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What we know today, Wednesday July 21


NSW has recorded 110 locally acquired COVID-19 cases, at least 60 of which were out in the community for part or all of their infectious period, while Victoria has reported another 22 cases all linked to an existing outbreak.

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NSW records 110 new cases, Victoria reports 22

NSW has recorded 110 locally acquired COVID-19 cases, at least 60 of which were out in the community for part or all of their infectious period, while Victoria has reported another 22 cases all linked to an existing outbreak.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian tried to quell concerns about the number of new cases spiking to triple figures – compared to 78 from the previous day.

Of the new cases, 43 were infectious in the community for the entire time and 17 were the community for part of their infectious period. The isolation status of 13 cases remains under investigation.

NSW Health said 54 cases are linked to a known case or cluster – 40 are household contacts and 14 are close contacts – and the source of infection for 56 cases is under investigation.

There was a record number of tests – 83,477 – conducted in NSW in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday.

“We need to wait until at least the weekend and early next week to see the impact of those harsher restrictions,” Berejiklian said on Wednesday.

“The alternative of not taking action when we did would have seen today’s numbers double, triple, four times what it is.

“[110] is a high number but a number which reflects the high amount of testing that we had.

“The simple message is this is really serious.”

There are 106 patients in hospital with COVID-19 in NSW, 23 are in intensive care and 11 are ventilated.

Since the Greater Sydney outbreak began on June 16, there have been 1528 cases and five people have died.

Meanwhile, Victoria recorded 22 new local COVID-19 cases, all of which are linked, on the sixth day of its extended statewide lockdown.

The new infections are connected to the current outbreak, which originated in NSW and now totals 107 cases.

A new case was also recorded in hotel quarantine, bringing the total number of active cases in the state to 118.

Some 59,355 tests were processed in Victoria in the 24 hours to Wednesday morning, while 18,099 Victorians received a vaccine dose at one of the state-run hubs.

It comes after Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday announced the state’s initial five-day lockdown would be extended until at least 11.59pm on July 27.

Andrews said the state had avoided a “NSW-style, long, lengthy, very challenging lockdown” but authorities needed more time to “extinguish” the outbreak.

“We’re dealing with an outbreak that we think we are running alongside and we just need to get in front of it in order to pull it up,” he said.

He said easing restrictions while new case numbers are in the single digits isn’t an option, due to the speed and ease with which the Delta variant has spread.

Four new tier-two exposure sites were added overnight in Richmond, bringing the total number of sites to more than 350, while more than 18,000 primary close contacts, including two apartment blocks, are self-isolating.

Permits to enter Victoria from a red zone have been suspended for two weeks.

Only authorised workers and those who apply for and receive an exemption are now able to travel between Victoria and NSW, although border bubble arrangements will remain in place.

South Australia was also declared a red zone overnight.

New COVID case and exposure sites on SA lockdown day one

SA Health has confirmed a sixth local case of COVID-19 and expects more to emerge as it revealed a series of new exposure sites in Adelaide’s northern and eastern suburbs on the first full day of statewide lockdown.

The COVID-19 cluster, linked to an 81-year-old Argentinian man who arrived in SA on July 8 after quarantining in NSW, has now grown to six confirmed cases with 52 exposure sites dotted across Adelaide.

The new case, a woman in her 20s, is linked to a dinner party at The Greek on Halifax restaurant in the Adelaide CBD, chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier told ABC Radio this morning.

“This is what we would call a close contact, so it is a person that’s linked,” Spurrier said.

The growing number of cases prompted authorities on Tuesday to place the whole state into lockdown for seven days from 6pm last night.

Under the new restrictions, people are only allowed to leave the home for five reasons:

“Non-essential” shops and services have been closed, construction and non-urgent elective surgery have been suspended while schools are closed and expected to return to online learning by Thursday.

Pubs, restaurants and cafes are closed except for takeaway while weddings and funerals have been banned.

Just after 10pm on Tuesday, SA Health added six new high risk exposure sites, including two education centres – Westminster School in Marion and St Ann’s College in North Adelaide – and the popular Burnside Village shopping centre in the eastern suburbs.

The most recent list of exposure sites listed by SA Health. Anyone who was at one of these sites during the listed times must quarantine for 14 days along with their household contacts and get tested immediately.

Anyone who was at one of these exposure sites at the listed times is required to quarantine for 14 days at home with their household contacts and get COVID tested immediately and on day five and 13 of their time in isolation.

