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What we know today, Monday November 30


Welcome to your serving of the day’s breaking news from South Australia, the nation and abroad.

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QLD/SA border decision on hold for a week

The Queensland government will wait another week before making a decision on reopening its border to greater Adelaide “before Christmas” as thousands of visitors from southern states prepare to flock to the Sunshine State.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk urged people in the SA capital to be patient after a briefing with the chief health officer Jeannette Young today.

She said Dr Young and Queensland Health needed more time to assess the coronavirus cluster in Adelaide.

“Of course we do have that aspiration that everyone can travel freely before Christmas, so I’m just asking people to please be patient for another week so they can do some further detailed analysis about that.” Palaszczuk told reporters.

Queensland closed the border to 20 local government areas in greater Adelaide on November 16 after the cluster emerged.

Restrictions to ease tomorrow after consecutive days of no new cases

South Australia has recorded its second consecutive day of no new coronavirus cases ahead of tomorrow’s easing of restrictions.

The easing is set to go ahead tomorrow despite ongoing concerns about the movements of a man who visited numerous shops while infected with COVID-19, as health authorities revealed he was not directed to quarantine.

Deputy chief public health officer Dr Emily Kirkpatrick this afternoon told reporters the man had not breached quarantine as widely speculated, after being identified as a casual contact of a confirmed case at the Intensive English Language Institute at Flinders University.

“For this particular cluster associated with the school we did not require them as casual contacts to go into a set mandated quarantine period under the Emergency Management Act,” she said.

SA Health yesterday revealed the man aged in his 30s was self-quarantining after attending the Intensive English Language Institute at Flinders University and being identified as a casual contact of a confirmed case, but went out on Sunday November 22 after receiving an initial negative test.

He visited Big W Brickworks, Torrensville (12.15pm to 12.50pm), Foodland Norwood (1.20pm to 2pm) and Kmart Kurralta Park (2.45pm to 3.10pm) while infectious.

SA Health says people who visited those “high risk” locations at the specified times must get tested immediately – even if they don’t have symptoms.

Meanwhile, more than 2000 people have emerged from quarantine after returning their second negative test and completing 14 days in isolation from the initial Parafield outbreak.

Qantas blames COVID for 2000 more job cuts

Qantas is pushing ahead with its plan to cut and outsource about 2000 jobs, after rejecting an in-house bid from a union representing ground staff.

The jobs affected are at 10 airports around the country and impact ground operations workers including ground crew, aircraft cleaners and baggage handlers.

“COVID has turned aviation upside down,” Qantas Domestic and International CEO Andrew David said in statement on Monday.

“Airlines around the world are having to make dramatic decisions in order to survive and the damage will take years to repair.”

The plan was first flagged in August when the national carrier said it needed to restructure its ground handling operations to meet the economic and financial challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Qantas estimated reducing the overall cost of ground handling operations could save around $100 million annually, based on pre-COVID levels of flying.

Avoiding large spending on ground handling equipment such as aircraft tugs and baggage loaders would also save $80 million over five years.

The Transport Workers Union had submitted a bid on behalf of Qantas workers in accordance with terms in an enterprise agreement.

Teams from some individual airports also submitted local proposals, but none met Qantas’ objectives.

David said TWU’s bid claimed that significant savings could be made but it failed to outline sufficient practical detail on how this might be achieved, despite requesting this information multiple times throughout the process.

“Even with the involvement of a large accounting firm, the bid falls well short of what the specialist external providers were able to come up with,” he said.

The decision means job losses across the group as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and associated border closures total around 8500 of its 29,000 pre-COVID workforce.

Biden breaks foot playing with dog

US President-elect Joe Biden fractured his foot while playing with one of his dogs, his doctor says.

Biden suffered the injury on Saturday and visited an orthopedist in Newark, Delaware, for an examination on Sunday afternoon, his office says.

A subsequent CT scan “confirmed hairline (small) fractures of President-elect Biden’s lateral and intermediate cuneiform bones, which are in the mid-foot”, according to a statement from his doctor, Kevin O’Connor.

“It is anticipated that he will likely require a walking boot for several weeks,” he said.

