October 16, 2020

FRIDAY 16, October 2020

The first of three flights has touched down at Sydney Airport, carrying international passengers that, for the first time in seven months, will not  need to quarantine upon arrival.

Just one case of coronavirus was recorded today as a result of local transmission, while four others were recorded in mandatory hotel quarantine.

Today marks the first time since March 29 that international travellers will not be subjected to the 14-day mandatory hotel quarantine scheme.

Two other flights from New Zealand are set to arrive in Sydney shortly, and provided passengers have been in their country of origin for the past two weeks, they will be free to enter the community.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard described it as a “great day”, but pointed out New Zealanders and others arriving today would need to prove they are symptom-free and satisfy other health requirements.

Mr Hazzard said all passengers arriving from New Zealand would be kept separate from other arrivals in the airport, all of whom must go straight into a two-week hotel stint.

“There will be different channels and ways in of those New Zealand travellers from the other travellers, and also keeping them separate from people coming in from Victoria from the time being,” he said


Queensland is easing four more coronavirus restrictions from this afternoon after a 36-day stretch of no community transmissions — two people tested positive in the past 24 hours but both are in hotel quarantine.

Health Minister Steven Miles said stage five would be brought forward, as a “reward for Queenslanders”.

From 4:00pm today, people will be able to gather in groups of 40 in homes or in the community, Year 12 students will be able to dance at school formals, 40 people will be able to dance at weddings and aged care residents will be able to go on excursions.

“We are doing this in a graduated way, testing throughout the incubation period, at least 14 days each time, to make sure that each easing hasn’t had an impact on our ability to control the virus,” he said.

Mr Miles said the state would wait before making any decision on easing border restrictions, with a decision due at the end of the month.

“We will continue to monitor the situation in NSW and Victoria before making any decision on reopening our border,” Mr Miles said.

There are now four active cases in the state after 4,738 tests overnight, including 204 in Townsville, where COVID-19 was detected in the wastewater.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said of the two cases, one was a miner who had returned from Africa and was in hotel quarantine in Cairns.

The other person returned from the United States and was in hotel quarantine on the Gold Coast.

“The two new cases in Queensland are both in hotel quarantine so are not a risk to the community,” Dr Young said.

“As more Australians come home, we will see more Australians with the virus.”

Dr Young said there had now been about 38 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally, with more than 1 million deaths around the world.


An American man charged in his young granddaughter’s fatal fall from a cruise ship’s open window in Puerto Rico has pleaded guilty over her death, newsagencies report.

Eighteen-month-old Chloe Wiegand slipped from his grasp and fell about 45 metres from an open window of Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Freedom of the Seas ship in July 2019.

Salvatore “Sam” Anello of Valparaiso, who was charged with negligent homicide, said earlier this year that he would drop a not-guilty plea to help end what he called “this nightmare” for his family.

Under the plea agreement, Anello would not serve time behind bars and would serve his probation in Indiana.

Puerto Rico prosecutor Laura Hernandez said MAnello would be sentenced December 10.

“We have found justice for Chloe,” she said.

“This decision was an incredibly difficult one for Sam and the family, but because the plea agreement includes no jail time and no admission of facts, it was decided the plea deal is in the best interests of the family so that they can close this horrible chapter and turn their focus to mourning Chloe and fighting for cruise passenger safety,” Defence attorney Michael Winkleman said.

Anello, 51, had repeatedly said he did not know the window in the children’s play area was open and that he lifted Chloe up to it so she could knock on the glass like she had done at her brother’s hockey games.

“I wasn’t drinking and I wasn’t dangling her out of a window,” he said in a previous statement.

He said he is colour blind and might not have realised the tinted window was open.

The girl’s parents sued Royal Caribbean last year and accused the company of negligence.

In response, Royal Caribbean said that surveillance video shows Anello leaning out the window for about eight seconds before lifting the girl by and out of the open window for 34 seconds before he lost his grip.

The family said it would have been physically impossible for Anello to lean out like that.

The civil case is ongoing.

Royal Caribbean did not respond to a request for comment.


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