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What we know today, Monday October 12


Welcome to your serving of the day’s breaking news from South Australia, the nation and abroad. Follow this post for live updates through the day.

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Power fans snap up prelim final tickets in buying frenzy

Port Adelaide members have rushed to buy tickets to their club’s home AFL Preliminary Final against Richmond, with all 25,304 available tickets snapped up before 2pm.

Tickets went on sale to Power and Tigers members at 9am this morning with the first 22,000 tickets sold in just 30 minutes.

The match will be played on Friday night at Adelaide Oval.

Last week the State Government announced an increase in the capacity for this game to 27,000 including standing room on the hill.

Port Adelaide Executive General Manager Matthew Richardson said not all 27,000 tickets could be sold.

“Because of the restrictions with COVID-19, there are some spaces around the players races, the boundary and the interchange bench that need to be left vacant,” he said.

“Once you factor in those, there are around 25,500 tickets available to purchase, inclusive of the hospitality rooms and corporate boxes.

“Regardless of the number of people we have had at games in 2020, the passion of our people and the atmosphere created by them has been unbelievable.

“There’s the player side and the energy the players must get from it, but also for our members who are fortunate enough to be at the game with that kind of atmosphere is a great experience.


“Our team is playing footy that our people are really proud of and I’m sure they’ll do the same on Friday night.”

Priority Group One Port Adelaide members had their chance to secure a ticket through Ticketek from 9am while priority two members had their chance to secure the club’s remaining portion of the 25,500 tickets for sale from 11am.

Port Adelaide has 29,155 eligible members.

Richmond members also had an opportunity to buy tickets in the pre-sale period from 9am but border restrictions with Victoria were expected to impact those sales.

Minor premier Port Adelaide will win a place in its first AFL Grand Final in 13 years with a win over Richmond on Friday night, potentially setting up a 2007 Grand Final rematch with Geelong, who take on Brisbane in the other preliminary final on Saturday.

NSW premier admits relationship with under-fire former MP

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian had a “close personal relationship” with ex-government MP Daryl Maguire and the pair continued to communicate until less than a month ago, a state anti-corruption inquiry has heard.

Berejiklian also admitted Maguire had told her about some of his business interests and she presumed the ex-Wagga Wagga MP had appropriately disclosed them.

The premier on Monday appeared by audio-visual link before the Independent Commission Against Corruption which is investigating Maguire.

He’s accused of using his public office and parliamentary resources to improperly gain a benefit for himself or for G8way International, a company Maguire allegedly “effectively controlled”.

Maguire was forced to quit Berejiklian’s government in 2018 after a separate ICAC inquiry heard evidence he sought payments to help broker deals for property developers.

Berejiklian said she had a “personal attachment” to Maguire and their relationship, which began in 2015, had been kept under wraps as she was a “very private person”.

They last spoke on September 13 – less than a month ago – and Berejiklian ceased communication only after agreeing to attend the ICAC inquiry.

The premier admitted that over the course of their relationship,  Maguire frequently spoke of his finances and was “obsessed” by them.

But she denied distancing herself from specific details on Maguire’s affairs in an attempt at self-preservation.

“I would never, ever, ever turn a blind eye from any responsibility that I had to disclose any wrongdoing that I saw, or any activity that I thought was not in keeping with what a member of parliament should be doing,” Berejiklian told the inquiry.

“I would suggest that I was either not interested or I thought what he was raising with me was fanciful. He was a big talker.

“A lot of the time, I would have ignored a lot of what he said as fanciful and information that I didn’t care to be involved in or interested in.”

The premier also said she didn’t take a personal interest in Maguire’s finances, despite their relationship, as she was an “independent woman” with her own finances.

Top Victorian public servant resigns amid hotel quarantine probe

An inquiry into Victoria’s bungled hotel quarantine program has claimed another scalp after top bureaucrat Chris Eccles resigned over phone records showing he spoke to the police commissioner as it was set up.

Eccles, the Department of Premier and Cabinet secretary, had previously told the inquiry he did not recall speaking to former Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton about the arrangements.

He now concedes the records show he spoke Ashton at 1.17pm on March 27, the day it was decided private security guards would staff quarantine hotels.

In texts from that day Ashton had described the appointment of private security as a “deal set up” by Eccles’ department.

But Eccles also said on Monday he’s certain he did not convey to Ashton any decision regarding the use of private security as no decision had been made.

