Daily News Roundup

October 5, 2021

 

TUESDAY, October 5

Victoria has recorded 1,763 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and four more deaths of people with the virus.

This is the biggest number of daily cases recorded in Australia throughout the entire pandemic.

Today’s spike follows days of rising case numbers for Victoria, easily surpassing the state’s previous record of 1448 infections confirmed on Saturday.

The new infections were found from 62,189 test results processed on Monday.

It is the highest daily local cases tally recorded in any state or territory, surpassing the peak of 1,599 recorded in the New South Wales outbreak.

It is a dramatic rise from the 1,488 that was Victoria’s previous high, which was taken from Friday’s tests.

On that day, authorities warned that if infection rates continued to rise, there would be grave consequences for the health system, which is already experiencing ambulance ramping and workforce issues.

It means the daily tally of new infections has doubled in just eight days, from 867 cases found in last Monday’s test results.

Premier Daniel Andrews did not rule out changes to the roadmap out of lockdown if cases rose faster than projected, urging people to stick with the rules until it was safe to lift restrictions.

Under the current plan, which abandons the previous goal of completely suppressing the virus, the lockdown will lift once 70 per cent of the 16+ population has had both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The latest daily tally is the sixth in a row with a case count above 1,000, and the seven-day average of new local infections now sits at 1,340.

The spread is largely being attributed to the virus getting into large households, and banned contact in homes such as family or social gatherings.

*NSW recorded 608 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8:00pm yesterday.

Seven people with COVID-19 died in the reporting period.

South Western Sydney saw five deaths, while western Sydney and Dubbo in western NSW both had one additional coronavirus death.

Those deaths bring the state’s total COVID-19 related deaths to 385 people. 

The state continues to edge closer to the 70 per cent vaccination target. 

A total of 88.5 per cent of adults over the age of 16 have had one dose of the vaccine and 67.5 per cent have had both doses. 

At the current rate of vaccination, NSW is expected to hit the target to start partial reopening on October 11, in just two days.

There are 190 people in intensive care, and 94 requiring ventilation, the state’s lowest ICU numbers since mid-September.

*The ACT has recorded 33 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19.

At least 14 of today’s cases were infectious in the community and five are yet to be linked to a known source.

There are currently 14 people in hospital with the virus.

Five people are in intensive care — three of those requiring ventilation.

The territory is approaching its eighth week of lockdown, which is due to lift on October 15.

ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said a proposal that would make vaccination mandatory for frontline health staff was being worked through. 

*Queensland has recorded two community cases of COVID-19.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said neither were “of concern” to authorities who were concerned about wider spread of the virus in the community..

One case was a three-year-old girl linked to the state’s recent aviation cluster and has been in home quarantine.

The second case was a 19-year-old woman travelling home from Victoria, and was only infectious on a flight before being intercepted on arrival into Queensland.

The woman had an exemption to travel into the state, and Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young also said she was not “too concerned” but wanted to see more testing of anybody with symptoms.

No cases were found that were linked to the massage worker who tested positive on Monday.

*Dr Krispin Hajkowicz has been announced as Queensland’s next Chief Health Officer.

Jeannette Young, who has been in the role for more than 16 years, will become Queensland Governor.

Dr Hajkowicz is an infectious diseases expert.

Dr Young said Dr Hajkowicz was the “perfect” person to take over from her.

She said she had been seeking his advice for the duration of the pandemic.

Dr Hajkowicz takes over in November.

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Dominic Perrottet has won the vote for NSW Liberal leader and will take over as the state’s Premier.

He defeated Planning Minister Rob Stokes in a party room ballot by 39 votes to 5.

Jobs Minister Stuart Ayres will become his deputy leader and Matt Kean, who is the current Environment Minister, is expected to be promoted to Treasurer.

While leaving the party room with his colleagues, Mr Perrottet said it was an “honour and absolute privilege” to be elected.

“I really appreciate the trust my colleagues have put in me today,” he said.

