WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17
China is grappling with what appears to be its largest coronavirus outbreak in more than two months leading Beijing to raised its coronavirus emergency response level, close schools and encourage people to work from home.
It is the “most serious” outbreak of the disease since February.
The city’s response level was raised from two to three after officials warned overnight that the situation in the capital was “extremely severe”.
In just five days, a swathe of new infections has been reported from a cluster that has sparked a huge trace-and-test program.
The city’s total has jumped to 106 confirmed cases since Friday while Wu Zunyou, China’s top epidemiologist, says the next three days are “critical”.
The coronavirus resurgence — believed to have started at the city’s sprawling Xinfadi wholesale food market — has prompted alarm as China had largely brought its outbreak under control through mass testing and draconian lockdowns imposed earlier in the year
“The epidemic situation in the capital is extremely severe,” Beijing city spokesman Xu Hejian warned at a press conference.
The Labor Party’s national executive last night seized control of its under-siege Victorian branch vowing to leave “no stone unturned” in cleaning it up.
The extraordinary intervention follows claims that up to a quarter of Victoria’s 16,000 ALP members have been affected by “industrial-scale” branch stacking, which involves signing up illegitimate members to influence ballots, including votes to determine candidates for elections.
The federal division has appointed two Victorian party elders as administrators until early next year —former premier Steve Bracks and former deputy federal leader Jenny Macklin.
The pair will review the state party’s operations, providing an interim report next month and detailed recommendations by November.
Federal president Wayne Swan said the party was responding with the “strongest possible action”.
“We’ll leave no stone unturned to root out these sorts of practices,” he said.
Every member will be audited to assess whether they are genuine supporters who have paid their own fees and consented to joining.
The national wing is also set to control candidate selection for the next state poll, along with Victorian candidates for the next federal election.
Mr Swan would not speculate on whether that could see sitting members who benefited from allegedly stacked votes lose their preselection.
He said he wanted to see “bona fide” members given some say in how the National Executive picked candidates.
“The intention here is not to run the party from Canberra,” he said.
“It’s to get local participation, to enhance it, to eradicate the branch stackers and to give bona fide members a say again in their party.”
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews proposed the measures, which were unanimously approved.
In a press conference on Monday, Mr Andrews announced he had sacked Labor powerbroker Adem Somyurek from the ministry after a report aired by Channel Nine depicted him using offensive language to describe a colleague.
The report also aired allegations he was involved in “industrial-scale” branch stacking.
American TV host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel will host the 2020 Emmy Awards, one of the biggest events on the showbusiness calendar, but even he doesn’t know how they’ll happen.
“I don’t know where we will do this or how we will do this or even why we are doing this, but we are doing it and I am hosting it,” Kimmel said in a statement.
ABC America gave no details for how the September 20 show, which hands out the highest honours in television, would be produced in an era when the coronavirus pandemic has forced the cancellation of multiple live events.
Scenarios under consideration include a completely virtual event or a combination of in-person elements, pre-recorded segments and online appearances, according to Hollywood trade publication Variety.
“We know Jimmy Kimmel will deliver a uniquely entertaining, funny and moving Primetime Emmys show,” Karey Burke, president of ABC Entertainment, said in a statement.
The coronavirus epidemic shut down production of television shows and movies around the world in mid-March, and has forced the cancellation of film festivals and live concerts.
Los Angeles county health officials last week gave the green light for film and TV production to resume under strict guidelines to contain the spread of coronavirus among cast and crews on crowded sets.
The Emmy Awards are usually held live in Los Angeles in front of an audience of A-list stars, and preceded by a red carpet.
It had been unclear whether the ceremony would go ahead this year.
Kimmel, the host of the Jimmy Kimmel Live! late-night talk show, has hosted the Emmys twice in the past.
Choosing him to emcee the ceremony reverses course from last year’s no-host Emmys.
While the Emmys are plunging ahead as scheduled, other ceremonies are bowing to the pandemic’s pressures.
The 93rd Academy Awards will be held on April 25, 2021, eight weeks later than planned, and the British Academy Film Awards are being shifted from February 2021 to April 11.
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