Daily News Roundup

September 15, 2021

 

WEDNESDAY, September 15

NSW hospitality leaders are calling on Premier Gladys Berejiklian to provide more guidance around the plan to reopen pubs and restaurants to vaccinated residents, with fears owners could be exposed to a legal minefield.

It comes as the state confirmed 1127 new infections and two deaths on Tuesday.

Hospitality leaders are scared they could face major legal issues when they are forced to ban unvaccinated staff and customers when NSW begins to reopen.

NSW is expected to reach a huge vaccine milestone as early as today, which will all but guarantee the state will hit it’s 80 per cent double dose reopening target.

As part of NSW’s roadmap to freedom, venues such as pubs and restaurants will be reopened to vaccinated residents. 

However, some venue owners are concerned that this will leave them open to a range of legal implications if the government refuses to provide guidance and leaves it up to the owners to turn away unvaccinated people.

*Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is set to reveal his state’s roadmap out of lockdown Sunday, which is expected to focus on greater freedoms and returning to face-to-face learning.

The state recorded 423 new cases and two deaths on Wednesday.

Of the new cases, contact tracers have linked 149 to known outbreaks.

There were 54,649 test results received on Tuesday, and 41,856 doses of vaccine were administered at state-run sites.

Premier Daniel Andrews will unveil a detailed roadmap out of lockdown on Sunday.

“There will be a map that talks about what we are going to do in the rest of September, what we’re going to do in October and November,” Mr Andrews said on Tuesday.

“It will be subject to all sorts of things including how many people are in hospital.”

Melbourne has been under stage 4 lockdown restrictions since August 5, while most of regional Victoria has enjoyed relaxed restrictions since September 9.

St Vincent’s Health Australia has announced it will mandate vaccinations for all staff, volunteers and contractors at its facilities.

St Vincent’s is Australia’s largest not-for-profit health and aged care service provider, operating 15 hospitals and 23 aged care facilities across the country. 

It follows Racing Victoria announcing its own mandate for all trainers, jockeys and staff to be vaccinated with at least one dose by the day of the Caulfield Cup on October 16.

Racing Victoria has also mandated that all staff must be fully vaccinated by November 27 when the Zipping Classic is due to be held at Sandown Racecourse.

RV chief executive Giles Thompson said the mandate could be affected by external factors.

*Queensland has recorded no new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 as the state government revealed the vaccination rollout will be expanded to encourage walk-ins this weekend.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told Parliament one COVID case was recorded in hotel quarantine.

The state government has announced a “super weekend” for vaccinations this weekend.

“Every one of our community hubs will be open and walk-ins are welcome,” the Premier said.

“This weekend I want to see our community come out and get vaccinated in droves.”

The Premier also announced Queenslanders aged 60 or older could now get the Pfizer vaccine from any of the state’s 80 community hubs.

“They’ve said to me loud and clear they want to have a choice of vaccines,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“We’re able to now do this because the supply is coming in.

“Now that everyone from the age of 12 is eligible, I want to see generations of families turning up to get vaccinated.”

Last week, Queensland Health administered 146,182 doses of COVID vaccine.

On Monday, 189,455 Pfizer doses arrived in Queensland and the Premier said she wants the hubs to “use the lot”.

Locations of walk-in clinics will be announced in the coming days and capacity on weekends will be increased.

###

UK British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is backing booster COVID-19 vaccine shots for vulnerable people and the elderly as part of his plan to prevent hospitals being overwhelmed and future lockdowns as the UK approaches winter. 

The prime minister is hoping to avoid a winter like last year, when a second wave fuelled by the Alpha variant caused more than 50,000 deaths on either side of the peak in mid-January 2021.

On Monday, it was announced England’s vaccine rollout will expand to those aged between 12 and 15, and on Tuesday it was revealed in the government’s 32-page plan that booster shots will be available for those over the age of 50, frontline health workers and the clinically vulnerable – estimated to be around 30 million people.

As well as booster jabs, the government has prepared a “plan B” in the event hospitalisations rise dramatically and the National Health Service is put at risk of being overwhelmed, which could involve mandatory facemask wearing, vaccine passports and a return of working from home.

With another 26,628 people testing positive for COVID-19 and a further 185 deaths recorded on Tuesday, Mr Johnson said in one way the UK was in a more challenging position than it was at the same time last year, when cases hovered around 3,000 per day.

“But in many other crucial respects, the British people – all of us collectively and individually – are incomparably better placed to fight the disease,” he said.