Leaving the doctor’s office to head to an imaging centre for his CT scan, Biden was visibly limping, though he walked without a crutch or other aid.

He was under examination for more than two hours after arriving at the office on Sunday afternoon.

Biden sustained the injury while playing with Major, one of the Bidens’ two dogs, along with Champ.

The 78-year-old Democrat will be the oldest president when he is inaugurated in January but he frequently dismissed questions about his age on the campaign trail.

He released a doctor’s report in December saying he takes a statin to keep his cholesterol at healthy levels but he remains “healthy, vigorous” and “fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency”.

Australia records first COVID death since October

Victoria has recorded Australia’s first coronavirus death in a month, as the state government’s long-awaited contact tracing app is rolled out.

The Department of Health and Human Services on Monday confirmed a woman in her 70s died from complications relating to an earlier diagnosis of COVID-19.

“She was part of a small group of cases diagnosed in late July. She was cleared as an active case in late Sept,” the department posted on Twitter.

“In line with the national case definition, this is a COVID-related death as no recovery occurred from time of infection.”

Her death takes the state’s toll from the virus to 820 and the national figure to 908.

The most recent Australian virus fatalities were two Victorians on October 28.

The state recorded no new cases on Monday – the 31st day in a row – as thousands of workers were allowed to return to the office for the first time in nine months.

Under the eased restrictions, 25 per cent of staff can return to workplaces, though masks will be mandatory indoors.

Victorian public servants will continue to work from home.

The government has also rolled out its own universal check-in method for businesses via a QR code.

Businesses have been required to keep a record of who has visited their premises so contact tracers can track down people if a coronavirus case is later detected.

Search for man missing in Lake Alexandrina to resume

The search for a man missing in Lake Alexandrina will enter its fourth day this morning as hopes fade of finding the man alive.

The alarm was raised about 11.30am on Friday 27 November, after two men set off on an inflatable canoe from Sheoak Road just north of Milang and failed to return.

Water Operations Unit officers coordinated a search and rescue effort which included local police, Sea Rescue Squadron boats and PolAir.

One of the men, a 19-year-old from Elizabeth Vale, was found floating in the water about 2.45pm and was treated by SA Ambulance crews for hypothermia.

The canoe was also located.

The search for the second man, a 31-year-old Brahma Lodge man is continuing, however police hold grave concerns for his welfare.

Teen charged over deadly South East crash

A teenage driver has been charged over a head-on collision between two vehicles on the Princes Highway which left three dead and five injured.

The accident happened at Suttontown, 5 kilometres west of Mount Gambier, early on Saturday afternoon.

Two women aged 57 and 77 and an 80-year-old man all from Millicent travelling in a Ford Territory all died at the scene. They were all members of the same family.

Four occupants in a Toyota Landcruiser, the 16-year-old driver, 48-year-old woman, a 13-year-old boy and 11-year-old girl, were all taken to the local hospital for non-life threatening injuries and the fifth occupant, a 48-year-old Millicent woman, was airlifted to the Flinders Medical Centre where she remains in a serious but stable condition.

The 16-year-old was arrested and charged with caused death by dangerous driving.

He was bailed to appear in the Mount Gambier Youth Court in February.

Princes Highway was closed between Sassanowsky Road and Kangaroo Flat Road for several hours.

Major crash investigators attended the scene, with anyone who may have witnessed the crash asked to call Crime Stoppers.

The accident brings the death toll on South Australia’s roads to 85 for 2020, compared to 101 at this time last year.

Biden presidency ‘inevitable’ as Trump’s doubts grow

Senior US Republicans say a transition to a Joe Biden presidency now looks inevitable, while President Donald Trump has now questioned whether the Supreme Court will even hear any of the challenges his campaign has vowed to pursue.

Trump’s comments in a telephone interview with Fox News Channel on Sunday came as Republican Senator Roy Blunt, chair of the congressional inaugural committee, said they expect Democrat Biden to be sworn in as president on January 20.

“We’re working with the Biden administration, the likely administration on both the transition and the inauguration as if we’re moving forward,” Blunt of Missouri said on CNN, though he stopped short of acknowledging Trump lost the November 3 election.

Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas is one of a few Republicans to refer to Biden as the president-elect.

“The transition is what is important. The words of President Trump are not quite as significant,” Hutchinson told Fox, adding that he understood the legal reason Trump is not conceding.

Trump used his interview to repeat the allegations he has made, without evidence, about widespread electoral fraud – claims that have been rejected by numerous judges.

But he expressed doubt as to whether the Supreme Court would hear an appeal of any of the cases he said his team is pushing.

“We have to move very fast,” Trump said of his legal challenges, while declining to offer a specific date by which he would consider his options exhausted.

He said he will continue to fight the results of the election, saying “my mind will not change in six months.”

In the nearest he has come to a concession, Trump said last week that if Biden is certified the winner when the Electoral College meets to tally results from the states on December 14, he will leave the White House.

Biden won the presidential election with 306 Electoral College votes – many more than the 270 required – to Trump’s 232. Biden also leads Trump by more than 6 million in the popular vote tally.

Trump has so far refused to concede, while his campaign and legal team have lost dozens of lawsuits by failing to convince judges of election irregularities in states including Michigan, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada, all critical to Biden’s victory.

A recount in Wisconsin’s largest county demanded and paid for by Trump’s election campaign ended on Friday with Biden gaining votes.

Sizzling Smith clinches series win for Aussies

Photo: AAP/Brendan Esposito

Consecutive centuries from Steve Smith have delivered Australia a one-day cricket series victory over India, who suffered a 51-run loss at the SCG on Sunday despite a stirring chase led by Indian captain Virat Kohli.

Smith backed up Friday’s sparkling 105 with a masterful 104 in the second one-dayer, guiding Australia to a record-breaking total of 4-389. Both centuries came off just 62 balls.

Kohli, whose composed knock of 89 never looked like stopping until a diving Moises Henriques reeled in a spectacular catch at midwicket in the 35th over, created all manner of headaches for Australia.

India’s skipper was well supported by KL Rahul (76), while Mitchell Starc was hammered for 0-82 from nine overs.

Smith chipped in with two catches as India finished 9-338, ensuring Wednesday’s series finale in Canberra will be a dead rubber.

Australia’s victory was soured by an adductor injury suffered by David Warner, who was rushed off for scans after a fielding mishap.

But Smith sounded another ominous warning that he could be in for a big summer, sapping the morale of India’s bowlers as the temperature hit 40C.

The right-hander picked gaps with ease, shuffled around the pitch with typical abandon for the textbook and produced another spellbinding highlight reel to celebrate consecutive one-day tons for the first time in a decorated career.

Glenn Maxwell recovered from a bouncer blow to the helmet and delivered another entertaining cameo, finishing 63 not out from 29 balls, while Labuschagne (70), Finch (60) and Warner (83) also scored freely.

Miraculous escape from Formula One fireball

Formula One driver Romain Grosjean has miraculously escaped serious injury after his car burst into flames on the opening lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix overnight, which was eventually won by Lewis Hamilton.

Grosjean, 34, scrambled to get out of his burning car for almost half a minute before eventually leaping away and into the arms of Formula One doctor, Ian Roberts, one of the first men on the scene.

On the opening lap, Grosjean moved to his right at the third corner, before hitting the front-left wheel of Daniil Kvyat’s AlphaTauri, and penetrating the steel barrier at more than 220kmh. The force of the impact, which registered at 53G, split his machine in two.

Grosjean’s cockpit instantly burst into flames, and the sport held its breath as television cameras cut hastily away from the extraordinary accident and the race was immediately stopped.

The French driver was airlifted to the BDF Military Hospital with burns to his hands and ankles and suspected broken ribs following one of the biggest accidents in Formula One’s recent memory.

Hamilton, who was leading the race at the time of the incident, was seen shaking his head as he watched a replay of the jaw-dropping accident from inside the Mercedes garage as the grand prix was suspended.

The race started again following a 90-minute stoppage with Hamilton comfortably keeping Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who finished second, at bay.

Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo finished seventh in his Renault.

– with AAP and Reuters
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