MONDAY, JULY 12
Speaking after Queensland recorded another day of no local COVID 19 cases, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says she is monitoring the escalating COVID-19 situation in Greater Sydney (up a further 112 ) but will not shut the border with New South Wales “at this stage”.
However, Ms Palaszczuk urged anyone in regional New South Wales to come home.
“We aren’t imposing any further restrictions at this stage. But I am giving everyone notice that we are monitoring this incredibly closely,” she said.
“My message to Queenslanders is to think seriously, long and hard, about what you are doing and if you can, come home.”
Unlike Victoria, which shut its border with NSW overnight, the Premier said Queensland was “not imposing any further restrictions at this stage”.
“But I am giving everyone notice that we are monitoring this incredibly closely,” she said.
“Because the Greater Sydney is in lockdown, we are very comfortable with keeping the Greater Sydney area a hot spot.”
Of the 112 locally acquired COVID-19 cases in NSW in the 24 hours to 8:00pm yesterday, at least 34 were infectious while in the community.
“Can I stress that is the number that we need to see go down to as close to zero as possible before we can get advice from health to say the lockdown can end,” she said.
Ms Berejikllian said it was critical that people with symptoms go straight to get tested, rather than go to their GP, as transmission of the virus had occurred at several medical centres and pharmacies.
The areas of most concern continue to be in the Fairfield, Liverpool and Canterbury-Bankstown local government areas (LGAs).
However, chief health officer Kerry Chant said health authorities were beginning to see a rise in cases among 18-20-year-olds in the Georges River, Bayside and Sutherland LGAs, and were passing it on to household contacts.
Ms Berejiklian said the AstraZeneca vaccine would now be available to anyone over 40 who wants it.
“We have had some outstanding conversations with the New South Wales Pharmacy Guild and we are in the process of allowing pharmacists across the state to provide AstraZeneca to anybody over 40,” she said.
Of the locally acquired cases, 64 are linked to a known case or cluster and 41 are household contacts, with 23 considered close contacts.
The source of infection is still being investigated for 48 cases.
Ms Palaszczuk confirmed the state government would facilitate moving a number of NRL teams and their immediate family members to the state, at least for the next two months of the competition.
“But we will see how that goes,” she said.
“It is very hard on families with the NRL players. They would be in their distinct hubs, so we are facilitating that the immediate family members can move with them and they will be in those tight hubs.
“It is up to the NRL to police that. But we will be monitoring that very closely as well.”
Ms Palaszczuk revealed Queensland’s mandatory mask-wearing policy will be eased on Friday after the state recorded another day of no new cases.
Queenslanders will also be able to visit loved ones in aged care and hospitals, while the cap on social gathering numbers will be increased.
“That is fantastic news,” Ms Palaszczuk announced on Monday morning. “Pubs, clubs and cafes will be able to increase the number of customers from one per four square metres to three per four square metres.”
From 6am on Friday, dancing at public venues will once again be allowed but private gatherings of more than 100 people in homes will require the host to take contact details of their guests.
“We wanted to make sure we were giving businesses this timely advice so they can prepare, but we are going to be monitoring closely if there are further cases of community transmission,” the Premier said.
Thrill-seeking billionaire Sir Richard Branson has reached space aboard his own winged rocket ship in his boldest adventure yet.
The feat vaults the nearly 71-year-old past fellow billionaire and rival Jeff Bezos, who is planning to fly to space in a craft of his own nine days from now.
“The whole thing, it was just magical,” a jubilant Sir Richard said after the trip home aboard the gleaming white space plane, named Unity.
The brief, up-and-down flight — the rocket ship’s portion took only about 15 minutes — was a splashy and unabashedly commercial plug for Virgin Galactic, which plans to start taking paying customers on rides next year.
With a crowd of more than 500 people watching, a twin-fuselage aircraft with Sir Richard’s space plane attached underneath took off in the first stage of the flight.
Aboard were Sir Richard and five crew from his Virgin Galactic space-tourism company.
The space plane then detached from the mother ship at an altitude of about 13 kilometres and fired its engine in a bid to reach the edge of space about 88 kilometres up.
At the apex of the climb with the rocket shut down, the crew experienced a few minutes of near zero gravity before the spaceplane shifted into re-entry mode and began a gliding descent to a runway back at the spaceport.
The entire flight, from takeoff to landing, lasted about an hour.
“I was once a child with a dream looking up to the stars. Now I’m an adult in a spaceship looking down to our beautiful Earth,” he said in a video from space.
Spectators cheered, jumped into the air and embraced as the rocket plane touched down.
Sir Richard pumped his fists as he stepped out onto the runway and ran toward his family, bear-hugging his wife and children and scooping his three grandchildren up in his arms.
“We’re here to make space more accessible to all,” he said. “Welcome to the dawn of a new space age.”
Mr Bezos posted a congratulatory note on Instagram after the flight landed.
“Congratulations on the flight,” he said. “Can’t wait to join the club!”
A beaming Prince George was spotted hugging his mum and dad and cheerfully celebrating as England scored in the opening minutes of the Euro 2020 final.
But that all changed after the game had finished, with the young Prince looking absolutely gutted over England’s defeat.
The seven-year-old future King was watching the championship game alongside his parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, at Wembley Stadium in London alongside a strong 67,500 crowd.
Before the defeat, he looked elated when Luke Shaw scored for England in the first two minutes in a dream start for George’s native side.
The prince, who reportedly begged parents Kate Middleton and Prince William to attend the match, was seen hugging his parents as he beamed at his father following the exciting goal.
Video also shows George clapping excitedly during the thrilling moment for England fans.
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