The updated listing came after SA Health added a further 24 exposure sites earlier in the evening, which included Westfield Tea Tree Plaza Shopping Centre at Modbury and various shops within including the food court; Coles at Greenacres; Meals on Wheels at Hindmarsh; Coles at St Agnes and Greenacres Shopping Centre.

Of the 51 total exposure sites linked to the cluster, 37 are in the highest risk category.

“I suspect that we will get more cases because we know that we have bought quite a number of exposure sites that we need to be cleaning up and getting all of those tests in,” Spurrier said.

Authorities remain particularly concerned about The Greek on Halifax restaurant where a celebration was held on Saturday night from 6pm to 10pm involving the original 81-year-old case.

Two men in their 60s who dined at the celebration have since tested positive along with the new case overnight.

One of the three confirmed cases at the restaurant is a staff member from the Hindmarsh kitchen of Meals on Wheels, who worked a shift on Monday morning after being exposed at The Greek on Halifax on Saturday night.

Spurrier said SA Health had been in contact with nearly 100 people who were at the restaurant during the exposure period.

“That is one of the sites that we are really concerned about,” Spurrier told ABC Radio on Tuesday afternoon.

“[The contact tracing team] have just under 100 people already in terms of their contact details and those people have been SMS’d and asked to get testing done.

“We’ll be waiting for those results rolling through over the next 12 to 24 hours.”

It comes as long queues for COVID testing continue across the state.

Premier Steven Marshall said there has been a massive increase in demand which SA Pathology is trying to grapple with.

He said authorities are looking to increase the workforce at 47 testing sites across the state.

“We’re looking at working more cooperatively with the Commonwealth with regards to how we can get Commonwealth personnel to help out [and] ADF personnel to help out,” Marshall told ABC Radio this morning.

He also said SA Health was exploring whether the Federal Government could expand the use of its respiratory clinics in SA for testing asymptomatic patients.

“This is a surge, we will massively, and will continue to massively flex up our capacity and we’ll get through this surge as quickly as we possibly can.”

Australia thrash West Indies in first ODI

Stand-in skipper Alex Carey has starred with the bat and his opening bowlers with the ball, as Australia charged to a 133-run win over the West Indies in the first ODI in Barbados.

Australia scored 9-252, but the home sides’ target was revised to 257 off 49 overs after three rain delays.

Carey (67 off 87 balls) and Ashton Turner (49 off 45) combined for a fifth-wicket stand of 104 in just under 19 overs.

The West Indies’ chase was effectively over after just 7.4 overs as they crashed to 6-27.

Mitchell Starc (5-48 off 8 overs) and Josh Hazlewood (3-11 off 6) each claimed three wickets, with the latter conceding just five runs in his first five overs.

“I probably haven’t seen a powerplay like that before, but when they get it right we know how damaging they are,” Carey said of Starc and Hazlewood.

The hosts were dismissed for 123 in just 26.2 overs.

Two dead after crashes on SA roads overnight

Two people are dead after separate crashes on South Australia’s roads overnight.

Police say the first incident involved a hit-and-run crash in Morphett Vale.

Emergency services were called to the scene on Flaxmill Road around 9:50pm on Tuesday.

Police say a silver Ford sedan collided with a white Toyota Hilux. A 20-year-old man from Sellicks Beach – who was a passenger in the Hilux – died at the scene.

The driver of the Hilux was taken to the Flinders Medical Centre with non-life-threatening injuries.

Police say the driver of the Ford failed to the stop after the crash and was later located “burnt out” in a gully off the Southern Expressway in Reynella.

In a separate incident, a 66-year-old Mitchell Park man lost his life after a motorcycle crash on Main South Road.

Police say emergency services were called to the scene in Darlington around 6:30am on Wednesday following reports of the crash.

The rider was taken to hospital in a serious condition and later passed away. Major crash investigators are inspecting the crash scene.

The two deaths mean South Australia road toll for 2021 is now 59, compared to 52 at the same point last year.

Australian banned from Olympics for drugs

Australian equestrian rider Jamie Kermond has tested positive for cocaine and been suspended from the Tokyo Olympics.

The showjumper tested positive for a metabolite of cocaine on June 26, Equestrian Australia says.

Kermond’s positive A sample came from a test conducted by Sport Integrity Australia.

Cocaine is prohibited under Australian and world anti-doping laws.

“Kermond is prohibited from participating in any WADA compliant event, including the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, while the provisional suspension is in place,” an Equestrian Australia (EA) statement on Wednesday read.

