the event for its economic potential, and that the “very toned down affair” would be largely symbolic.

“I do feel it’s important for the state, and the nation because it’s really a national symbol that’s beamed around the world ... it’s almost our contribution to the world,” Berejiklian said, adding it would be “important for our soul and for positive thinking about next year”.

Given its time zone, Sydney is one of the first major cities in the world to enter the new year, with an estimated 1 billion people watching its fireworks display last year on TV.

Related: Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks will go ahead despite deputy premier's call to cancel event

While NSW has avoided the significant second wave of Covid-19 that continues to keep Melbourne, in the neighbouring state of Victoria, under curfew, Berejiklian noted the fireworks could ultimately be abandoned if public health advice closer to December changed.

“None of us want to see the large crowds, none of us want to see breaching of the health orders ... the vast majority of us, including myself, will be watching at home from the television,” Berejiklian said.

NSW tourism minister Stuart Ayres said “it’s not going to be open slather with everyone being able to come into the city”, indicating parts of the coastline could be restricted and crowds discouraged from entering the CBD.

Last December, there were calls, including from senior government figures, to cancel the fireworks given the fire danger they posed, and as a mark of respect for communities outside Sydney battling bushfires. ... d=msedgdhp
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 Sep 25, 2020 8:31 am


Queensland coronavirus restrictions to be eased further as state records no new cases
Queensland has recorded zero new cases of coronavirus overnight, with the State Government announcing more people will be allowed in outdoor spaces.

The density of people allowed in an outdoor public space will go from one person per 4 square metres, to one per 2 square metres.

It means pubs and cafes will be able to host 50 per cent of the maximum number of patrons allowed in their outdoor areas.

The changes come into effect from 1:00am on October 1.

"More people will be allowed to meet their friends in a local beer garden or at an outdoor cafe," Ms Palaszczuk said.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the hospitality industry had been calling for the changes.

The Government also announced that community events with a COVID-safe checklist, such as sports carnivals, the maximum number of people allowed would increase from 500 to 1,000 people.

Stadiums will also be allowed to host 75 per cent of their capacity.

"It means more people are allowed into these venues, and more people will be back at work," Ms Palaszczuk said.

There remain just five active cases across Queensland after more than 5,000 tests were conducted overnight.

Health Minister Steven Miles said it meant Queensland had fewer actives cases per capita than just about anywhere in the world.

Queensland opened its border to ACT residents travelling by air overnight, and from today visits to hospitals and aged care homes can resume.

"I know there will be lots of happy older Queenslanders, grandmas and grandads, getting visitors this weekend," Mr Miles said.

Aged and Disability Advocacy Australia CEO Geoff Rowe told ABC Radio Brisbane the reopening of aged care facilities and disability accommodation to visitors was a brilliant step.

"The whole lockdown, while it's been absolutely necessary, the toll that it has taken on older people who are very much isolated during this time has been huge and clearly the distress on families has been significant as well. We are really pleased" Mr Rowe said.

"We know that as humans we are social beings and the whole of the COVID experience for most of us has been difficult because we haven't been able to do the things that we enjoy doing.

"You throw dementia in, or you throw frailty in, where people were getting support from family and suddenly have that removed, it has been an extraordinarily difficult time."

Two new cases on ship off coast
Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young said there were two new cases of COVID-19 among crew members on a ship off Weipa.

"The plan is to evacuate them to Cairns when we can and look after them there," Dr Young said.

"We've done that multiple times now, we've had cases on ships and we've worked with Maritime Safety Queensland and the ship."

Dr Young said as health authorities learned more about the virus, it was clear that being outdoors was the safest place to be.

She strongly urged people to host events and gatherings outdoors.

ADF will not remain beyond September 30
Meanwhile, Ms Palaszczuk said the Australian Defence Force (ADF) would not extend their support on Queensland's borders beyond September 30 despite remaining at the New South Wales, Northern Territory and South Australian borders until the middle of October.

Queensland authorities have been lobbying the Federal Government for an extension of ADF support at the state's border beyond September 30.

"I got a letter back from the Minister for Defence where it states very clearly that they will not be moving on Queensland," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"I don't think it's fair or reasonable that Queensland has been singled out here."

The tensions over the border follows words between Health Minister Steven Miles and federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg yesterday. ... d=msedgdhp

Queensland Covid hotspots: list of Brisbane and south-east Qld case locations
Hotspots and case locations
Anyone who has been to these suburbs in the last 14 days should monitor their health and if they develop any Covid-19 symptoms, even mild, get tested and isolate until they receive their test result.

Redbank Plains
Everyone who attended these locations during the listed time should monitor for Covid symptoms and immediately get tested if they develop.

Royal Pines Resort (Tees clubhouse restaurant and golf shop), Benowa: 7.45am to 3pm on 24 August
Gailes Golf Club, Wacol: 9am to 3.30pm on 27 August
St Edmund’s College, Ipswich: 7 September
Hungry Jack’s Town Square Redbank Plains Shopping Centre, Redbank Plains: 8pm to 1am on 8 September ... d=msedgdhp

The Queensland premier announced a suite of restrictions would be eased across her state including increased numbers permitted to attend events and gatherings outdoors ahead of December's Christmas celebrations.

The premier said businesses could increase the number of patrons to one per two square metres – as long as it was outdoors – from Thursday, October 1, because of the "strong response" from Queenslanders on COVID-19.

Outdoor events with a COVID Safe Checklist would increase from 500 to 1,000 people while outdoor stadiums with a COVID Safe Plan would increase seated capacity from 50 per cent up to 75 per cent. ... d=msedgdhp

magpies are swooping and pecking aiming at eyes

Police, posties, cyclists and pedestrians - all potential targets for magpies need to be on alert as swooping season has begun.

More than 900 complaints of swooping magpies, butcherbirds, plovers, crows and magpie larks have been received by Brisbane City Council this year.

"People can wear a broad-brimmed hat, travel in a group and, most importantly, avoid areas where council's warning signs alert people to swooping hot spots," lord mayor Adrian Schrinner said.

"Warning signs are located in hot spots across the city and we've installed 19 additional signs in Forest Lake, Fairfield, Sherwood, Acacia Ridge, Herston and West End."

Other tips include not running, holding a stick or umbrella up to keep the swooping bird away and cyclists dismounting and walking through a swooping zone.

Brisbane residents are urged to keep an eye out for magpies in Paddington, Morningside, Wynnum, Manly, Hamilton, Deagon, Jamboree, Forest Lake, Chandler, Pullenvale and Moorooka.

Cr Schrinner said breeding season, from July to December, peaked in September as the birds protected their nests from potential threats.

"It's important to remember that all native birds are protected species and should not be harmed," he said.

"The best advice is to avoid known swooping areas." ... hp#image=1

Swimmer attacked by crocodile near Great Barrier Reef
swimmer is recovering in Cairns Hospital after being bitten on the head and neck by a crocodile in a popular tourist spot near the Great Barrier Reef.

Swimmer bitten on head by saltwater crocodile at Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef
Wildlife officers will travel to Lizard Island today to search for and remove the crocodile to a croc farm or a more remote area.
man has been bitten on the head by a saltwater crocodile while snorkelling in Far North Queensland.

The 33-year-old was snorkelling off a beach at Lizard Island, on the Great Barrier Reef north of Cooktown, on Wednesday afternoon when he was attacked by a 2-metre saltwater crocodile.

He is expected to make a full recovery.

The attack happened when the man was in deep water, around 50 metres offshore.

He was flown by the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) to Cairns Base Hospital, with injuries to his head and neck.

He remains in a stable condition in hospital.

Delaware North, operators of Lizard Island Resort, released a statement saying the incident was rare and the man was expected to make a full recovery.

Wildlife officers from the Queensland Environment Department will today travel to Lizard Island to search for and remove the crocodile.

"Lizard Island Resort management received notification that an individual swimming on one of the island beaches had received a bite from a suspected crocodile, resulting in wounds to the upper body area," the statement said.

"Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service officers have been notified of the incident and are in direct contact with the resort management.

"We view this incident as an extremely isolated and rare occurrence, and emphasise that the current safety messaging provided to all guests and the resort staff are consistent with Queensland Parks and Wildlife's advice."

Man 'doing remarkably well' after attack
RFDS spokesperson Lee Poole said the man was "fortunate" to have survived the attack, and was stable throughout the flight from Lizard Island to Cairns.

"The fortunate thing about this incident on Lizard Island is that we had a medical chest there and the people on the island were able to contact our people directly," Mr Poole said.

"He was doing remarkably well, given the circumstances, and was stable throughout the flight before being transported to Cairns Base Hospital."

Lizard Island is closed due to coronavirus restrictions and is due to reopen to visitors on December 14. ... hp#image=1 ... d=msedgdhp

Centipedes have "poison claws" which can puncture human flesh and cause excruciating pain, and can even kill a human
There is a long list of dangerous critters in outback Queensland, but one long, leggy creepy crawly in particular is keeping residents on their toes.

When Longreach resident Cerise Woodfield suddenly felt an excruciating pain in her foot, she immediately feared a snake bite.

Ms Woodfield had just walked into her backyard on Tuesday evening in a pair of thongs to turn off the sprinkler.

"I've never experienced pain like it," she said.

"There was like a burning sensation.

"I rang 13 HEALTH to see what to do, as I'd noticed two puncture marks in my foot."

She was advised to call an ambulance immediately and was taken to Longreach Hospital where doctors treated her for a suspected snake bite.

But tests soon revealed her backyard assailant was a slithering creature of a different kind — a venomous centipede.

Her experience was not unique that night as, within 10 minutes of arriving at the hospital, another patient with the same symptoms arrived from Ilfracombe, a town about 20 minutes away.

"Even the doctor spun out," Ms Woodfield said.

"[The other patient] was telling her story about what happened to her and [the doctor] turns around and said to me 'Oh, I've heard that before'.

"It was a bit uncanny."

Rain likely the reason for influx of centipedes
The Collection Manager for Arachnids at the Queensland Museum, Owen Seeman, said it was likely that recent rainfall in the central west had caused centipedes to emerge.

"They certainly do like a bit of moisture or, if they're getting flooded, they'll move to the higher ground," Dr Seeman said.

"They have to get out of their homes, and suddenly they're not hidden away from your sight, but running into your yards and trying to find a place to be dry."

He said if you could not see what bit you, it was understandable you might think it was a snake.

"A big centipede, like all centipedes, has a pair of what we call 'poison claws' right underneath their head," he said.

"That's a modified pair of legs and they spread them apart and give you a mighty pinch, and that certainly hurts.

"It will feel like two very strong, sharp objects being stabbed into your skin, and for that reason you might think a snake had bitten you.

"They're able to stand up on their last few pairs of legs, so they'll reach up 6 inches, 7 inches (15-18 centimetres).

"That's how high they can strike if they're trying to give you a bite, but they really would only do that if stepped on."


Palaszczuk claims 'Queensland is being singled out' on borders by the federal government
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk claims her state is being "singled out" by the federal government on borders – saying she is "still very concerned" about the withdrawal of ADF resources from the state's borders from the end of September.

"I've been advised the Australian Defence Force will remain on the NSW-Vic border till mid-October, NT – middle of October and SA – the middle of October," the premier said.

"We are one country, other states are allowed to have some relaxations, and once again I urge the Commonwealth to reconsider and treat Queensland like everyone else.

"Stop singling Queensland out.

"Under these circumstances, I would've hoped we could have worked together in the interests of everyone at this time."

Queensland Premier says state has been 'singled out' as ADF set to withdraw from border
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will not extend its support on Queensland's borders beyond September 30, despite remaining at the New South Wales, Northern Territory and South Australian borders until the middle of October.

The ABC has been told ADF personnel in Queensland and Western Australian would be withdrawn when agreements with each state end on September 30.

In NSW and South Australia, the ADF has advised it will begin "drawing down" on personnel from October 15, and in the NT from October 30.

Queensland authorities have been lobbying the Federal Government for an extension of ADF support beyond September 30 to match agreements with other states.

"I got a letter back from the Minister for Defence where it states very clearly that they will not be moving on Queensland," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"I don't think it's fair or reasonable that Queensland has been singled out here."

The tensions over the border follows a war of .

Mr Miles yesterday labelled the withdrawal of the ADF from the state's border a "bargaining chip" in an effort to pressure the State Government to reopen.

Mr Frydenberg had labelled the suggestion the Government was withdrawing the ADF for political reasons, "rubbish", and Mr Miles in turn labelled Mr Frydenberg a liar.

On breakfast television this morning, Mr Frydenberg did not hold back on Mr Miles.

"Well, he's a stumbling, bumbling, lightweight that no-one's ever heard of, who's just made it up as he goes," Mr Frydenberg told the Today show.

"I was asked a question on radio yesterday, whether the Government's movement on ADF troops was designed to deliberately damage Queensland border policy, and I said that was absolutely rubbish.

"And then he goes and holds a press conference asking me to apologise — for what?

"I mean this guy's, just as Peter Dutton said earlier, just seeking to pick a fight to play politics, to play politics with the pandemic, to play politics with the deployment of ADF troops.

"I mean that guy should just grow up."

At a media conference in Brisbane this morning, Mr Miles again questioned the Federal Government's motivations.

"They can call me all the names in the world they want to," Mr Miles said.

"We have this Conga-line of Morrison Government ministers every day, on every program out there attacking me, attacking Queensland, attacking our restrictions that have been so successful — and the only difference is that we have an election coming up.

"So who do you think is making it political?

"I think you can very clearly see they are discriminating against Queensland, as they are continuing to provide Defence Force support to other states."

Today, .

"In the end, it's the states that want to impose state borders," Mr Cormann said.

The ADF will continue to assist with Hotel quarantine in Queensland after their withdrawal from the checkpoints. ... d=msedgdhp

'Very clear' to Steven Miles the federal government is 'discriminating' against Qld
The war of words over Queensland’s border closure has continued with Deputy Premier Steven Miles again hitting out at Josh Frydenberg for accusing the state of lying over its request for continued ADF assistance.
The Treasurer rubbished the claim the government was moving ADF personnel to “deliberately damage Queensland’s border policy”.

Mr Miles today said Mr Frydenberg “accused us of making up that the defence force was being used as a pawn in the border war against Queensland … he said it was garbage”.

“I think you can very clearly see that they are discriminating against Queensland, they are continuing to provide defence support to other states,” he said.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton also weighed in on the dispute, supporting the federal government’s criticism of Queensland’s border closure.

“Why wouldn’t we call it out, it was just unfair and it was unjust … as we said before it was never based on medical or health advice,” Mr Dutton said.

“It was always based on the fact that Queensland is going to an election in a few weeks time and the premier was desperate to make sure there was no outbreak in Queensland.

“There was no common sense and there was no compassion and the premier has been caught out." ... d=msedgdhp ... d=msedgdhp

Queensland police 'ready' for changes to state borders
Queensland Police are calling on the Australian Defence Force to stay on longer to help with coronavirus border controls despite restrictions now easing across the state.

As of midnight, Queensland lifted restrictions to the ACT, with five flights full of Canberrans already scheduled to arrive today.

Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said his troops are ready for the changes taking effect along state lines as ADF personnel pack up their posts.

"Of course we wanted them to stay longer because they add so much value. At an operational level, we do the work with the ADF. We have a great relationship with them," Mr Gollschewski told Today.

"They have done a fantastic job for us, but we're prepared. We know that things have to change so we've got ourselves ready for the changes at the borders and we will be able to accommodate them."

Mr Gollschewski said it was extremely important people continue to do the right thing to prevent another outbreak in Queensland.

"It is really important that people coming from the ACT realise they can only fly in," he said.

"At this stage you can't drive through the remainder of NSW. It's still a hotspot, except for the declared areas."

He said for those coming in from NSW regions including Ballina, Byron, Glen Innes, Richmond Valley and Lismore, police will continue the border pass system, but more congestion at checkpoints will be likely.

"They can come into Queensland and go anywhere and indeed anyone that resides in Queensland can go anywhere in those declared LGAs," he said.

"They will need an X pass to get pack in. It will be much freer for them and will mean more people going across the border, so people need to expect some congestion."

Five flights are scheduled to arrive from the ACT into Queensland today, with the first arriving at 9am.

Those entering Queensland from the ACT will still have to fill out a border declaration pass stating they have not been to any coronavirus hotspots, including Victoria and parts of NSW.

More freedoms have also been returned to residents of Brisbane and Ipswich overnight, with limits on social gatherings eased from 10 people to 30 people, hospital visits a lot less strict and lockdowns at aged care and disability facilities have also been scrapped.

The change comes as Queensland is set to also extend its border bubble to NSW regions including the Ballina and Byron Shires next week, with hundreds of ADF personnel withdrawing from border checkpoints.

Restrictions also easing in New South Wales
A long list of changes is also coming into effect for NSW over the next week, with school excursions and camping trips allowed to resume and up to 20 people allowed on the dance floor at weddings.

However, the Berejiklian Government has clarified that those allowed on the dancefloor must be part of the bridal party.

In theatres, up to 1000 people, or 50 per cent capacity will be allowed across NSW venues and both parents will be allowed to attend kid's sporting events from this weekend, just in time for finals season.

The iconic Sydney New Years Eve fireworks will also go ahead this year, with some alterations, after crucial talks were held between Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres and Sydney City Mayor Clover Moore yesterday. ... d=msedgdhp

Queensland Police move homeless group from Gold Coast park at council's request
Queensland Police has descended on a Gold Coast park to remove about eight tents belonging to a homeless group, after numerous complaints from nearby residents about antisocial behaviour by those camping illegally.