“We have more than 80 per cent of all over 16s now double vaccinated, and we have COVID anti-bodies in around 90 per cent of the adult population.

“Those vaccines are working.”

The UK is backing vaccines to do the heavy lifting over the winter months, with transmission likely to increase as students go back to school, workers return to workplaces and people spend more time indoors as the days get shorter and colder.

Earlier on Tuesday, England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Johnathan Van Tam, said 

###

One man is dead and two others have been taken to hospital after an underground coal mine collapse overnight north of Emerald in central Queensland.

Queensland police said they were called to an industrial incident involving a section of a mine collapsing at Lilyvale at 11:00pm.

“A 60-year-old man suffered significant injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene,” police said in a statement.

“A 20-year-old man also sustained injuries and was airlifted to Rockhampton Base Hospital in a serious condition.”

The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) said the incident occurred at the Sojitz Gregory Crinum Mine, known as the Gregory coal mine.

Paramedics, including critical care and a rescue helicopter, responded to the collapse around midnight.

Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) said a man with pelvic and leg injuries was initially trapped before being freed and flown to Rockhampton Hospital in a serious condition.

A third person was taken to Emerald Hospital in a stable condition after suffering what QAS described as a “medical event”.

Union spokesman Shane Brunker said industry health and safety representatives were on their way to the mine to assist with the investigation.

Sojitz Corporation bought the Gregory mine from BMA Australia in March 2019.

The company then began ventilation works in the old underground mine pit as a first step towards reopening the site.

In 2019, Sojitz Coal Mining chief executive Cameron Vorias said reopening the underground pit was an exciting venture.

The site is operated by Mastermyne.

###

Prince Andrew reportedly wants to say “I do again” and remarry ex-wife Sarah Ferguson – but first he’ll have to survive a royal sex-abuse scandal, reports news.com.

Divorcees Andrew and Ferguson apparently rekindled their old love during the Covid-19 pandemic and have even been living together at the Royal Lodge, sources told Vanity Fair.

“It has rekindled something and I can see a second wedding happening if it all goes Andrew’s way,” one source said, according to the publication.

Andrew has been relieved of his royal duties as he faces a sex-assault lawsuit from Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claims she was forced to have sex with the prince three times – beginning when she was 17.

Ferguson, often called “Fergie”, has continued to defend Andrew in the face of the accusations, which Andrew denies.

She recently told Polsat News that she still lives by her vows from her 1986 marriage, even though the couple divorced in 1996.

“I keep my commitment, no matter what,” the Duchess of York said.

Last month Fergie told WSFM’s Jonesy and Amanda that her wedding to Prince Andrew at Westminster Abbey was “the greatest moment of my life”.

“I had my handsome Prince, he’s also a sailor, he had a sword, I mean you couldn’t write it could you, it was a fairytale,” she said.

“It was a great love story and I guess that’s why we’re best friends now. It was just really extraordinary.”

This article originally appeared on the New York Post 

###

Haiti’s chief public prosecutor has asked the judge overseeing the investigation into the July assassination of president Jovenel Moise to charge newly installed Prime Minister Ariel Henry as a suspect, and ordered Migration Services not to let him leave the country.

In a letter to Judge Garry Orelien, prosecutor Bed-Ford Claude said phone records showed that Mr Henry received two phone calls from a key suspect in Moise’s killing on the night of July 7.

That suspect — a former justice ministry official whom Mr Henry has publicly defended — has fled the country.

In the letter, Mr Claude said that Mr Henry should be “forbidden from leaving the national territory by air, sea or road due to serious presumption relative to the assassination of the president”.

Chenald Augustin — who works in the PM’s communications office — said it did not have an immediate comment. The Prime Minister last week dismissed the charges against him as politicking.

Moise was shot dead when assassins stormed his private residence in the hills above Port-au-Prince, plunging the impoverished Caribbean country deeper into turmoil and a political vacuum.

Jovenel Moise had been governing by decree for more than a year and had faced many calls to step down.(Supplied: AP)

The 53-year-old former provincial businessman had been governing by decree for more than a year after Haiti failed to hold legislative and municipal elections amid a political gridlock and Moise had faced many calls to step down.

Decades of political instability as well as natural catastrophes have plagued Haiti’s development.

Its aid-dependent economy is the poorest in the Americas, with more than a third of Haitians facing acute food insecurity and gangs have been turning swaths of the capital into no-go areas.