Happy Friday, peeps – you have almost made it through another week of this weird time-soup we’re all sitting in.
A special shoutout to our Melbourne readers – I promise we haven’t forgotten that you are doing it even tougher. We are all thinking of you and hope to see all those numbers come down again, so you can begin to see that path out of this lockdown.
On Melbourne, the Age reports private security may not have been the source of the hotel quarantine infection breakout:
We’ll bring you more on that as it comes. Daniel Andrews will hold his daily press conference (I think he must be up to at least 40 days straight by now) where no doubt more questions will be asked.
We have also had an intervention on the border closures from agricultural minister, David Littleproud. He says supply chains and people’s health in border communities are being adversely impacted and it’s time for the federation to come together and sort it out:
The arbitrary closure of state borders have had serious unintended consequences not only on agricultural supply chains but also regional Australians wellbeing,” Minister Littleproud said.
Hard closures are stopping the flow of silage contractors and grain harvesters between Queensland and NSW, Queensland veterinarians and agronomists are also unable to visit clients in Northern NSW, and there are numerous human health impacts impacting on residents who rely on GPs, specialists and allied health care across state borders.
In one case, a Victorian pastoralist is unable to get to Broken Hill to feed and water her 500 cattle. In Corowa, a number of Victorian-based management and staff of a 5000 head dairy are prevented from crossing the border, putting at risk the health and welfare of animals.
Cancer patients in Tenterfield are unable to access treatment in Queensland, and a heavily pregnant woman in Moree has also been declined a permit to visit Toowoomba to visit her obstetrician.
These are just some of the many examples of the devastating impacts these hard borders are having on rural families and communities.
State health officials need to engage specifically with regional communities and industries at the direction of the premiers to identify workable solutions that keep supply chains open while keeping Australians safe rather than arbitrary broad reaching decisions.
Where practical the Prime Minister will seek to raise these issues with Premiers.
The Liberal government in South Australia has tightened restrictons on its border with Victoria, meaning Victorian border communities are even further restricted on what services they can access. It all seems like a line until somone is driving three hours to get milk or see a doctor.
There have been growing reports of people with Victorian number plates being abused in South Australian centres, like Mount Gambier, despite having obeyed the border restrictions (many workers have set up camp away from home, so they can keep going to their jobs).
So there will be more on that today.
There will also be a lot more on the Commonwealth response preparing the aged care sector for the pandemic. As we heard from the counsel assisting the commissioner, Peter Rozen QC, yesterday, the sector is STILL not prepared. Rozen said the deaths were not unforeesable and people had been failed.
Acting Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly is in front of the senate Covid committee today. He’ll be tasked with answering a lot of those questions.
It’s been quite a few days since we have had a press conference with the prime minister – there was a video posted to his social media feed commiserating over the deaths in Victoria, after 21 people died in what was Australia’s deadliest day in the pandemic so far (and hopeful we don’t ever see that topped) – but there hasn’t been a press conference.
There’s also the inquiry report into the Ruby Princess debacle (which federal officers were shielded from having to give evidence at) and NSW keeping a nervous eye on community transmission in Sydney’s north-west.
We’ll bring you all the day’s events as they happen. You have Amy Remeikis with you this morning.