More than 20 people have been sleeping rough in Southport's Carey Park over the past few months and the Gold Coast City Council wants them all out by today.

For weeks, the Department of Housing along with the council and homeless advocacy groups started working with homeless people in the park to find them alternative accommodation.

Councillor Brooke Patterson said while most people eagerly took up the offer of accommodation, a small number of people had refused.

"We do need to recognise there are people who are doing this as a choice and work out new solutions to help them," she said

Community divided
Local resident Paula Lipton lived in a highrise apartment that overlooked Carey Park and said, while she had sympathy for the mental health and drug problems faced by those living in the park, she supported the attempts to remove them.

"The other day I was walking through the park and someone just defecated in front of me and walked off," she said.

"Walking around the park, you have discarded dirty undies and toilet paper.

"It's been a issue in Southport for a long time."

Simon Anau worked near the park and said he thought evicting people from camping in the park was "harsh".

"I haven't had any issues at all," he said.

"They're quite friendly, they're chilled out, they're just doing there own thing and not harming anybody.

"I think they're there for a reason — many because they don't have anywhere else to go.

"It's a nice place, it's right in front of the beach [where] they can go and have their showers."

Concern for safety of all parties
Inspector Scott Knowles said the council had asked for police assistance to remove the campers because they posed a safety risk for both residents and those sleeping rough.

"We have some issues with infection, pests [and] vermin that seems to be coming into the area," he said.

"We also have needles, which are a risk to the public.

"We've had a couple of deaths in the group over the past few weeks, who contribute to the conditions they're in, so it's a matter of making sure we get ahead of the game here to reduce issues for these communities."

Lisa Clement worked in Southport and used the Carey Park carpark said after she witnessed violent fights between homeless people she would like to see them moved on.

"Most people don't have sympathy for their plight," she said.

"I tend to feel sorry for them … but most people that I speak to don't have much sympathy for them."

Chairperson of the Gold Coast Homelessness Network Mona Neilsen said it was working with authorities to make sure that those in the park were not just moved on, but were given the right support to find new accommodation.

"We've been working collaboratively with our local and State Government to come alongside them to engage," she said.

"And to help them to move into some form of accommodation, whether that's short-term, medium-term or long-term." ... d=msedgdhp

Volunteers cop $100 parking fines while feeding homeless
Volunteers have been hit with hundreds of dollars in fines after parking on an empty Brisbane street while running a free dinner for the homeless.

For 12 months volunteers Will Bassett and Brooke Thomas have been run off their feet helping to feed the city's needy.

But their goodwill wasn't enough to save them from a hefty fine.

"The fines were $100 each, so $600 in total for club members," Mr Bassett said.

"I had just given up my Sunday afternoon to organise and arrange these meals and to be hit with a fine was pretty disappointing," Ms Thomas added.

The pair, who are members of Brisbane River City Rotary Club, parked at Qualtrough Street in Woolloongabba along with four other volunteers to help the homeless in late June.

"We thought it was two-hour parking as has been for most of the other time - but just on that day it had moved down to 15 minutes," Mr Bassett said.

That's because an AFL game was being played at the nearby Gabba Stadium.

When an event is on the "Gabba Traffic Area" comes into effect, which means any street in the catchment is subject to a 15-minute parking limit.

The pair admit they made a mistake while trying to do good and have pleaded to be let off.

"It's quite easy to miss the signage," Ms Thomas said.

"We approached council three times to try and get an appeal on the ticket," Mr Bassett said.

But council is not budging.

While conceding the circumstances are unique, it said they are not enough to waive the infringement notice.

The Brisbane City Council has maintained the responsibility comes down to drivers knowing the rules.

The volunteers say they have paid their fines.

"I don't think there is much more we can do to keep fighting this. We are going to take it on the chin," Mr Bassett said. ... d=msedgdhp

Compulsory COVID-19 quarantine measures slammed as shipping industry fears exodus of skilled workers
Queensland residents who crew Australian-flagged ships will be forced into quarantine upon returning home, if their ships dock in states deemed COVID-19 hotspots, under a new directive.

The latest maritime protocol from Queensland Health emphasises that maritime crew returning from working interstate are not considered specialist workers performing an essential activity.

The rule change has been slammed by industry group Maritime Industry Australia Limited (MIAL), which claims the rule change lacks a rationale, given the tight measures employed by ships to prevent onboard transmission.

CEO Teresa Lloyd said the move risked the welfare of ship crews who often work for more than six weeks, without stepping off ships or interacting with land-based staff in New South Wales and Victorian ports.

"Queensland is actually one of the largest suppliers of seafarers to the whole nation, it's in excess of 60, but in the small workforce like the maritime industry that's a significant number," she said.

"The question we have is 'why now?'; why would they do this when Victoria has turned a corner and numbers are so low?

"We haven't had any issues to date, through the worst of the second wave in Victoria — why would we do this now to a group of essential workers?"

MIAL stressed that crews on vessels supplying Bass Strait's oil and gas fields, coastal New South Wales and the Victoria-Tasmania shipping route would be especially affected by the changes.

"The maintenance of critical supply chain and the normal function of maritime activities to support the resources sector is an issue for all Australians," Ms Lloyd said.

"These people have been on a vessel or six weeks or more — they are not circulating within COVID hotspots: the fact their vessels hit the wharf in Victoria, does not mean they've been in a COVID hotspot."

A spokeswoman for Queensland Health said updates to the protocol bring it in line with updates to the border restrictions direction.

Shrinking workforce feared
Ms Lloyd said while the financial impact of wearing the cost of hotel quarantine would fall on business, seafarers would find the family separation tough.

"The ships won't stop, unfortunately that's when people would start to care — it's the seafarers, it's the impact on them and their colleagues that is the impact here," she said.

With an already shrinking domestic shipping sector, the industry fears potential staff losses could be felt for years to come.

To become a pilot in an Australian port, staff must first train as master mariners, a qualification that can take more than 10 years to attain.

A recent Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport inquiry into Australian shipping heard the nation was highly dependent on foreign ships for domestic freight.

The Maritime Union of Australia submission detailed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting what it said was a need to strengthen the resilience of maritime supply chains and increase self-sufficiency.

"Australia was caught unprepared for the COVID-19 pandemic, with this global crisis highlighting the urgent need to reduce Australia's dependency of foreign shipping in both domestic and international trade," secretary of the MUA, Paddy Crumlin said.

Essential workers
MIAL is campaigning for seafarers to be treated as essential workers, in line with others in the transport sector.

Its submission to the Senate shipping inquiry cited the Seafaring Skills Census as evidence the sector will face a shortage of more than 560 seafarers by 2023.

The census found 80 per cent of employers require advanced skills and experience on ships, particularly for shore-based roles, with a global shortage looming this decade.

"Anyone who's considering their future beyond COVID, might look back and think 'well that's how I'm treated and I'm an essential worker, maybe I'll find something else to do'," Ms Lloyd said.

"We already have a looming shortage on our hands of skilled mariners in this country — we're very concerned this is going to turn people off continuing their careers.

"There's plenty of alternatives, allow these people to isolate at home, we're a disciplined industry, the industry has very strict COVID management plans for their vessels." ... d=msedgdhp
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EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Fri Sep 25, 2020 9:13 am

Coronavirus detected in two crew members on bulk carrier off WA coast
Key points:
The ship from Manila is anchored off the Port Hedland coast
The two men remain on the carrier, but are in isolation
A rapid response team is being sent to the Pilbara town of Port Hedland / Sth Hedland

Three new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in Western Australia, including two men on a bulk carrier off the coast.

Health Minister Roger Cook said all three cases were associated with overseas travel.

"The confirmed cases are males aged between 34 and 51," he said.

"One is a returned traveller from the UK and two are crew from a bulk carrier anchored nine nautical miles off Port Hedland."

Mr Cook said the bulk carrier Patricia Oldendorff from Manila anchored off Port Hedland in WA's North West on September 16.

"It was scheduled to berth earlier this week, with a crew of 20 Filipino nationals on board, plus the vessel's master," Mr Cook said.

"We were informed by the vessel that two crew members were showing flu-like symptoms."


Mr Cook said two nurses boarded the vessel by helicopter to test the crew members.

"The nurses wore full PPE [personal protective equipment] and the flight crew took the necessary precautions," Mr Cook said.

"This afternoon it has been confirmed the two crew members are positive to COVID-19."

'The situation is well and truly in hand'
Mr Cook said the two men remain on board in isolation.

He said said a rapid-response team of clinical and logistical staff would be sent to Port Hedland on Friday morning to assess the remaining crew.

"This situation is well and truly in hand, any positive personnel have been isolated and they'll continue to be isolated," Mr Cook said.

"So the evolving situation is being handled appropriately, and as always, the safety of Western Australians will be our highest priority in dealing with these cases."

The remaining crew members are not believed to be showing COVID-19 symptoms, but health authorities are bracing for the possibility of further cases.

Mr Cook said bringing the patients, and possibly the rest of the crew, off the ship is an option being considered.

"If that is the case, we will obviously undertake that quarantining in an appropriate hotel facility in Hedland," Mr Cook said.

The two men who tested positive are showing some symptoms but do not require hospitalisation at this stage.

The latest cases bring to nine the number of active cases in WA, and the number of total cases to 668. ... t/12700054

Crew from coronavirus-struck ship off Port Hedland in WA brought ashore
Crew members from the Patricia Oldendorff were met by government staff and a bus to take them to quarantine.
Authorities have brought ashore half the crew of a COVID-19 infected carrier anchored off the coast of Port Hedland, in Western Australia's north-west.

Two coronavirus-positive Filipino crew members were diagnosed with COVID-19 on board the bulk manganese carrier Patricia Oldendorff that arrived from Manila last week and is anchored nine nautical miles off Australia's busiest ore shipping port.

Today, about 11 crew wearing masks and carrying their belongings were taken by boat from the bulk carrier into port.

They were met by police, health, and emergency services personnel in full hazmat suits and will be taken by police escort to a quarantine facility.

A rapid-response team of health officials arrived in the Pilbara town this morning to assist with the outbreak.

Health Minister Roger Cook said earlier today while no other crew members have displayed symptoms, authorities were bracing for the possibility of more cases.

Hotel in town to be used for quarantine
WA Health Minister Roger Cook has told the ABC the crew would be taken to a hotel in Port Hedland to quarantine but was not able to confirm the facility.

The Minister said the hotel would meet the same level of safety and standards as the quarantine system in Perth.

"We've flown a number of people up this afternoon to operate this facility, that includes some members who will be undertaking security," Mr Cook said.

"We'll also be flying up other associated members of the health community, doctors, nurses and so on.

"We'll make sure that we've got enough people on the ground so we can obtain the appropriate standard of quarantining that we require."

Mr Cook said around half the crew remained onboard to keep the ship operating, with testing to be done to ensure none of the remaining crew have been infected.

"The idea is to get as many people off the ship as possible so that they can isolate and then we will be able to move into the ship, do a deep clean, create green zones on the ship for the crew members that are staying behind to occupy," Mr Cook said.

The Minister said the main priority was keeping Western Australians protected from the virus, particularly in the Hedland community.

Community must be protected
The Commissioner for Port Hedland, Fred Riebeling, says the incident shows protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are working.

"The first thing is, how terrible it is for those individuals. The second thing that hit me quite rapidly was that our system of border protection has worked," Mr Riebeling said.

"They were identified before they were due to disembark, which is a positive, probably for the iron ore industry and how it checks people."

Mr Riebeling said economic imperatives were a strong incentive for the industry to ensure the infection did not reach northern WA communities.

"The last thing Rio Tinto or FMG or Roy Hill want is an infection in relation to their supply chain or export chain so I'm positive it will be handled correctly," he said.

"It's like Devil's Island, Port Hedland, one person gets it, the whole town will so it's very important to make sure the patients are secured and not a threat to the rest of the state."

Dean Summers, national coordinator for the International Transport Workers Federation in Australia, said the infected workers had to be properly cared for.

"Our immediate concern is for the health and safety of the crew on board that ship," he said.

"The second [concern] is that the community and the port workers and everybody else in the state are protected.

"So we take those people off [the ship] and get them appropriate care, keep the rest on board and keep testing those and keep monitoring those people to make sure they aren't getting sick." ... d=msedgdhp

WA to deliver surplus budget despite pandemic payments on back of iron ore price rise
The WA Government has reported a $1.7 billion budget surplus for 2019-20 despite the economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the State Opposition labelling it "unacceptable" and urging the Government to spend more to help struggling households.

The WA Government's Annual State Finances report showed a $920 million hit to the $2.6 billion general government budget surplus forecast in December.

The report showed a fall in general government revenue and an increase in recurrent spending, mainly due to the pandemic forcing unforeseen spending on frontline services and support measures for households and businesses.

The McGowan Government is spending $5.5 billion on the COVID-19 WA Recovery Plan to help drive economic and social recovery.

But Shadow Treasurer Dean Nalder said the huge surplus showed it was not doing enough.

"It is unacceptable to be delivering a $1.7 billion surplus at a time of a global pandemic," Mr Nalder said.

"Especially when we are seeing a record level of households suffering mortgage stress and an unemployment rate higher than the national average.

"We know that the State Government is understating the size of this budget surplus with nearly a billion dollars in deferred dividends.

"So it is actually a budget surplus in excess of $2.5 billion.

"I believe a lot of West Australians would be really concerned and going: 'Why is the Government delivering these types of budget surpluses at a time when there are so many people struggling?'"

Iron ore sales drive royalties
The budget surplus was helped by $945 million more than expected in royalty income, primarily due to higher-than-expected iron ore prices which averaged US$92.9 per tonne throughout the year — 26 per cent above the Government's predictions.

Treasurer Ben Wyatt said the Government's efforts around budget repair in its first two years in the job had proven vital.

"The 2019-20 report really highlights that the WA economy prior to COVID was very strong," Mr Wyatt said.

"It is still a strong surplus position, which is a really good outcome for Western Australia.

"All of that surplus is effectively going into our asset program in a capital spend to support the economy.

"All of the effort around budget repair and getting the finances back to a strong position paid off in the end because we can now put all of that into funding the recovery after the coronavirus."

Mr Wyatt hinted that investment in job-creating infrastructure projects would be a big feature of the state budget, which will be handed down next month.

He said to expect a very different fiscal outlook for the coming years than what was outlined in last year's budget, with the impact of the coronavirus likely to see projected surpluses revised down.

"Given the significant impact of COVID-19, the Government is now shifting its focus from reducing net debt to supporting our economy," he said.

"The full impact of COVID-19 on the state's finances will take some time to be captured as the economic impacts continue to be felt and the Government continues to fund the state's recovery.

"Every cent of the surplus achieved in 2019-20 has been allocated to the Asset Investment Program to fund projects that support and create local jobs.

"The priority in a COVID world is not driving down net debt — the priority is Western Australians and the state's economic future." ... d=msedgdhp

Cancer patients in remote WA buoyed by Well Women's Centre and Pink Pilbara Breakfast
Trish Littlewood had felt unwell for some time, but that still didn't prepare her for the news — delivered as if by accident in a doctor's surgery — that she had stage-four melanoma.

Two small dots on her lungs.

"He started chatting about something else and then he said, 'and because it's cancer, we'll have to do so-and-so'," she said.

"And then he looked at me horrifyingly and said, 'oh, you don't know', and then he started reading the notes from the biopsy."

Her GP told her she would have surgery in Perth, 1,600 kilometres away from her home in Hedland, in WA's Pilbara region, and perhaps some radiation.

"I packed my bags, went off to my first oncology appointment, and was horrified to find out I was being handed three trial drug options that I had to chose from. My overnight bag sat beside me, with my hand shaking on top of it," she said.

"Arriving back with those three options in large content, the words, the language, it was probably a 10-page piece of information for each trial, each option I had to choose, no idea, I had no idea what I was doing.

"And of course got back to Hedland and discovered I had nobody to talk to up here either."

Cancer can be a lonely disease, especially in towns dotted within the remote stretches of the vast Western Australian outback.

'You deal with it yourself'
In Port Hedland, it's estimated there are about 200 patients at any one time.

After diagnosis it's a rollercoaster, involving air travel to Perth every three weeks for treatment or scans, negotiating unfamiliar hospitals and hotels and thick forms.

Back home, there are no ongoing local support services, nor is there a local oncologist.

While she underwent treatment she was allowed to bring a support person — her husband, Darrell.

"It's those little things, when you've got no energy, when your support person is more worried than you are. You deal with it yourself," Mrs Littlewood said.

"That journey I found really, really (difficult). I struggled with it.

"No family up here, you're living remotely, what do you do?

"And how do you explain it to your family back home? There was nobody to tell me how to do that, either, and that would have been very beneficial.

"And I ended up not telling them. And I ended up in a lot of trouble two years down the track when they realised how sick I'd been."

'Like nothing else existed'
At the Hedland Well Women's Centre, a community health hub in the Pilbara town of South Hedland, stories like Mrs Littlewood's are not new.

But they are becoming more and more common. Many women say they have found themselves desperately alone as they embark on the fight of their lives.

Beryl Parker said she turned to the Hedland Well Women's Centre in desperation two years ago after she found out she had stage-two breast cancer.

"When I was told I had breast cancer, (it was) like nothing else existed," she said.

