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What we know today, Thursday July 8


Sydney’s latest surge of 38 new coronvirus infections announced this morning is “too high” according to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian as the locked-down state scrambles to contain the outbreak, which has reached 395 cases since June 16.

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Sydney cluster surges with 38 new cases

NSW has recorded 38 new local COVID-19 cases, including 20 people who were in the community for part or all of their infectious period.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Thursday those numbers were “too high”.

“We need to get those numbers down.”

“I want to say in the most, strongest possible terms, please avoid contact with households with other households, please avoid visiting family and friends.”

“The strongest message is do not visit people outside your household in indoor settings,” she said.

The 38 new cases recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday from nearly 40,000 tests is a jump from the previous day’s figure of 27.

NSW Health said 26 cases were linked to a known case or cluster – 13 are household contacts and 13 are close contacts – and the source of infection for 12 cases remained under investigation.

There have been 395 locally acquired cases reported since the latest outbreak began on June 16.

Crows rule out Walker for Bombers clash

Adelaide has suffered a major blow ahead of its AFL clash against Essendon tomorrow night with spearhead Taylor Walker ruled out through injury.

Walker had been progressing in his recovery from a neck strain suffered against Brisbane last Friday but has also been dealing with a chest muscle strain and won’t fly to Melbourne for Friday night’s clash at Marvel Stadium.

“He was tracking really well at the start of the week and he was quite confident he would get himself up to play,” coach Matthew Nicks said on Thursday.

“In a weights session (on Thursday)… he just found he wasn’t moving as well as he’d like.

“There’s still a little bit of soreness there that he’s not going to be anywhere near ready to play.”

The 31-year-old Walker sits second in the Coleman Medal race with 41 goals in 14 games and leaves a substantial hole in Adelaide’s forward line.

Nicks said if the injury tracked as expected, Walker should be able to face West Coast in the following round but the Crows would continue to be cautious.

Defender Luke Brown has also been ruled out amid ongoing Achilles soreness.

Brown will have scans and consult a specialist and Nicks said he and the defender believed it was “more than likely” he would have surgery to set him up for 2022.

Essendon will be without skipper Dyson Heppell, who had thumb surgery yesterday.

Global COVID-19 death toll passes 4 million

The global death toll from COVID-19 has eclipsed four million as the crisis increasingly becomes a race between the vaccine and the highly contagious Delta variant.

The tally of lives lost in the past year and a half, as compiled from official sources by Johns Hopkins University, is about equal to the number of people killed in battle in all of the world’s wars since 1982, according to estimates from the Peace Research Institute Oslo.

The toll is three times the number of people killed in traffic accidents around the globe every year.  Even then, it is widely believed to be an undercount because of overlooked cases or deliberate concealment.

With the advent of the vaccine, deaths a day have plummeted to about 7900, after topping out at more than 18,000 a day in January.

But in recent weeks, the mutant Delta version of the virus first identified in India has set off alarms around the world, spreading rapidly even in vaccination success stories like the US, Britain and Israel.

Britain, in fact, recorded a one-day total this week of more than 30,000 new infections for the first time since January, even as the government prepares to lift all remaining lockdown restrictions in England later this month.

Other countries have reimposed preventive measures, and authorities are rushing to step up the campaign to dispense shots.

Tokyo braces for state of emergency ahead of Olympics

Japan’s government is set to declare a state of emergency for Tokyo through to August 22, amid a new wave of infections that will cast a shadow over the Olympic Games.

Japan’s economy minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who is heading the government’s coronavirus response, said the state of emergency will begin on July 12.

The Tokyo area is currently under slightly less strict “quasi emergency” curbs.

Under the heightened restrictions, restaurants will be asked to stop serving alcohol, Nishimura said.

The move is expected to be made official later on Thursday. Areas neighbouring Tokyo, such as Chiba and Kanagawa, are set to remain under “quasi emergency” through August 22.

The Olympics Games will be held from July 23 to August 8 despite opposition from medical experts and the majority of the public.

Two new coronavirus cases in Qld

Queensland has recorded two new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 with both already in home quarantine.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the two cases are linked to a mother and daughter from Carindale in southeast Brisbane who tested positive last week.

She says both cases, one in their teens and another in their 20s, were already in home isolation when they tested positive and had been in isolation since July 2.

“So we have absolutely no concerns about these two so this is fantastic news,” Palaszczuk said.

Manhunt underway after Haiti’s president assassinated

Haitian President Jovenel Moise has been shot dead by gunmen with assault rifles in his private residence, sparking fears of a further descent into chaos in the impoverished Caribbean nation as a manhunt gets under way.

The overnight raid on Wednesday, which drew condemnation from Washington and neighbouring Latin American countries, came amid political unrest, a surge in gang violence and a growing humanitarian crisis in the poorest nation in the Americas.

The government declared a two-week state of emergency to help it hunt down the killers whom Haiti’s ambassador to the United States, Bocchit Edmond, described as a group of “foreign mercenaries” and well-trained killers.

The gunmen spoke English and Spanish, said interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who assumed the leadership of the country, where the majority speak French or Haitian Creole.

