Squiz Today / 04 May 2020
Squiz Today – Monday, 4 May
“People are tending to write longer emails, including more personal stuff..."
Says social researcher Hugh Mackay of a side effect of the coronavirus crisis. Mark it down as another horror inflicted by this virus…
COUNTING DOWN THE DAYS
Friday has been pegged as a significant day on the coronavirus calendar. It’s when the National Cabinet will meet to consider the easing of restrictions on movement and business. "Australians have earned an early mark through the work that they have done," PM Scott Morrison said on Friday. But yesterday, Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said despite the number of active coronavirus cases falling below 1,000, more Aussies will need to download the COVIDSafe app if any big steps are to be taken.
THERE’S ALWAYS A CATCH…
IKR… But it's something Morrison and health officials have been harping on about for more than a week now. So far, more than 4.25 million of the 16 million Aussies with a smartphone have downloaded the app - so we’re not at the 40% mark that officials have talked about reaching. And look, if you haven’t already done it, you might consider doing so if only to prevent further musical interjections from Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and cricket legend Shane Warne… But if app downloads look good, and the number of new cases remains low, a staggered process of lifting restrictions on professional and community sport, social gatherings and businesses could be on the cards. Meanwhile, a report in this morning’s Australian (paywall) says South and Western Oz could go ahead of other states this week given their ongoing low infection rates.
WHAT ABOUT SCHOOLS GOING BACK?
That’s still a thorny issue. No sooner had Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan blasted Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews for a “failure of leadership” by not fully opening the state’s schools, it was announced that a Melbourne primary school has been closed after a teacher tested positive for coronavirus. Tehan later said he’d gone a bit OTT. "I will continue working constructively with my state counterparts as they run their state school systems to support them with the best medical and education expert advice the Federal Government can offer." NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet yesterday said getting kids back into the classroom was a top priority with estimates showing a 12.5% fall in available labour across the economy due to parents tackling homeschooling with their kids.
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MEANWHILE, IN OTHER CORONAVIRUS NEWS…
• The outbreak of COVID-19 at Newmarch House, an aged care home in Sydney, continues to have tragic consequences. The facility is responsible for more than a third of coronavirus deaths in NSW with a 14th resident dying on Saturday. Staff will now be tested daily.
• Russia is now a top 10 country for coronavirus cases. It’s recorded more than 10,600 new infections in the last day alone taking its total number to 134,686, but its mortality rate is far lower than other nations with 1,280 people dying from the virus to date. Officials say they are not near the peak. Moscow is in lockdown, and PM Mikhail Mishustin is in hospital with the virus.
• NRL side the New Zealand Warriors flew into the regional centre of Tamworth, NSW yesterday to begin preparations for the resumption of play later this month. The team was given a special exemption from travel restrictions to make the journey. Not so lucky is the Melbourne Storm - they will need to relocate to NSW to be able to train for the restart of play. Meanwhile, the AFL is looking at a June restart.
• To the numbers: Australia’s confirmed cases rose to 6,799 (up 33 on the weekend), and 95 people have died (up by two yesterday). Worldwide, almost 250,000 people have died, and we’ll likely pass the 3.5 million cases mark today.
SHOTS FIRED ON KOREAN BORDER
South Korea’s military says shots were fired from the North hitting a guard post in the central border town of Cheorwon in the Demilitarised Zone on Saturday. The South returned fire and blasted a warning announcement. The last time the North opened fire on its neighbour was in 2017 when a North Korean soldier made a dash for freedom. There are no reports of injuries, and South Korean officials say they think it was an accident, but some observers aren't so sure... It came within a day of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reappearing after three-weeks out of view. Despite intense speculation about his health, South Korea says it does not believe he had surgery.
BIDEN ADDRESSES ABUSE ACCUSATION
Accusations that Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden sexually assaulted former staffer Tara Reade have been circulating for a couple of months. And now Biden has commented for the first time saying it “never, never happened” as commentators call it the biggest crisis of his campaign. Last year, Reade joined other women to say he’d behaved inappropriately towards her. But she now says that in 1993, he pushed her against a wall and assaulted her. Reade is adamant that she told Biden's top aides that she had been harassed and says she filed a formal complaint with the Senate personnel office - complaints that can't be tracked down. "I don't know why, after 27 years, all of a sudden this gets raised," Biden said in a TV interview on Friday. He has been an advocate for believing women when they make assault claims. Others who have been prominent #metoo/Time’s Up supporters are standing behind him.
DELAYS TO HANDING OUT BUSHFIRE DONATIONS
Criticised for not distributing the millions of dollars Aussies donated to support those affected but the Black Summer bushfires, the Red Cross and Salvation Army yesterday outlined the difficulties they’re having. Since January, the Red Cross has raised $200 million and distributed $78.6 million to 4,000 people. It says more than 1,000 fraudulent claims have slowed it down significantly. And the Salvos have handed out $19 million of the $41 million it raised through its bushfire appeal helping 11,000 people saying it’s taking a long term approach to distributing the funds. As for the $51 million raised by comedian Celeste Barber - it’s going to court on Wednesday.
CONVOY OF RESPECT
“I’ve never seen anything like it before,” said Victorian Police‘s Commissioner Graham Ashton. He was talking about what happened when the hearse carrying Constable Glen Humphris, who was killed when he and three other officers were hit by a truck in Melbourne last month, left Melbourne on Saturday to take him to his final resting place in Gosford NSW. Without being asked, police stood on the side of the road and gathered on overpasses to pay tribute to the fallen constable all the way up the Hume Freeway. A state memorial service for the officers will be held in Melbourne when coronavirus restrictions are lifted. The driver of the truck, Mohinder Singh, is “acutely aware of the impact upon the families, friends and work colleagues of those that lost their lives” and is “genuinely sorry and saddened”, his lawyer said yesterday.
APROPOS OF NOTHING - VIRAL EDITION
Are you a Leslie Knope fan? Or are you more of a Ron Swanson-style grump? There’s something for everyone with the Parks and Recreation coronavirus reunion - according to reports… We can’t get it here in Oz. In the meantime, fans will have to make do with a special version of Andy’s tribute to L’il Sebastian.
The Met Gala is off. Fashionistas' determination to get their couture hit is not.
Also off: America’s premier horse race, the Kentucky Derby. That’s made room for the resurrection of the Kentucky Turtle Derby, which, as you can understand, takes a bit longer… Grab a cup of tea, settle in and giddy up...
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Labour Day (Queensland) and May Day (NT) public holidays
ABS Data Release - Building Approvals, March
Star Wars Day (May the Fourth Be With You…)
• Margaret Thatcher becoming the first woman to be elected Prime Minister of the UK (1979)
• the birthday of Audrey Hepburn (1929)
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