"I was pretty much in shock. I had no-one else with me, because I believed it was just an infection in my glands, and antibiotics would clear it up, and to be told I had breast cancer was just, wow."

She was handed a list of breast cancer surgeons in Perth and told, as a public patient, she would need to find one that would "take her on". She did, and then the chemotherapy treatment started.

"I'd had a couple of rounds of chemo feeling very unwell and sorry for myself, and I needed someone to talk to, and I didn't know who to talk to," Ms Parker said.

"So I thought I'd give these Well Women people a try. I walked in the door and had a really big cry with Jill (office manager Jill Byrne). She said 'we don't have anything at the moment, I don't know what we can do."

She put up a post on Facebook asking if anyone else was in a similar position.

"There was about five of us (who) met at Muffin Break. We had a good chat about it. I found I wasn't wrong in how I was feeling," she said.

Women take matters into own hands
The Well Women's Centre has been an institution in Hedland for 30 years, partly funded by miner BHP and the State Government.

CEO Rebekah Worthington said it took a holistic view to health, offering everything from nutrition advice with dietitians to social events and a chat service that was accessed 500 times a year.

"The centre began because of an amazing action group of women who took matters into their own hands, wanting to see improvements for women's health in Hedland," Ms Worthington said.

"Coming here is isolating geographically and socially, so the centre kind of began out of that and it's been growing for 30 years."

Office manager Jill Byrne, Ms Worthington's mother and a cancer survivor herself, said the stories of women like Ms Parker started to strike a chord.

"They were just going through treatment, and they had no idea how to get some support and how to navigate some of the PATS (patient assisted travel scheme) forms and things like that," Ms Byrne said.

"We decided we need to try and make a difference, and let's try and help these people."

Pink Pilbara Breakfast raises $38k
The centre is a strong fundraiser for national breast cancer research, raising about $300,000 at annual events over about 10 years.

Two years ago it decided to focus on local women instead and raised $38,000, in just a few hours, at its first Pink Pilbara Breakfast for a new not-for-profit in Karratha called Reach Us.

"Then we decided, what about Port Hedland, what about our people," Ms Byrne said.

Last year they raised $46,000 in two hours for a new cancer support group open to everyone touched by cancer: men, women, children, family members and carers.

Mrs Littlewood said the group was nervous at first, but the gamble paid off.

"We recognised that we weren't servicing our local community and our heartstrings of course belonged there," she said.

"We realised that we do need financial resources to reach out to help these people, to get the partner on a plane if they can't get there, to feed the dogs, to take the kids to school, whatever it might be.

"We stepped out on a limb and it worked perfectly well for us."

Bridging the gap in regions
Now the Hedland Well Women's Centre is preparing to take an even bigger leap, offering unprecedented support for local cancer sufferers.

It is teaming up with community-based healthcare organisation Solaris Cancer Centre to set up a two-year $500,000 program, involving a part-time cancer support nurse, a part-time specialist cancer counsellor and other support services.

It's being funded by the Rinehart Medical Foundation, set up by iron ore magnate Gina Rinehart.

Solaris Cancer Care director Kirsty Danby said it was the first outreach program specifically for Pilbara patients.

"This is an opportunity for us to bridge the gap between metropolitan and regional cancer services, specially for Pilbara-based cancer patients and their families," Ms Danby said.

"It's to support their cancer experiences, even on their journey they might need a greater level of understanding around what their diagnosis means and what the impacts will be on them and their family, or it might be that they talk about how their body changes."

'Absolute dream come true'
The women at the centre say they feel as though they've won the lottery.

"This is just an absolute dream come true," Mrs Littlewood said.

"I know with all my heart it's going to make the hugest of differences. I get quite emotional thinking about the gap that it's going to fill."

For Mrs Littlewood, it wasn't until she had recovered from the cancer that she felt the full emotional impact of her journey.

"Once I had the all clear, that's when my wheels came off," she said.

"The group allowed me to talk about my journey, even though by that stage it was 18 months old, I hadn't realised that I really needed to tell somebody just how awful it was." ... d=msedgdhp


Cancelled flights home from Italy continue to keep this Alice Springs family of five apart
The Muir family — Alessio, Roberta, Federico, Sam, and Marcello — have been separated for months.
Sam Muir is an Alice Springs teacher and has not seen his Italian wife Roberta Scaramuzzino and their three young boys Marcello, Federico, and Alessio since January.

He left them in Italy nearly 10 months ago to return to Australia and his local high school, completely unaware that world travel was about to come to a grinding halt thanks to the global pandemic.

Before anyone had even heard of coronavirus, both Mr Muir and his wife decided that while their boys were still young it was a good opportunity to not only see his wife's side of the family but also immerse their children in southern Italian culture.

"We set them up in school there so they basically live and experience life there," Mr Muir said.

"I was meant to go back for about a month in March and April."

The COVID-19 pandemic then swept through Italy with very little to no warning and everything went into lockdown.

"We tried to stay as rational as we could. The whole concept from the beginning was 'if you could stay where you were and stay safe, stay there'," Mr Muir said.

Despite being in lockdown, he said his family have made the most of the time.

"We've tried to focus on the silver linings of it — the original intention was to learn language and have time with family," he said.

"They did that, but they didn't get to do it in the way that anyone would want to."

Getting home
The Muir family had return tickets booked for July, but those were cancelled by the airline in May.

The family attempted to re-book for September after the Northern Territory reopened its borders, but the prices were astronomical at over $30,000.

"We have tickets for November … we've secured business class tickets for the family to come back through Qatar into Adelaide," Mr Muir said.

"But as of yesterday, Qatar airlines have started adjusting those flights.

"They now have a 24 hour wait in Doha … which now has affected the quarantining time, and they have to stay in the airport."

Mr Muir is apprehensive about whether his wife and sons will be able to get on that flight at all.

"The fear is now that if they've started changing the tickets, does it fall apart?" he said.


Mr Muir said the information he received from a travel agent was worrying if they can not get on that flight in November.

"There is absolutely no space on any flight available on Qatar airlines, into any port into Australia for the family, until at least Christmas or early January," he said.

Emotional cost
The emotional cost is enormous.

"I haven't seen my kids for nine months and they haven't seen their dad for nine months," he said.

"There's no real end in sight to the whole concept."

In Mr Muir's opinion, Australia acted accordingly to the global pandemic.

"The band-aid of closing the borders off at the beginning was the right thing to do to keep everyone safe," he said.

"It allowed time for governments to find their feet and work out what they were dealing with."

However, Mr Muir questioned the sustainability of the current plan.

"The current system is not a long-term solution to the ongoing problem," he said.

"Why can't people be tested at domestic borders and at international arrivals?"

Political intervention
Mr Muir has formally put his concerns into a letter to Senator Malarndirri McCarthy, who recently become aware of his family's plight thanks to a recent Go Fund Me campaign launched by Mr Muir's friends.

In a statement, Senator McCarthy said:

"My office has been busy trying to assist Territorians stranded overseas. Sam Muir's family is one of many the Morrison Government have abandoned," she said.

"Like many Territorians, Sam just wants his family home safe. Territory families returning from overseas should be able to fly into Darwin and quarantine at the Howard Springs facility.

"Scott Morrison is the one who could make this happen, but he is refusing to act.

"I am continuing to liaise with Government agencies and departments to assist Sam in getting his family back home." ... d=msedgdhp
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 » Fri Sep 25, 2020 10:28 am


Australia's drug regulator TGA approves Covid tests that deliver results in 15 minutes
Australia’s drugs regulator has approved four rapid antigen Covid-19 tests for distribution throughout the country with health workers and departments among the first to use the tests than can deliver results in 15 minutes.

The Australian pathology and pharmaceutical companies approved to import and distribute the tests are required to provide the Therapeutic Goods Administration with data about the efficacy of the tests over time. Supply of the tests will be limited to accredited laboratories, medical practitioners, healthcare professionals in residential or aged care facilities, and to government health departments.

Rapid antigen tests detect the presence of viral protein from Covid-19 and may be used to diagnose the virus in a patient with symptoms. They work best in the first week of infection – after that antigens tend to drop.

While rapid antigen tests can provide a result within 15-30 minutes, they have been found to be less sensitive than the widely used polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which detects the viral nucleic acid and is currently the gold-standard for diagnosis. Antigen tests also differ from rapid antibody tests, with antibodies produced by the human body to eliminate the virus usually peaking two to three weeks after infection, meaning antibody tests are not usually used to diagnose a current infection. Rather, antibody tests help researchers determine how much of a population may have been exposed to a virus, and its spread.

The importation of the rapid antigen tests to Australia from four medical companies in the US and South Korea over the past few weeks is significant because it is hoped they will be useful in settings such as aged care, hospitals and food distribution where waiting up to 24 hours for the results of a PCR test can be problematic. Elective surgery patients, for example, need to be tested days before their surgery to get the results on time and need to quarantine themselves after receiving the test until their surgery to ensure they don’t catch the virus after testing. A rapid antigen test could be done right before surgery.

Life Bioscience is a biotechnology company based in Victoria that has been approved to distribute the NowCheck rapid antigen test manufactured by South Korean company BioNote Inc. The Life Bioscience director, Mark Thacker, said some of the tests had been supplied to doctors working for a major Western Australian mining company. He said the mining company eventually hoped to acquire roughly 40,000 tests per month for its workers, but a much smaller sample was being trialled to begin with.

“This test will be useful in settings where speed is paramount,” Thacker said. “If you can test someone quickly before they go on-site to their workplace, and can do that regularly, you may avoid the massive shutdowns of workplaces that we have seen in some industries.”

Prof Deborah Williamson, the deputy director of the Doherty Institute’s microbiological diagnostic unit public health laboratory, described the antigen tests as “a major development in the testing armoury available in Australia”.

However, there are caveats around their use. “They are likely to be less sensitive than a PCR test,” Williamson said, meaning they may produce false negatives.

In late August, the White House announced the US had struck a deal with US pharmaceutical company Abbott Laboratories to acquire 150m tests, deploying them to nursing homes and schools. But Williamson said it was important to monitor use of the tests in Australia and not to extrapolate data from US and other studies of the tests.

“Before the wide-scale implementation in Australia we need really good data appropriate to our context here of low prevalence, and the epidemiological context in the US is really very different,” she said.

A director of Victorian pharmaceutical company Pantonic Health, Laura Panton, said global demand for the antigen tests would increase in the coming months. Pantonic Health has secured a supply of the tests from US company Access Bio.

“First and foremost our focus is with the healthcare sector but we have also received interest from a range of industries including mining and resources and airlines,” she said.

She said while the tests were still “very new to Australia”, they would likely be particularly valuable for screening large workforces or at major events, frequent testing in hospitals and aged care facilities, as well as helping to open up interstate and international borders safely and cost-effectively.

Meanwhile, Point of Care Diagnostics Australia’s medical business manager, Peter Merrilees, said his company had acquired about 10,000 of the tests from the US that were in the process of being shipped, and that Aboriginal Controlled Health Organisations and remote and regional communities would be logical places for the test to be trialled. ... d=msedgdhp

Jobseeker payment recipients will lose $300 a fortnight from today
ob-seeker recipients will lose 300 dollars a fortnight from today as the federal government begins winding back its covid-19 income support.

The job-keeper wage subsidy will also be lowered, from Monday.

The CEO of the Australian council of social service, Cassandra Goldie says all the evidence shows social security must be maintained at its current level, if not more. ... d=msedgdhp

JobSeeker COVID SUPP payments now slashed by more than half
Australians receiving the coronavirus supplement have from today had their payments cut by more than 50 per cent as the Federal Government walks back financial lifelines rolled out during the pandemic.

Until last night, the coronavirus supplement was fortnightly payment of $550 that is applicable for those receiving the JobSeeker payment, Youth Allowance, Austudy and a number of other payments.

The payment has now been scaled down to a rate of $250 per fortnight until December 31.

From January 1, 2021, the coronavirus supplement will cease and the amount JobSeekers are receiving will revert back to their pre-pandemic levels.

'It's terrifying': Unemployed facing grim reality of JobSeeker cut this Friday
Changes to the JobSeeker program.

How much you receive from JobSeeker depends largely on your personal situation.

Caring for a dependent child or children will raise your payment, while having a partner will slightly lower your payment.

For the sake of simplicity, let's assume you are single with no children.

Over the past few months, you were receiving $1115.70 a fortnight. Of this, $565.70 is the government's JobSeeker payment and $550 is the Coronavirus Supplement.

rom now, that coronavirus supplement has been downgraded to $250.

That means the maximum fortnightly payment from September 25 for a single person with no children will scale down to $815.70.

A full explanation of the changes can be found on the Services Australia website here.
Unlike JobSeeker – which is designed for those looking for work – the JobKeeper payment is designed to keep a formal link between employer and employee who have both been financially affected by COVID-19.

As such, your employer largely handles your eligibility with the Australian Tax Office, which makes the payment.

Despite this, there are some changes you need to know from October.
The current rate of $1500 a fortnight is available until September 27.

From September 28 until January 3, 2021, JobKeeper will split into two tiers: those who formally use to work 20 hours or more, and those who used to work 20 hours or less.

From September 28 those who used to work 20 hours or more, and whose employer can demonstrate ongoing financial difficulty as a result of COVID-19, the maximum fortnightly rate will drop to $1200.

For those who worked less than 20 hours a week, the maximum fortnightly JobKeeper rate will drop to $750.

Then – and hang with me here – it will scale down again to cover the time period of January 4 until March 28, 2021.

Those who worked more than 20 hours will have their JobKeeper scaled down to $1000 a fortnight, and those who worked less will have theirs scaled down to $650.

A full explanation of the changing rates can be found here, and if you're still confused you're first port of call should be to speak with your employer. ... d=msedgdhp

Morrison government can’t just ‘punish people into work’: Plibersek
Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek says the Morrison government needs a plan to “grow jobs rather than just punish people into work” as Jobkeeper and JobSeeker payments are set for a change.

JobKeeper payments will drop from $1500 to $1200 a fortnight from October 1 and then a further drop to $1000 from January.

The JobSeeker payment will also suffer a fall to $800 a fortnight in September, but recipients will be able to earn $300 a week from work.

In a controversial decision, the government will re-introduce mutual obligations which require recipients to apply for eight jobs a month or else risk losing their entitlements.

Ms Plibersek told Sky News host Alan Jones that it wasn’t the right time to cut these support mechanisms.

“It’s not right for individuals, and it’s not right for the whole economy,” she said.

“Because we know that people who get these supports are out there spending the money creating jobs for others.

“In a time, in an economy where there’s 13 applicants for every job, we shouldn’t be rubbing people’s noses in it.” ... d=msedgdhp


Farmers push back on Coalition’s gas plan saying quality of land and water takes priority
National Farmers Federation says it is not opposed to gas as a transitional fuel but will not support significant expansion of coal seam gas projects fearing it will jeopardise quality of land and water.
The National Farmers Federation has urged the Morrison government to tread carefully with its “gas-led recovery”, declaring farmers need to be in control of their land use, and the security of groundwater needs to be paramount.

While the gas push was crafted in part by the Coalition’s business advisers, and business has largely welcomed the government’s signalling about increasing the supply of gas for domestic use, the NFF will lobby the government to make sure the plan does not involve a significant expansion of coal seam gas projects.

The NFF’s chief executive, Tony Mahar, told Guardian Australia “farmers should have choice in determining his or her own priority with how private land is used through a respectful and transparent process”.

Related: The Coalition's tech roadmap is a strategy based on an old and discredited argument | Tristan Edis

“Farmers have and will continue to advocate that any extractive development must not impede on quality of agricultural resource, whether land or water,” Mahar said.

“Any development must recognise the importance of local community buy-in, noting their deep knowledge of issues, challenges and opportunities for prospective projects.”

Mahar said security of groundwater and other water sources, and protection of prime agricultural land remained of “paramount importance to farmers and there are major concerns with any activity that could pose a risk to the precious Great Artesian Basin, to locally important aquifers and other water sources”.

Renewed pressure from farmers could revive tensions between the Liberals and the Nationals. NSW Farmers has already voiced its opposition to the controversial Narrabri coal seam gas project, which the Morrison government is championing on the basis that it will increase the supply of gas in the state, and lower prices.

The state affiliate of the NFF says Narrabri poses an “unacceptable risk to the water resources, soil and air quality, local food and fibre production and rural communities in western New South Wales”.

Morrison has listed Narrabri as one of 15 projects of national significance, promising an accelerated assessment under federal environment laws and the energy and emissions reduction minister, Angus Taylor, has suggested it will reduce energy costs for consumers. But coal seam gas developments remain controversial on the ground, creating divisions in regional communities.

Mahar said farmers were not opposed to gas as a transitional fuel. He noted that gas could be used to firm power generation from renewable sources “particularly as coal-powered generation goes offline”.

But the NFF chief also noted that gas was not the only firming solution on offer. There were viable alternatives, such as battery storage, pumped hydro, and in the future, hydrogen.

Mahar noted that farming was currently heavily reliant on liquid fuels, such as diesel, and he said gas would help with the transition to electrification and hydrogen-based energy systems for rural and remote places.

The NFF, with other business groups, has signed on a net zero target by 2050, and Mahar said anyone who was “serious” about net zero emissions needed to create a pathway to replace liquid fuels.

“The cost and availability of gas is also important for regional energy costs, particularly for our regional manufacturers and processors,” he said.

