Squiz Today / 16 March 2020

Squiz Today – Monday, 16 March


“I think it has aged well."

Said Kevin Parker aka Tame Impala of his song’s win to claim the #1 spot in triple j's Hottest 100 of the Decade. Its title? The Less I Know The Better, which is probably how many of us are feeling right now…


Australia is on a ‘war footing’ as the COVID-19 outbreak develops into what some health experts are calling a one-in-one-hundred-years public health emergency. As Aussie cases reached almost 300 and the death toll jumped to five, national and state/territory leaders met yesterday to discuss the response. And shortly afterwards, PM Scott Morrison announced restrictions on international travellers to try to stem the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

Anyone arriving in Australia from overseas will need to self-isolate for 14 days. The states and territories will determine what penalties will be issued to people who do not comply, but Morrison said “it's up to all of us” to do the right thing. There are no restrictions on international flights - they will continue to operate. And there are no new rules or changes to domestic flights. But cruise ships are now banned from docking in Australia for the next 30 days. The measures come on top others that promote ‘social distancing’ as a means to ‘flatten the curve’.

Yep, they are the buzz-terms of 2020... ‘Social distancing’ is the practice of staying at least 1.5 metres away from other people as you go about your day - a tough ask if you’re required to… well… do anything that involves other people. To that end, a ban on ‘non-essential gatherings’ of more than 500 people kicks in today. And handshaking is off, PM Morrison said yesterday. The aim of these measures is to ‘flatten the curve’ - that is, to slow the spread of the virus so our health system can cope, vulnerable people have the best chance, and our economy and communities can keep functioning. If that doesn’t happen via these measures, the government will look at an Italian-style lockdown. "We're going to have to get used to some more changes in the way we live our lives over the next six months or so," Morrison predicted yesterday. Last night, Labor leader Anthony Albanese said he would work constructively with the government, and had some ideas on what more could be done.



Going around the map:

• Queensland recorded the largest single-day jump in new coronavirus cases taking the state’s total to 61. Premier Annastasia Palaszczuk called for calm.

• NSW has 133 confirmed cases - the highest number in the country. Sydney’s glorious light show Vivid has been cancelled, as has the Easter Show. The state will suspend all jury trials and school activities like assemblies, sporting events and excursions. Two more deaths occurred there on the weekend.

• In the ACT (with one case), federal parliament is set to resume next week - but in reduced numbers. Which is good news for Canberra’s economy, but not so much for its ‘social distancing’ from the rest of the country…

• Victoria has 58 cases, and Premier Dan Andrews yesterday has warned against panic buying/unnecessary stockpiling as health officials said testing kits are running low.

• Tassie has six cases, and a spike would see elective surgery waiting times blow out, Health Minister Sarah Courtney said yesterday.

• South Australian Premier Steven Marshall yesterday declared a public health emergency. That gives the government additional powers to slow the spread of coronavirus as the number of cases rose to 20.

• Western Oz Premier Mark McGowan said there’s no evidence of community transmission of the virus in the state despite its tally almost doubling to 17 cases since last Wednesday.

• In the Northern Territory (0 cases), non-essential travel to remote communities has been halted to stop the virus’ spread to Indigenous communities. That means Kakadu National Park could soon be closed to visitors.

And if you’re a numbers/graphs type person, an excellent set is here.


• France and Spain have followed Italy to announce widespread lockdown measures. In Spain, people are staying at home. And in France, hotels, cafes, restaurants, cinemas, theatres and malls are closed.

• Germany will restrict entries from France, Switzerland and Austria. And Austria has banned gatherings of more than five people. Israel has banned gatherings of more than 10 people and closed public venues. In the UK, people aged over 70yo have been asked to self isolate. And the US has extended its European travel ban to the UK and Ireland. Canada has told its citizens abroad to return ASAP if they want to get home anytime soon.

• There are 156,400 confirmed cases globally, and 5,833 people have died. We are at the point where China accounts for half of both those counts such is the virus' spread internationally.


Analysts are expecting markets to stabilise a little today after a stimulus package to help the all-important American economy was put in place over the weekend. But volatility is still the name of the game, they say. If you were in a supermarket at any point on the weekend, you’d know why the big chains have put new buying restrictions in place. Woolworths last night cancelled online orders in Victoria as it restocks its stores. Across the world, many retailers are closing their stores for the time being. Another sign that the airlines will do it tough: American Airlines is cutting 75% of its international flights through to May, including to Australia. Dramatic…


‘Postponed’ is the word of the day. Cricket tours have been cancelled, including Australia’s One-Day series with New Zealand. In golf, the Masters won’t go ahead until later this year. That’s also the case for the Boston and London MarathonsBig-time soccer leagues are on hold across the UK, Europe and the US. Rugby is also affected, including the Super Rugby comp as Rugby Australia’s headquarters closes due to a contamination scare. Not planning on stopping is the NRL with some calls for officials to reconsider. The AFL, which is slated to kick off its season on Thursday night, may not get off the ground as scheduled. Doggedly going ahead is the Tokyo Olympics if Japan's PM Shinzo Abe has anything to do with it


Nine’s entertainment editor Richard Wilkins has come down with the virus after coming into contact with actress Rita Wilson. She and husband Tom Hanks remain in isolation on the Gold Coast after their diagnosis last week. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is also holed up in Queensland after it was confirmed he has a case on Friday night. The rest of the federal Cabinet is fine, PM Morrison insists, but Labor’s health spokesman Chris Bowen believes they should be isolated given that’s the public advice. Sophie Gregoire Trudeau has it, putting her Canadian PM Justin Trudeau into lockdown for two weeks. And US President Donald Trump was given the all-clear yesterday after hosting a meeting at his Florida resort with a Brazilian delegation, some of whom have tested positive for coronavirus.


These videos and this story of Italians singing from their balconies as they remain under lockdown in their homes - wonderful.


11.00am (AEDT) - Democratic presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden to debate - Washington, DC

ABS Data Release - Overseas Arrivals and Departures, January

Start of Brain Awareness Week (on until 22 March)

Anniversary of the establishment of the UN Human Rights Council (2005)

Anniversary of what was the largest coordinated worldwide vigil as demonstrators gathered to protests against Iraq war (2003)

Anniversary of figure skater Tonya Harding pleading guilty to felony attack on Nancy Kerrigan (1994)

Anniversary of the birthdays of navigator Matthew Flinders (1774), comedian Jerry Lewis (1926), director Bernardo Bertolucci (1941)

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