Daily News Roundup

November 17, 2020

 

TUESDAY, NOV 17

President-elect Joe Biden has warned “more people may die” if outgoing President Donald Trump continues to block efforts to plan for a US transition of power as the coronavirus pandemic worsens.

The remarks were Mr Biden’s toughest comments to date on Mr Trump’s failure to acknowledge his election loss and cooperate with the incoming administration for a peaceful transfer of power.

“More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” Mr Biden told reporters during a news conference in Wilmington, Delaware, on Monday local time.

“As you battle COVID, we have to make sure that businesses and workers have the tools, the resources and the national guidance and health and safety standards to operate safely.”

He called for bipartisan cooperation to try to stem further outbreaks of the virus, and urged Congress to pass pandemic relief legislation.

Talks on such legislation stalled for months before the November 3 election.

He said coronavirus continued to spread “almost unabated”, and that a national plan was needed.

Mr Biden and his aides said they have tried unsuccessfully to obtain details about the vaccine distribution plan being developed by the Trump administration.

The president-elect’s chief of staff indicated his transition team would proceed with its own separate planning because of the obstruction.

Mr Biden called the vaccine distribution a “huge, huge undertaking”, and said that if his team had to wait until he takes office to dig into the Government’s distribution plan, they would be “behind, over a month, month-and-a-half”.

“So it’s important that it be done, that there be coordination now, as rapidly as we can get that done,” he said.

Mr Biden also outlined his plans to alleviate inequality and boost the US economy, but said any structural reforms depended first on reining in the pandemic and delivering more immediate relief.

“Once we shut down the virus and deliver economic relief to workers and businesses, then we can start to build back better than before,” he said.

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Just one new case of the coronavirus has been linked to the outbreak in South Australia overnight, Premier Steven Marshall says.

Authorities are scrambling to contact trace and contain a COVID-19 cluster in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, which prompted sweeping new restrictions across the state yesterday.

The new diagnosis brings the number of confirmed and suspected infections associated with the Parafield cluster to 20.

Mr Marshall said it was a good result, with thousands of people tested since the cluster was discovered.

“If we reflect on the last 24 hours, today there’s just been the one new infection despite the fact that we have essentially done the contact tracing for the people that are infected,” Mr Marshall told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning.

“[We have] put a lot of people, I’m talking hundreds and hundreds of people, in isolation, subjected them to a test, and at this stage, just one new infection,” he said.

The Premier urged anyone with even the mildest symptoms to get tested, and flagged a further update on case numbers this afternoon.

“Thousands of people were tested yesterday … I’m very grateful for that,” he said.

“They do not want a second wave here and they’re prepared to do whatever it takes.

“Data is absolute king during these outbreaks [and] time is of the essence.”

SA Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said the new coronavirus restrictions — which include limits on gatherings in homes and licensed venues and a temporary ban on community sport — may continue beyond the initial two-week period if it becomes clear there has been major community transmission.

She said a “large number” of people were in quarantine or isolation across Adelaide.

Professor Spurrier asked South Australians to limit their interactions with other people to help contain the outbreak.

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Retail giant Woolworths Group is pulling books by controversial celebrity chef Pete Evans from its shelves after he posted a cartoon featuring a symbol associated with neo-Nazis and the Christchurch mosque attacks on social media.

The backlash came after Evans posted a cartoon which depicted a “black sun” symbol, used by far right groups including white supremacists in the US and paramilitary units in Ukraine.

In the cartoon, a caterpillar wearing a MAGA hat, popularised by US President Donald Trump, says “you’ve changed” to a butterfly with the “black sun” symbol on its wing.

The butterfly replies: “We’re supposed to.”

The design on the wing of the butterfly is associated with neo-Nazis.(Supplied)

The black sun, or sonnenrad, was also used on the rucksack and manifesto of the shooter who murdered 51 people in the 2019 Christchurch mosque attacks.

Evans later deleted his post and apologised “to anyone who misinterpreted a previous post”.

“I look forward to studying all of the symbols that have ever existed and research them thoroughly before posting,” he said in a statement.

Today, Woolworths Group said it would be removing Evans’s books like Going Paleo from its Big W stores.

“Big W reviews its range of books regularly to ensure they’re aligned with its values,” Woolworths Group said in a statement.

“It has decided to remove Pete Evans’ book titles from the Big W range.”

Pan Macmillan said any bookshops which wanted to return the titles should contact them.

“Those views are not our views as a company, or the views of our staff,” the company said.

“Pan Macmillan is currently finalising its contractual relationship with Pete Evans and as such will not be entering any further publishing agreements moving forward.”

Woolworths Group said its Woolworths supermarkets had no direct commercial relationships with Evans.