Under Australia’s anti-doping policy, Kermond can have his B sample analysed.

The 36-year-old from Victoria was to have been making his Olympic debut in Tokyo.

Kermond was selected as one of three showjumpers on a nine-strong Australian equestrian team at the Games.

“Equestrian Australia has spoken with Mr Kermond and support services will be offered to him,” EA said.

His suspension is a blow to the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) just two days out from the opening ceremony.

The AOC was told of Kermond’s suspension by Sport Integrity Australia, a newly-named body which has taken over anti-doping from ASADA.

“The Australian Olympic team selection committee will consider the matter later today,” an AOC statement read.

Kermond is a triple Australian showjumping champion but his initial selection for the Olympics attracted scrutiny.

He’s ranked 1013th on world standings but has links to one of two national selectors, Stephen Lamb.

Lamb is employed as marketing manager at a horse nutrition company which sponsor’s Kermond’s Yandoo Park, which offers agistment and training.

Selectors overlooked Rowan Willis, Australia’s top-ranked rider at 59 in the world, and Lamb has said he stepped aside when Kermond’s selection was discussed.

Equestrian Australia (EA) in June last year entered voluntary administration, with control of the elite program handed to the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS).

State Govt unveils business rescue package

Tens of thousands of South Australian businesses that have been forced to close over the lockdown are eligible for a $3000 emergency cash grant from the State Government, while workers stood down across regional and metropolitan SA will receive up to $600 a week in compensation.

Premier Steven Marshall told reporters this morning that the State Government would match the Federal Government’s lump-sum disaster payments, to ensure workers stood down in regional South Australia would receive the same amount of compensation as those in metropolitan Adelaide.

Under the state and federal government funding packages, workers across SA who lose between eight hours and 20 hours of work during the first week of lockdown will be eligible for a $375 back payment from next Wednesday.

Those who lose more than 20 hours will be eligible for $600 in income relief from next Wednesday.

It comes after Commonwealth chief medical officer Professor Paul Kelly yesterday afternoon declared all of metropolitan Adelaide, Gawler and the Adelaide Hills a COVID hotspot – triggering Federal Government COVID-19 lump-sum disaster payments for workers in those areas who are no longer able to earn an income.

But workers in regional areas outside hotspot locations are not eligible for federal funding, despite the lockdown restrictions extending across the state.

Premier Steven Marshall said the State Government would step in to compensate regional workers, given the lockdown is statewide.

“We do this because we know that this (coronavirus) can move very quickly and we do from a health perspective want to include country SA in a lockdown,” he said.

“It’s not fair for them if they don’t have that disaster income support, so that will be extended statewide.”

Read the full story here

Lockdown forces Crows and Power out of SA

Adelaide and Port Adelaide have left for Victoria after the AFL clubs were unable to gain an exemption to train and play during South Australia’s lockdown.

In a topsy-turvy few hours in which plans were made, changed, cancelled and made again, the AFL finally settled on flying Adelaide and Port Adelaide to Victoria following the announcement of South Australia’s seven-day lockdown.

Port Adelaide were originally set to host Collingwood at Adelaide Oval on Friday night, with the Crows to host Hawthorn at the same venue the following night.

But those matches will now be played at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.

The AFL had considered numerous alternatives, with the prospect of a Showdown between Port Adelaide and Adelaide in the planning at one point before that idea was quashed by the South Australian Government.

“We had not been able to secure an exemption for the SA-based teams to train over the next week and this afternoon we were informed that the SA Government could not provide permission for any games in Adelaide to go ahead on the weekend,” AFL fixture boss Travis Auld said.

“As a result, it was clear that the two SA-based teams would not be able to continue in the competition without relocating from South Australia to Victoria.

“Our decision-making changes as circumstances change and we understand how difficult it is for everyone, however when it was determined that we couldn’t play a game in SA at all, it forced our hand.”

The lockdown has also forced the shutdown of the state league.

The SANFL declared on Tuesday that “all training and matches across every level of football in SA remain cancelled until further notice”, including all state league competitions, talent programs, Juniors, Auskick, school and community football “for at least the next seven days”.

SANFL CEO Darren Chandler said the league would consider a range of options in coming days “for the remainder of SANFL season in consultation with participating clubs”, saying: “We will continue to review the situation over the coming days but are fully committed to seeing the season out.”