“Gas is a very important input into the production of farm inputs, such as fertilisers and is a crucial factor in value adding and competitiveness of Australia’s food and fibre supply chains.”

Related: Labor commits to 'environmentally sustainable' gas development

“Gas also plays a key role in the establishment of a hydrogen supply chain. If we are genuine about a net zero emissions target, hydrogen is going to be the key enabler to transition away from liquid fuels such as diesel.”

The Morrison government this week unveiled its technology roadmap, which is the Coalition’s new policy framework for long-term emissions reduction. One of the technologies the government is championing is hydrogen.

Labor has dubbed the roadmap the “road to nowhere” because it is a long-term emissions reduction strategy without concrete emissions reduction targets after 2030.

The Morrison government is continuing to resist pressure to sign up to a target of net zero emissions by 2050 – a concrete and increasingly uncontroversial abatement target that is supported by business and community groups, and is consistent with the obligations the government adopted under the Paris agreement. ... d=msedgdhp

Abiding by COVID-19 curbs, Australian school kids protest in opposition to gas
Thousands of Australian high school students on Friday protested to demand investment in renewable-energy projects, though COVID-19 restrictions confined the events to small gatherings and online activism.

About 500 protests were held across Australia, with other demonstrations expected worldwide on Friday.

In Sydney, gatherings were limited to no more than 20 people, while in Melbourne, which is under a stringent lockdown after a second wave of COVID-19, protests were held online.

Those who could protest in person carried signs and gave voice to their message alongside climate advocates.

"Their future is on the line," Gillian Reffell, a Sydney resident, told Reuters. "We want to see our governments fund children's futures, renewable jobs and not gas."

The demonstrations comes a year after about 30,000 students and other protesters rallied across Australia to demand stronger action to address climate change.

The worldwide student strike movement started in August 2018, when 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg began protesting outside her parliament on school days. She has since been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. ... d=msedgdhp

Dutton says states stopping more Aussies from returning overseas
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said thousands of Australians stuck overseas because of coronavirus border restrictions should not feel abandoned by the Federal Government.

Mr Dutton told Today state government caps on the number of planes coming in were behind the frustration and anger of thousand of Aussies who remain overseas during the pandemic.

"People coming back need to stay in a hotel but then the state governments have put a cap on the number of hotel rooms that are available and we're saying to them, and the Prime Minister said for weeks, please, lift those caps so that we can bring more Australians back," Mr Dutton said.

Desperate Australians stranded overseas have told a Senate Select Committee on COVID-19 they have been abandoned by Australian authorities, saying they've had virtually no help at all in their attempts to get back to Australia.

Mr Dutton said the Federal Government was providing ADF personnel to help states but the final decision is with premiers.

"But we would bring those Australians back today if there was room available within the hotels but the premiers have made a decision to cap those numbers, which means that we need to bring people back in a slower fashion than what we would want," he said.

There are about 35,700 Australians still struggling to get home, many booking flights which are subsequently cancelled.

Meanwhile, Deputy Labor leader and Victorian MP Richard Marles said the hotel quarantine inquiry will get to the bottom of the debacle that triggered the state's second wave.
Premier Daniel Andrews will front the inquiry this morning.

"We do need to get to the bottom of this issue, obviously, in terms of learning the mistakes so that they don't get repeated in future," Mr Marles told Today.

"But this is a government that has been completely transparent. I mean, Daniel Andrews, I think, is up to 80 days in a row standing up in front of the media basically answering any question that people want. We will get to the bottom of this."

But Mr Dutton said the Victorian Government's response to the inquiry had been "like a scene out of Monty Python".

"Nobody knows what's going on. It's comical, and yet it's such a terrible outcome that they've presided over, where people literally have died, and Victoria is in a state of lockdown.

"People's lives and businesses are being devastated and people need to be held to account."

Mr Dutton said Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos should be sacked over the quarantine blunders. ... d=msedgdhp

DF to leave state borders and help with quarantine, Mathias Cormann says
Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel are going to be withdrawn from all state borders except for Victoria, with states being told by the Federal Government to manage their own crossings.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Defence confirmed it would not be extending agreements it has with Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and the Northern Territory.

"The Commander of the Defence COVID-19 Taskforce, Lieutenant General John Frewen, has briefed National Cabinet on current ADF COVID-19 support to the states and territories and the need for Defence to begin prioritising preparation for the high-risk weather season," they said.

"There are currently 2,769 ADF personnel deployed around Australia as part of Operation COVID-19 Assist."

Defence said personnel in Queensland and Western Australian would be withdrawn when agreements with each state end on September 30.

In New South Wales and South Australia the ADF has advised it will begin "drawing down" on personnel from October 15.

And in the Northern Territory troops will remain until the end of October "in recognition of the unique and significant risks that COVID-19 poses to vulnerable Indigenous communities".

As for Victoria, Defence said it continued to monitor the situation in the state "and the associated effects on border operations".

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann says Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel helping states patrol their closed borders will be redirected to help with quarantine arrangements.

Earlier in the week Queensland's Deputy Premier Steven Miles labelled the withdrawal of the ADF from the state's border next week as a "bargaining chip" and an effort to pressure the State Government to reopen.

On Friday, Mr Cormann told Sky News managing closed borders would now be the states' responsibilities.

"In the end it's the states that want to impose state borders," he said.

"If that's what they want to do and that's what they think is warranted then it's a matter for the states to ensure they've got the means and tools in place to manage those borders.

The ADF is currently providing border help to every state and territory except the ACT and Tasmania.

There are 147 personnel helping with border control in Queensland, 359 on the NSW-Victoria border, 152 helping with police checkpoints in Victoria, 20 helping on the Western Australian border, 110 in South Australia and 84 personnel at checkpoints in the Northern Territory.

Speaking on Friday morning, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Minister for Defence had made it clear in a letter that ADF help would not be extended.

"I got a letter back from the Minister for Defence where it states very clearly that they will not be moving on Queensland," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"I don't think it's fair or reasonable that Queensland has been singled out here."

Speaking today, Mr Miles responded to the Federal Government's, including Senator Cormann's, comments.

"I think you can very clearly see they are discriminating against Queensland, as they are continuing to provide Defence Force support to other states," he said.

Senator Cormann said the ADF had provided "extraordinary support" to the states so far.

"As many of the state Labor governments have pointed out to us … we need to prioritise quarantine arrangements so that is precisely what we're doing," Senator Cormann said.

Senator Cormann did not directly reply when asked if there were enough ADF personnel to both help with border and quarantine arrangements.

Instead, he said "Australia's not designed to have state borders on an ongoing basis".

"If state borders or others want to maintain borders then clearly the prime responsibility to ensure they can manage those state border closures they're insisting on is a matter for them," Senator Cormann said.

On Friday, Queensland opened its border to the ACT but it remained closed to most of New South Wales. ... d=msedgdhp

Coronavirus has led to empty offices and quiet CBDs. It's time to get creative
The pandemic has left our major cities with neither hustle nor bustle.

As millions of people around the world are told to work from home, officials in cities like Melbourne and Sydney are making plans to kickstart their CBDs.

One group, among the hardest hit by the pandemic, may hold the key — artists and creatives such as musicians, designers, craftspeople and theatre makers.

Can cities go back to the way they were?
Not in the short term, according to Bond Business School's Libby Sander.

She says even when restrictions were lifted in cities such as Sydney and London, offices stayed "very much vacant".

"I think we initially thought everyone's going to be desperate to go back to the office, to have their coffee, to get back into the routine — and that hasn't happened," she .

Dr Sander says this is partly due to ongoing concern about the pandemic, but mostly because the way we were living pre-pandemic was very stressful.

"It wasn't actually working that well," she says, adding that many people will now choose to continue working from home if they can.

Dr Sander says some companies are dramatically reducing their office space, handing back entire floors of buildings to landlords.

And it's not just office workers that the CBD is missing.

Kathryn Davidson, senior lecturer in Urban Planning at the Melbourne University, says it's unclear when international students will return to Australian universities.

Many international students lived in CBDs in student housing. They were regulars at many restaurants and supported other city businesses.

"It is a fundamental change," Dr Davidson says.

Dr Sander agrees. She says the CBD is going to need a rethink.

One option, she says, is making vacant real estate available to "creative ventures and opportunities that perhaps couldn't have been supported in the previous model".

That includes artists, theatre makers and other creatives.

Do artists want empty office space?
They might. Marcus Westbury, the chief executive of Melbourne's new Collingwood Yards art precinct, is a big believer in the power of imagination and experimentation to reinvigorate urban space.

In 2008, he founded a project giving artists access to empty commercial real estate in the NSW city of Newcastle.

"Artisans, designers, craftspeople — those sorts of people were really good at transforming former shops or offices into places that were attractive, engaging, and in many cases, they were able to grow successful businesses, or long-term community projects when given that access to space," he says.

"I've very rarely experienced an environment where people with creative imagination couldn't do something interesting and valuable, even in situations where commercial clients would never have seen any possibility there."

Rarely, but not never. Mr Westbury says there are certain spaces which just don't work for artists such as very old buildings with heritage restrictions, shiny new buildings with expensive fit-outs — or anything that's too large.

"Places that are really big are really hard to just transform with your imagination and your sweat," he says.

But, he says, most other spaces will work. The important thing is that we don't wait too long.

"Buildings that have been left vacant for a prolonged period of time, every day they're left they become harder and harder to use again," Mr Westbury says.

"Systems deteriorate, people get in, they get vandalised, they decay, and then you come back five years later and things don't work, or they don't meet [basic] standards. And then suddenly, the cost of doing anything is prohibitively high.

"Whereas if someone has been in a space, taking care of it and keeping it active, chances are that whenever the next commercial thing comes along, they'll be inheriting something that's functional and able to be used."

So artists just babysit buildings until business wants them back?
No. Curator, author and Deputy Lord Mayor of Sydney, Jess Scully, says artists need to be paid as well.

Ms Scully says when artists pour creative energy into reinvigorating an empty space, what they are doing is "actually work".

"That is what they do as a profession," Ms Scully says.

"It needs to be accepted that if a creative person activates your asset that you will pay them to do that.

"It's not enough to just provide space for a temporary period, or until you get a tenant."

She says creatives are already managing complex business lives, and only allowing them "pop-up" spaces creates a damaging lack of certainty.

Ms Scully would prefer to see structural changes, so artists and creatives can take up tenancies long-term.

One way to do this would be to change tax laws so leaving a rental property vacant is no longer a better option for landlords than renting it out at a reduced rate.

"Every single incentive that we have on the books tells landlords to keep their space empty — it's more valuable to let the space sit there," Ms Scully says.

And it's not enough just to make new creative spaces, she says — there needs to be support for existing theatres, galleries and live music venues as well.

In any case, Ms Scully does not believe the pandemic is going to result in companies abandoning CBD offices long-term.

"Let's not write off commercial office space just yet," Ms Scully says.

Even people who continue to work from home, she says, are going to want access to places where they can engage with colleagues face-to-face.

Meanwhile, space-saving innovations such as hot-desking are likely to fall out of fashion in a post-COVID world.

Oh yeah, social distancing. That will make things harder
Yes. But indoor real estate is only one part of the equation. Cities such as Melbourne and Sydney are eyeing the space currently taken by cars in a move to a more outdoor lifestyle.

Dr Davidson says cities may need to create more bike lanes to take the pressure off public transport, where social distancing is difficult.

"I think we do need to innovatively think about how we're going to get people around the cities," she says.

Melbourne and Sydney both plan to make it easier for restaurants and cafes to move tables outdoors onto footpaths and streets.

Dr Sander says the move is positive.

"It has worked in New York," she says.

"I think most people are [saying], 'I miss going for coffee, I miss just being able to get something to eat,' and people are wanting to support restaurants."

And as cafes move outdoors, Ms Scully says theatres, galleries and live music venues can too, "turning the entire street into a place for creative production".

Whatever happens, Mr Westbury says it's important to move beyond wanting things to go back to the way they were.

"I make a real distinction between approaching these questions from the point of view of 'how do we preserve what we had', versus the idea of 'how do we discover what's going to work now'," he says.

Making those discoveries, he says, is something artists are especially good at. ... d=msedgdhp

Amid coronavirus, telehealth has been a game changer for patients — but GPs want their gap fees back
For Helen and Korrie Kueper, a trip to the doctor is no small undertaking.

From their property near Bredbo in regional New South Wales, it's a 45-minute drive along a partially unsealed road to the nearest doctor in Cooma.

"It's about a 50-kilometre each way trip," Korrie says.

It's also an important one.

Triple-bypass surgery means Korrie needs regular prescriptions for blood-thinners and arrhythmia medication.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, the pair followed official advice and bunkered down at home.

"We didn't leave the farm for at least eight weeks," Korrie says.

"The less time we spend in town, we say, the better, being over 70 years of age with heart problems."

Helen says they put off going to the GP.

"We thought there'd be people sitting in the surgery, maybe contagious."

Telehealth 'a great advantage'
In March, as part of , the Federal Government pumped nearly $670 million into rebates for telehealth consultations.

Helen booked an appointment as soon as she heard about the scheme.

"Being able to do these calls over the telephone has been a great advantage", she says.

"It's made it more accessible and less time-consuming."

"We can't speak highly enough of it," says Korrie.

GPs forced to adapt quickly to pandemic healthcare
The pivot to phone and video consultations was a challenge for the medical industry, requiring rapid upskilling and reliance on unfamiliar technology.

"It was a little bit overwhelming … we went from no telehealth to nearly all telehealth," says Michael Wright, a GP based in Sydney's eastern suburbs.

"We were trying to provide healthcare safely, but then we were trying to adapt to this whole new business model of telephone consults and video consults, when none of us was used to doing them."

The subsidies provided financial relief for practices contending with plummeting patient numbers.

Research from the Melbourne Institute showed that over April and May, telehealth accounted for more than a third of all consultations.

It also circumvented the need for personal protective equipment, which in many cases was not readily available.

"Our primary health network distributed masks to all of the practices, but for things like gowns we struggled," says Dr Wright.

"Lots of people didn't want to come into the practice and so [telehealth consults] protected them and also it protected me."

Mandatory bulk-billing rules 'restrictive'
When telehealth services were first rolled out in March, all practitioners were required to bulk bill for consults.

In April, the freedom to charge a gap was handed back to specialists and Allied Health professionals, but GPs are still required to bulk bill telehealth provided to concession card holders, the elderly, children under 16 and those considered at risk of contracting COVID-19.

Speaking on The Drum, Melbourne GP Vyom Sharma said those rules were restrictive.

"If you're a patient of mine [earning] half a million dollars a year but you're on asthma medication for an inhaler you take every day, I can't charge a gap. I must bulk bill you," he said.

"It's really just not sustainable as a business model for a lot of us."

Nearly one in five GPs surveyed by the Melbourne Institute said their practice had applied for JobKeeper and 65 per cent reported a fall in monthly income over April and May.

Earlier this month, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt .

The move has been roundly welcomed by doctors and patients alike, but Dr Sharma says if telehealth is here to stay, changes are needed to make it financially viable.

"There are some significant structural funding issues to sort out."


The extension came as welcome news for Helen and Korrie, who remain concerned about the possibility of a second wave in NSW.

"We have a lot of through-traffic in the Cooma district, where lots of people are going to the snow.

"We don't know where they're coming from and we're very aware of the possibility of COVID coming back," Korrie says.

Corporate practices at an advantage
Dr Sharma says telehealth gives large-scale corporate providers a clear advantage.

"If you're a corporate clinic who's paying half a million dollars every few months to be ranked high on Google searches, suddenly you get the flow of patients and reduce competition among service providers.

"Not to mention … that style of medicine is sometimes at odds with the small cottage industry-style GP, who can cater to what that community specifically needs."

Dr Wright said over-the-phone telehealth consults were not suitable in all circumstances and could compromise the quality of patient care.

"By seeing a GP on multiple visits, you tend to gain more information each time and use that information at the next consult," he said.

"Offering an instant telephone consult is OK for some limited conditions but it's not a good use of resources if you're providing extra care away from the usual GP, and not the highest quality of care if you're not following it up with face-to-face visits. ... d=msedgdhp

'Our economy has been hit hard': Budget deficit blows out to record $85.3b
The federal government has revealed a record deficit of $85.3 billion for 2019-20 following massive government spending to help struggling households and businesses get through the coronavirus pandemic.

Last financial year's budget deficit surpasses the previous record of $54.5 billion in 2009-10 following stimulus measures from the Rudd government to help Australia weather the global financial crisis. In 2008-09, the deficit reached $27 billion.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said on Friday morning the Australian economy had performed well in the lead-up to the crisis, with unemployment down to 5.1 per cent in February.

"Notwithstanding this strength coming into the crisis, our economy has been hit hard," Mr Frydenberg said. "The underlying cash balance was a deficit of $85.3 billion, or 4.3 per cent of GDP, compared to the forecast surplus of $5 billion, or 0.3 per cent of GDP at [the mid-year update]," he said.

"This is a half a billion improvement from what was estimated in terms of the deficit, but a $93 billion deterioration forecast [from] the end of the last year."

Net debt increased to $491 billion and gross debt jumped to $684.3 billion.

Labor treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers said the government had promised a surplus but delivered six deficits before the pandemic hit, with debt at a record high.

"We have been consistent all along and acknowledged the impact of the virus on the budget," Dr Chalmers said.

"We said the highest priority is supporting people and their jobs but every dollar is a borrowed dollar and we need maximum bang for buck and measure the effectiveness and see what it means for people and their employment.

