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What we know today, Tuesday July 6

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Adelaide Oval will return to full 50,000 capacity for Port Adelaide’s Thursday night clash with Melbourne.

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Adelaide Oval to return to full capacity

Adelaide Oval will return to full 50,000 capacity for Port Adelaide’s Thursday night clash with Melbourne.

The stadium’s maximum capacity was reduced to 25,000 for Adelaide’s game against Brisbane last Saturday, following a COVID scare in South Australia last week.

Stadium Management Authority COO Adam Vonthethoff said he was grateful for everyone playing their part to ensure the stadium could return to its previously approved 50,000 capacity limit.

“That we continue to navigate these changes is a testament to our great relationship with SA Health and SAPOL, the hard work of our entire team and the ongoing compliance of South Australian footy fans,” he said.

The return to full capacity includes seating in the first two rows of the stadium, although a two-row “buffer” will remain around the player races.

Stand up drinking will be allowed in QR-coded corporate and function areas, which will have a three patron per four square metre density limit.

The Stadium Management Authority says all reserved seat members from the Crows and Power will be able to use their coded member cards for entry.

Masks will still be mandatory for movement in and out of the ground.

Australian F1 GP set to be called off

The Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne is set to be cancelled for a second straight year due to concerns from teams regarding quarantine arrangements.

Victorian Sports Minister Martin Pakula and Australian Grand Prix CEO Andrew Westacott are expected to make the announcement at 3pm on Tuesday.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews all but confirmed its cancellation, saying running such large events is “very challenging” given Australia’s low vaccination rate and international travel restrictions.

“When you’ve halved the number of people coming into the country, when you’ve got 10 per cent of people vaccinated when you want and need 70 or 80 per cent to have had the jab, we’re not at that point,” Andrews said on Tuesday morning.

“The timing doesn’t quite line up, and that makes it very, very challenging.”

The 2021 race had been provisionally pushed back from its regular early-season timeslot to November in the hope COVID-19 restrictions would have eased by then.

The 2020 Australian GP at the Albert Park street circuit in Melbourne was called off at the last moment at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of international arrivals are set to be slashed this month as part of a new coronavirus plan, increasing pressure on governments making allowances for athletes while Australians remain stranded overseas.

The Australian Grand Prix Corporation presented a COVID-safe plan to the government, arguing the event could be run safely with the drivers and crews operating within a bubble.

Drivers and their large crews were reportedly reluctant to go into hard quarantine, which allowed international tennis players to compete at the Australian Open earlier this year.

Formula One already has a race scheduled in Brazil for Nov 5-7, leaving little time for a two-week hotel quarantine before the November 19-21 event in Melbourne.

NSW records 18 new COVID-19 cases

NSW has recorded 18 new coronavirus infections and Premier Gladys Berejiklian hopes to be able to confirm soon when a lockdown in Sydney and surrounding regions will end.

“The lockdown is having its desired effect to date, no doubt about that,” she said on Tuesday.

“But it’s still concerning that a number of cases are remaining infectious in the community for that period of time.

“I hope to be able to communicate to the community tomorrow on what next week looks like.”

Stay-at-home orders for more than five million people in Greater Sydney, Wollongong, Shellharbour, the Central Coast and the Blue Mountains regions are due to end at midnight on Friday.

Of the 18 new cases, seven were in the community for some or all of their infectious period. Eleven were isolated for the entire time.

Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant says 16 of the cases are linked to a known case or cluster and of those, nine are household contacts of previously confirmed cases.

Concerns remain over a cluster at a Sydney nursing home where five residents have tested positive, amid reports a third staff member has been diagnosed with the virus at the SummitCare home at Baulkham Hills in Sydney’s northwest.

At least 500 nurses are in isolation after potentially being exposed to COVID-19 while working at Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital, NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association head Brett Holmes said on Tuesday.

Qld reports just one more COVID-19 case

Queensland has recorded just one new locally-acquired case of COVID-19 in the community as confidence grows that the state is eliminating the spread of the virus.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the case was identified as a close contact of an Alpha variant case in the Portuguese club cluster after more than 22,218 tests state-wide.

She says if people keep wearing face masks, social-distancing, getting tested and checking-in using QR codes the outbreaks will be brought under control.

“Great news today, thank you Queensland for the wonderful work that you’re doing and, as I said, if we’re all doing the right thing we will get through this together,” the premier said.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young said the new case is a close contact of a 29-year-old man from Sinnamon Park who travelled to the Noosa area last week.

