Daily News Roundup

February 17, 2021




Victoria’s snap “short, sharp circuit-breaker” coronavirus lockdown will end on schedule tonight, Premier Daniel Andrews has confirmed, but mask rules and gathering limits will remain in place.

Schools will reopen, workplaces will return to 50 per cent capacity and people will be allowed to leave the house for any reason.

However, masks will remain mandatory indoors when keeping a physical distance of 1.5 metres is not possible.

Victorians will only be allowed five visitors to the home, instead of the previous 15-person limit, and up to 20 people will be allowed at public gatherings.

After processing nearly 40,000 test results on Tuesday, the state did not detect any new cases of COVID-19 in the community or in hotel quarantine.

The snap lockdown came into effect hours after it was announced on Friday and was prompted by fears the more infectious B117 “variant of concern” had spread from an outbreak linked to a quarantine hotel into the community.

All 19 of the confirmed cases linked to the Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport outbreak are understood to have the more virulent UK strain of COVID-19.


Former US president Donald Trump says the Republican Party can “never again be respected or strong” while senator Mitch McConnell is at the helm.

Mr Trump released a lengthy statement today slamming the Senate Minority Leader for his “lack of political insight, wisdom, skill and personality”.

“Mitch is a dour, sullen and unsmiling political hack,” Mr Trump said in the statement published on a “Save America” letterhead.

“If Republican senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again.

“Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse making America great again and our policy of America first.

“We want brilliant, strong, thoughtful and compassionate leadership.”

Mr Trump’s statement follows Senator McConnell speaking out against the former president after he was acquitted of inciting an insurrection.

Seven Republicans had joined the Democrats in voting guilty.

Mr McConnell was not one of them, but he went on to say Mr Trump was responsible for the deadly Capitol riot on January 6.

“There is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,” he said after the verdict, despite his official not-guilty vote.

“The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president.”

Donald Trump has again indicated he will remain active in US politics, saying he will back candidates “who espouse making America great again”.(Reuters: Carlos Barria)

Mr McConnell justified his not-guilty vote by saying it was unconstitutional to convict Mr Trump now that he was out of office and a private citizen.

But he did hint Mr Trump might still face criminal prosecution.

“President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office as an ordinary citizen,” Senator McConnell said.

“He didn’t get away with anything. Yet.”


There are shonky fridges, and then there’s the latest Smeg model.

The cult brand, known for its retro-style appliances, has produced the worst fridge ever according to the consumer advocacy group Choice, reports news.com.

Its latest FAB38RCRAU model earned the lowest testing result in Choice history.

“We’ve seen some epic fridge fails in the past, but nothing like this,” the watchdog said in its review.

The 510 litre fridge scored a rating of just 22 per cent, amid “serious” concerns regarding fluctuating temperatures.

Choice fridge expert Ashley Iredale said this particular model is the worst the company has ever seen across decades of testing.

“It’s even more appalling when you consider that it costs a whopping $3990. You get a 1950s-style aesthetic from this fridge, but you’ll also get ‘50s performance to match.”

Mr Iredale said the fridge is expensive to run and has “terrible” cooling performance.

The experts gave the model a rating of zero after experiencing shocking fluctuations in temperature which could influence the longevity of food.

While forking out for the fridge, consumers would also be spending a fortune on perishables which “are likely to go off far more quickly than they should”, Mr Iredale explained.

Lab testing carried out by Choice found temperatures varied by more than 5C inside and 10C in the freezer.

This means if the fridge is set at 3C, temperatures could rise to 8C and items like a tray of oysters could give the user food poisoning.

In terms of outside influence, it would require a lot of maintenance to keep the temperatures steady.

“If you buy this fridge, you’ll need to constantly adjust the settings as the seasons change, or even if there are significant day-to-day changes in the area you live in,” Mr Iredale said.

“If you don’t, cold weather will make the fridge and freezer even colder, and hot weather will make it even warmer, which could leave you with melted ice cream and much worse.”

It is also expensive to run.

Choice experts estimate the Smeg will cost $1707 to run over 10 years. Similar-sized models from other brands are likely to set customers back between $1074 and $1431 over the same length of time.

Mr Iredale said it’s also large, given its actual capacity.

“We’ve seen plenty of larger capacity fridges that take up less space in the cramped confines of the modern Australian kitchen,” he said.

Smeg has been contacted for comment, news.com reported.