"We are heading towards a trillion dollars in debt and unemployment that is unacceptably high and for a long time." ... d=msedgdhp

'Disaster written all over it': Watering down lending laws will see banks trample customers for profit, consumer advocates warn
* Consumer advocates have sounded the alarm over the Morrison government's planned changes to wind back responsible lending laws.
* Some slammed it as "a short-sighted fix", putting individuals at risk of becoming over-leveraged in a "flailing economy".
* Others questioned whether the government had not learnt the lessons of the Hayne Royal Commission, in which banks acknowledged they prioritised credit growth over customers' best interests.


By unshackling lenders, the Morrison government is prioritising short-term economic growth over the welfare of the Australian public, consumer advocate warns.
In a unified statement, major consumer bodies from consumer law organisations to financial counsellors comprehensively rejected the changes foreshadowed by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Friday.

Karen Cox, CEO of the Financial Rights Legal Centre, slammed the strategy as "a short-sighted fix for a flailing economy" and warned it would push individuals to accumulate "unsustainable debt".

"The problem people are having right now is too much debt and not enough income. The Government’s solution is to take on more debt with fewer protections," Cox said.

"Watering down credit protections will leave individuals and families at severe risk of being pushed into credit arrangements that will hurt in the long term."

The first witness called at the financial services royal commission, Cox questioned how its lessons could already be "so quickly forgotten".

Namely, it was in those public hearings that bank CEOs themselves acknowledged they had for years pursued short-term growth and profits at the cost of customers' best interests.

It's a lesson that we never seem to learn for long, Fiona Guthrie, CEO of Financial Counselling Australia, noted.

"As we learnt to our cost during the GFC, weaker lending standards mean people will be loaded up with as much debt as possible. There is significant profit to be made in pushing borrowers to the edge," Gutherie said.

"Removing responsible lending obligations will free banks up to aggressively push credit onto their customers."

The dangers of free credit outweigh the need
Despite those serious concerns, the government looks set to plough on with its deregulation regime.

The promised economic benefits of reform, however, may not even stack up, according to Consumer Action CEO Gerard Brody.

"The Commonwealth Bank recently said that the flow of credit is above pre-COVID levels and that lending is growing at a strong pace," Brody said. "None of the big banks opposed the responsible lending laws at the recent House of Economics committee hearings."

When it comes to mortgages, the latest ABS figures show the lending market rebounded heartily in July. Owner-occupiers, and especially first home buyers, have piled into the market, encouraged enough by low-interest rates and falling prices.

Meanwhile, a declining appetite for other credit products, such as credit cards, might not be a bad thing. Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) figures show nearly 400,000 Australians cut up their cards this year, as recessionary fears prompted many to get their house in order and build up a savings buffer.

While banks may struggle to entice many of those back into the fold, they may instead be able to simply lower the bar for new applicants.

"Products like credit cards are complex. That’s why banks make so much money out of them. Banks are in a much better position to assess a person’s ability to repay, so they need to shoulder some of the responsibility," CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland said.

"We got rid of the idea of 'buyer beware' in consumer law decades ago. To make it the principle that guides lending in the middle of a recession has disaster written all over it." ... d=msedgdhp

Bikes in short supply after pandemic inspires millions to take up riding
If you were hoping to find a bicycle under the Christmas tree this year you had better send off your wish list early, as a nationwide shortage is putting the brakes on purchases.

Brisbane bike shop owner Jason Jaffrey said a huge demand for bikes during the pandemic meant he was selling his Christmas stock now.

"Unless we can get more bikes, it could be a little bit tight for Christmas," Mr Jaffrey told ABC Radio Brisbane.

Mr Jaffrey's Mitchelton store would usually stock almost 200 bicycles but after the COVID-19-inspired rush, he had only been left with a handful to put out on the floor.

"We've ended up with this perfect storm of no bikes," Mr Jaffrey said.

"We would normally carry somewhere in the vicinity of 150 to 180 bikes in stock and I think I'm under 10."

The spike in demand was first felt in April when the nationwide lockdown came into effect, closing gyms and pools and halting community sports.

It seems millions of people keen to keep fit, and those wary of contracting coronavirus on public transport, have taken up bike riding.

In Brisbane alone, a million more people have been using bikeways since lockdown began.

"As a general rule, the bike industry as a whole sold about six months to seven months worth of stock in about six to seven weeks in April/May," Mr Jaffrey said.

"By early June pretty much all bike shops were empty or getting very close to empty. People were forced to start pre-ordering."

But the spike in demand coincided with a downturn in production as COVID-19 swept China and Taiwan, where most retailers source their supplies.

Mr Jaffrey's advice to anyone thinking about buying a bike is to get in early as deliveries are taking up to three months to arrive from overseas.

Riding out the supply shortage
Guy McCausland, from Melbourne-based wholesaler Bike Box, said the shortage was being felt around the country and the supply chain had not yet kicked back into gear.

"Access to the bikes has been delayed because of a pause in development in Europe and manufacturing in Asia," Mr McCausland said.

"This year we've cleaned out bikes that have been one or two seasons old because people have been so desperate."

As the demand reached its peak, some bike retailers had to turn customers away.

Mr McCausland said the renewed interest in cycling was a silver lining of the pandemic, especially the increase in sales of children's bikes, which had been declining.

"Typically speaking, our bike sales were quite sporty, but the general range of bikes seem to have come on board this year," he said.

Mr McCausland said it was good to see more families riding together.

"I reckon the biggest things that I've noticed has been the amount of fathers with kids on bikes," he said.

"I don't think there has ever been more talk about councils investing in bike paths." ... d=msedgdhp

Queensland deputy premier labelled a 'stumbling, bumbling lightweight'
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has called Queensland's deputy premier "a stumbling, bumbling, lightweight that no-one's ever heard of" following their very public spat.
Yesterday Steven Miles claimed the treasurer had lied about Queensland failing to request an extension of ADF support at the borders.

Mr Frydenberg was asked on radio whether the Morrison government had "deliberately pulled the Australian Defence Force off (Queensland's) borders to try and damage their border policy."

Mr Frydenberg called that suggestion "rubbish".

"And then he goes and holds a press conference asking me to apologise," Mr Frydenberg told Today.

"For what? I mean, this guy is just seeking to pick a fight, to play politics, with the pandemic, to play politics well deployment of ADF troops.

"I mean, that guy should just grow up."

The treasurer suggested Mr Miles was "completely misleading everybody in relation to what was said".

But Mr Miles – who is also Queensland's health minister – has stood by his comments this morning.

"I understand Josh is a bit bemused," Mr Miles said.

"I thought he'd accused me about lying about one thing, when actually he'd accused me of lying about a different thing.

"Both of them were equally offensive."

Mr Frydenberg rejected suggestions ADF troops were being removed from Queensland in a targeted attack against the state, calling that claim "rubbish".

"That's not garbage," Mr Miles said.

"I think you can very clearly see they are discriminating against Queensland. They continue to provide defence force support to other states."

But he conceded the spat was a bit of a mix up.

"I understand Josh is offended because I thought he'd called me a liar about one thing, when actually he'd call me a liar about a different thing.

"I accept that. But both are important, both are true, and both are being said by Commonwealth government ministers.

"They can call me all the names in the world they want to, but that's not going to affect my resolve, or Queenslanders' resolve, to address this virus." ... d=msedgdhp


If a COVID-19 vaccine is found here's how long it will take to get to your GP
Australia has shored up access to some leading contenders for a COVID-19 vaccine and while it's hoped some people will get the jab in early 2021, others will have to wait much longer.

This week the Federal Government signed onto the COVAX pool scheme which puts Australia at the front of a queue to access one of several vaccines if they prove effective.

Before this, Australia cut deals with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for its vaccine candidate (developed by the Oxford University) and the University of Queensland (UQ) candidate.

These agreements mean Australia will secure millions of doses of whichever vaccine protects against COVID-19 and distribute it in record time.

A process that would normally take five, seven or even 10 years could take place in months.

Here's an estimated timeline of what will happen when.

Phase III testing
The Oxford clinical trial is ahead of the curve and on track to wrap up by the end of this year.

It's already in phase III (the final stage of testing).

UQ is not as far through the process and is still working to complete phase I.

Here's a summary of the clinical trial stages:

Preclinical: Testing in animals. Does the vaccine produce antibodies? Does it protect against illness? What dose is necessary?
Phase I: Testing in a small number of humans. This phase is about making sure the vaccine is safe.
Phase II: More testing in humans — does the vaccine actually work?
Phase III: Testing in a larger number of humans to confirm its effectiveness
Phase IV: After the vaccine has been rolled out, ongoing surveillance to make sure it's safe and doesn't have long-term adverse effects
By December, the Oxford vaccine, largely considered to be the front-runner in the race, should have completed phase III.

UQ predicts it will complete this stage by mid-2021.

This part of vaccine development involves testing the vaccine on tens of thousands of people over the world and comparing how well they are protected against COVID-19.

It also rules out dangerous side effects.

Approval process begins
Once the candidate concludes phase III, the sponsor (usually a pharmaceutical company) will prepare a package of data to send to the Therapeutics Goods Administrator (TGA) in Australia.

It will include the clinical studies, non-clinical/toxicology studies, chemistry, manufacturing, risk management and other information.

A vaccine must be registered by the TGA, which is part of the Department of Health, before it can be legally supplied in Australia.

The TGA is responsible for assessing safety, quality and effectiveness of a drug.

Special access
The Federal Government says some people could be vaccinated in January 2021 if the Oxford candidate keeps progressing.

Paul Griffin, who is the principal investigator of the UQ trial, believes the first people to receive the jab will be part of a Special Access Scheme (SAS).

"What that will actually look like is that people at the highest risk or who derive the greatest benefit will get access to it before anybody else," he says.

"For example, that might be healthcare workers, aged care workers, emergency services and the military."

Anything administered under the SAS is technically considered "unapproved" by the TGA but, given the urgency of the situation, Professor Griffin says it's highly likely this exception will be used.

"If the data from phase III supports it, special access will actually be allowed to happen almost immediately."

Those who receive special access to the vaccine will be directly involved in phase IV.

Their immunity to COVID-19 will be monitored, as will any adverse effects.

This is an important stage as the vaccine's effectiveness will be tested in the community rather than a controlled clinical setting.

"Those people will be contributing data so we have an even better understanding of how well it's working and how safe it is," Dr Griffin says.

By now, although only a proportion of the population will be inoculated, the overall risk of community transmission will be a lot lower.

TGA registration
After a a formal evaluation is carried out by the TGA and multiple experts in science, medicine and public health are satisfied, the vaccine will be placed on the register.

The TGA will then issue conditions for use which will include any restrictions on administering the vaccine.

Manufacturing ramps up
Australian biotech giant CSL is the manufacturer of both the Oxford and UQ vaccines and will make 95 per cent of the doses we need in Australia.

It is scheduled to supply 30 million doses of the Oxford vaccine by early 2021 and 51 million doses of the UQ vaccine by mid-2021.

CSL is already manufacturing "at risk" — without knowing if either candidate will receive regulatory approval.

Right now AstraZenaca is sharing the bill of materials, or recipe, for its vaccine with CSL.

If and when the Oxford or UQ vaccines are approved, CSL says it will be well prepared to scale up production.

"With the urgency of the current situation, there's a lot of work happening in parallel with the clinical trials to ensure that should those trials prove successful, we're in a good position to manufacture material in bulk ready for distribution," a CSL spokesperson says.

Each batch of the vaccine takes approximately one month to produce.

Available to the public
Dr Griffin estimates it will be months but maybe even a year before the wider public can get inoculated.

"The vaccine being 'available' isn't going to look like the flu vaccine program where we get shipments and Chemist Warehouse advertise it for $14.95 and everyone can get it. That level of availability is a fair way down the track."

But Dr Griffin says this isn't as bleak as it seems.

"Because even if a proportion of people have had this vaccine, a modest roll out will still have a significant contribution."

The group advising the Federal Government on how any COVID-19 vaccine should be rolled out is the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).

It is currently discussing public risk perception, equity of access and distribution of a potential vaccine, but has not made any plans public.

Holly Seale, who is an expert in public health and community medicine, says the delivery of any vaccine will have to be innovative.

"There has been talk about moving beyond primary care (GPs) and using more community-based operations, like transforming testing sites into vaccination sites, setting up vaccine clinics at hardware stores, shopping centres, churches or libraries.

"We will need to go into places where people are within their own community."

It is expected that any vaccine will require two doses, so public health campaigns may need to remind people to come back for booster shots, Dr Seale says.

"We know from other campaigns it can be difficult to get people back for that second dose.

"This campaign will need to get people to understand the necessity of the vaccine by drawing on their personal risk."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has indicated the Government will target a 95 per cent vaccination rate and the vaccine will be free for all Australians. ... d=msedgdhp

irst vaccine will not be 'silver bullet', scientists warn UK government
The first coronavirus vaccine will not be a 'silver bullet' and is unlikely to stop people catching the disease, scientists have warned, in a blow to Britain's hopes of avoiding a second draconian lockdown.

Experts advising the government said it may only reduce people's symptoms and be partially effective, as they stress the need for caution when a jab is eventually found to work and is rolled out.

England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty has set the bar at 40 to 60 per cent efficiency - similar to the flu jab. But the Oxford University team leading the charge for a vaccine set a minimum target of 50 per cent.

They said one that can cut symptomatic coronavirus cases by half would be hugely valuable. But it would mean millions of Britons would, in theory, still be vulnerable to suffering the life-threatening disease.

Boris Johnson has previously acknowledged that a mass-testing programme is the UK's 'only hope' of avoiding another national lockdown, in the absence of a vaccine. It is why Number 10 has pledged to eventually carry out 10million tests a day.

The government hopes a jab will be ready in the first half of next year, but there will still need to be measures in place while people are injected.

The severity of the restrictions - such as social distancing rules - will hinge on how successful the vaccine is.

The first jab will likely have to be followed up with a booster around a month later and some people may need two different vaccines to trigger their immune system.

A government source told the Times: 'It depends on what we find. It seems the most likely outcome in the short to medium term is to find a vaccine, or two doses of a vaccine, that reduces the severity of symptoms. It's possible we might need several vaccines, but we are backing a lot of horses.'

Head of vaccines at the Wellcome Trust Charlie Weller said the first vaccine will probably need to be phased in alongside other restrictions.

He added: 'We need to manage everyone's expectations on what these first frontrunners of vaccines can actually do.

'There's a lot of hope, understandably, resting on a vaccine that is going to be this wonderful one dose [that will give] full lifetime immunity and move us back to normality the next day, but it's not going to be the perfect solution; it's not going to be the silver bullet.'

t was revealed yesterday British scientists will be the first in the world to carry out a controversial study where volunteers are deliberately infected with coronavirus.

The 'challenge trial' — which could rapidly accelerate the approval of experimental jabs — is said to be set to begin in January at a clinic in east London.

Participants will be infected with a dose of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, a month after being jabbed with a vaccine, according to the Financial Times.

The study, reportedly funded by the government, could help drug-makers test their Covid-19 vaccines without having to wait for volunteers to naturally catch the virus.

Between 100 and 200 participants are expected to be recruited for the trial, which is being run by a US advocacy group that has campaigned for human challenge trials.

It is unclear which vaccine candidate will be tested, but drug giants AstraZeneca and Sanofi have both insisted they are not taking part.

MailOnline has approached Imperial College London — Britain's other jab front-runner — for comment about its involvement.

Challenge trials are commonly deployed by scientists trying to develop a vaccine and have been used in malaria, typhoid and flu.

But, unlike those illnesses, there is no proven treatment for people with mild coronavirus, so there is nothing to stop the participants falling seriously ill.

The vaccine to be tested in the project has not been named, and organisers are said to have earmarked a quarantine clinic run by hVivo in Whitechapel, London, to carry out the trials.

Drug researcher hVivo is linked to Queen Mary University of London, while Imperial College London is understood to be the project's academic leader.

Around 2,000 potential volunteers have signed up to take part in challenge studies in the UK.

They have done so through 1Day Sooner, a US-based advocacy group which is made up of 100 leading experts including Nobel Prize-winning scientists.

The group campaigns for Covid-19 infection trials and has enlisted 37,000 people worldwide.

It is currently petitioning for the controversial trials to be signed off by health regulators in the UK.

Any trials conducted in Britain have to be approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The MHRA told the FT: 'Human challenge trials can be helpful for the development of vaccines and can provide early evidence of clinical efficacy, particularly when there are low rates of infection of the virus in the population.

'The safety of trial participants is our top priority and any proposal from a developer to include a human infection challenge as part of a clinical trial for development of a vaccine would be considered on a benefit-risk basis, with risks monitored for and minimised in the proposed trial design.'

Challenge trials involve intentionally infecting healthy people with viruses then giving them a shot of a vaccine to see if the jab can clear the virus.

These studies have been done with many illnesses, including malaria, typhoid and flu.

But, unlike those illnesses, there is no treatment that prevents someone from falling badly ill with Covid-19.

Because of the ethical implications, so far none of the 23 clinical trials of coronavirus vaccines currently being carried out around the world have used the controversial study method.

Instead they are relying on participants who have caught the disease by accident in the community.

But because international lockdowns have been so effective, the number of people actually contracting the illness in the public is falling.

For this reason many studies are grinding to a halt.