The Kangaroo Point woman is asymptomatic and is a student nurse at Griffith University but has not been on campus.

Young said she hasn’t worked at a shift and only briefly visited her clinical placement venue at Logan Hospital once since June 15.

“I’m not particularly concerned but we will go and double check, if she develops any symptoms going forward that will help us determine the actual infectious period,” she said.

Vaccine boss insists aged care workers are a priority

The military chief in charge of Australia’s coronavirus vaccine rollout insists aged care workers remain a priority.

Only one in three aged care staff have been vaccinated despite becoming eligible in the first phase of the program, which started in February.

Lieutenant General John Frewen acknowledged aged care staff were a critical workforce and said they were being treated as an absolute priority.

“We are accelerating efforts to get those aged care workers vaccinated,” he told the ABC this morning.

“They are at about 36 per cent now, which is actually above the broader national average, so progress is being made.”

Early in the vaccine rollout, the federal government decided to prioritise aged care residents over nursing home staff, considering them the most vulnerable.

“Hindsight is a wonderful thing,” Lt Gen Frewen said.

Five residents of a Sydney nursing home have tested positive to coronavirus after two staff members were diagnosed.

Vaccines will be mandatory for residential aged care staff from mid-September.

The government has introduced an $11 million grant scheme to help aged care workers take time off to get vaccinated and stay home if they feel side effects.

Second man charged over shooting

A second man has been charged with attempted murder in connection with a shooting in the northern suburbs over the weekend.

The 30-year-old from Salisbury North was arrested yesterday, following the arrest of a 31-year-old man of no fixed address who was charged with attempted murder and firearms offences.

On Saturday night, a 27-year-old man presented at the Lyell McEwin Hospital with a gunshot wound to the face after a shooting a Burwood Rd, Munno Para West.

He was rushed to the Royal Adelaide Hospital where he remains in a serious but stable condition.

Both charged men appeared in the Elizabeth Magistrates Court yesterday. They were refused bail and will appear in court again in November.

Sydney outbreak reaches critical stage

Sydneysiders have been warned they are at a critical point of lockdown, with authorities refusing to rule out an extension of stay-at-home orders amid a spread of infections among aged care residents.

NSW announced 35 new local COVID-19 cases yesterday, two of which were aged care residents at a Sydney nursing home where three residents have already tested positive.

The state’s Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Grant would not comment on the likelihood of extending the 14-day lockdown beyond its July 9 deadline until she had “looked at all the data”.

She said there had been a record number of tests (58,373) for a Sunday but asked the public not to get “fatigued” with testing.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said this second week of lockdown was “critical” for getting on top of the outbreak, which has reached 312 people since emerging in Bondi in mid-June.

“The lockdown certainly has been effective in not doubling and tripling the figures that we were worried about,” Berejiklian told reporters.

WA looks to follow SA back to COVID normal

Western Australia is edging closer towards joining South Australia in a return to pre-lockdown life, despite concerns over the arrival of another coronavirus-infected ship.

Face masks are no longer required outdoors where physical distancing is possible, and hospitality venues have returned to a two-square metre capacity and a limit of 150 patrons after restrictions were further eased for Perth and the Peel region overnight.

The restrictions are due to expire next Monday, when Perth and Peel are slated to return to pre-lockdown life with no limits on gatherings.

A cluster of locally acquired cases in Perth’s northern suburbs appears to have been contained, but the arrival of a bulk vessel carrying an infected crew member off the state’s mid-west coast has caused fresh headaches for authorities.

The MV Emerald Indah was forced to dock in Geraldton, 420km north of Perth, after the man became ill and “deteriorated quickly”, with bad weather preventing a helicopter evacuation.

He was taken to Geraldton Hospital and tested positive to coronavirus on Monday before being airlifted to a hospital in Perth.

“While this is less than ideal, we want to reinforce there is no current health risk to the Geraldton community,” Premier Mark McGowan told reporters.

More than two million people were plunged into a four-day lockdown last week, the third in Perth and Peel in five months.

Lockdowns found to benefit economy in the long run

Australian economists and health experts are calling for a rethink on managing COVID-19 outbreaks, warning against a short-term fix that puts health and wealth at risk.

Modellers, economists and public health experts from the Australian National University and the University of Melbourne have crunched the numbers and found longer lockdowns benefit the economy in the long term.

