Daily News Roundup

July 13, 2021

 

TUESDAY, JULY 13

NSW has seen one new Covid-19 death of a man in his 70s overnight, along with 89 new Covid-19 cases.  

Chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said the number of people going out into the community while infectious is still “too high”. Of today’s 89 cases, 21 were out in the community during their infectious period.

“This is still too many people in the community that are infectious. It is essential that we stay at home and only leave home for the most essential of reasons,” Dr Chant said.

This is the number Premier Gladys Berejiklian has repeatedly said needs to get to zero before the Greater Sydney lockdown can ease.

One of the new infections was a man in regional Goulburn – an essential worker who travelled to the region from southern Sydney, an area that is seeing a high-rate of transmission.

It comes as NSW’s Deputy Premier John Barilaro hinted that new restrictions could be on the table for the parts of Sydney, telling Sky News “we’ve lost control” of the virus.

“We may have to go further or tighten restrictions in some local government areas, we accept that but what does that mean?” he said. 

“It means making sure there’s less movement of people going into homes, going into construction sites, going into retail.”

Mr Barilaro’s statement came as one of the most controversial lockdown measures implemented during Victoria’s deadly second wave has been recommended for Sydney.

Director and CEO of the Burnet Institute, Professor Brendan Crabb, told the ABC’s 7.30 program on Monday that NSW should introduce a curfew like Victoria did.

NSW recorded 112 new local cases on Monday as experts called for harsher lockdown restrictions.

Queensland has recorded three new cases of COVID-19, including two that were locally acquired, but they are currently in home quarantine and linked to previous cases. 

Both are related to the Greek Orthodox Community Centre.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was “good news” because the cases had been in quarantine and authorities were “not worried” they were a risk to the community.

Professor Crabb said NSW was going to need tougher restrictions, something more akin to Stage 4 in Victoria to get this back to zero in a reasonable timeframe.

“With these new Stage-3-like restrictions that came into place last Friday, we think that this will go into decline but it will go into decline very, very slowly,” he said.

“If increased restrictions were adopted and adopted soon, would crush this. Stage 4 restrictions would deliver this reduction to less than five cases per day on a four-to-six week timeframe.

“Some of these things like masks outdoors and a curfew might work to influence behaviour as much as they are direct epidemiological tools.”

Mr Barilaro admitted “we’ve lost control” of the virus and hinted that new rules will be enforced.

 But he stopped short of anything that looks like a curfew.

“I can promise you that there’s never been a conversation around curfews or going even further,” he told Sky News.

“We may have to go further or tighten restrictions in some local government areas, we accept that but what does that mean?

“It means making sure there’s less movement of people going into homes, going into construction sites, going into retail.

“I don’t believe we will get to the state of curfews and radiuses around where you can go and how much time you can spend in the open air.”

Victoria’s second wave, which caused more than 800 deaths, led authorities to introduce an 8pm curfew for greater Melbourne.

But the measure, adopted under State of Emergency powers, was so divisive that it led to proceedings in the Victorian Supreme Court.

Premier Berejiklian did not introduce any new rules on Monday despite cases rising to a record 112 cases on Monday.

The current rules for Sydneysiders mean a person can only leave home for four reasons — to get food and essential items once a day, for work, for exercise or to seek medical care or a vaccination.

Shopping can be carried out by only one person per household and a 10km travel limit has been imposed for exercise and outdoor recreation.

Exercise was initially allowed with up to 10 people outdoors but that number has been slashed to two.

Reasonable excuses to be out of the home include accessing childcare, donating blood, moving house, attending a funeral, providing care, accessing social services, undertaking legal obligations and to escape risk of harm.

Face masks are mandatory in all indoor settings including public transport and funerals have been capped at 10 people.

Under the current rules, pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes are open for takeaway, but places of worship, hairdressers, auction houses, betting agencies, markets, massage parlours, nightclubs and swimming pools are all closed with no exceptions.

All schools have been closed to face-to-face learning.

Professor of Epidemiology at the University of South Australia, Adrian Esterman, told news.com.au maintaining the same restrictions will only result in cases continuing to climb.

“I can’t see why [numbers] will go down with a further week of lockdown, unless there is further intervention.”

He suggested “tightening the definition of an essential worker, or introducing a curfew, and somehow getting better compliance with the regulations”.

Epidemiologist and World Health Organisation (WHO) adviser Professor Mary-Louise McLaws said NSW may need a month of hard lockdown restrictions in order to defeat the current outbreak.

“I suggest that we’re in a lockdown for at least another three to four weeks, and then looking at whether or not you’ve got this under control, you need another couple of weeks to see that you’ve got zero,” she told ABC News.

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The government wants to know about your illnesses and military service — but it has decided not to ask about your sexuality, the ABC reports.

The census, run every five years by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), counts everyone in the country — and all Australians are required by law to take part.

The national survey, in a month’s time, is used to guide government decisions in many areas, such as healthcare, urban planning and education, though academics and businesses also regularly use the data.

Teresa Dickinson, who is managing this year’s census, said Australians should care about the data collection because it helps ensure they are represented.