Many projects - including Oxford University's - have had to move their trials abroad where infection rates are higher.

Oxford is now testing he vaccine on 6,000 people in Brazil and South Africa - and hopes to have conclusive results by the end of the year.

This would mean a jab could be rolled out in early 2021.

Scientists behind the challenge trial will have to select and purify a strain of coronavirus that is currently circulating among the UK population.

They will then need to decide on a dose that infects the volunteer without causing serious illness.

This has previously been a sticking point because experts are still divided about what qualifies a 'safe dose' of the virus, which only jumped to humans earlier this year.

Some people infected with large amounts of the disease experience no symptoms at all, while others fall seriously unwell with much smaller amounts - particularly the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.

It is also essential for there to be medication on standby that can prevent serious illness in participants - another roadblock in getting the trials approved.

So far, only a few steroids have been scientifically proven treatment for Covid-19 - but they are only effective in the sickest of patients and do nothing for those with moderate illness.

The London trial will initially use remdesivir, an antiviral drug which has shown promise in preliminary studies. But there is no concrete evidence to prove it works.

It is not clear if participants will be of a certain age. Younger people are much less vulnerable to the disease than over-60s.

Those who take part in the trial are likely to be paid upwards of £4,000, according to the FT.

People who participate in hVivo's challenge trials of influenza receive up to £3,750.

Vaccines are normally tested using two groups of people, both of which need to contract the disease naturally, with one given the vaccine and the other used as a control.

Both of Britain's leading vaccine candidates are using the conventional methods, but they are being held up because so few people were being exposed to the disease during summer.

Traditional clinical trials require tens of thousands of participants to boost the chance of some of them being infected with coronavirus in the community.

But, in challenge trials, the pool of volunteers can be much smaller because every person is guaranteed to be infected with the disease.

Reacting to the news, Dr Claire Waddington, clinical lecturer in infectious diseases at the University of Cambridge, said: 'Challenge trials are well established as a way to accelerate the development of vaccines for a wide range of infections.

'As we gain more understanding of Covid-19, we are increasingly in a position to identify those people for who Covid-19 infection is a mild illness, and these people could safely participate in a controlled human infection study after a thorough medical assessment and consent process.

'Such a model could give us some extremely useful information on how the immune system responds to Covid-19 and what responses are protective, as well as providing a model for early testing of candidate vaccines.'

1. GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur: 60million doses

The Government revealed on July 29 it had signed a deal with pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Sanofi Pasteur

If the vaccine proves successful, the UK could begin to vaccinate priority groups, such as frontline health and social care workers and those at increased risk from coronavirus, as early as the first half of next year, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said.

Human clinical studies of the vaccine will begin in September followed by a phase 3 study in December.

The vaccine is based on the existing technology used to produce Sanofi's seasonal flu vaccine. Genetic material from the surface protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is inserted into insect cells - the basis of Sanofi's influenza product - and then injected to provoke an immune response in a human patient.

2. AstraZeneca (manufacturing University of Oxford's): 100million

AstraZeneca, which is working in partnership with Oxford University, is already manufacturing the experimental vaccine after a deal was struck on May 17.

Professor Sarah Gilbert, who is leading the Oxford team, is confident the jab could be ready for the most vulnerable people by the end of the year.

Her comments came after the results from the first phase, published in The Lancet on July 20, showed promise.

The team have genetically engineered a virus to look like the coronavirus - to have the same spike proteins on the outside - but be unable to cause any infection inside a person. This virus, weakened by genetic engineering, is a type of virus called an adenovirus, the same as those which cause common colds, that has been taken from chimpanzees.

3. BioNTech/Pfizer: 30million

US drug giant Pfizer - most famous for making Viagra - and German firm BioNTech were revealed to have secured a deal with the UK Government on July 20.

It reported positive results from the ongoing phase 2/3 clinical trial of one called BNT162b1 on July 1. The company is still running phase 2 trials at the moment.

Pfizer's vaccine is one called an mRNA vaccine, which do not directly inject bits of the virus into the body but send genetic material.

mRNA vaccines programme the body to produce parts of the virus itself by injecting the body with a molecule that tells disease-fighting cells what to build. The immune system then learns how to fight it.

4. Valneva: 60million

The Government has given Valneva — whose vaccine is understood to be in the preclinical stages of development — an undisclosed amount of money to expand its factory in Livingston, Scotland.

While the Government revealed a 60million dose deal on July 20, the company said it had reached agreement in principle with the UK government to provide up to 100million doses.

Valneva's jab is an inactivated whole virus vaccine, meaning it injects a damaged version of the coronavirus itself into the body.

The virus has been destroyed in a way that makes it unable to cause infection, but the body still recognises it as a dangerous intruder and therefore mounts an immune response which it can remember in case of a real Covid-19 infection.

5. Janssen (Johnson & Johnson): 30million

The Government has agreed to buy 30million doses of a vaccine made by Janssen if it works.

Officials have agreed to help the company in its development of the jab by part-funding a global clinical trial. The first in-human trials of Janssen's jab began in mid-July and are being done on adults over the age of 18 in the US and Belgium.

The jab is named Ad26.COV2-S, recombinant, and is a type of jab called a viral vector recombinant vaccine.

Proteins that appear on the outside of the coronavirus are reproduced in a lab and then injected into the body to stimulate an immune reaction.

The 'Ad' part of the vaccine's name means it works using an adenovirus - a virus best known for causing the common cold - as a vehicle to transport the coronavirus genetics into the body.

6. Novavax: 60million

Britain has ordered 60million doses of a vaccine being developed by the US-based company Novavax. It will help to fund late-stage clinical trials in the UK and also boost plans to manufacture the vaccine in Britain.

Novavax's jab, named NVX-CoV2373, showed positive results in early clinical trials.

It produced an immune response in 100 per cent of people who received it, the company said, and was safe and 'generally well-tolerated'.

Novavax's candidate is also a recombinant vaccine and transports the spike proteins found on the outside of the coronavirus into the body in order to provoke the immune system.

7. Imperial College London: Unknown quantity

Imperial College London scientists are working on Britain's second home-grown hope for a jab. The candidate is slightly behind Oxford's vaccine in terms of its progress through clinical trials, but is still a major player.

The UK Government is understood to have agreed to buy the vaccine if it works but details of a deal have not yet been publicised.

Imperial's jab is currently in second-phase human trials after early tests showed it appeared to be safe.

Imperial College London will try to deliver genetic material (RNA) from the coronavirus which programs cells inside the patient's body to recreate the spike proteins. It will transport the RNA inside liquid droplets injected into the bloodstream. ... d=msedgdhp

Scott Morrison says the number of coronavirus deaths in Sweden is 20 times those in Australia. Is he correct?
CoronaCheck #40
In this week's newsletter, we've returned again to a comparison of Australia’s COVID-19 deaths to those of Sweden, this time checking a claim made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison that the number of coronavirus deaths in the Nordic country is 20 times the number recorded in Australia.

We've also studied the Facebook posts of federal Liberal MP Craig Kelly, who questioned Victoria Police uniforms, and Victorian Liberal MP Bernie Finn, who has been caught out sharing a fabricated quote.

Scott Morrison made a comparison of deaths in Sweden and Australia. Does it check out?

While Sweden is often cited in debates over how best to balance health and economic considerations in response to the coronavirus, Prime Minister Scott Morrison doesn’t think Australia should be following that country's model of lax restrictions.

this week, the Prime Minister said June quarter GDP showed Australia’s economy had experienced one of the "lowest falls of any developed country".

"Our economy fell by 7 per cent. Devastating, absolutely devastating. But compared to the rest of the world, it was one of the lowest falls of any developed country," Mr Morrison said.

"And when you look at our health results, both on the case incidents in Australia of COVID and the upsetting number of deaths that we've had compared to overseas, I mean, I know a lot of people on your program talk about Sweden. Well, Sweden has had a bigger fall in their economy and they've had almost 20 times the number of deaths."

Indeed, Sweden’s economy tumbled in the June quarter, compared with Australia’s drop of .

However, Mr Morrison's claim that Sweden has had almost 20 times the number of deaths is wide of the mark.

According to data compiled by US-based Johns Hopkins University, Australia had recorded COVID-19 deaths (as of September 23), while Sweden had suffered deaths. While Sweden's death count is much higher than Australia's, it is only seven times the number of deaths seen in Australia.

While Mr Morrison referred to the number of deaths when comparing the two nations, a comparison of the rate of deaths in both countries more closely aligns with his claim.

On those figures, Sweden's rate of deaths per million people is 576.62 compared with Australia’s rate of 34.37. That means the Nordic nation has suffered a death rate more than 16 times that of Australia.

Craig Kelly questions Victoria Police uniforms
A photo showing Victorian police responding to COVID-19 breaches has been shared on Facebook by Liberal MP Craig Kelly along with a caption questioning why the officers are wearing a different uniform to "regular Victoria police".

"Who are the people in the black uniforms with red 'Police' written on the back?"

"Does anyone know why they are dressed differently from the regular Victorian police? Is it true that they don't display the officer's name on their uniform? Has anyone ever seen these uniforms on the streets before?"

Comments responding to Mr Kelly’s post suggest the red on the uniform marked the officers as part of the "Strong Cities Network", a coalition of cities working against violent extremism.

"Good question! We need answers," one comment reads. "Is this Chairman Dan's private security force / UN Strong Cities Force?"

So, what's the deal with the uniforms?

According to a Victoria Police spokeswoman, the uniform pictured is that of the force's Public Order Response Team (PORT).

"PORT regularly responds to planned and unplanned events which can include protests, or large scale sporting or entertainment events," the spokeswoman told Fact Check in an email.

"When officers from PORT are responding in large numbers at crowded events, coloured patches including red, blue and green alongside numbers on uniforms are used to clearly identify them from general duties police."

On the question of identity, the spokeswoman said the officers were indeed required to wear either a name badge or one identifying them by their "registered number".

As to suggestions Victoria Police had been "privatised" and "sold out" to the "Strong Cities Force", .

While Victoria is signed up to the Strong Cities Network, which is led by an independent UK think tank and aimed at tackling violent extremism, the fact checkers found that control of Victoria Police remains solely in the hands of the Victorian Government.

"While Victoria is a member city of the Strong Cities Network, this has no impact on the operations of Victoria Police, which continues to be owned by, and accountable to, Victoria's government," AAP said.

Despite claims on Facebook to the contrary, the network says it is not connected to the United Nations. However, its official launch took place in New York in 2015, at the margins of the UN General Assembly.

In regards to Mr Kelly's question on whether the uniforms shown in the post had been seen on the streets before, the red patches have been in use since at least September 2019, when PORT officers were involved in removing animal rights activists from a bridge in Melbourne .

Victorian MP shares fake Daniel Andrews quote
Victorian Liberal Party MP Bernie Finn a quote falsely attributed to Daniel Andrews.

"In fact, you'd be surprised at how much can be avoided if people stop insisting on their personal freedoms," an image posted by Mr Finn reads. "Because insisting on human rights is not only selfish, it's stupid."

The post suggests the Premier made the comments this month.

But , the quote comes from a published by conservative news outlet The Spectator Australia, with a Victorian government spokeswoman confirming that Mr Andrews had never made the statement.

A "false information" label has now been placed on Mr Finn's post, although it took at least four days for the warning to appear, and the post remains live.

From Washington, D.C.
As debate rages across the US about the worth of mandatory mask-wearing, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has come out strongly against by the director of The Centers for Disease Control, Robert Redfield, that "face masks are the most important, powerful public health tool we have".

Responding, Mr Meadows on September 17: "I will gladly wear my mask each and every day if that's what makes the difference — and it doesn't."

"I think that even a Dr Redfield, Dr Fauci or anybody else would suggest that it is a mitigating effort, but it is not something that is designed to, to actually make sure that we don't have the coronavirus spread."

But fact checkers at CNN’s Facts First Mr Meadows's claim that masks don't make a difference to be false, and that both Dr Redfield and Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had "touted the role of masks in preventing the spread of coronavirus".

"Per the latest estimates from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), universal mask usage would save 135,000 lives by January 1," the fact checkers noted.

They added that the CDC director had also said in July: "If we all wore face coverings for the next four, six, eight, 12 weeks, across the nation, this virus transmission would stop." ... d=msedgdhp

Quarantined traveller potentially infected 31 people with COVID-19
Mystery surrounds how a man who tested negative for COVID-19 twice, later went on to infect six others.

A quarantined traveller who underwent managed isolation for 14 days in New Zealand's Christchurch, had no symptoms and did not return a positive reading.

But experts are now certain he has sparked a cluster of new infections after he left hotel quarantine.

At least 31 more people, who are close contacts of the confirmed cases, could also have contracted the virus.

One theory is that the man may have had an unusually long incubation period.

'We are still not sure whether this is a case of a long incubation period, but that's a possibility,' Covid-19 modeller Shaun Hendy told RNZ.

'We have seen evidence of this overseas that there are some people who have a much longer incubation period.'

Another potential explanation is that 'something went wrong' at the isolation facility causing a breach in quarantine controls.

Genomic testing has confirmed all the six cases are part of the one cluster, but COVID-tracers are still not sure when the man became infected.

Mr Hendy said there should be some concern about the strange case, but added New Zealand health officials are confident all close contacts have been identified and that there are few undetected cases in the community.

Two members of a family of three, who later tested positive, were on the same flight from Christchurch to Auckland as the infected man after leaving quarantine.

They later met another family member on a trip to Taupō and mingled with 18 others from various locations including the Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Christchurch and Hamilton.

Mr Hendy admitted the fact that the outbreak is not confined to one part of the country is a worry for contact tracers.

Epidemiologist Professor Sir David Skegg said the emerging cluster needs to be taken 'very seriously'.

'We shouldn't think that we've beaten this thing, we haven't. It's raging around the world and it's going to keep cropping up in New Zealand from time to time,' he said.

There are currently 65 active coronavirus cases in New Zealand with the vast majority of infections stemming from travellers in managed quarantine facilities.

On Wednesday, Auckland eased restrictions to COVID Alert Level Two after a second lockdown was ordered by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on August 31.

Aucklanders can now host and attend gatherings of up to 100 people. ... d=msedgdhp

New Zealand government gives all clear for Pakistan, West Indies to tour (CRICKET)
New Zealand's government has given the go ahead for the Pakistan and West Indies teams to tour the country later this year and in early 2021, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) said on Friday.

New Zealand has been one of the world's most successful nations at containing the new coronavirus and the country's borders remain closed to almost all visitors.

NZC has nevertheless promised a bumper home summer of international cricket, including test matches against Pakistan and West Indies.

"New Zealand Cricket has received government approval to proceed with plans to host international touring sides this summer ... beginning with the West Indies and Pakistan's men's teams in November, December and January," NZC said in a statement.

"A press conference to announce the details of the upcoming summer's international ... schedule will be held early next week."

NZC is also hoping to host Bangladesh in limited overs internationals as well as the Australian women's team in February when New Zealand would have been staging the now postponed 50-overs World Cup.

Officials said last month they would be looking at the biosecurity 'bubble' model used by England to host recent test series against the West Indies and Pakistan.

New Zealand Minister of Sport Grant Robertson said Netball New Zealand had also been given permission to resume hosting international matches but that all incoming teams would be subject to strict protocols.

"Getting teams into managed isolation and allowing them to train and be competitive has not been an easy task," he said.

"While sports teams will be operating within a bubble, safety will be ensured through the provision of normal infection prevention control mechanisms like physical separation, normal hygiene practices and PPE.

"Training facilities will also be secure, safe and isolated."

New Zealand will also host Australia in two Bledisloe Cup rugby internationals in Wellington and Auckland next month. ... d=msedgdhp

Air New Zealand begins drawing down government debt facility, flags future capital raising
Air New Zealand Ltd said on Friday it had begun to draw down on a NZ$900 million ($589.95 million) government debt facility that would give it time to review its capital structure and complete a capital raising by June 2021.
The airline said the New Zealand government had reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining a majority shareholding and its board was in constructive talks with the government about its capital structure and funding.

New Zealand is due to hold a national election on Oct. 17, with polls showing incumbent Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is on track to win.

The airline had last month said it would need to draw down on the government loan to help it weather the severe loss in revenue during the coronavirus pandemic after it reported its first annual loss in nearly two decades.

Along with interest rates of 7-9%, the loan gives the government the right to seek repayment through a capital raising after six months or convert the loan to equity.

The loan also gives the government security over many of Air New Zealand's aircraft, complicating its ability to get commercial funding until the loan is retired, Chief Financial Officer Jeff McDowall told Reuters last month.

Air New Zealand this month said it aims to cut up to 385 more cabin crew jobs due to the lack of long-haul international flying, which would take its COVID-19 related job losses to around 37% of its workforce.

In the domestic market, it expects capacity to return to nearly 85% of pre-COVID levels in October after a recent virus outbreak in Auckland was brought under control, leading to a lift in restrictions. ... d=msedgdhp
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: 12573
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:05 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: 12573
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Sep 26, 2020 7:32 am


Victoria records 12 new coronavirus cases and 1 more COVID-19 death
Key points:
Some coronavirus restrictions in Melbourne will be eased slightly from Monday
The Premier is expected to detail the changes on Sunday
He has warned while the announcement will be "positive news", it won't involve massive steps

The trigger point for the second step in Melbourne's 'roadmap to reopening' was a 14-day average between 30 and 50 cases.
The latest reported death is a woman in her 80s linked to an aged care outbreak and it takes the state's death toll to 782.