The use of private security guards in the program has been blamed for the state’s devastating second wave of coronavirus, which has killed hundreds of people and led to the nation’s toughest lockdown.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos resigned last month over her role in the hotel quarantine program.

Meanwhile, Victoria on Monday reported 15 new cases of COVID-19 – the fifth-straight day of double-digit infections – and no new deaths, for the fourth time in five days.

Melbourne’s 14-day average of new cases went up to 9.9 but stayed at 0.4 for regional areas.

There were 11 mystery cases in Melbourne from September 26 to October 9 and none in regional Victoria.

With new case numbers still too high, Premier Daniel Andrews has said that not all the restriction relaxations planned for next Monday will go ahead.

But he repeated some measures will be eased – more likely social than economic.

Also today, parents across Melbourne are breathing sighs of relief as primary school and VCE students return to classrooms after almost 10 weeks.

Year seven students and special school students are also resuming on-site learning on Monday, while year 10 students enrolled in a VCE or VCAL program will be able to attend on-site for those classes.

Students in years eight to 10 are due to return in a fortnight.

It comes as Victoria’s state of emergency and state of disaster were extended to 11.59pm on November 8, while Premier Daniel Andrews looks at relaxing restrictions.

Authorities had wanted the two-week rolling daily case average to fall to five, with less than five mystery cases, for the city’s lockdown to ease in line with regional Victoria.

Hilton re-opens as interstate tourists increase

Adelaide’s Hilton Hotel has re-opened after a six-month closure as the state’s tourism sector begins to gain pace.

Premier Steven Marshall said today that South Australia was experiencing near-record tourism traffic from several states in particular from New South Wales.

“Since we opened the borders to NSW a few weeks ago, traffic to has been through the roof,” Premier Marshall said.

“In the past fourteen days, the SATC has seen 99,000 visits to from NSW –  a 199 per cent increase on the previous 14 days.

“In the week the borders opened, we set a new all-time record for NSW organic search traffic to the website, with the 12,000 organic search visits being more than three times the typical week, and almost double the previous record set in mid-September last year.

“In addition to this, in the 36 hours immediately after the NSW border announcement, Qantas and Jetstar recorded 20,000 seat sales, and searches for SA on Expedia from NSW lifted 160.”

The Hilton Hotel in Victoria Square closed on April 3 as South Australia went into lockdown and has only just re-opened.

Marshall said the Hilton welcomed back 100 staff members today and will ramp up to 250 staff as demand increases.

“The opening of the NSW borders was just the news they have been waiting for – with around 37 per cent of their domestic visitors coming from NSW,” he said.

“What is even more exciting to see is that accommodation occupancy in our regions are reaching almost the same levels as this time last year – and that’s without international visitors and only some interstate.

“Some operators in the regions are reporting their ‘best winter trade ever’ and Adelaide hotels are also showing very positive green shoots.”

Virus proves a super surface survivor

The virus that causes COVID-19 can survive for up to 28 days on surfaces such as mobile phone screens, stainless steel, vinyl and paper banknotes, Australian scientists have found.

The national science agency, the CSIRO, said the research also found that SARS-CoV-2 survived longer at lower temperatures.

It said the virus survived longer on paper banknotes than on plastic banknotes and lasted longer on smooth surfaces rather than porous surfaces such as cotton.

The research, published in the Virology Journal, also found the virus lasted 10 days longer than influenza on some surfaces.

CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said establishing how long the virus survived on surfaces enabled scientists to more accurately predict and prevent its spread, and so protect the community from infection.

The research was conducted at the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ACDP) in Geelong with Deputy Director Dr Debbie Eagles saying the results reinforced the need for good practices such as regular handwashing and cleaning surfaces.

“At 20 degrees Celsius, which is about room temperature, we found that the virus was extremely robust, surviving for 28 days on smooth surfaces such as glass found on mobile phone screens.”

Similar experiments for Influenza A found it survived on surfaces for 17 days.

Further experiments were carried out at 30 and 40 degrees Celsius, with survival times for the SARS-CoV-2 virus decreasing as the temperature increased.

“While the precise role of surface transmission, the degree of surface contact and the amount of virus required for infection is yet to be determined, establishing how long this virus remains viable on surfaces is critical for developing risk mitigation strategies in high contact areas,” Eagles said.

ACDP Director, Professor Trevor Drew, said the research may help explain the apparent persistence and spread of SARS-CoV-2 in cool environments such as meat processing facilities and how that might be better addressed.

