“I’m speechless. What need was there?” Asked 83yo Italian man Angelo Boletti of the $270 fine he received for hosting a cockerel named Carlino in his backyard. Carlino enjoys 4.30am starts. The neighbours, not so much…
ASKING THE TOUGH CORONA QUESTIONS
Two critical aspects of our governments’ handling of the coronavirus crisis are currently under examination by official inquiries. And in focus yesterday: the spread of the coronavirus in aged care homes; and what went wrong in Victoria’s hotel quarantine program that saw the virus spread to through the community forcing the state into lockdown.
LET’S START WITH AGED CARE…
The representation of older Aussies from aged care homes in our COVID death toll is heavy. Reports say an analysis of 313 deaths shows 220 were from an aged care facility with the vast majority in Victoria. And so the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has turned its focus this week to whether more could have been done to protect residents from the virus. Fending off a statement by the senior counsel assisting the Commission, Peter Rozen QC, that “neither the Commonwealth Department of Health nor the aged care regulator developed a COVID-19 plan specifically for the aged-care sector,” federal officials say that’s not true. Meanwhile, the communications (or lack thereof…) between the feds (which have oversight of the aged care sector), the state governments (which run public health systems), and the homes themselves have had deadly consequences, experts say.
AND VICTORIA’S HOTEL QUARANTINE SYSTEM?
Premier Daniel Andrews fronted a state parliamentary inquiry yesterday to answer questions about why his government chose to contract private security firms to manage the quarantine of overseas travellers – some turned out to have the virus. Those security guards, who had little-to-no infection control training or supervision, contracted the virus leading to its spread in Melbourne. Asked why his government didn’t have Australian Defence Force personnel run the show, Andrews said “I think it is fundamentally incorrect to assert that there was hundreds of ADF staff on offer and somehow someone said no.” But Defence Minister Linda Reynolds last night said the offer had been made. The inquiry into hotel quarantine set up by Andrews and led by former state coroner Jennifer Coate will begin public hearings later this month.
SQUIZ THE REST
MEANWHILE, IN OTHER CORONAVIRUS NEWS...
• Victoria recorded 19 deaths yesterday equalling Monday’s record high. And 331 new cases were reported, but there is hope the numbers are starting to come down.
• NSW remains worried about new cases in the northwest of Sydney. The state reported 22 new cases yesterday – its highest daily number since Mid-April. Tassie has one new case – its first for almost three weeks. It is a man who should get a t-shirt printed saying ‘I went to Melbourne and all I got was this lousy infection’… And the NT made international news with its announcement yesterday that it is likely to keep its border closed until the end of… next year. You heard right…
• Four family members have tested positive in Auckland marking New Zealand’s first new cases in more than 100 days. Most concerning is that the source of infection is unknown – and they have not been overseas. And so PM Jacinda Ardern has put the city under Stage 3 restrictions (aka stay at home/restaurants close/no travel to the city).
• Russia says it has a vaccine for COVID-19 and will start rolling it out in October. Data from the trials hasn’t been shared leading experts to doubt its development has followed proper protocols.
• Navigating love ATM is a bit tricky. Just ask the bloke who was fined in Melbourne for fleeing his home because his flatmate and their ‘intimate partner’ were a bit… enthusiastic. But if you think this whole COVID thing is overblown and you want to meet like-minded people, never fear. Help on the dating front is here…
MAURITIUS OIL SPILL SPELLS DISASTER
Volunteers are rushing to contain an oil spill that’s washing up on the African island nation of Mauritius. More than 1,000 tonnes of oil have leaked from a Japanese cargo ship, the MV Wakashio, since last Thursday, and 500 tonnes have been safely pumped out this week. The ship ran aground off the country’s southeast coast more than 2 weeks ago, but there wasn’t a rush to sort it out at that time. Since then, there’s been rough seas that have seen the hull crack open and fuel leak out. There are now fears the ship could break in two, which you can see from its awkward angle in the pics. The spill threatens the nation’s economy, which is heavily reliant on tourism, and its world-renowned coral reefs.
TEN CUTS TOP TALENT
Network Ten announced it is axing several high-profile presenters including Kerri-Anne Kennerley, Natarsha Belling, and Tim Bailey as part of sweeping new changes. Ten’s Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide news bulletins will be anchored from Sydney and Melbourne, and morning talk show Studio 10 is being shaken up leaving an unknown number of jobs in the lurch. At the heart of it is drifting free-to-air audiences and a 22% decline in advertising revenue in the first half of 2020, according to industry body Think TV. “These painful changes reflect the state of the media industry in recent years and the need for all media companies to achieve new efficiencies,” Ten’s Director of News Content Ross Dagan said.
COLES CANS CATALOGUES
In a move celebrated by junk mail haters/mourned by hardcore supermarket shoppers, Coles will stop delivering its weekly printed catalogues to letterboxes from 9 September. The grocery giant says customers have gone digital during the pandemic, and so it will launch online shopping app coles&co on tomorrow. Coles boss Steven Cain said the move will save more than 10,000 tonnes of paper a year – aka 80,000 trees. “We’re committed to being Australia’s most sustainable supermarket and reducing our reliance on paper by prioritising digital channels,” he said. That sound you can hear is Woolworths, IGA and Aldi’s marketing teams plotting their next move…
WEIRD WEATHER NOT DONE WITH US YET
We thought the snow dump on Tassie and Victoria last week was spectacular – until we heard about the twin ‘atmospheric rivers’ that are sending wet weather to both sides of the country… Atmospheric rivers (also known by the less fabulous ‘cloud bands’) are streams of vapour carrying vast amounts of water from the tropics. It’s rare to have two at the same time, the weather bureau said. After the western cloud band weakened over Western Oz yesterday, the eastern one is forecast to weaken over the next few days. They have dumped “more than two Amazon rivers worth of water” in the west and caused the worst floods in 30 years on NSW’s south coast this week. Yikes…
APROPOS OF NOTHING
And if you’re thinking of making a new craft beer and have a fancy name from another culture lined up – just do your due diligence. You’re welcome.