Mr Andrews said the number of active cases was down to 444, with just one of those in regional areas.

Metropolitan Melbourne's 14-day daily case average is now 23.6, down from 25.1 yesterday.

Regional Victoria's rolling average remains at 0.8.

The total number of cases with an unknown source recorded in Melbourne in the latest 14-day period is 31, a drop from 34 yesterday. ... s/12706142

Victoria has recorded 12 new coronavirus cases and one further death overnight as the state readies itself for the further easing of restrictions.

Premier Daniel Andrews said five of the new cases are linked to known outbreaks and complex cases, and seven cases were under investigation.

The latest reported death is a woman in her 80s linked to an aged care outbreak and it takes the state's death toll to 782.

Mr Andrews said the number of active cases was down to 444, with just one of those in regional areas.

Metropolitan Melbourne's 14-day daily case average is now 23.6, down from 25.1 yesterday.

Regional Victoria's rolling average remains at 0.8.

The total number of cases with an unknown source recorded in Melbourne in the latest 14-day period is 31, a drop from 34 yesterday.

Some coronavirus restrictions in Melbourne will be eased slightly from Monday, with the State Government expected to make an announcement on Sunday.

"There will be positive news [Sunday] and a series of safe steps [announced]," Mr Andrews said.

The trigger point for the second step in Melbourne's 'roadmap to reopening' was a 14-day average between 30 and 50 cases.

Under the current roadmap this step will allow outdoor public gatherings of up to five people from up to two households, and permit childcare services to reopen.

Earlier in the week Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed he was considering lifting more restrictions on September 28 than initially planned, but said final announcements would depend on the data.

Mr Andrews reiterated Melbourne moving to the roadmap's third step, scheduled for October 26, "may be able to occur sooner" than planned.

The criteria for Melbourne's third step are a statewide 14-day daily case average below five, and fewer than five "mystery" cases with an unknown source recorded over 14 days.

Regional Victoria moved to step three of its roadmap 10 days ago.

Today's figures are down from yesterday when 14 new infections were recorded.

Victoria's active cases dipped below 500 yesterday, with a total of 482 cases state-wide.

"That is the first time we have been below 500 cases for a considerable period of time and that is very pleasing," Premier Daniel Andrews said yesterday.

Mr Andrews has said restrictions could be eased in October more than originally planned considering Melbourne was ahead of its roadmap schedule.

It follows hopes that the city could have more restrictions eased than first expected.

"We are working through all the numbers that have come to us throughout the week," Mr Andrews said.

"We are very confident that we can take some safe steps, not big steps - I want to be very clear, the roadmap never envisaged really significant steps at the 28th - but we are on track, the strategy is working.

"I do hope to be able to talk a little bit more about how I think October will unfold and maybe give people some clarity around, because we are ahead of schedule, what might be possible.

"That means many things become possible and potentially earlier than we had thought." ... d=msedgdhp
. ... d=msedgdhp


Faye Douglas chose to die at home rather than risk dying alone in hospital when COVID-19 hit
Losing my mother to the ravages of cancer during the worst pandemic in a century was tantamount to finding myself living in my worst nightmare.

The thought of Mum dying alone in hospital, unable to be held and comforted in her final days by the daughters who adored her, was too unbearable to contemplate.

So, like thousands of other families — especially in Melbourne where COVID-19 restrictions were heaviest — my sisters and I decided that Mum should spend her last months in her own home surrounded by her loved ones.

We were also fearful that Mum might actually contract coronavirus if she remained in hospital, making her final weeks even more distressing.

We agreed that I would be Mum's primary carer and my sisters would visit as often as they could while navigating Melbourne's strict clampdown on travel.

My worst nightmare
Nothing could have prepared me for the tidal wave of grief that came with being told my beautiful mum, Faye Douglas, had terminal cancer.

Or with seeing the pain of realisation drain the hope from the faces of my sisters.

As I gently held Mum through her own grief, I knew that I would be by her side for the duration of this heartbreaking journey — no matter how long it was to be. Afterall, she had always been there for me.

Prior to my employment with the ABC, I was a nurse and had palliative care experience, but no training prepared me for the emotional stamina I needed to care for my own mother as she navigated the pathway to death.

As I left my COVID-19-free home in north-western Victoria for my mother's home in outer-eastern Melbourne, which was in the midst of the coronavirus second wave and the nation's harshest lockdown, I could not have known how challenging the next few months would be.

Thankfully, an army of specialists from Eastern Palliative Care was waiting to help me.

This expert team of care providers — nurses, doctors and therapists — made daily visits to Mum's home to ensure she could live as fully and as comfortably as possible in her last days.

And to support me as I did my best to care for Mum.

The COVID-issue surgical masks and plastic protection shields hid most of their faces, but the kindness and care in their eyes as they tended to Mum, and listened to me, was unmistakable.Pain and exhaustion
Death — and the fear of losing a loved one — are very difficult to comprehend, unless you've experienced loss previously.

My sisters and I lost our father, Basil Douglas, after a stroke on Christmas Day four years ago. He passed away peacefully in the early hours of the following morning.

It was heartbreaking for us all, especially Mum, but the few hours Dad spent in hospital allowed us all time to comfort him and say our goodbyes.

In 2016, there were no limits on how many of his closest relatives could kiss him one last time.

Among the hurdles I encountered caring for Mum were the many misconceptions, myths and fears that shape our perceptions; one of the biggest is the use of pain medication in the final stages of palliative care being akin to assisted dying.

Managing Mum's pain became the biggest challenge for me as I tended to her deteriorating health.

I felt so helpless as I tried to support her through intense episodes of pain caused by the aggressive neuroendocrine carcinoma that was ravaging her body.

I was also torn between the preconceptions my family had about pain medication and its unwanted side-effects on my mother's cognition.

It was difficult for my sisters to see my mother so frail and lethargic.

I think they hoped that this was a result of the pain medication rather than the natural progression of her body preparing for death.

Being in lockdown with my mum 24/7 also presented other challenges I was not fully prepared for, such as chronic lack of sleep and emotional exhaustion.

I couldn't just go for a walk, or pop into a cafe for a cup of tea when I was feeling overwhelmed. Under the stage four COVID-19 lockdown, no-one had such luxuries in Melbourne.

The truth is, I would not have coped without the daily support from the palliative care team and I will forever be grateful for the family support my sisters and I received.

Serenity balances the grief
Amongst all the grief of losing my mum, I found a sense of serenity, a sense that every moment shared with her was precious and to be treasured.

Mum and I filled our days with music therapy, her favourite songs and foods — even pampering on the occasions she was feeling strong enough between the waves of unpredictable pain.

At first, I was fearful as I embarked on this journey with Mum during the worst pandemic in a century.

But now, I will be forever thankful that I had the opportunity to spend the final eight weeks of my beautiful mother's life with her.

This time by her side has helped me to better accept her death and to cope with the grief of her loss.

Palliative care at home meant that she was able to remain in the comfort and privacy of her own home surrounded by her family and her beloved fur babies, that played such a vital role in ensuring her emotional and spiritual comfort.

I was able to embrace my mother in love and provide for her every need; to allow her to die with dignity and in as much comfort as possible.

I will always be so grateful for the palliative care team who, despite the rapidly spreading COVID-19 second wave, put on their protective equipment and bravely came into our home to support us through to the end. ... d=msedgdhp

Muslim families in Gippsland struggle to access halal products during coronavirus lockdown
Sourcing culturally appropriate foods in regional areas is difficult at the best of times, and for Muslim residents throughout Gippsland in Victoria's east, strict lockdown travel rules have complicated shopping for groceries even more.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, most residents in the Latrobe Valley would travel several hours to suburbs in Melbourne's outer-east to buy halal-certified goods in bulk.

Now with regional-to-metro travel banned, many families have resorted to vegetarian-based diets.

The adjustment has proven difficult for Iqbal Zafar, the father of four budding athletes.

"It's been very hard ... we usually travel to Dandenong and Narre Warren to get our groceries because there's no specialised outlets for halal meats in the Latrobe Valley," he said.

"The kids have resigned to the fact that we cannot get certain meats during lockdown, so we're trying to look for other sources of protein."

Arfa Khan, president of the United Sisters of the Latrobe Valley, said some families had initially relied on a community carpooling service to receive goods.

"Around the first COVID wave there was a local person who put an online platform together where people could place orders and he'd pick them up and deliver them to us for a small profit, but that's now stopped because of the spike in coronavirus cases in Melbourne," she said.

"Now with home schooling and work, I've had to try and mix and match with foods ... some days the girls notice and ask why we don't have any meat or chicken, but I've had to explain that I have to make arrangements accordingly."

Local businesses fear advertising halal
Kerem Boztay, the manager of Marmara Halal Meats in Dandenong, said the stigma associated with halal products had created a sense of confusion in regional areas.

"A lot of people were trying to boycott halal because they thought the funding and all that was going to terrorism overseas ... unfortunately due to that, a lot of places have taken off the halal," he said.

Several Gippsland meat suppliers have told the ABC that while they stocked some halal products, they stopped advertising them after receiving anti-Islamic threats.

Halal refers to products that are "permissible" for consumption according to Islamic law. Animals must be alive and healthy at the time of slaughter and all blood should be drained from the carcass.

According to the Halal Certification Authority, products must never come into contact with haram (forbidden) substances during processing.

Mr Boztay's store was a regular supplier to many Muslims in Gippsland before the pandemic, but he said the lockdown had highlighted a demand for more halal manufacturers in regional areas.

"On our Facebook platforms ... we've got a lot of customers messaging, asking if we can go out and deliver to those areas ... but at the moment it's not feasible for us," he said.

"Unless [the Victorian Government] could allow providers something like a day each fortnight to travel and deliver to regional areas, that's the only way I see it working.

"In general, if you have halal you can serve a wider array of customers ... there's no downside to doing it, it just adds to potential business."

Better understanding fosters inclusion
Mrs Khan was recently appointed to Latrobe City's Diversity Advisory Committee and intended to raise her concerns with the council.

She said if more local businesses advertised halal, it would help to foster inclusion and diversity in Gippsland and save people from travelling hours to the city to buy goods.

"When we hear that businesses do sell halal but don't advertise it, we have no idea that we can go there to eat, so these kind of gestures don't really sit well when we talk about inclusiveness in the community."

Mrs Khan said more education about Islam was needed in country areas to resolve the issue.

"Generally the wider community don't know what it is, but once you tell people they say, 'Oh, that's alright, we understand ... it's just a different way people eat food, it's nothing more than that'.

"Gippsland is a beautiful part of Victoria with so much to offer and a very welcoming community, so if we can make more facilities for everyone, it will create a better environment for people of different backgrounds moving to the area." ... d=msedgdhp

'Bitter, brutal and cruel': MPs, unions react to Mikakos' resignation
abor MPs have expressed their sadness at the resignation of Health Minister Jenny Mikakos, who they have described as hardworking, passionate and decent.

Bentleigh MP Nick Staikos said Ms Mikakos was "a person of integrity" who had "worked her guts out while carrying the extraordinary weight of an unprecedented health crisis on her shoulders".

"I only wish her the best post politics," he tweeted.

Ms Mikakos resigned from Parliament on Saturday morning after Premier Daniel Andrews said he held her "accountable" for the botched hotel quarantine program that unleashed the state's disastrous second coronavirus wave.

Victorian Upper House MP Harriet Shing described her friend as "one of the strongest and hardest-working women".

"It's been a huge privilege to work with her and to call her my friend. And it's been a privilege to witness the enormous contribution she has made with diligence and commitment over many, many years."

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard also said he was sorry to hear of the minister's resignation and defended her actions during the pandemic.

"She has worked tirelessly in this pandemic. Premier Andrews' assertion that the Health Minister was responsible for the quarantine system lacks logic," he wrote on Twitter.

"How could a Health Minister direct police to be involved?"

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation president Lisa Fitzpatrick said she was "devastated" and described Mikakos as a hardworking minister who was responsive and engaged.

"I think it's bitter, brutal and cruel," an emotional Ms Fitzpatrick said of the situation.

"She was always interested in issues that we raised about improvements that were required, very strong on policy and had a deep understanding of the health system as well as the work of nurses and midwives."

She said it was unfortunate that Ms Mikakos would be remembered through the lens of the coronavirus pandemic and the hotel quarantine debacle.

Ms Fitzpatrick said Ms Mikakos had left an impressive legacy and highlighted her work in early childhood education, most notably the introduction of funded kindergarten for three-year-olds.

"I am devastated for her. I wish her only the best and I hope that she is able to reflect on her positive contribution."

But the Health Workers Union said it was looking forward to engaging with a new Health Minister, after calling for Ms Mikakos to be sacked earlier this week, saying Victorians were paying for her "incompetence".

"Mikakos's resignation is welcome," the union said via Twitter, adding that it hoped her replacement would stop contracting out public hospital cleaners during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Labor MP for Oakleigh Steve Dimopoulos said Ms Mikakos had been an "amazing servant" to the community for more than 21 years.

"Few people have worked as hard or have more passion for helping others. I've never seen a hint of personal ambition, just an ambition to do good. Proud to call you a friend, Jenny," he tweeted.

But Opposition leader Michael O'Brien said Ms Mikakos had made the right decision and also called for the Premier to stand down.

"Mikakos should go because of contact tracing failures and her dodgy evidence to the inquiry," he said.

"But Mikakos did not say ???no' to ADF. She did not bring in private security for hotel quarantine. These decisions caused our second wave. Andrews is responsible. He must go." ... d=msedgdhp

'The buck stops with me': Victoria Health Minister resigns (from parliament)
Victoria Health Minister Jenny Mikakos has announced her resignation in the wake of the state's hotel quarantine scheme.

There had been mounting calls for her to step aside after her appearance at an inquiry into the program.

Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday told the inquiry the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) was the designated control agency which was primarily responsible for the program, of which Ms Mikakos is the leader. ... wsrc%5Etfw
"As I said to the Board of Inquiry, I take responsibly for my department, the buck stops with me," Ms Mikakos said in a statement posted on Twitter this morning.

"With the benefit of hindsight, there are clearly matters that my department should have briefed me on. Whether they would have changed the course of events only the Board and history can determine.

"For 3 months I had looked forward to learning who made the fateful decision to use security guards. Victorians deserved to know who."

At her appearance at the inquiry on Thursday, Ms Mikakos told the inquiry she knew private security guards were being used but only when outbreaks started to emerge two months after the program was established.

But the minister insisted she was not consulted about how the quarantine scheme was set up, nor was she involved in the decision-making process - despite DHHS being the lead government agency into the hotel quarantine program.

When asked whether she should have been consulted on such matters, the health minister said: "With the benefit of hindsight, it would have been desirable if I had been".

She said that in hindsight, she would not support the use of private security guards in hotel quarantine.

In her statement today, Ms Mikakos said she has always "put everything into my Ministerial responsibilities".

"I have never wanted to leave a job unfinished but in light of the Premier's statement to the Board of Inquiry and the fact that there are elements in it that I strongly disagree with, I believe that I cannot continue to serve in his Cabinet.

"I have never shirked my responsibility for my department but it is not my responsibility alone.

"I look forward to the Board on Inquiry's final report."

She added she was "deeply sorry" for the situation in Victoria and does not believe her actions led to it.

A number of Labor MPs tweeted their support for Ms Mikakos after her resignation was announced. ... wsrc%5Etfw ... wsrc%5Etfw ... wsrc%5Etfw ... d=msedgdhp

Nature of ADF support was 'unclear', not "substantial' or 'extensive': Andrews
Premier Daniel Andrews says the nature of ADF support to Victoria was "unclear" to him following a National Cabinet meeting whereby the Prime Minister offered support to the states and territories but said the offer was not "substantial" or "extensive".

"At the press conference shortly thereafter, the Prime Minister made a more general offer and I acknowledge that," he said.

"This is not a criticism in any way but that's what I took away from the National Cabinet meeting and a week later a different position was advanced that was not drawn to my attention, but I wish it had been." ... d=msedgdhp

Calls grow for Daniel Andrews to step down after health minister qui
Calls are growing for Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to step down after the abrupt resignation of his health minister Jenny Mikakos.

Ms Mikakos posted a letter on Twitter on Saturday announcing that she is quitting as both a minister and member of parliament, after more than 21 years in office.

Her resignation came just a day after Mr Andrews pointed the finger at her when he was asked who was to blame for the hotel quarantine bungle that led to the second wave of COVID-19 cases.

But state opposition Liberal Party MPs have hit out the Premier, saying he 'threw Ms Mikakos under the bus' to absolve himself of blame - but that he too 'needs to go'.

Premier Andrews told the inquiry into the quarantine blunder that he regarded Ms Mikakos as being 'accountable for the program'.

Moments after her resignation, Victorian Shadow Health Minister Georgie Crozier took to social media to blast Mr Andrew's leadership.

'A fish rots from the head down... he can't think by Mikakos going all is fine. It is not. He needs to go too,' she posted.

Ms Crozier later told Sky News the premier was simply looking for 'a scalp' to make him look good.

'She's gone now but only on Thursday Daniel Andrews was backing her and said he had confidence in her,' she said.

'He has lied, he has actually made so many cover-ups, or said so many cover-ups, in relation to this whole dreadful situation.

'We had in this inquiry, 10 senior bureaucrats that couldn't tell us who appointed the security guards in the hotel quarantine program. Three ministers, including Minister Mikakos and the premier, none of them knew.'

