Daily News Roundup

June 23, 2021

(ABC Danielle Bonica)



NSW has recorded another huge surge of Covid-19 cases, with 16 new infections recorded overnight.

NSW Health announced 10 new locally acquired cases in the 24 hours to 8pm last night, seven of which were announced yesterday.

There were also 13 new locally acquired cases confirmed after the official reporting period, meaning they will be included in tomorrow’s numbers. There are now 37 cases linked to the Bondi cluster.

Questions are also mounting over whether Greater Sydney should be placed into lockdown following yesterday’s spike, with some epidemiologists arguing it is the best way to control the situation.

Yesterday, NSW Health revealed five locally acquired cases had been recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday, with two of those announced the previous morning.

New mask restrictions were brought in yesterday, but epidemiologist and World Health Organisation adviser, Professor Mary-Louise McLaws suggested a lockdown would add another layer of protection.

“We may need to think about a stay home order for a couple of days. I’m sure the authorities will feel quite confident by Saturday,” she told ABC’s News Breakfast on Wednesday.

Professor McLaws said a “quick, sharp stay at home order” would give authorities time to identify any other potential chains of transmission.

The announcement of the surge came after Queensland announced it will close its borders to a number of local government areas in Sydney after their Bondi cluster nearly doubled on Tuesday.

From 1am on Friday, Queenslanders returning home from City of Sydney, Waverley, Randwick, Canada Bay, Inner West, Bayside, and Woollahra will have to go into a mandatory 14 days of hotel quarantine.

Residents of those local government areas will not be able to enter Queensland unless they have an exemption.

Ms Palaszczuk said Queensland can’t afford to have Covid-19 infiltrate the state as further restrictions will ease on Friday, and has urged Queenslanders to reconsider any travel to Greater Sydney.

Chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said the fact it was the Delta variant spreading throughout Sydney was of major concern, as more than 120 exposure venues are now listed throughout the city.

“At the beginning of the pandemic I was saying you need 15 minutes of close contact to transmit,” she said.

“Now it looks like it’s just five or 10 seconds that are a concern.

“The risk is so much higher now than it was a year ago.”

Queensland police will be upping their random patrols.

The Sunshine State recorded no new local cases of Covid-19, but health authorities continue to mount pressure on the Federal Government to find a better solution for hotel quarantine.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed the Delta variant has spread throughout a floor at the Novotel.

The lack of new community cases comes as a relief, after a flight attendant contracted the virus while in hotel quarantine on the weekend.

She had tested negative after arriving in Portugal on three occasions, but was tested upon her release as part of her employers’ testing regime.

She spent four hours in the community while infectious.


Caged eggs would be phased out by 2036 under a major plan to end the practice of keeping hens in battery cages across the country.

The federal government has been forced to table proposed new standards for poultry welfare in parliament.

The draft standards were written by an independent panel, which has recommended traditional battery cages be phased out between 2032 and 2036.

But the plan has already been criticised by animal rights groups for being too slow to end the use of cages, while the industry wanted a longer phase-out lasting until 2046.

Internationally, Australia has been an outlier on chicken welfare, with 30 of the 36 nations of the OECD either having phased out battery cages or in the process of getting rid of them.

RSPCA senior policy officer Jed Goodfellow said they’ve been outlawed in Europe since 2012, and New Zealand will finish their use next year.

“Australia really is lagging behind at the moment so it is pleasing to see we’re seeing some progress finally,” he said.

“It is impossible to meet the welfare needs of hens inside these cage systems.”

The RSPCA would like to see the phase-out of existing cages, which would have been installed in about 2008, happen faster.

“We would like to see the transition timeline shortened considerably. Ten to 15 years is far too long,” Mr Goodfellow said.

“We can produce safe, affordable, nutritious eggs without confining animals to small, barren cages.”

While caged eggs have lost popularity on supermarket shelves, their decline from the commercial cooking sector has been slower.

Just over half the eggs sold at the grocery shops are free-range, but the commercial sector uses a higher proportion of caged eggs.

A long list of Australian manufacturers including Arnotts, McDonalds and Messina already use free-range eggs in their products.

But smaller producers such as bakeries and restaurants may have to put up their prices if they are forced to switch to free-range eggs, which are generally more expensive.

While the recommendations are expected to be met with resistance from some farmers, others say they are well overdue.

A Victorian government review of scientific literature found caged hens had five times more bone fractures than hens in other systems.

The new standards were only tabled after Greens senator Dr Mehreen Faruqi forced the government to release details of the new standards in a special motion in the Senate.

“This process has been going on in some form or another since 2013 so there has been plenty of time for the industry to change their practices. It’s really time for some action,” she said.

“Countries around the world have already ended or phased out cages.

“I’m certainly not convinced the industry needs up to 15 years to transition away from battery cages, it can and it should happen faster.

“We know the vast majority of people have been really concerned about hens being kept in such cruel and inhumane conditions.”

Setting the new standards has been a protracted process that began more than four years ago.

It was then that the NSW government had been asked to lead the process for national reforms via its Department of Primary Industries.


Chinese swimmer Sun Yang will miss the Tokyo Olympics after the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Wednesday morning (AEST) handed him a ban of four years and three months for violating anti-doping rules.

CAS, which came to the decision after a high-profile three-day retrial, said the suspension was backdated to February 28, 2020 — meaning he will be able to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympics when he will be 32-years-old.

Wednesday morning’s ruling was the final nail in Sun Yang’s Olympics dream coffin, despite having succesfully overturned the 2020 ruling that saw him smacked with an eight year ban during a Supreme Court appeal in December.

It is also the sweetest of victories for Aussie Mack Horton.

Long-simmering hostility towards Sun Yang from some of his rivals burst into the open at the Rio 2016 Olympics when Horton blasted Sun as a “drug cheat” before pipping him to gold in the 400m freestyle.

The usually steely Sun broke down in tears.

Then, at an ill-tempered 2019 world championships, Horton refused to pose for pictures with Sun on the medal podium, a protest repeated by Britain’s Duncan Scott.

French swimmer Camille Lacourt had also caused another storm at the Rio Games by declaring “Sun Yang pisses purple”.

The series of public condemnations resulted in Sun’s angry outburst at the 2019 world championships when he shouted “I win, you loser” at Scott.

Sun will not get his chance to reply in Tokyo this year.

The swimming competition at the Tokyo Games, postponed a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, is due to start on July 24.

The 1500m freestyle world record-holder appeared to have no hope of making it to the Olympics after the Lausanne-based CAS banned him for eight years in February last year for refusing to give a sample following an incident in which a member of his entourage smashed a vial containing Sun’s blood when doping inspectors visited his home.

However, the 29-year-old Sun appealed and Switzerland’s federal supreme court overturned the career-ending punishment last December over alleged bias against the swimmer, who remains a huge star in China.

Sun, who was banned for three months in 2014 for a separate doping offence, has always protested his innocence in the murky events of September 2018.

The reigning 200m freestyle Olympic champion, as well as an 11-time world champion, says the doping testers were not qualified or authorised.


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