The bar to reopening the NSW-Queensland border could be halved to a requirement of just two weeks without community transmission. NSW last achieved that in mid-June.
Recordings of meetings that set up Victoria’s failed hotel quarantine program reveal Australian Defence Force troops were on offer to the Victorian government from the outset.
Lifeline chairman John Brogden has warned of a coming wave of mental health issues and suicides as the coronavirus recession deepens, calling for targeted welfare support to protect the most vulnerable.
Boris Johnson’s government acknowledges its testing program is coming under strain, amid reports of tests being unavailable in the country’s worst virus affected areas.
At least 17 members of the Indian parliament have tested positive for the coronavirus, government officials said on Tuesday, underlining the widening spread of infections set to cross five million cases soon.
The lawmakers were screened ahead of the re-opening of parliament on Monday after six months. MPs cleared by the tests wore masks, occupied seats with glass enclosures and worked for truncated hours.
Twelve of the 17 infected MPs were from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, according to a government official who had a list of the lawmakers. All 17 were members of the 545-member lower house of parliament.
« After the routine parliament test for COVID & genome test itâs confirmed that I have tested positive for the virus. I am currently in good health & spirits, » she said in a tweet.
It was not immediately known how many members from the 245-strong upper house of parliament, known as the Rajya Sabha, had tested positive.
Lekhi, a spokeswoman for the BJP, is the latest in a string of politicians who have been infected with the coronavirus, the most high-profile of them being Home Minister Amit Shah, who spent most of August in hospital after being detected with COVID-19.
Shah, a close aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was admitted to hospital again over the weekend for a routine health check-up, the hospital said. He has not yet attended parliament.
The government is doing all it can to contain the spread of the coronavirus, Federal Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told the upper house of Parliament on Tuesday, while asking members for their support in increasing awareness.
« The battle for COVID is far from over, » Vardhan said in his speech to the upper house.
Cases in India have been surging and the country reported 83,809 new coronavirus infections for its lowest daily jump in a week, the health ministry said on Tuesday.
The world’s second-most populous nation appeared to be on course to cross the milestone of 5 million cases on Wednesday, as its current tally is 4.93 million.
India, where cases have been rising faster than any other nation, lags only the United States in terms of its number of total infections.
The death toll crossed 80,000 on Tuesday, swelled by 1054 in the last 24 hours, the ministry added.
Melburnians trying to escape to holiday homes following the easing of restrictions in regional Victoria will face hefty fines and beefed up police road checks amid fears they could spread the coronavirus.
In regional Victoria from Thursday, residents can have visitors to their homes, restaurants and cafes can have seated indoor and outdoor dining, beauty services can reopen and people can gather in groups of ten outside.
However, Premier Daniel Andrews warned Melburnians could not travel to the regions without a lawful reason.
This is very serious, very, very serious, » Mr Andrews said. « We cannot have people making unnecessary and unlawful trips to regional Victoria and potentially taking the virus with them. »
Royal Caribbean Group, one of the largest cruise companies operating in Australia, has cancelled all its remaining cruises in the region for this year, with plans to restart in 2021.
The move comes after the Federal Government recently extended its ban on cruise ships in Australia waters to December 17. The ban was previously scheduled to end on September 17.
Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas will now resume cruising from Australia on January 4.
The ban came into force on March 27 and was extended by three months in May in the wake of several COVID-19 outbreaks on board cruise ships, including the Ruby Princess docked in Sydney.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced the extension of the « human biosecurity emergency period under the Biosecurity Act 2015 » on September 3, which included the ban on cruise ships entering Australian waters.
Royal Caribbean and sister company Celebrity Cruises previously planned to resume cruising from October 31, after all major cruise companies announced further suspensions last month, with the resulting cancellation of 50 scheduled cruises.
Acts of kindness? Good deeds from neighbours? We want to know how Melburnians are supporting each other through lockdown. What have you seen people do to help others in the community?
Two fines were issued after a serving member of the Australian Defence Force entertained a guest in his hotel room while he was supposed to be in quarantine at the location.
ADF officers were conducting security at the hotel on Hickson Road, Sydney, in the early hours of Tuesday morning, when they heard a female voice in the room of the man, who is a serving member of the ADF who recently returned from overseas deployment.
After the officers conducted inquiries, the woman was escorted from the hotelâs quarantine area and police were contacted.
When local police arrived and spoke with ADF officers, who are managing the hotel, both the 26-year-old man and 53-year-old woman, who was a guest staying at the hotel, were issued $1000 fines.
The woman was directed to check-out immediately and attend a COVID testing facility before self-isolating at her Hornsby home.
The man remains in hotel quarantine, and the ADF confirmed on Tuesday evening that an investigation was continuing.
