Squiz Today / 28 April 2020
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 28 April
“Let's all eat chips twice a week, instead of just once.”
Said Romain Cools from the potato growers' union in Belgium as he outlined the best coronavirus-busting economic initiative we’ve seen so far…
ANZACS CRUSHING THE CORONAVIRUS CHALLENGE
The low number of new coronavirus cases each day is putting us in a good position for some restrictions to be lifted in about three weeks, Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy said yesterday. But some measures will stay with us for some time, like social distancing. Meanwhile, New Zealand says it’s "eliminated" the virus from its population.
WELL DONE, CUZZY BROS...
And at midnight, it lifted its ‘level 4’ restrictions that saw businesses shut down and people remaining at home. From today, ‘level 3’ restrictions will see some retailers, restaurants and schools reopen, and many return to their workplaces. In truth, the thing Kiwis seem most pleased about is getting a takeaway feed… Did their severe lockdown measures work? From a health point of view, Australian National University infectious diseases expert Peter Collignon has said Australia has done just as well without the extreme measures. And some analysts say the economic crush from the month-long shutdown will be difficult to navigate. But former Kiwi PM Helen Clark said the approach that “economies can recover, the dead can’t” was the right way to go.
SO HOW ARE WE GOING?
Professor Murphy says our government’s strategy of “significant suppression” has led to a similar result. It is “somewhat semantic difference, both countries are committed to really controlling the virus to as low as possible," he said yesterday. As for further restrictions being lifted, it's back to the three magic ingredients. The first is the capability to trace new cases, and that requires 10 million of us to download the COVIDSafe app. More than 2 million of us have signed up since it was released on Sunday night. We also need to be able to test more people, and Murphy says that's coming. And we need to make sure our health system can respond quickly to any spike in cases. But getting back to normal will be a slow process because “making too many changes too quickly could be risky,” Murphy said yesterday.
SQUIZ THE REST
MEANWHILE, THE PANDEMIC IS FAR FROM OVER
World Health Organisation boss Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says that there are concerning trends in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and some Asian countries as he called for unity in the fight. “The virus will exploit the cracks between us,” he said overnight. Meanwhile, UK PM Boris Johnson is back at work after his encounter with COVID-19 and says that lockdown measures will remain in place for now. “This is the moment when we can press home our advantage, it is also the moment of maximum risk,” he said. American officials yesterday said social distancing measures could be in place for several more months. And Italy’s PM Giuseppe Conte has outlined a plan to relax some restrictions from 4 May as the number of new cases falls.
CHINA THREATENS AUSSIE ECONOMY OVER INQUIRY CALLS
Australia’s calls for the establishment of an independent inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic and the response by Chinese authorities has drawn criticism from China’s ambassador Cheng Jingye. He told the Financial Review (paywall) that the move could spark a boycott of Chinese students and tourists, and a national distaste for our wine and beef exports. Foreign Minister Marise Payne yesterday returned serve saying she rejected "any suggestion that economic coercion is an appropriate response … when what is needed is global cooperation". Meanwhile, the last of China’s coronavirus patients in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, were released from hospital yesterday.
A TRIO OF LEGAL CASES
The lawyer for 47yo Mohinder Singh, the man who crashed his truck in Melbourne last week killing four police officers, said his client may have an undiagnosed psychiatric illness and was "deeply saddened and distressed” by the tragedy. Singh was yesterday remanded in custody until a court hearing in October. Meanwhile, the estranged mother of Porsche driver Richard Pusey, who had been pulled over by the officers for allegedly speeding, said his family was “shocked and deeply ashamed” by his behaviour.
Another of the charges against actor Craig McLachlan has been dropped. McLachlan still faces 13 sexual assault charges brought by four women with whom he worked on a 2014 production of The Rocky Horror Show - accusations he denies. The case will return to court in November.
Julian Assange’s ongoing extradition hearing has been delayed with a London court saying they need to reconvene when all parties can return to the courtroom - something his team had requested. That’s not possible for a while because of coronavirus restrictions. Assange, who has already been in prison for a year after being holed up in Ecuador's embassy for seven years, probably won’t get his days in court until November. #SquizShortcut
‘REASON FOR OPTIMISM’ FOR AN END TO THE DROUGHT
Substantial rainfall across Australia since February and talks of a wetter-than-usual winter have raised hopes that the drought may finally come to an end later this year. Much of the country’s major inland dams haven’t filled up from recent falls due to the wet stuff soaking into the dry land. And some regions have missed out altogether. But Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Andrew Watkins says there’s “really strong odds” for wetter than average weather across most of Australia between May and July. That hasn’t stopped Western Australia’s Pilbara region from facing a record-breaking heatwave with temperatures in the 40Cs. Yikes...
APROPOS OF NOTHING - VIRAL EDITION
Western Oz Premier Mark McGowan stepped up to face the media yesterday - and the heckling public. Luckily, they had nice(ish) things to say. And the Auslan interpreter’s quick and expressive work is impressive…
The UK’s love affair with almost 100yo fundraising walker Captain Tom Moore is only deepening. Now the Royal Mail has stepped up to recognise him. Next, he'll be promoted to Major…
Coronavirus restrictions have sent Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday celebrations online. Who are we talking about? Only one of musical theatre’s most celebrated composers and lyricists in a career spanning from West Side Story to Sweeney Todd. And now you can check out Christine Baranski, Audra McDonald (both from The Good Fight) and Meryl Streep (from OMG so many great things) as they downed booze while singing The Ladies Who Lunch. Legends one and all.
SQUIZ THE DAY
ABS Data Releases - Migration, 2018-19; Taxation Revenue, 2018-19; Government Finance Statistics, 2018-19; Government Finance Statistics, Education, 2018-19
Birthdays for Jimmy Barnes (1956), Penelope Cruz (1974), Jessica Alba (1981)
• Captain James Cook landing at Botany Bay (1770)
• the mutiny on HMS Bounty against William Bligh (1789)
• the death of Benito Mussolini (1945)
• the Port Arthur Massacre, Australia's worst mass shooting which killed 35 (1996)
The Squiz Archive
Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?
Get the Squiz Today newsletter
It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.