Squiz Today / 23 March 2020
Squiz Today – Monday, 23 March
“We are hoping that people will use the site and see they don’t need to go out and empty the shelves.”
FORTRESS AUSTRALIA GOES UP A NOTCH
For the first time in 100 years, our state and territory borders are all but closed. And non-essential services will close across the country from midday today as the nation’s COVID-19 infections climbed past 1,350 yesterday.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
• After NSW and Victoria went ahead of the pack yesterday, PM Scott Morrison last night said there would be nationwide closures of pubs, clubs, cinemas, nightclubs, casinos, gyms, indoor sporting venues, places of worship, cafes and restaurants (which can stay open for takeaways). That approach was agreed by the National Cabinet last night, Morrison said.
• The Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania have effectively closed their borders to cross-border travel, and the ACT has urged all non-essential travel in and out of bordering NSW be postponed. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday asked residents “to stay in your neighbourhood as much as possible.”
• Schools in Victoria (which were starting school holidays on Friday) will close from tomorrow. But Morrison said the advice on keeping schools open hasn’t changed and it’s his current expectation that schools will reopen after the Easter break.
WHAT’S BROUGHT THAT ON?
The number of confirmed cases rose significantly since Friday in most states, particularly in NSW where there was criticism after 2,700 passengers were allowed to disembark from the Ruby Princess cruise ship before the test results of ill passengers were known. And scenes from Bondi Beach on Saturday were a reality check, PM Morrison said. Large crowds of people enjoying the water while not exercising ‘social distancing’ was “not okay and served as a message to federal and state leaders that too many Australians are not taking these issues seriously enough.” That’s led to an appeal by the PM to do away with non-essential activities and embrace social distancing to slow the spread of coronavirus. “We need you to think carefully about what you are doing … and the impact it has on others," Morrison said yesterday.
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MORE FINANCIAL SUPPORT ANNOUNCED
“Since the government announced its first stimulus package just over a week ago, the global and the domestic economic environment has deteriorated. We now expect the economic shock to be deeper, wider, and longer,” said Treasurer Josh Frydenberg yesterday. And so the federal government has announced a second-stage $66 billion economic stimulus package targeting small and medium-sized businesses, their employees and the unemployed. It builds on measures from the first $17.6 billion economic stimulus package announced more than a week ago and last week's extraordinary intervention by the Reserve Bank. That means $189 billion has been committed to deal with the economic crush of the coronavirus crisis so far, and there will probably be more to come. Yikes...
WHAT’S HAPPENING AROUND THE WORLD?
• A quarter of the US population is under lockdown orders with New Jersey, California, New York, Illinois and Connecticut imposing unprecedented restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus. And the UK has closed pubs, clubs and restaurants with PM Boris Johnson predicting they are "two or three" weeks behind Italy.
• Meanwhile, as the number of deaths in Italy passed those of China, new strict measures have been introduced. Deaths in Spain have spiked over the weekend leading Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to extend its state of emergency. And German Chancellor Angela Merkel has gone into quarantine after a doctor she saw last week was confirmed to have the virus.
• With China reporting it’s all but done with the coronavirus outbreak, it’s now on a make-good offensive sending testing kits and masks to struggling nations.
• Globally, the tally stands at almost 320,000 confirmed cases and 13,700 deaths.
AFL PUT ON HOLD
League CEO Gill McLachlan yesterday fronted the press to announce “the most serious threat to our game in 100 years” will see the 2020 AFL season postponed until at least 31 May. And the women’s league season has been cancelled with no premiership awarded. "I know that everyone involved in our game and our millions of supporters will be impacted by this decision… but I also know that we all have a responsibility to the community and each other,” McLachlan said yesterday. Meanwhile, the NRL is said to be considering moving all teams to Gladstone so its comp can continue. The national soccer league is also under pressure to suspend play.
BUSHFIRE SMOKE KILLED MORE AUSSIES THAT THE FIRES
From coronavirus to bushfires, it already feels like aeons ago, but it was just a few weeks back that many of us were choking on smoke generated by the unprecedented bushfires that burned across the country, particularly in NSW and Victoria. And it was smoke in Australia’s south-east that was responsible for the deaths of more than 400 people, according to the first published estimate of the scale of health impact. That’s more than 10 times the number killed by the fires themselves. The study found 80% of Australia’s population was exposed to smoke this summer. And the hits just keep on comin’...
VALE KENNY ROGERS
The world lost a music legend on Friday with the death of 81yo Kenny Rogers “from natural causes”. With an instantly recognisable voice and some big hits like The Gambler, Lucille, and duets with the likes of Dolly Parton (Islands in the Stream), and Kim Carnes (Don’t Fall In Love With a Dreamer), Rogers was one of country music’s most successful artists to bridge into pop. During his life, the five-times married fried chicken entrepreneur and plastic surgery advocate sold more than 100 million records, topping the country and pop album charts for more than 200 individual weeks in the US from the late 60s. Dolly tweeted that the music was great but “I loved him as a wonderful man and a true friend.” And the Eagles’ Don Henley paid tribute to the man who got him his first record deal. "He also gave me some of the best career advice I ever got: 'You'd better be nice to the people you meet on the way up because you're going to meet those same people on the way back down.'" Our favourite - Lady (which Lionel Ritchie partly wrote while he was in the bathroom…). And Rolling Stone’s guide to Rogers’ 10 essential songs is here.
KEEP ON MOVING
Whether it’s to a Steve Martin banjo ditty, an epic Neil Diamond handwashing tune, balcony marathon challenge, or busting out some unique moves while on the job, you know what to do - while maintaining a safe distance from others, of course…
SQUIZ THE DAY
10.00am (AEDT) - Federal Parliament to resume in Canberra for a short session, possibly the last for some months
10.30am (AEDT) - Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards
World Meteorological Day
Start of Kidney Health Week (on until 29 March)
Birthdays for former ExxonMobil CEO and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (1952), celebrity blogger Perez Hilton (1978), and Eugenie, Princess of York (1990)
• the first recorded use of "OK" [oll korrect] in the Boston Morning Post (1839);
• the Battle of Okinawa, the largest battle of the Pacific War in World War II (1945);
• the premiere of soap The Bold and the Beautiful (1987);
• the death of Elizabeth Taylor (2011)
• the divorce of Kris and Bruce (now Caitlyn) Jenner (2015)
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