While Mr Perrottet is from the less dominant right faction of the Liberal party, Mr Ayres and Mr Kean are from the moderate faction.

The party room was forced to vote for a new leader after the shock resignation of Gladys Berejiklian last Friday following an announcement that she would be investigated for alleged corruption.

Mr Stokes was largely considered an outside chance but Mr Perrottet said if he was elected he would be sure to give Mr Stokes a senior position in the ministry.

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Hillsong founder Brian Houston will plead not guilty to concealing information about child sexual abuse, a Sydney court has heard.

The 67-year-old’s lawyer was served with a court attendance notice over the allegations in August.

He was charged with concealing a serious indictable offence of another person.

Court documents reveal the charge relates to an indecent assault of a male allegedly committed by his late father, Frank Houston, in 1970.

The matter was mentioned briefly this morning before Downing Centre Local Court.

Mr Houston didn’t appear, but his lawyer indicated he would plead not guilty.

The case was adjourned until November 23.

The court documents also state Mr Houston is accused of concealing the information between September 1999 and November 2004, in Baulkham Hills and elsewhere around NSW.

They say he allegedly knew that he “had information that might be of material assistance in securing the prosecution of Frank Houston” and “without reasonable excuse, failed to bring that information to the attention of the NSW Police Force”.

Police have previously said their investigation began in 2019.

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Former president Donald Trump now has a December 23 deadline to undergo questioning in a former Apprentice contestant’s defamation lawsuit over what he said while denying her sexual assault allegation against him, a court said Monday

The new deadline for Mr Trump’s deposition — a legal term for out-of-court, pretrial questioning under oath — comes as Summer Zervos’s 2017 lawsuit emerges from a more than year-long freeze.

“The defendant is now a private citizen, and he just cannot delay this litigation any longer,” Ms Zervos’s lawyer Moira Penza told a Manhattan judge’s law clerk during the teleconference.

Then-president Trump was weeks away from a January 2020 deposition deadline when he won a delay to ask the New York’s top court to consider holding off the case entirely until he was out of office. 

He argued that sitting presidents couldn’t be sued in state courts.

After he left office this year, the state high court — called the Court of Appeals — said the question was moot. 

The case returned to a Manhattan trial court for both sides to continue gathering evidence.

Ms Zervos said Mr Trump subjected her to unwanted kissing and groping during what she thought would be career-advice meetings in 2007 at his New York office and at a California hotel where he was staying.

He denied her allegations, retweeted a message that called her claims “a hoax” and described the women who accused him of sexual assault and harassment as “liars” trying to hurt his 2016 campaign’s chances.

Ms Zervos then sued, saying he hurt her reputation. She is seeking a retraction, an apology and unspecified damages.

Depositions of both Mr Trump and Ms Zervos are now due by December 23.

Their lawyers have two weeks to try to nail down specific dates, or the court will set them.

Ms Zervos, a California restaurateur, appeared on The Apprentice in 2006 while Mr Trump played the host.

A decade later, he was the Republican presidential nominee, and she was among a series of women who publicly accused him of sexual assaults or harassment years before. 

Former Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz called Ms Zervos’s claims meritless and said Mr Trump’s statements were true and protected by free speech rights.

His new lawyer, Alina Habba, said on Monday she planned to expand the former president’s response to the case. 

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Captain Kirk is finally about to blast off for real,  reports the ABC.

Jeff Bezos’s space travel company, Blue Origin, said that Star Trek actor William Shatner would join three others — two of them paying customers — aboard a capsule on October 12.

“Yes, it’s true; I’m going to be a ‘rocket man!'” the 90-year-old Shatner tweeted. He added: “It’s never too late to experience new things.”

Mr Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is a huge fan of the sci-fi series and even had a cameo as a high-ranking alien in the 2016 film Star Trek Beyond.

His rocket company invited Shatner to fly as its guest.

Shatner’s flight will last just 10 minutes and reach no higher than about 106 kilometres before his capsule parachutes back to the desert floor, not far from where it took off.