Squiz Today / 27 April 2020
Squiz Today – Monday, 27 April
“Everything's under control…”
Said Broome crocodile park owner Valerie Douglas after finding out some babies had escaped. Maybe they were on the run to avoid a new term of homeschooling…
THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT
The COVIDSafe app is now available to download onto your smartphone, and the government would like you to get on board. Tracing coronavirus cases on an “industrial’ level is one of the key things the government says it needs to lift restrictions. By 10.30pm last night, a million Australians had done the deed, and health officials hope that more than half of all Aussies will download it.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Of Australia’s more than 6,700 COVID-19 cases, Health Minister Greg Hunt says authorities have been unable to find the source of more than 500 of them. With community transmission of the virus an ongoing issue, what the app will do is keep track of who you encounter via a ‘Bluetooth handshake’. That data is sent off to state health authorities - if you agree. And if you get the virus, authorities will have a list of the people you came into contact with who also have the app so they can be alerted and tested. The government promises the data will be wiped when the health emergency is over, and that strong safeguards are in place to ensure privacy. Some groups have privacy concerns, but Labor, the Australian Medical Association and other major stakeholders support the initiative. And if enough of us download the app and the government believes it’s working to help suppress the spread of the virus, it will be a tick in favour of lifting restrictions.
PEOPLE ARE GETTING A BIT ISO-ITCHY…
There’s probably a cream for that… But if you mean people are getting restless, that seems to be the case. For example, police were kept busy in Sydney on the weekend with crowds heading to newly opened beaches. But some states are moving to lift restrictions. In Western Oz, the limit on the number of people allowed to gather will be increased from two to 10, and you’ll be able to leave home for some recreational activities from today. And in Queensland, you’ll be able to drive 50km from home and have a family picnic from next weekend. Other states are holding tight. But the message that we need to keep going in our mostly splendid isolation prevails for the time being…
SQUIZ THE REST
MEANWHILE, IN OTHER CORONAVIRUS NEWS…
• Meanwhile, a debate about sending kids back to school continues to bubble along with a report on the spread of the virus in schools released yesterday. Long story short, it found there’s little risk to kids and teachers. PM Scott Morrison continues to press the case that kids should go back into classrooms ASAP, but the Education Union has concerns. With all schools back this week, different states are taking different approaches.
• While we’re on the topic of getting back to normal, the World Health Organisation has warned governments against granting “immunity passports” that would allow people who have had COVID-19 to dodge restrictions. It says there’s no evidence to say that those who have been infected can’t be infected again.
• US President Donald Trump skipped the latest briefing after the “lamestream media” pilloried him for remarks he made about injecting disinfectants to treat COVID-19. He was being sarcastic, he said afterwards. One big cleaning product brand tweeted customers urging them not to be ning-nongs.
• Celebrity chef Pete Evans was also pinged. He'd recently spruiked a "hybrid subtle energy revitalisation platform" that he said would fight off coronavirus. "Yeah, nah," said the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which fined him $25,000.
• To the numbers: Australia has recorded 6,710 cases. Four people died over the weekend, taking our death toll to 83 people. Globally, we're up to more than 2.9 million cases. More than 200,000 have died, and 830,000 people have recovered.
MELBOURNE TRUCK DRIVER CHARGED
The driver of a refrigerated truck that was involved in the horrific crash in Melbourne last Wednesday has been charged with four counts of culpable driving causing death. Four police officers were killed on a freeway as they dealt with the driver of a Porsche who they’d pulled over for allegedly speeding. The truck driver due to appear in Melbourne Magistrates' Court today. Porsche driver Richard Pusey has been charged with reckless conduct endangering life, failing to render assistance and drug possession.
And while we have you… Former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor has filed an appeal and is calling for a new trial over the killing of 40yo Australian woman Justine Ruszczyk Damond. He received a sentence of 12.5 years in prison last year. His legal team argues the judge repeatedly prevented them from tabling key evidence.
SUPPORT FOR MORRISON SURGES
In light of Australia’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, PM Scott Morrison’s personal approval rating has reached 68 to Labor leader Anthony Albanese’s 28 in this morning’s Newspoll. It's the second-highest rating ever recorded - first place is held by Kevin Rudd when he became Australia's most popular PM in Newspoll's history in 2008. That support hasn't translated into a bump for the Coalition. It fell a point to be on a 50:50 level-pegging with Labor on a two-party-preferred basis.
SAUDIA ARABIA BANS FLOGGING
Court-ordered floggings in Saudi Arabia have long drawn condemnation from human rights groups, but the nation’s supreme court announced on Saturday that it’s a thing of the past. The punishment has been used by the courts for those found guilty of offences ranging from extramarital sex to murder. Going forward, judges will choose from fines, jail sentences and non-custodial alternatives like community service for breaches of the law. The "human rights advances" are part of reforms pushed by King Salman and his son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. But critics say if it’s serious about human rights and advancement, the release of political prisoners would be a good start.
KIM MYSTERY DEEPENS
Last week, there were concerns that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had died or was in a bad way after heart surgery. And even though South Korean officials said their intelligence indicated he was a-ok, speculation about his condition persists. More weight is now being given to the belief that he's ok after satellite images showed his train in the coastal resort town of Wonsan - South Korea says he travelled there on 13 April. Some reports suggest he’s kept a low profile after fleeing Pyongyang because members of his close circle tested positive for coronavirus. But that’s more speculation. Maybe this week we’ll find that he’s taking a long ride on his trusty steed through the mountains?
APROPOS OF NOTHING
Ever moved and lost something special? It happens. Just not to your valuable cricket World Cup medal.
“Check cat arm b4 closing”. Your Monday needs this....
SQUIZ THE DAY
Anzac Day public holiday (WA and ACT)
Freedom Day - South Africa
Birthdays for Lizzo (1988) and Nick Kyrgios (1995)
• Ludwig van Beethoven composing "Für Elise" (1810)
• the Australian Labor Party under Prime Minister Chris Watson becoming the first labour movement-aligned government in the world (1904)
• Sierra Leone declaring independence from UK (1961)
• RC Duncan patenting the disposable nappy (1965)
• the Korean summit, which saw North and South officially end Korean war and agree to rid the peninsula of nuclear weapons (2018)
• the deaths of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1882), Australian politician and Federation father Sir Henry Parkes (1896)
Read the email every day this week and a gift card to spend at Woolworths could be yours. Because who doesn't need a fresh stash of snacks?
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