Squiz Today / 25 March 2020

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 25 March


“If you can’t handle me during my quarantine, you don’t deserve me during freedom.”

Said one trackie-dack attired woman looking for love in the time of COVID-19 via a socially distant FaceTime date. Because finding a mate wasn’t hard enough already…


Australia wakes up this morning to new restrictions on our daily lives after PM Scott Morrison last night emerged from a National Cabinet meeting to announce new advice on avoiding “major transmitting events”. It comes at a critical time as the number of coronavirus cases in Australia doubled since Saturday, breaching the 2,000 mark yesterday.

The overarching advice is “to stay at home unless shopping for essentials, travelling to and from work (where you cannot work from home), going to school and exercising. Keep visitors to your home at a minimum. In outdoor spaces, do not congregate in groups.” From midnight tonight, we will be banned from travelling overseas. Five people are allowed to be at a wedding (the couple, the official, and witnesses), and 10 at a funeral. Hairdressers and barbers stay open where you can get a 30-minute-max trim, but beauty and massage services, nail salons, and tattoo parlours all close. Amusement parks, arcades, museums, ­libraries, historic sites and community halls will shut down. Bad luck if you're trying to sell a home - open houses are canned, and in-person auctions of any sort are off. And cancel next weekend's BBQ - get-togethers and parties at home or anywhere are off. Go outside, get some exercise (except at a swimming pool, which will close), but social distancing rules apply. Staying open are cafes and restaurants offering takeaway, supermarkets, shopping centres, petrol stations, medical services and schools (except in Victoria which has started the Easter holiday early).

“You can see what we're trying to do,” Morrison said last night. “We're trying to limit the gathering of people in large numbers that can relate to the transmitting of the virus through those social interactions which are not considered necessary." And to those calling for a lockdown, "be careful what you wish for," he said, "because that will need to be sustained for a very long time.” More announcements about putting these changes in place will come from state and territory leaders today.



It’s a “moment of national emergency” that has put UK citizens into a strict lockdown across the country. "You must stay home," British PM Boris Johnson told the nation on Monday night of the three weeks ahead of them. People can leave home to exercise once a day, travel to and from work "when absolutely necessary", shop for essentials, and seek medical health. The UK has more than 8,000 cases, and 422 people have died. And India also enters a three-week lockdown. PM Narendra Modi said if they don't "handle these 21 days well, then our country... will go backwards by 21 years." As the world's second-most populous nation of 1.3 billion people, it's a big effort. There are 519 confirmed cases in India and 10 reported deaths. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump wants the country “opened up” by Easter. Health officials are concerned the US has the potential to become the new epicentre of the global crisis if strict isolation measures aren't sustained.


The woman who died yesterday was in her 70s had been a passenger on the Ruby Princess cruise ship which controversially disembarked in Sydney last Thursday. To date, there are 133 coronavirus diagnoses from the ship making it the biggest single source of coronavirus infections in Australia. What happened in Sydney last week has made international news for what one of the NSW government’s own ministers called a "monumental stuff-up". Long story short, almost 2,700 passengers were allowed to leave the Ruby Princess when it docked in Sydney’s Circular Quay last week where they caught trains, buses and flights home. Passengers say there were no health checks when they disembarked, even though there were sick people on board. And it wasn’t until the weekend that they were told to go into isolation. More cases connected to the ship are expected to be confirmed.


While long queues formed outside Centrelink offices nationwide again yesterday, there are estimates that at least one million Aussies will become unemployed during the coronavirus crisis. It could even be more than that. Hundreds of thousands of Australians are already estimated to have lost their jobs as restaurants, bars and other facilities close around the country. While the government has urged people to apply for coronavirus welfare assistance remotely, unprecedented demand has clogged up phone lines and crashed Centrelink’s website. Government Services Minister Stuart Robert admitted he failed to anticipate the demand. "My bad, not realising the sheer scale of the decision on Sunday night by the national leaders," he said.


As a large number of Aussies work from home and get stuck on hold with Centrelink, telcos are under pressure to keep up with increased demand. Telstra users around the country reported mobile connection issues yesterday, with Optus also reporting increased usage. And if that wasn’t enough, Telstra has also warned that users seeking assistance will face delays with offshore call centres shut down. The strain has prompted Netflix to reduce its streaming bandwidth for the next 30 days after doing the same in Europe. But it will only cause a “very slight” reduction in quality, the company said.


The International Olympic Committee and Japan’s PM Abe Shinzo have finally got to the position that the rest of the world assumed a couple of weeks back - the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will be postponed to 2021. The Games “must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021 to safeguard the health of the athletes," the IOC said overnight. That's because training schedules are so gruelling, anything sooner is not advisable. A date hasn't been fixed, but the hunch is the Games will be staged in July 2021 when there are few big sporting events already scheduled in.


READING - Girls creator and star Lena Dunham is serialising her romantic novel via American Vogue’s website with new installations each day. Here's the first instalment.

VISITING - Well, virtually visiting anyway… Take a tour of some of America’s iconic national parks. Who knows, you might find your next holiday destination for when borders open again.

LISTENING - Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover) has a new album out - and here it is. Reviews say it’s da bomb. (And we know that phrase makes us the least cool peeps in da hood…)


ABS Data Release - Regional Population Growth, 2018-19

UN International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery

UN International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members

Birthdays for Gloria Steinem (1934), Elton John (1947), Sarah Jessica Parker (1965)

Anniversaries of:
• The first Easter, according to calendar maker Dionysius Exiguus (31)
• The British Parliament abolishing the slave trade throughout the British Empire (1807)
• John Lennon and Yoko Ono first bed-in for peace (1969)
• The debut of The Bachelor in the US (2002)
• The divorce of actors Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston (2005)

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