« Defence takes its responsibilities for the safety and well-being of its members and the general public seriously, and will not tolerate breaches of COVID-19 procedures, » an ADF spokesperson told the Herald and The Age.
The Forest Fire Management officer initially put in charge of Victoriaâs quarantine hotels has shone further light on the apparently confused management structure of the hotels.
Evidence given in recent weeks by senior bureaucrats from the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions stated that they believed they reported directly to Chris Eagle, who was appointed deputy state controller of the hotels program.
However, Chris Eagle told the hotels inquiry that he did not believe anybody within the program reported to him.
âNo, nobody within Operation Soteria [hotels program] actually reported to me â¦ there was no power delegated to me under any act or legislation by DHHS [Department of Health and Human Services],â he said.
âAll activities I undertook were under the direction of the state controller for health.âMr Eagle was then asked about concerns raised by Jobs Department officials to him on March 30 – the second day of the hotels program – that Victoria Police should be brought in to quarantine hotels, not just private security.
He said he passed the request on to the state controller and the DHHS state agency controller at the time and got some âinitial informationâ to feed back to the concerned government officials.
âI was aware of meetings in following days between DHHS, DJPR and Victoria Police, but I was not involved in those meetings,â Mr Eagle said.
In the final piece of evidence for the day, Mr Eagle was asked whether the problem of confusion over who was actually in charge on the ground in hotels – one of the motifs from the last few weeks of evidence in the inquiry – was ever raised with him.
âI donât recall â¦ conversations about the specifics of hotel operations to that level of detail,â Mr Eagle responded.
Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton will be the first to take the stand, followed by his former deputy, Dr Annaliese van Diemen.
Three senior Health Department officials will follow, before Chief Commissioner Shane Patton and his predecessor Graham Ashton give evidence on Friday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s suicide prevention adviser Christine Morgan says she has not provided the government with a single page of written advice on how it should respond to the mental health challenges of COVID-19.
Ms Morgan, who was given the title in July 2019 in addition to her role as chief executive of the National Mental Health Commission, told a COVID-19 Senate committee hearing on Wednesday that her advice on the pandemic had been restricted to « conversations » with the office of Health Minister Greg Hunt.
« We don’t do formal, written advice to the government, » Ms Morgan said, describing « an ongoing relationship of dialogue and meetings » as the essence of her advisory role.
After Labor senator Katy Gallagher expressed surprise that there was « no formal record » of this advice, Ms Morgan’s deputy head of strategy Alison Morehead stepped in to explain that the commission did provide briefings to the minister « in the normal public service way ».
« We do briefings and the normal paperwork – it’s very much like the normal public service, » Dr Morehead said.
Quizzed by Senator Gallagher about how independent her role was, Ms Morgan said the commission was « actively called upon to provide robust advice » on mental health policy and had « played a strong role » in advising the government on « how to handle the mental health needs of the pandemic. »
When asked what her advice to the government was on the winding back of JobSeeker and JobKeeper supports, which mental health experts warn risks a spike in suicides, she said had not raised the topic specifically, but had engaged in a discussion about « the need for economic certainty … and adequacy of income » for people affected by COVID-19.
« I don’t then presume to be an economist who can say what the economic policy should be, » she said.
Ms Morgan last year provided written advice to the health department on suicide prevention, including a document titled « initial advice and early findings ».
Published on the department website, it states that « interim advice and final advice » would be provided in July and December 2020.
The deputy state controller overseeing Victoria’s hotel quarantine says each agency undertook « their bit of the jigsaw » in running the program.
Chris Eagle, ordinarily the deputy chief fire officer for Forest Fire Management Victoria, was seconded to the state’s pandemic response.
Mr Eagle’s notes about the structure of the hotel quarantine program were shown to the state inquiry into the scheme this afternoon.
He noted « each agency undertaking their bit of the jigsaw, under the guidance of DHHS [Department of Health and Human Services]. »
The management of the program is of interest to the inquiry due to evidence that multiple departments and agencies created confusion on the ground about who was in charge.
Today, Scott Morrison has promised a âgas-led recoveryâ from the coronavirus recession by ensuring Australian manufacturers can gain access to the energy they need to compete with overseas rivals.
The mammoth new plan canvasses Commonwealth support for five new gas fields and pipelines to transport gas to Sydney, Melbourne, and other areas facing possible shortages in the coming winters. Although environmental groups have intensified their opposition to the fossil fuel in recent years as renewable energy becomes more available, affordable and reliable, the government sees gas as the best way to transition away from coal.
In this episode, national editor Tory Maguire is joined by chief political correspondent David Crowe to talk us through how the government’s new gas plan is supposed to bring Australia out of the coronavirus recession.
Donnez votre point de vue et aboonez-vous!
Votre point de vue compte, donnez votre avis
[maxbutton id= »1″]