Following the resignation of Mikakos, #DanAndrewsResign was trending on Twitter and and there was not shortage of Liberal Party members lining up to put the boot in.

Opposition leader Michael O'Brien said: 'Mikakos should go because of contact tracing failures and her dodgy evidence to the Inquiry, but Mikakos did not say 'no' to ADF.'

'She did not bring in private security for hotel quarantine. These decisions caused our second wave. Andrews is responsible. He must go.'

Pressure on Ms Mikakos mounted after her testimony to the inquiry on Thursday was conflicted by Mr Andrews' on Friday.

Ms Mikakos told the hearing that 'to the best of her recollection' she did not know private guards were enforcing the scheme until late May when the Rydges hotel suffered a coronavirus outbreak.

But a video of a press conference on 29 March - two days after the quarantine scheme was announced - shows Ms Mikakos standing alongside jobs minister Martin Pakula as he said: 'Passengers returning will now undergo mandatory two-week quarantine at those Melbourne hotels with security guards in place.'

Former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett accused Mr Andrews of hanging on of his team out to dry.

'When a leader stops protecting his own, let alone blames them for mistakes of the whole, it is time the leader fails all tests if leadership and should resign. Today,' he posted.

Firebrand shadow housing minister Tim Smith stated the decision to opt for ill-trained private security guards in favour of the military personnel being offered up by the federal government, falls at the feet of the Premier.

'Mikakos has gone. Good. But the Premier and no other Minister has accepted responsibility for the decision to use private security instead of the ADF and police,' Mr Smith said.

'Andrews has not explained why he thanked the PM for the offer of ADF support on March 28th but didn't use them.'

Victoria's Health Workers Union also welcomed Mikakos's resignation, but stopped short of calling for Andrew's blood too.

'We hope to engage with a new Health Minister to put a stop to the bizarre decisions to contract out public hospital cleaners and other non-clinical workers during a pandemic and replace them from dodgy outsourcing firms,' the organisation posted to Twitter. ... d=msedgdhp

Victorian mental health minister Martin Foley replaces health minister Jenny Mikakos following resignation
Premier Daniel Andrews says he was informed of Jenny Mikakos' decision to resign by text message, adding that he believes she took 'the appropriate course of action'.

ictorian mental health minister Martin Foley is replacing Jenny Mikakos as health minister after she resigned from the position, following Premier Daniel Andrews' testimony that she was "accountable" for the bungled hotel quarantine scheme.

In a statement posted to Twitter on Saturday morning, Ms Mikakos said she had written to the Governor of Victoria to resign as minister effective immediately. She would also be resigning from parliament, she said.

"I have never wanted to leave a job unfinished but in light of the premier's statement to the Board of Inquiry and the fact that there are elements in it that I strongly disagree with, I believe that I cannot continue to serve in his cabinet," the statement read."I have never shirked my responsibility for my department but it is not my responsibility alone."

Speaking to reporters after Ms Mikakos' announcement, Mr Andrews said he was informed of her decision by text message.

"She's a very, very hard working person and I'm grateful for her efforts," he said.

"Whether I thought it appropriate or not, she resigned this morning and I believe that is the appropriate course of action. She obviously believes it's the appropriate course of action."

The Premier told the inquiry on Friday that Ms Mikakos was responsible for the botched hotel quarantine program, which led to Victoria's second wave of COVID-19, more than 700 deaths, and strict lockdowns across the state.

He said the health minister was "accountable" for the program, known as Operation Soteria, despite testimony from Ms Mikakos who said there was "shared accountability" between her department and the Department of Jobs, Precincts, and Regions, which contracted the hotels and security companies.

"At the start of the program, I regarded Minister Mikakos and Minister Pakula as responsible for informing cabinet about, and seeking cabinet's endorsement of, the initial overall service model and costings that had been determined for the program," Mr Andrews said.

"I then regarded Minister Mikakos as accountable for the program."
'I am sorry for what has occurred': Daniel Andrews apologises for Victoria's hotel quarantine bungle
The inquiry has so far been unable to determine who made the decision to hire private security guards, rather than use police or Australian Defence Force personnel, to guard returning travellers during their compulsory 14-day quarantine.

In her statement on Saturday, Ms Mikakos said she was disappointed that her "integrity has sought to be undermined".

"For three months I had looked forward to learning who made the fateful decision to use security guards. Victorians deserve to know who," she said.

"I am deeply sorry for the situation that Victorians find themselves in. In good conscience, I do not believe my actions led to them."

Mr Foley, the incoming health minister, said he was looking forward to working with Victorians under "enormously difficult circumstances" to achieve a "COVID-normal reopening" in the state.

A number of Victorian MPs, and Ms Mikakos' NSW counterpart Brad Hazzard, issued statements in support of the outgoing Minister on Saturday, describing her as an "amazing servant" without personal ambition.

“Few people have worked as hard or have more passion for helping others,” Oakleigh MP Steve Dimopoulos said. “I’ve never seen a hint of personal ambition, just an ambition to do good. Proud to call you a friend, Jenny.”

Member for Bentleigh Nick Staikos said he was "saddened" by the way Ms Mikakos' career had ended. "She is a person of integrity who has worked her guts out while carrying the extraordinary weight of an unprecedented health crisis on her shoulders," he said. ... esignation

Mr Hazzard, the NSW health minister, responding to the resignation, targeted Mr Andrews, stating that his assertion that Ms Mikakos was responsible for the bungle "lacks logic". "How could a health minister direct police to be involved," he asked on Twitter.

"Sorry to see Jenny Mikakos resign. She has worked tirelessly in this pandemic," he said.

Meanwhile, Victoria's opposition is calling for Mr Andrews to follow Ms Mikakos and resign. "It's about time this Premier took responsibility for what he's done to this state. It's about time he followed Jenny Mikakos out the door and give Victoria a fresh start," opposition leader Michael O'Brien said on Saturday.

Mr Andrews, however, dismissed the calls, stating: "I don't run from problems and challenges".

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was asked about Ms Mikakos' resignation while addressing media in Adelaide but said it was a matter for Victoria. "I don't think it helps, my commentary on those matters," he said.

Victoria recorded 12 new coronavirus infections and one death on Saturday, as the state prepares for the easing of some restrictions, including a possible staged return to school for some students, from Monday.

The state's coronavirus death toll is now 782.

Metropolitan Melbourne residents are subject to Stage 4 restrictions and must comply with a curfew between the hours of 9pm and 5am.

During the curfew, people in Melbourne can only leave their house for work, and essential health, care or safety reasons.

in Melbourne
Between 5am and 9pm, people can leave the home for exercise, to shop for necessary goods and services, for work, for health care, or to care for a sick or elderly relative. . All Victorians must wear a face covering when they leave home, no matter where they live. ... esignation


Victoria Police issued 82 fines for coronavirus restrictions breaches overnight, including 26 for breaching Melbourne's curfew and eight for failing to wear a face covering.

Three people playing Pokemon Go in a car more than 5 kilometres from their homes were among those who received fines. ... d=msedgdhp
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: 12573
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Sep 26, 2020 7:46 am


NSW COVID-19 cases increase by 1, WHO IS ALREADY IN hotel quarantine
Key points:
Today is the fourth day no locally caught coronavirus cases were confirmed
Health authorities are urging people in Sydney's south-west to be swabbed
Bondi lifeguards announced they will no longer perform mouth-to-mouth amid infection fears

One new case of coronavirus was found in NSW in the 24 hours to 8:00pm Friday night, health authorities confirm.

The new case is an overseas traveller who is confined to hotel quarantine.

Saturday was the fourth day this week that there have been zero locally caught cases of coronavirus in NSW.

There were no locally caught cases found during Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday's reporting periods.

However, lower than usual testing numbers were flagged as a possible reason by authorities in NSW.

12,285 swabs were taken Friday, down slightly from Thursday's total of 13,868, NSW Health said.

Health authorities and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian have stressed the importance of daily testing totals remaining high so the state can continue to manage the pandemic.

On Saturday in a statement, NSW Health acknowledged testing numbers have declined in recent weeks.

"Please come forward for testing right away if you have a runny nose or scratchy throat, cough, fever or other symptoms that could be COVID-19," the statement read.

"This is especially important in South-West Sydney."

It comes as Bondi lifeguards announced they would no longer be performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation amid coronavirus infections fears.

Today was the launch of the 2020-2021 surf life saving season at North Bondi beach, the backdrop of the reality TV show Bondi Rescue.

The head of lifesaving at North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club Eloise Starr said prohibiting mouth-to-mouth was a health and safety policy adopted by clubs nationwide.

"That has now been removed and we will just be completing CPR with chest compressions," she said.

"It just means we are removing the two breaths that we would have been providing previously and we will just use the compressions and also the defibrillator."

She said medical professionals "do believe that rescue breaths aren't required" but that surf life savers would have oxygen that can be provided in times of need.

Meanwhile NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has criticised Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews after the state's health minister stood down today.

In her resignation, Jenny Mikakos said she would wear the blame for Victoria's quarantine hotel failures but did not believe she was responsible.

Mr Hazzard echoed Ms Mikakos, tweeting: "Premier Andrews assertion that the Health Minister was responsible for the Quarantine system lacks logic". "How a Health Minister direct Police to be involved?" he asked. ... m/12706994

NSW records just one new case of COVID-19 as restrictions ease today
ew South Wales has recorded just one new case of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.

The new infection is a returned traveller in hotel quarantine.

The total number of cases in the state is now 4029.

Today marks the first day changes have come into play in community and school sport across the state.

More than one parent is now able to attend games.

"We are saying to parents they can have much more freedom in terms of coming to see their children play sport," Health Minister Brad Hazzard said earlier this week.

Today's figures come after NSW recorded four new cases of coronavirus yesterday.

"With the start of school holidays and increased movement of people, NSW Health is appealing to everyone to get tested as soon as symptoms appear," NSW Health said in a statement.

"Testing numbers have declined in recent weeks. Please come forward for testing right away if you have a runny nose or scratchy throat, cough, fever or other symptoms that could be COVID-19.

"If you have symptoms at all – we need your help. We all need to do our part to keep the community safe from another outbreak. Get tested right away at the earliest symptoms and help protect friends and family from serious disease. This is especially important in South West Sydney."
Image ... B16t5ig|32 ... d=msedgdhp

NSW tourism vendors tighten COVID-19 safety plans as tourists travel to South Coast for school holidays
Businesses and health authorities on the New South Wales Far South Coast are preparing to welcome an influx of tourists ahead of the school holidays, but are nervous about the potential health risks they may bring.

The NSW school holidays officially kick-off on Monday, with towns like Batemans Bay, Merimbula and Eden anticipating a busy two-week period.

The region is hoping a large portion of visitors from Canberra and Sydney will boost tourism income.

"Whilst it's great we're opening up, the reality is the virus is still around," said Liz Mullins, director of medical services at Cooma and Bega hospitals.

"The more people that come to our area, the greater the chance the virus might come as well."

Coastal towns have already experienced the economic impact of the pandemic after a cluster of infections were detected in Batemans Bay in July.

Earlier this month, a positive case briefly visited the Wray Street Oyster Shed in Batemans Bay, and health authorities reminded locals to get tested if they developed symptoms.

"At anytime, someone can come and inadvertently spread the virus," Dr Mullins said.

"Testing as soon as anyone is unwell is still the backbone of how we're going to protect ourselves."

Balancing act after 'tumultuous' year
Regional NSW is teeming with temptations for tourists due to its predominant coronavirus-free status.

Jade Norris, who owns and operates the Wray Street Oyster Shed, is hoping for a big turn out of tourists and a bumper two weeks.

"We've dealt with the bushfires, we've had three rain events that have closed our business and now COVID … it has been a tumultuous year," she said.

"We need people to keep coming so I can keep my staff employed."

Ms Norris updated her COVID-19 safety plan in preparations for the school holidays and after the positive case briefly visited her business a fortnight ago.

Guests are no longer allowed to dine in-house and staff are now only serving takeaway as a precautionary measure.

"We have been a little bit shaken," Ms Norris said.

"We just want to make sure our customers and staff remain safe, and to put their minds at ease.

"We're hypervigilant, but it's also making us proactive to make sure it doesn't affect our community again, because it hits us hard when it does." ... d=msedgdhp
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: 12573
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

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

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Sep 26, 2020 7:55 am


Queensland records 3 new cases of coronavirus
Key points:
Queensland has recorded three new coronavirus cases
Visitors are now allowed in aged care, hospitals and disability facilities
Queenslanders are now allowed up to 30 people in their homes

Queensland COVID-19 snapshot:
Confirmed cases so far: 1,156
Deaths: 6
Tests conducted: 1,094,924
Active cases: 7

Queensland has recorded three new cases of coronavirus overnight Friday, leaving a total of seven active cases across the state.

wo cases are crew members of an international ship who have been transferred to hospital, and the other is a person who has arrived from overseas and is now in quarantine.

In a statement, Queensland Health said all three new cases were being managed by Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service.

The 2 cases acquired onboard an international vessel are men aged in their 40s and 60s.

The third case is a Western Australia man also aged in his 40s.

Queensland health said all passengers who were onboard the man's flight into Queensland have been placed in quarantine.

It comes as restrictions were eased in nursing homes and aged care facilities across Brisbane, Ipswich and Logan on Friday.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said Queenslanders should be proud of their efforts.

"Grandmas and Grandads [will be] getting visitors over the weekend and I wish them all the best," Mr Miles said.

"We've also opened up our hospitals and our aged care centres and I know there'll be lots of very happy older Queenslanders today."

estrictions on private gatherings have also been eased this weekend, with up to 30 people now allowed.

As of Friday, ACT residents were also allowed to enter Queensland without having to quarantine, provided they flew into the state and had not recently been to a hotspot.

From next Thursday, more restrictions will be lifted across Queensland:

* The one person per 4 square metre rule for outdoor public spaces changes to one person per 2 square metres. This means pubs and cafes can have more customers in outdoor areas.
* More people will be allowed at sports carnivals and end-of-year school events up to 1,000 people with a COVID-Safe checklist
* Stadiums can use up to 75 per cent of their capacity, up from 50 per cent.

Residents in the New South Wales local government areas of Glen Innes, Byron Bay, Ballina, Richmond Valley and Lismore will also be allowed to enter Queensland from next Thursday.

Queenslanders will also be able to visit those localities without having to quarantine upon their return.

Queensland has recorded three new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.

The new cases brings the total number of active cases in Queensland to seven.

Today's numbers follows three consecutive days of zero new infections and comes a day after the state opened its borders to the ACT.

Restrictions for Gold Coast and West Morton government areas were also eased yesterday with gathering limits extended to 30 people and hospital and aged care visits now permitted. ... 8972720128
The premier confirmed a raft of new restrictions will soon be eased including lifting the limits on the number of people allowed at outdoor dining venues across the state from October 1.

"More people will be allowed to meet their friends in a local beer garden or an outdoor café," Ms Palaszczuk said.

Theme parks and zoos will also be able to welcome more people.

End of year sports and school events can increase numbers from 500 to 1000 people outdoors, but they must have a COVID-Safe checklist.

Stadium capacities will also be increased from 50 per cent to 75 per cent. ... d=msedgdhp ... d=msedgdhp ... e/12683978 ... d=msedgdhp

Queenslanders enjoyed the sunshine amid eased COVID-19 restrictions
Queenslanders are stepping outdoors into a sunny new reality with the state on the cusp of being COVID-19 free.

Only three new coronavirus cases were reported on Saturday after three consecutive days of zero new infections.

The low figures have prompted health authorities to ease restrictions on gatherings in the Gold Coast and West Morton government areas.

Residents can now gather in groups of 30 and also visit aged care centres.

Queenslanders seemed to immediately enjoy their newfound freedom and have spent their days outdoors and sipping cocktails at bars.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young has even encouraged Queenslanders to get outdoors, and open the windows of their homes.

'Try not to shut yourselves in with air conditioning, remembering of course that we also need people to be cool,' Dr Young said.

'But wherever possible I strongly recommend that people move their lives, as much as possible, outdoors.'

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has also promised more restrictions will be eased from October 1.

Restaurants will be allowed to seat one person every two squared metres instead of every four squared metres.

Stadium capacities will be increased from 50 to 75 per cent.

Outdoor school and sporting events will also be capped at 1,000 people, up from 500.

More people will also be allowed to visit theme parks and zoos at one time.

'We are able to do this because Queenslanders have done such a great job… now we can help the economy recover more,' Ms Palaszczuk said.

The new found freedoms come five weeks after a new virus outbreak began at a Brisbane Youth Detention Centre, which peaked at 55 cases.

The Queensland and New South Wales border could also remained closed as a new locally acquired COVID-19 case was recorded in Sydney.

The new case comes as NSW reached reached 17 days of the 28 days required for a border to reopen.

The potential setback comes as Ms Palaszczuk urged the federal government not to withdraw the Australian troops from the state's borders, including airports, on October 1.

Ms Palaszczuk says her state is being singled out as troops will remain on the borders of NSW, South Australia and the Northern Territory well into October.

'Treat Queensland like everyone else. Stop singling Queensland out,' the premier said.

Queensland had just five active virus cases on Friday morning, and if no new community transmission is recorded overnight it will have gone 16 days without such an infection.

Two new cases emerged on a ship off the coast of Cape York, but they won't be counted until they enter Queensland. ... d=msedgdhp
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: 12573
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm
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