“Australia! If the waves don’t get you the Bluebottles will”
Tweeted one Sydneysider of the siphonophore weekend invasion of the city’s beaches. Mass numbers are called a ‘bloom’, which sounds too nice for the stinging blue terrors…
ANOTHER VICTORIAN QUARANTINE WORKER INFECTED
Another hotel quarantine worker in Victoria has been infected with the coronavirus. She was at work at the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport yesterday when she developed symptoms and delivered a positive swab, and an investigation into how she contracted the virus is underway. It’s the 2nd case of community transmission in 4 days to have come from the state’s quarantine system. There’s also a problem in NSW with an alert being issued by NSW health officials last night after a Wollongong resident tested positive 2 days after leaving hotel quarantine. It’s believed the case was picked up overseas.
JUST AS INTERNATIONAL ARRIVALS LIMITS INCREASE?
Yes, National Cabinet agreed to up the arrival number from 4,127 travellers a week to at least 6,362. That will see NSW and Queensland return to the level they were accepting a month ago, and South Oz and Victoria will also increase numbers into their hotel quarantine systems. Western Oz will continue to run a half the capacity they were accommodating at the start of the year. Asked about last week’s infections of 2 hotel workers, Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said the system continued to be the best way to stop the virus spreading from those arriving from overseas. And just “a small number of incursions” have happened despite more than 210,000 travellers going through the system, he said.
WILL VACCINES HELP?
That’s the plan, but travellers will still need to go into hotel quarantine, PM Scott Morrison said on Friday. And with jabs set to start later this month, rollout arrangements being made with Federal Government Services Minister Stuart Robert yesterday confirming a record of vaccination will be accessible by recipients via the MyGov website or Medicare app. It’s important because we’ll need to prove we’ve been vaccinated in the not too distant future. The states and territories may make it a condition of interstate travel, or visiting or working in health care facilities. It will likely be required for international travel. And businesses may need it as a condition of employment or service. So that’s all coming at us…
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CONCERNS FOR AUSSIE IN MYANMAR
Our government is “deeply concerned about reports of Australian and other foreign nationals being detained arbitrarily in Myanmar,” Foreign Minister Marise Payne said yesterday. One of the Aussies she refers to is Sean Turnell, an associate professor in economics at Macquarie University in Sydney and economic adviser to Myanmar’s deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi. He’s told Reuters that he will be charged, “but not sure what. I am fine and strong, and not guilty of anything,” he said with a smile emoji. Macquarie Uni says it supports “the efforts of the Australian Government to secure his swift release.” Meanwhile in Myanmar over the weekend, mass demonstrations have not been stopped by the military. It did, however, take down the internet again…
WESTERN OZ FIRES UNDER CONTROL
The Wooroloo fire that’s devastated the Perth Hills since last Monday was contained on Saturday. Burning through almost 11,000 hectares of land and destroying 86 homes, it was brought under control ahead of the arrival of rain and strong winds. The hope is that expected downfalls will give firefighters a chance to recharge and that winds don’t cause any flare-ups. For that reason, residents have been asked to remain alert. And a fire that took off in the state’s South West was also brought under control. Premier Mark McGowan said arson investigators were looking into its cause, but a deliberately lit fire would be “a disgusting, disgraceful act.” This week’s agenda: that rain we mentioned is expected to be heavy over Perth and the southwest region… And the state’s Gascoyne region taking in the town of Carnarvon in the midwest will deal with the floods caused by hundreds of millimetres of rain that’s fallen over the weekend.
DEADLY INDIAN DAM COLLAPSE
A Himalayan glacier has crashed into a dam triggering a huge flood in the state of Uttarakhand in northern India. It’s thought that at least 125 people have been killed in the rush of water that poured through a valley. The dam was part of the Rishiganga Hydroelectric Project and authorities said the avalanche has taken out another power project downstream. Most of those who are missing were workers at the two power projects. PM Narendra Modi tweeted “The nation prays for everyone’s safety there.” There’s no answer as to why the glacier broke up at this stage. Two possibilities are an avalanche could have damaged it, or it could be due to a temperature rise.
VALE LILLIANE BRADY
She might not be internationally renowned like the great actor Christopher Plummer (aka Captain Von Trapp from the Sound of Music) who died on Friday at 91yo. But the passing of Lilliane Brady at 90yo is worthy of attention. She was NSW’s longest-serving female mayor and a representation of what so many country towns have at their core – strong women who don’t put up with any rubbish. Her town was Cobar in NSW’s central west where she was mayor for almost 23 of her 38 years as a councillor, and she was known for her fearless pursuit of funding. In the 90s, state minister Carl Scully saw her at a local government conference and complimented her on what she was wearing. She famously fired back: “I’m here for finance, not romance.” As it happens, Brady featured on ABC TV’s Back Roads last week. Host Heather Ewart said she was “a joy to share a VB with”.
SO MUCH SPORT...
Strap yourself in, sports lover… Today sees the start of the little tennis tournament that could – the Aussie Open is in business. In a triumph of hope over viral transmission, players will take to the court and crowds to the stands for a very different looking grand slam event. Also looking different – a new umpire to rule them all… And from Florida’s Tampa Bay from 10.30am (AEDT) this morning, American Football’s grand final sees the Tampa Bay Buccaneer take on the reigning champs, the Kansas City Chiefs, in Super Bowl LV (that’s ‘55’ if your Roman numeral game is a little off…). If those are esoteric concepts, all you need to know is Mr Gisele Bündchen (aka star quarterback Tom Brady) is playing quarterback for the Buccs. And if you’re not there for the sport, The Weeknd is up for some halftime entertainment. Another feature is the ads, but with some big advertisers pulling out to donate to COVID causes, there are some big budget shoes to fill…
APROPOS OF NOTHING
If a group of bluebottles is a bloom, what’s the word for 300 swimming Marilyn Monroes? Maybe an ‘allure’?
One new dad’s advice – don’t go to sleep with your AirPods in. They can end up in the most inconvenient of places…
If you think you’ve had some Zoom nightmares, we guarantee it’s nothing on the chaos of a Handforth Parish Council meeting… Find 20 mins to watch the whole thing – it’s worth it…
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Federal Parliament resumes – Canberra
10.30am (AEDT) – Super Bowl LV – Kansas City Chiefs v Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Tampa, Florida
11.00am (AEDT) – Tennis – Australian Open begins (on until 21 Feb) – Melbourne
Clean Out Your Computer Day
Birthdays for screen composer John Williams (1932) and author John Grisham (1955)
• the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots (1587)
• the birthdays of author Jules Verne (1828), actor James Dean (1931)
• Queen Elizabeth II issuing an Order-in-Council stating that she and her family would be known as the House of Windsor (1960)
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