/ 03 May 2021

Perth free to roam as COVID cases surge globally

Two million Perth and Peel region residents have so far avoided a 2nd snap lockdown, but AFL fans were blocked from attending the AFL’s Western Derby that saw the West Coast Eagles take on Fremantle yesterday afternoon. Three new cases of locally-acquired COVID-19 reported on Saturday put locals on edge days after the last lockdown ended. The latest cluster stems from a quarantine hotel worker who has infected 2 of his housemates who are food delivery drivers. Premier Mark McGowan said a lockdown would have been imminent had the area not been under restrictions last week, including the wearing of masks. “But if we need to, that is what we’ll do,” he said.

As a critic of the system, McGowan says city hotels are not the place to quarantine international travellers. And that’s why he says he supports the Morrison Government’s move to temporarily ban travellers – including Aussie citizens and permanent residents – coming to Oz from India. It’s believed to be the first time Australia has banned its own citizens from entering the country, and adding fuel to the fire, fines of up to $66,600 or 5 years in prison (or both…) for anyone defying the travel ban kick in today. Legal experts have questioned the ban’s legal standing, and former Iranian prisoner Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert said leaving Aussies in the middle of a COVID catastrophe was “immoral, unjustifiable and completely un-Australian.” Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said it was a tough decision, but “it is critical the integrity of the Australian public health and quarantine systems is protected”.

Almost 800,000 new cases were reported in India over the weekend, including a new global record on Saturday of 401,993 new cases. And more than 7,200 people were reported to have died on Saturday and Sunday’s record-breaking updates. Eligibility to be vaccinated was opened to all adults on Saturday, but reports say there is a crippling supply shortage. Looking globally, the number of new daily cases doubled in the 2 months to the end of April, and half of that is down to the surge in India. Brazil, Turkey and Iran are other hotspots that are worrying health officials. “To put it in perspective, there were almost as many cases globally last week as in the first 5 months of the pandemic,” World Health Organisation boss Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said yesterday. Yikes…

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