“It’s the chance for everyone in Australia to tell us their story about what matters to them and their living conditions—their circumstances.

“That data is incredibly important.”

However, this year’s census will be a little different.

In 2018, the ABS began asking the public what it should ask in the next census.

It received more than 450 submissions and narrowed these down to eight topics to examine in-depth.

These included Indigenous cultural identity, military service, sexuality, gender identity and other topics about health, education and family.

Two of the eight will be included this year — past or current Australian Defence Force service, and a question on long-term health conditions.

They are the first topic changes since 2006.

The ABS is also dropping a question.

It used to ask about household internet access but will stop because of the widespread use of phones and other devices outside the home that access the web.

However, the lack of questions about sexual orientation and gender identity has concerned LGBTIQ+ advocates.

In documents tabled in the Senate, the ABS noted the potential question on sexual orientation met the “no alternative data source” criterion to a high extent.

That means it found there was no other accurate way to capture information about Australians’ sexual orientation.

The ABS also found data collection on LGBTIQ+ Australians from other agencies and organisations was “inconsistent”, “narrow in scope” or surveyed only a small segment of the population.

However, it stated there was only a “limited case” for the topic to be considered further. 

Equality Australia chief executive Anna Brown said the census was vital to ensure the needs of LGBTIQ+ communities were met.

“It’s absolutely vital that we collect data on our communities, because otherwise the government can’t plan our programs and services that meet our needs,” she said.

“Unless we’re counted, we’re invisible.”

The documents handed to the Senate also noted the need for population data that would help “address the health needs of people who identify as a non-binary sex or gender, or those who are bodily diverse”, but overall it considered there was a “limited case” for adding a new topic on gender.

Additionally, despite the disruption caused from COVID-19 in 2020, Australians will not be asked specifically about how the pandemic changed their lives.

“We haven’t got any COVID-specific questions but we will be able to see a lot about the effects of COVID on Australia,” Ms Dickinson said.

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England star Marcus Rashford has shown absolute class in the face of his country’s shameful response to its Euro 2020 final heartbreak on Monday morning, reports news.com..

The Manchester United forward has been the target of online threats and racial abuse following his team’s penalty shootout loss to Italy where he was one of three players to miss spot kicks.

He had vile comments left on Instagram and was sent monkey emojis, prompting outrage from across England.

But the storm has dragged into a second day following further disgusting public comments from high profile people in the UK.

Prince William, English manager Gareth Southgate, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the English Football Association have all spoken out to condemn the disgusting online abuse — but their comments have been met by other comments that further expose the country’s great shame.

The fallout towards the abuse suffered by Rashford and teammates Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, includes:

— Conservative member of parliament Natalie Elphicke being forced to apologise for a message posted on a Private WhatsApp group where she wrote “They lost – would it be ungenerous to suggest Rashford should have spent more time perfecting his game and less time playing politics?”

 Right wing politician Darren Grimes posting on Twitter: “Honestly though @MarcusRashford, penalties not politics from now on, aye?”

 Rashford revealing he had been left on the verge of tears after learning his mural in Manchester had been defaced with vile messages before true fans covered the abuse with hero messages, hearts and England flags; and

— Comedian Andrew Lawrence having his show cancelled after posting hideous, racist tweets on his Twitter page.

While the storm has been ripping England apart, Rashford showed his class in an emotional Instagram message on Tuesday morning (AEST).

“I don’t even know where to start and I don’t even know how to put into words how I’m feeling at this exact time,” the 23-year-old posted.

“I’ve had a difficult season, I think that’s been clear for everyone to see and I probably went into that final with a lack of confidence. I’ve always backed myself for a penalty but something didn’t feel quite right. During the long run up I was saving myself a bit of time and unfortunately the result was not what I wanted. I felt as though I had let my teammates down. I felt as if I’d let everyone down.

“A penalty was all I’d been asked to contribute for the team. I can score penalties in my sleep so why not that one? It’s been playing in my head over and over since I struck the ball and there’s probably not a word to quite describe how it feels. Final. 55 years. 1 penalty. History. All I can say is sorry. I wish it had of gone differently.

“Whilst I continue to say sorry I want to shout out my teammates. This summer has been one of the best camps I’ve experienced and you’ve all played a role in that. A brotherhood has been built that is unbreakable. Your success is my success. Your failures are mine.

“I’ve grown into a sport where I expect to read things written about myself. Whether it be the colour of my skin, where I grew up, or, most recently, how I decide to spend my time off the pitch. I can take critique of my performance all day long, my penalty was not good enough, it should have gone in but I will never apologise for who I am and where I came from.

“I’ve felt no prouder moment than wearing those three lions on my chest and seeing my family cheer me on in a crowd of 10s of thousands. I dreamt of days like this.

“The messages I’ve received today have been positively overwhelming and seeing the response in Withington had me on the verge of tears. The communities that always wrapped their arms around me continue to hold me up.

“I’m Marcus Rashford, 23 year old, black man from Withington and Wythenshawe, South Manchester. If I have nothing else I have that. For all the kind messages, thank you. I’ll be back stronger. We’ll be back stronger. MR10.”