Squiz Today / 06 April 2020
Squiz Today – Monday, 6 April
“I don’t know how she got through it. I don’t think she has ever eaten a vegetable or fruit.”
FORGET YOUR EASTER PLANS
Australia is doing well in the all-important quest to flatten the curve as we fight off the COVID-19, say health officials and political leaders from across the nation. But Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy yesterday said any plans Australians might have had for the Easter break must be cancelled. "We're asking you to stay with your family, in your residence, not travel where you might be unwittingly spreading the virus, not have parties where you might unwittingly be sharing the virus with people who don't have it," he said.
Yep. And that's despite the growth in new cases continuing to fall. The issue is that officials don't know where about 10% of our 5,687 coronavirus cases have come from. They are people who have had no known contact with another case, and it’s keeping the experts up at night. The only way to counter it is with all these restrictions and social distancing measures that are being enforced. Except in the case of one worker who’s going to be busy next Sunday - the Easter Bunny. "I'm told because he's a solo operator and an essential service, he or she will be allowed to continue to operate," Murphy confirmed yesterday. And the busy Bunny will also be allowed into WA. Phew…
SO HOW LONG ARE WE DOING THIS FOR?
It’s a question the experts are currently pondering. And to be blunt, it’s a question of balancing what measures we're willing to live with versus what sort of death toll we're able to accept. Add to that our tanking economy and you're got a nightmare for policymakers. PM Scott Morrison says the modelling the government is using to help make decisions will be released this week, and reports say that could be as soon as tomorrow.
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MEANWHILE, IN OTHER CORONAVIRUS NEWS…
• As four more deaths of passengers from the Ruby Princess cruise ship were recorded over the weekend, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller confirmed a criminal investigation would be launched into what led to 2,700 passengers being allowed to disembark in Sydney on 19 March. The ship remains anchored off Sydney with sick crew members onboard. Meanwhile, five other ships were moved out of Sydney Harbour on Saturday night.
• The Federal Parliament will meet on Wednesday with a third of MPs returning to deal with legislation underpinning the $130 billion JobKeeper payment. But it’s not a done deal yet with Labor and the unions concerned about changes the government wants to make to the Fair Work Act.
• Looking overseas, and US President Donald Trump says Americans need to brace for “a lot of death” over the next couple of weeks. The UK, which has had a rare gee-up from the Queen this morning, is also recording high levels of new infections. But there is some good news from Spain and Italy - the numbers of deaths are falling after both nations have logged thousands of fatalities.
• The question about who should wear masks is being asked more frequently. The current advice in Australia is it’s only for people with the virus, but health authorities are looking at whether that needs to change. It comes as America’s official mask-wearing advice changed on Friday recommending it for its citizens when in public, but it’s not mandatory. And it’s driven a lot of ‘how to make your own mask’ articles, like this…
• To the numbers: There are 1.25 million cases globally, and 68,000 deaths have been recorded. In Australia, there are 5,687 cases and 35 deaths.
DRAMA IN DANIEL PEARL CASE
The decision of a provincial court in Pakistan to overturn the death sentence of a British-Pakistani man Ahmed Sheikh and acquit three others over the kidnapping and killing of American journalist Daniel Pearl was met with outrage late last week. Officials responded by refusing to release Sheikh citing concerns he would act "against the interest of the country". On Saturday, the men were rearrested and will remain in detention for three months pending the filing of an appeal. Pearl, a 38yo correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, was taken and killed in 2002 for his research into the links between Islamist militant activity and British terrorist/wannabe shoe bomber Richard Reid. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted “The United States will not forget #DanielPearl.”
KOALA POPULATIONS DECIMATED BY BUSHFIRES
We’ve heard reports for months now that koala populations were badly affected by the bushfires that devastated many parts of the country. Add to that the drought and deforestation, and our furry friends aren’t faring too well. And now WWF-Australia has put some numbers next to the problem - populations in Queensland, NSW and the ACT have halved since 2001. That's led to calls for them to be declared 'endangered' in those areas. Environment Minister Sussan Ley has previously said the government’s committed to a long-term strategy to support koala populations.
And while we have you… One of the most prominent figures in NSW’s bushfires was Rural Fire Service chief Shane Fitzsimmons. Reports this morning say he is moving on to head up a new state disaster and recovery agency.
VALE BILL WITHERS
If his name isn’t instantly recognisable to you, his songs most probably will be. The man who wrote and performed Lean On Me and Ain’t No Sunshine, Bill Withers died last Monday from heart complications in Los Angeles, his family said yesterday. Withers was a big deal in the 70s and early 80s winning three Grammy’s before he retreated from stardom. A self-taught musician and songwriter, Withers was into his 30s before he started a career that generated songs that still resonate today. He didn’t think much of Lean On Me, he once said. And he really didn’t like life on the road. “Nobody had my interest at heart. I felt like a pawn. I like being my own man.” He was the “last African-American Everyman,” muso and journo Questlove said, adding “Bill Withers is the closest thing black people have to a Bruce Springsteen.”
MAKING USE OF WHAT YOU’VE GOT
Stuck at home with mum and dad - what’s a theatre designer to do, other than posing them for a series of Parental Pandemic Portraits? American Gothic, Gala & Dali, Klimt's The Kiss - they’re all there…
SQUIZ THE DAY
9.30am (AEST) - Verdict due in former NSW homicide detective Gary Jubelin's trial. He is accused of breaking the law by using his mobile phone to record conversations with potential suspects in the William Tyrrell matter
Latest ANZ Job Ads Survey released
International Day of Sport for Development and Peace
Birthdays for Paul Rudd (1970), Zach Braff (1975)
• the establishment of Cape Colony, the first European settlement in South Africa (1652)
• the arrest of Oscar Wilde for "gross indecency" (1895)
• ABBA winning Eurovision with Waterloo, launching their international career (1974)
• the divorce of Heidi Klum and Seal (2012)
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