WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29
The Federal Government is offering $3.2b in incentives to non-government schools to open campuses immediately and return to at least 50 per cent of classroom teaching before the end of May, The Australian reports.
Health Minister Dan Tehan has written to all Australian non-government schools with the offer.
It comes as a “powerful network of Victorian private schools” has demanded the discretion to reopen campuses in regions largely unaffected by the coronavirus in a direct challenge to Premier Daniel Andrews’s hardline stance on school closures, said The Australian.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison remains at loggerheads with the Queensland, NSW and Victorian governments which are refusing a full reopening of schools despite commonwealth medical advice that they should.
In other COVID-19 news:
- Extra police will be on patrol in Queensland this weekend to ensure coronavirus rules are being followed particularly at beaches and parks, Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said. From Saturday, Queenslanders will be able to leave their homes for recreation and the distance they can travel has been extended to 50 kilometres. Commissioner Carroll said an extra 140 officers would be on patrol. “Police will be out an about asking if you’re from the same household, if you’re keeping your distance, etcetera,” she said. So far 1,552 people have been fined for breaking social distancing rules.
Changes to Queensland’s stay-at-home rules:
- Go for a drive
- Ride a motorbike, jet ski or boat for pleasure
- Have a picnic
- Visit a national park
- Shop for non-essential items
- Relatives of residents at a Western Sydney aged care home where four more people died of COVID-19 yesterday are insisting they be allowed to see their loved ones. Ken Payne, whose 89-year-old mother-in-law tested positive at Newmarch House, where 11 people have now died from coronavirus, said he feared the worst. And Mary Watson said she just wanted to wave to her 93-year-old mother, who had also contracted coronavirus. “[They’re] not letting us have any access at all, and by access we actually mean just be able to get into the garden and wave at them through the window, just as a bit of encouragement, because all they’re seeing is people with gowns and masks and gloves, no human interaction.” Australia has now recorded 6738 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 3015 in New South Wales, 1350 in Victoria, 1033 in Queensland, 438 in South Australia, 550 in Western Australia, 218 in Tasmania, 106 in the Australian Capital Territory and 28 in the Northern Territory. A total of 89 deaths have been recorded nationally. The Logies have become the latest victim of the coronavirus pandemic. Initially set down for June 28, Australia’s annual television awards show has been cancelled outright for 2020, according to Bauer Media, which publishes the Logies’ main sponsor, TV Week magazine.
- US President Donald Trump’s economic adviser has forecast an unemployment rate of more than 16 per cent for April and protests have been breaking out over stay-at-home orders. However public health experts have warned prematurely rolling back social-distancing policies might cause a surge in new infections. More than 56,500 Americans have died of COVID-19, with the average hovering around 2,000 a day in April.
- Waverly Council in Sydney, says a system used to reopen three beaches has worked so well that weekend hours can now be considered. Yesterday ocean exercise was permitted again at Bondi, Bronte and Tamarama, and Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos congratulated people for abiding by strict “Swim and Go” and “Surf and Go” rules. “We need the community to observe our strict measures and social distancing for this access to continue,” she said. “So far that has been the case, so thank you to everyone who has done the right thing.” The three beaches were closed more than five weeks ago after people there disregarded social-distancing rules. US Vice-President Mike Pence did not wear a face mask during a tour of the world-renowned Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, in a violation of the medical centre’s policy. When Mr Pence met with a Mayo employee who had recovered from COVID-19 and was donating plasma, everyone in the room but him appeared to be wearing a mask. He was also mask-less when he visited a lab where Mayo conducts coronavirus tests, and was the only participant not to wear a mask during a roundtable discussion on Mayo’s coronavirus testing and research programs. Mayo tweeted that it had informed the Vice President of its mask policy prior to his arrival. The tweet was later removed.Mr Pence explained his decision by stressing that he had been frequently tested for the virus.
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