“My compatriots – remain calm because the situation is under control,” Joseph said in a televised address to the nation.

“This blow has wounded this country, this nation, but it will not go unpunished.”

Haiti, a country of about 11 million people, has struggled to achieve stability since the fall of the Duvalier dynastic dictatorship in 1986, and has grappled with a series of coups and foreign interventions.

The president’s wife, Martine Moise, was also shot in the attack, which took place about 1am at the couple’s home in the hills above Port-au-Prince. She is in critical condition and arrived in Florida late on Wednesday for treatment, according to local US television stations.

Edmond told Reuters in an interview the gunmen were masquerading as US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents as they entered Moise’s guarded residence under cover of nightfall – a move that would likely have helped them gain entry.

Haitian authorities would welcome US security assistance, he said.

US President Joe Biden denounced the killing as “heinous” and called the situation in Haiti worrisome.

“We stand ready to assist as we continue to work for a safe and secure Haiti,” he said.

Vic goes eight days with no local COVID-19

Victoria has gone an eighth consecutive day without recording a locally acquired case of coronavirus.

The health department on Thursday also confirmed there were also no COVID-19 cases in hotel quarantine, with the total number of active infections in the state down to 21.

Some 27,420 tests were processed in the 24 hours to Thursday morning, while 15,875 Victorians received a vaccine dose at one of the state-run hubs.

Just five active cases are locally acquired, giving authorities confidence Melbourne can move to the same restrictions currently in place in regional Victoria from Friday.

National cabinet to mull disability worker jab mandate

Disability support workers will soon be forced to get vaccinated against COVID-19 if they want to keep their jobs.

The compulsory jab policy has been recommended by a panel of health experts and will be debated at a national cabinet meeting on Friday.

The proposed mandate follows a similar order imposed on aged care workers, who must receive at least one dose by mid-September to remain employed in the industry.

The federal government is providing nursing home staff paid leave to get vaccinated and take a day off if they experience side effects.

Just one third of the disability workforce has received one vaccine dose and only 15 per cent are fully protected.

Many disability workers are extremely keen to get vaccinated but have been hampered by the lack of supplies and easy access to jabs.

Federal Disability Minister Linda Reynolds is calling on state and territory leaders to endorse the vaccine mandate.

“It is very important disability support workers, particularly those who work in disability accommodation, are vaccinated to protect those they look after,” she told ABC radio.

Less than 50 per cent of Australians living in disability care have received one dose of the vaccine and fewer than one in four residents are fully vaccinated.

Senator Reynolds said vaccination rates among disabled Australians had doubled in the last six weeks and were increasing rapidly.

Even so, she expects everyone living in disability care to be vaccinated “in the next couple of months”.

SA opens up but NSW still shut out as Sydney outbreak grows

South Australia has opened its border to travellers from Western Australia, the Northern Territory and parts of Queensland provided they get tested, but New South Wales and the ACT remain locked out over concerns about a spreading Delta variant outbreak.

Effective immediately, travellers arriving in South Australia from the NT and WA will no longer have to quarantine for 14 days. But they will still be subject to level three restrictions, meaning they have to get tested on days one, five and 13 after their arrival and isolate until they receive their results.

They will also be banned from visiting aged-care facilities and COVID managed events of over 1000 people.

People who have already arrived from the NT and WA and who are currently in 14-day quarantine can now leave isolation, but they will still need to follow the testing regime on days one, five and 13.

From Sunday, authorities will lift the level three restrictions for people arriving from the NT and WA, meaning travellers arriving after that day do not have to get tested and they can visit aged-care facilities and events of over 1000 people.

Travellers arriving in South Australia from parts of Queensland including Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Sunshine Coast, Noosa, Gold Coast, Logan, Redland, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and Somerset must still undertake 14 days of mandatory home quarantine.

Read the full story here

New $85 million pharma plant for SA

High tech medical manufacturing company Noumed Pharmaceutical says it will build an $85 million pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Salisbury South – the company’s first production facility in Australia.

The federal government expects 250 jobs to be created during construction of the plant – scheduled to start later this year – and a further 180 ongoing jobs once the plant is operational in 2025.

Noumed Pharmaceutical are a global supplier of prescription and over-the counter medicines.

The company says the expansion into Australia will see approximately 40 million units of pharmaceutical tablets, liquids and creams manufactured in Australia, with production to mirror its operations in the UK.

Noumed Australia Managing Director Mark Thulborne said the plant will ensure “improved resilience in the Australian pharmaceutical supply chain”.

“We will be developing a working partnership with research and development entities, including universities, creating opportunities for education and a skilled workforce across science, engineering, logistics and pharmacy,” Thulborne said.

Premier Steven Marshall said the new plant would help support local manufacturing jobs.

“The company will also have a strong focus on research and development, creating job opportunities across the workforce for scientists, pharmacy graduates, logistics experts and engineers, as well as opportunities for collaboration with our local research institutions,” he said.

The new South Australian facility is one of six supported by the federal government’s $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy, with $20 million allocated to support the construction of the Noumed plant.