Trump ‘immune’ claim earns Twitter rebuke

A claim by US President Donald Trump that he is now immune to COVID-19 has been flagged by Twitter for violating its rules on spreading misleading and potentially harmful information.

“A total and complete sign off from White House Doctors yesterday. That means I can’t get it (immune), and can’t give it. Very nice to know!!!” Trump said in the tweet on Sunday.

The post has now been flagged by Twitter with a disclaimer.

Trump also told Fox News his doctors have found he no longer has COVID-19 and will not be a risk to others as he returns to holding big rallies during the election campaign.

“I beat this crazy, horrible China virus,” he told the network, adding “it seems like I’m immune”.

The scientific evidence is unclear on whether people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection, and how long that immunity might last.

The president spent three days in hospital after revealing he had tested positive on October 2.

The president’s doctor said on Saturday Trump had taken a test showing he was no longer infectious but did not directly say the result was negative.

Trump also made his first public appearance since returning to the White House after his hospital stay for COVID-19 on Saturday.

Standing alone and not wearing a mask, Trump spoke from the White House balcony on at an event called “a peaceful protest for law and order”, attended by a few hundred people standing on the lawn below.

Lakers tie championship record with win over Heat

The Los Angeles Lakers captured a record-tying 17th NBA championship on Sunday with a 106-93 victory over the Miami Heat that sealed the best-of-seven title series 4-2.

The Lakers’ victory tied them with the Boston Celtics for most championships in NBA history and capped an unprecedented season that resumed in July at a spectator-free campus at Disney World in Florida after a four-month hiatus brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak.

LeBron James was named Finals MVP shortly after winning his fourth title, following triumphs with the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers, and enjoyed a triple-double (28 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists) in the final game of the season.

Nadal matches Federer with French Open title win

Rafael Nadal reacts after winning the French Open Final against Novak Djokovic. Picture Julien De Rosa/EPA.

Spaniard Rafael Nadal has inflicted one of the most humiliating defeats on his great rival Novak Djokovic in the French Open final, thrashing the world No.1 6-0 6-2 7-5 to lift a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam men’s singles title.

Nadal has now tied Roger Federer’s haul of 20 majors with Djokovic, three adrift on 17.

“To win here means everything. I don’t think today about the 20th and equal Roger on this great number, today is just a Roland Garros victory and that means everything to me,” the world No.2 said.

Nadal made just two unforced errors in the opening set to hand his opponent a rare ‘bagel’. In the second set there was no letup in intensity either as he continued to hit deep returns to keep his opponent pinned to the back of the baseline.

Djokovic got on the board at the start of the second set after managing to save three break points but Nadal maintained his iron grip by breaking the Serbian’s next two service games to go two sets up in the match.

The third set was a much tighter battle before Nadal went on to bag his 100th victory at Roland Garros with an ace.

Djokovic, 33, who had won five Grand Slam finals in a row since losing to Stan Wawrinka at the 2016 Australian Open, still leads Nadal 29-27 in career meetings.

Expanded UK virus measures to tackle growing crisis

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce new measures to tackle a growing coronavirus crisis, moving to work more closely with local leaders from England’s worst-affected areas.

Northern England has been particularly hard hit by a new surge in coronavirus cases that has forced local lockdowns, as students return to schools and universities across Britain.

Liverpool Mayor Steve Rotherham said on Sunday the government wanted to put his city and the surrounding area in the category subject to the toughest restrictions, adding that the measures that would apply there had not yet been agreed.

Sky News reported this could mean shutting bars, gyms, casinos and bookmakers.

Rotherham said any announcement would need to include funds for businesses that were shut.

With Johnson reluctant to repeat a national lockdown that would further hurt a struggling economy, the government is trying to contain both a surge in cases and growing anger in hard-hit areas.

England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam described Britain as being at a “tipping point”, saying the spread would soon translate into more deaths and that the country should act now.

New virus infections are spiralling across the UK with 17,540 new cases recorded on Friday.

Britain’s housing minister Robert Jenrick declined to detail the new measures but said they would focus on local areas.

“In addition to the basic simple rules that apply to the whole country, we are designing a framework for those places for where the virus is very strong,” Jenrick told Sky News.

After weeks in which tests were often unavailable across much of the country, Jenrick said local leaders would be more involved in contact tracing. There would also be more guidance on travel.

Local leaders have complained for months that they were being left out of decision-making by what some called an overly centralised strategy.

– with AAP and Reuters
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