The report comes as the Morrison government urges Australians to live with the virus and get vaccinated to have any hope of opening up to the global economy.

“If we think we can do away with periods of movement restrictions when uncontrolled outbreaks occur, we need to think again,” University of Melbourne Professor Tom Kompas said on Tuesday.

“The key point here is not to think about the economic costs over a period of a couple of weeks, large as they are, but rather to consider the costs over a period of months if community transmission continues.”

Imposing a certain number of social distancing days per lockdown was found to reduce the total in lockdown over a 12-month period, and the costs to the economy of about $210 million per lockdown day.

“Our results support strategies that go hard against COVID-19 infections and get us to zero community transmission,” lead author Professor Quentin Grafton said.

“This is especially the case now with this Delta variant and Australia’s currently low vaccination level,” he said.

Social distancing and lockdown measures have played a key role in controlling both the first and second infection waves in Australia.

But contact tracing was found to be resource-intensive, especially as the number of cases increases.

Meanwhile, the head of the nation’s mental health commission has encouraged Australians to watch out for “pandemic fatigue” and prioritise their mental health.

National Mental Health Commission chief executive Christine Morgan said 2021 was not the “fresh start” people had expected after the challenges of 2020.

“It’s absolutely understandable that many Australians are experiencing pandemic fatigue at this time, but it’s important to realise that we can overcome it,” she said.

Warning signs of pandemic fatigue include irritability, anxiety, low energy, restlessness, feelings of hopelessness and dread or feeling like you don’t have anything to look forward to.

Morgan urged people to watch out for withdrawal from others, difficulty sleeping, lack of motivation and increased use of alcohol or other substances.

She said it was important to exercise and take breaks regularly, reach out to others, be aware of how news intake impacted you, and do things you enjoy every day.

Tokyo flag bearer announcement looms

Australia’s two flag bearers for the Tokyo Olympics will be revealed tomorrow night, but mystery surrounds how many compatriots will be marching at the opening ceremony.

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) will break with recent tradition in several senses, bestowing the honour via a virtual ceremony that athletes will tune into from training camps and other locations.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has asked every nation to supply a male and female flag bearer as part of its push for gender equality.

Choosing who should shoulder the ceremonial responsibility, which Australia handed to cyclist Anna Meares at Rio de Janeiro in 2016, always generates feverish debate.

The list of candidates for this Olympics, which will be minus numerous bells and whistles because of COVID-19, is more restricted than ever because the vast majority of Australia’s 472-strong team are set to stay in the village on July 23.

Meanwhile, the AOC is yet to finalise quarantine arrangements for one of several flights that will shuttle Australian athletes and officials home from Tokyo throughout the Games.

Barty, Federer through to Wimbledon quarter finals

Top seed Ash Barty has made it into her first Wimbledon quarter-final, defeating French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova 7-5 6-3 on No.1 Court to set up an all-Aussie quarter final with Ajla Tomljanovic..

Barty let out an uncharacteristically loud roar of delight on Monday, overjoyed at reaching the last-eight for the first time while providing an unhappy ending to the fairytale run of Krejcikova.

“Being in the quarter, I’m happy, I’m excited,” smiled Barty after her victory over the Czech.

“It’s another stepping stone for me, another first, I suppose. It’s going to be a new scenario, one that I’m going to look forward to and enjoy no matter what,” said the world No.1.

It set up a last-eight meeting tonight with Australia’s No.2 Ajla Tomljanovic.

Tomljanovic reached her first-ever grand slam quarter-final overnight but she achieved the milestone in a way she would not have wanted as her British teenage opponent Emma Raducanu had to pull out of the match with a breathing problem.

Tomljanovic was 6-3 3-0 ahead in their last-16 clash on Monday when the 18-year-old Briton, having called for the trainer, had to go off court to be treated for a problem with breathlessness that appeared to have cropped up at the start of the second set.

Meanwhile, Roger Federer has weathered a first-set storm to become the oldest man in the Open Era to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals with a 7-5 6-4 6-2 win over Italian 23rd seed Lorenzo Sonego.

The eight-time All England Club champion, who will turn 40 next month, will meet either Russian second seed Daniil Medvedev or Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, whose match will resume on Tuesday.

Novak Djokovic reached his 12th Wimbledon quarter-final on Monday to pull even with Arthur Gore, who had a 117-year head start, while a parade of newcomers also made the final eight.

– with AAP and Reuters

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