NSW COVID spread may prompt harsher rules

Harsher localised restrictions could be introduced for communities in Sydney’s southwest if COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly in the area, the NSW premier has warned, as the number of exposure sites in the state continues to grow.

Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday announced the lockdown orders governing five million people in Sydney and its surrounds would be extended for a week – until at least July 16.

But with the number of new cases who have spent time in the community while infectious remaining high, it may not be enough to stop the spread in some suburbs, she said.

NSW recorded 27 new local cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday. Just 13 of the new cases were in isolation for the entirety of their infectious period.

Berejiklian warned case numbers would spike in the coming days due to the highly infectious Delta strain of the virus spreading rapidly in the local government areas of Fairfield, Liverpool and Canterbury-Bankstown.

If the situation further deteriorates in those communities, harsher localised restrictions could be imposed, she warned.

While current restrictions permit exercising in groups of 10 and care visits, the premier implored people in those council areas to avoid such activities.

New venue alerts were issued on Wednesday afternoon for Bunnings in Ashfield, a Commonwealth Bank and Woolworths at Riverwood and a Dan Murphy’s in Strathfield South.

Retail venues in Marrickville, Granville, Woollahra, Fairfield, and Wetherill Park are among the new exposure sites, as are a garage in Ashfield and a petrol station in South Granville.

Seven COVID-19 patients are currently in intensive care, including one in their 30s.

Tarnanthi Festival announces 2021 highlights

A suite of psychedelic paintings made on kangaroo pelts by Walmajarri artist John Prince Siddon and installed on a wallpaper backdrop are among highlights announced for the 2021 Tarnanthi Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art.

Presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia and showcasing works from First Nations artists across the country, Tarnanthi returns in October this year and will encompass a major exhibition at the AGSA as well as events across almost 30 partner venues.

It also includes the popular Tarnanthi Art Fair, which will be held from October 15-17 in a new location at the Torrens Parade Ground.

To coincide with NAIDOC Week, the gallery today announced several artists who will feature in its 2021 exhibition, including Siddon, who works out of Mangkaja Arts in Fitzroy Crossing, WA, and Alec Baker, the most senior artist at the APY Lands’ Iwantja Arts.

Tarnanthi artistic director Nici Cumpston says the artists presented in Tarnanthi are testament to the rich diversity of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art: “We are eager to share these important stories, and this calibre of art, with our growing audiences across Australia and beyond.”

Read the full story on InReview today.

England through to Euros final

England are through to the European Championship final after beating Denmark 2-1 in extra time.

England captain Harry Kane’s penalty kick was saved by goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel but the forward scored from the rebound in the 104th minute.

Denmark played the second half of extra time with 10 men because substitute Mathias Jensen came off injured and the team couldn’t make anymore changes.

The regulation 90 minutes finished 1-1.

England will face Italy in the final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

UK-Aus trade deal won’t be drafted until end of year

The UK government says a final trade deal with Australia will not be fully drafted until the end of the year.

The deal was agreed in principle earlier this year and will result in many tariffs removed between the UK and Australia, but the legal text is yet to be hammered out.

UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said that lawyers will have finalised a text sometime this year.

“You reach an agreement in principle which is really addressing a lot of the knotty issues and showing the deal can be done but then there is further work to translate that into legal text,” she told MPs on the International Trade Committee on Wednesday.

“We need to get the text right … I am not going to give a commitment of a definite date.

“But we are hoping to complete that towards the end of this year.”

The deal will remove $A228 million in tariffs paid by UK exporters each year and $A63 million for Australian exporters, Truss said.

However, it has been criticised by many British farmers who are worried about being undercut by food, especially meat, from Australia.

UK MPs also raised questions about how environmentally friendly it is to ship food to and from the other side of the world.

‘Absolute honour’: Mills overwhelmed by Olympic flagbearer selection

Basketballer Patty Mills says he’s overwhelmed to be Australia’s first Indigenous flagbearer at an Olympic Games opening ceremony, with the Boomers star selected to carry the flag alongside four-time Olympic swimmer Cate Campbell at the July 23 curtain raiser in Tokyo.

For the first time, the International Olympic Committee has decreed that a male and female carry the flag of each nation at the opening ceremony. It will be the first time Australia has had two flagbearers lead the team out since the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

Mills says it’s difficult to digest the enormity of the honour.

“It’s obviously an absolute honour and a privilege and it’s so iconic that it’s going to be hard for me to wrap my head around this moment,” Mills told reporters.

“It’s about identity, it’s about being proud of who you are and really showing that and being passionate about that.”

Mills said there had been no discussions about also carrying the Aboriginal flag at the ceremony, but he would take one to Tokyo.

“It’s one of those things that I am always going to carry those flags wherever I may be … being able to be a proud representative of our culture, our Australian culture, it’s always going to be there,” he said.

Campbell is the first female swimmer to carry the flag at an Olympic opening ceremony.

“Honour and privilege have been thrown around a lot … I wish that the English language had a few other words that could fully express just the real sentiment and emotions that I am feeling right now,” she told reporters.

-With AAP and Reuters

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