Squiz Today / 01 April 2020
Squiz Today – Wednesday, 1 April
“I think for the time being Harry and Meghan will probably become a distant memory.”
Said author Penny Junor of the Sussexes’ departure as a frontline royals yesterday. The couple risk becoming “pretty irrelevant” as the world battles COVID-19, she says. Which could make them eligible for the Morrison Government’s new JobKeeper payment...
CRUISIN’ FOR MORE TRAVEL-RELATED CORONA CASES
Another coronavirus death was recorded in Tasmania yesterday taking the national total to 19. It was the state’s second death, and both were passengers on the Ruby Princess cruise ship, as was the woman who died in Canberra on the weekend. The ship that was controversially allowed to dock in Sydney almost two weeks ago is back in the news after it reported yesterday that at least 440 passengers who were on the ship have tested positive for COVID-19.
THAT SEEMS LIKE A LOT…
It's about 10% of our total cases. And experts believe there will be a wave of related cases in the coming week because passengers were allowed back into the community before being advised to self-isolate. Throughout this crisis, cruise ships have been a tricky problem for governments to manage and traumatic for passengers. Six ships off the coast of NSW have been instructed to leave by Police Commissioner Mick Fuller. And in Western Australia, Premier Mark McGowan has called managing three cruise ships a “nightmare”. Of the 12 coronavirus patients that are in intensive care units in Perth, nine have come off a cruise ship.
AND THERE ARE PROBLEMS IN THE AIR?
Yep. Virgin Australia has asked the government for a $1.4 billion loan. Qantas said it’s not seeking bailout money, but if Virgin gets some, it would require $4.2 billion to keep things fair. And it’s not the only issue Qantas had to deal with yesterday. Six of its baggage handlers at Adelaide airport were confirmed to have the virus. It was enough for the airline to turn around a flight from Sydney to Adelaide last night. In the meantime, travellers who have recently flown to Adelaide were advised to wipe down their baggage. Note: that's not code for a new self-help technique…
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MEANWHILE, IN OTHER CORONAVIRUS NEWS…
• Health Minister Greg Hunt yesterday said we are seeing “early promising signs of the curve flattening” with the current rate of new coronavirus cases growing by 9%, down from 25-30% a week ago. He also announced a $1.3 billion deal with our 657 private hospitals where they will make beds available over the coming months in exchange for the government ensuring their financial survival after cancelling elective surgeries.
• While we’re talking stats, the age group with the most confirmed cases in Oz are those aged 25-29yo (the travellers/party people) followed by those aged 60-65yo (the cruisers). Almost 50% of deaths in Australia have been people aged over 80yo. And just 29 kids under 10yo have been reported to have the virus of our total 4,561 cases.
• Looking overseas, Spain has suffered its deadliest day with fatalities now totalling 8,189. And New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo says the 1,000 coronavirus deaths and 38,000 cases in the state are "staggering". It is the worst-affected part of the US. And you know things must be bad when Japanese officials call on citizens to avoid karaoke bars…
• Meanwhile, some political leaders are seeing the crisis as an opportunity to consolidate power. That includes Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban who now has special powers to reduce democratic controls. There are concerns about plenty of other places too, including those worried about increased police powers here in Oz.
• Globally, the number of deaths has passed 40,000 people. There are almost 825,000 cases, and nearly 125,000 have recovered.
QUEENSLAND TAKES A STEP TOWARDS ASSISTED DYING LAWS
Queensland is one step closer to joining Victoria and WA with its own voluntary assisted dying laws. The state parliament’s health committee gave the proposal the green light after a year-long review. Under the proposed regime, people aged over 18yo would be able to access the program if they have an advanced and progressive terminal illness, or if they have a neurodegenerative disorder. While concerns were raised about safeguards, committee chair Aaron Harper said progressing the laws was what most people who engaged in their inquiry wanted. Queensland's Parliament has been suspended for up to six months due to the coronavirus outbreak.
SWINE FEVER OUTBREAK IN PNG CONCERNS AUSSIE FARMERS
An outbreak of swine fever (note: not to be confused with swine flu) in more than 300 pigs in Papua New Guinea has Australian biosecurity officials and farmers concerned about the threat to our $5.3 billion pork industry. The virus, which has killed an estimated 800 million pigs worldwide and put China into a spin late last year, does not transmit to humans. It also doesn’t affect pork meat, but it can devastate pig populations. While we’ve ramped up biosecurity measures in recent months to keep infected pork out, Australian Pork CEO Margo Andrae said that current border closures would work in pork producers’ favour. And whatever you do, importing pork through the mail (eww...) is out of bounds, she said.
MELTING DOWN HISTORY
How many times have you thought to yourself that you’d like to know more about life in 12th century Britain, if only you had a slab of ice to help? Never. But here we go... Scientists have looked at a 72-metre-long ice core that was retrieved from the Colle Gnifetti glacier in the Swiss-Italian Alps, and they reckon its recorded everything from Henry II’s brutal assassination of the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1170, to wars and the change over of kings. That’s because just as trees record events in their growth rings, glaciers capture the chemical composition of the air from times gone past. And back then, it was all about lead production. When the king was going well, or in the case of Henry, redeeming himself in the eyes of the church for bad deeds, lead was produced in vast quantities to build churches, for example. Talk about putting your energy out into the world…
Here’s something to cheer about. Bluey, the animated TV series for kids, has won an International Emmy overnight. Created by Joe Brumm and produced in Brissie by Ludo Studio, Bluey the Blue Heeler pup, her dad Bandit, mum Chilli, lil' sis Bingo and their friends have won hearts around the world. First airing in 2018, it took Australia by storm via ABC TV where it's had more than one hundred million views to become the most-watched show on iview ever. It's since been launched internationally via Disney+. Co-executive producer Charlie Aspinwall said the team had “poured their hearts and souls into making Bluey the show that everyone loves and we’re just so proud of this achievement and how far we’ve come.” Here’s hoping the show’s success will get guest star Hamish Blake more engaged - he’s currently staving off iso-boredom by making himself a Zoom meeting pest…
SQUIZ THE DAY
April Fool's Day
US Census Day
ABS Data Release - Building Approvals, February
Birthdays for John Butler (1975) and Logan Paul (1995)
• the ruins of Pompeii being discovered by Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre (1748)
• US businessman Oliver Pollock creating the "$" symbol (1778)
• Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs founding Apple Computer, Inc (1976)
• the Netherlands becoming the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage (2001) and euthanasia (2002)
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