SA builders allowed on site for safety checks

South Australian construction workers will be allowed to visit unfinished building sites during lockdown to ensure they’re safe, but the industry’s peak body is still concerned about looming construction deadlines for school projects.

Master Builders CEO Will Frogley on Tuesday said he had asked authorities to clarify whether builders – who are not classified as essential workers during South Australia’s seven day lockdown – would be allowed to visit

He said authorities clarified later in the day that builders will be “able to go to sites to secure them and make sure they’re kept safe during lockdown”.

“So that’s really important,” he said.

But Frogley said the industry was still seeking clarity on whether building deadlines for school developments would be extended due to the construction deadlines.

“There’s a lot of pressure [for those projects] to be completed by the end of the year,” Frogley said.

“A lockdown potentially if at least a week is really going to be unhelpful and we think it’s pretty unfair to penalise builders.”

It comes after locked down NSW shut down the construction industry over the weekend.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian guaranteed construction would reopen in some capacity on July 31 while arguing against the Victorian model of allowing the industry to operate at 25 per cent capacity.

The two-week pause allowed all worksites and contractors to become COVID-safe after too many were found to have written but not implemented safety plans.

The NSW industry on Monday lobbied for some workers to return to sites immediately and warned some businesses could face bankruptcy.

Regional NSW town in lockdown as outbreak spreads

The central-west NSW town of Orange and its surrounds are in a snap seven-day lockdown after a COVID-positive delivery driver visited the area and infected another person, after the eastern state recorded another 78 new COVID-19 cases.

The lockdown in the Orange, Blayney and Cabonne local government areas commenced on Tuesday and will last for seven days.

The delivery driver visited the Orange area and infected a man who works in Blayney and then attended multiple Orange venues.

NSW Health on Tuesday issued a number of COVID-19 alerts for Orange including a petrol station, Officeworks, Woolworths, pizzeria and tobacco shop.

Residents of the three affected council areas can leave home for four reasons – shopping for essential items, medical care or compassionate needs, exercise in groups of no more than two, and work or tertiary education which cannot occur at home.

Meanwhile, authorities on Tuesday said Canterbury-Bankstown has become a particular concern amid the Greater Sydney outbreak, with NSW notching 78 new local cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday.

At least 29 of the new cases were in the community during their infectious period.

The three-day average for new cases has dropped to 85, leading Premier Gladys Berejiklian to declare: “We’ve stabilised the virus.”

Surveillance testing around the Canterbury-Bankstown area had picked up multiple asymptomatic cases, showing the need for people in southwestern Sydney to remain vigilant, the premier said.

NSW Health is now treating 95 cases in hospital, including 27 in intensive care. Eleven people are on ventilators.

UniSA report details COVID struggles for artists

Many artists and cultural workers slipped through the cracks of Australia’s early rounds of COVID-19 support measures, a new UniSA report analysing the government’s response to the pandemic says.

“JobKeeper and JobSeeker were inadequate for a large proportion of artists and cultural workers because the kinds of frequently precarious and short-term employment contracts commonplace in the sector did not meet the eligibility requirements,” the working paper Keeping Creative read.

Eligibility for JobKeeper was contingent upon having had the same employer, or having operated as a sole trader, for at least 12 months.

“Cultural and creative work is more likely to be freelance, seasonal, portfolio-based and can often consist of multiple casual contracts throughout a year with multiple employers,” the researchers noted.

In June 2020, the federal government announced $250 million in arts funding through the Creative Economy JobMaker Package.

This included $75 million in competitive grants funding, $50 million to kick-start local screen production, $35 million to support Commonwealth-funded arts and culture organisations, and $90 million in loans to arts and entertainment businesses for new productions and events.

The announcement came off the back of $27 million earmarked to support Indigenous arts and regional arts in April 2020.

But the $90 million of concessional loan arrangements were reportedly inaccessible to many, who would be unable to repay the loan.

“Few other industries badly impacted by COVID-19 have been subject to concessional loan arrangements, and these kinds of arrangements can only benefit larger arts and culture organisations,” the report states.

Federal Arts Minister Paul Fletcher said the Morrison Government was investing more than $1 billion into the arts and creative sector in 2021/22.

“This includes our annual investment of around $750 million in core funding. In the 2021/22 budget, the government announced additional investment in the sector of more than $400 million over five years,” a spokesperson said.

The Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) fund, initially $75 million over one year, has been expanded to $200 million over two years.

“That is already supporting 242 arts projects that will create over 89,000 jobs across all Australian states and territories. (There is) $100 million of funding …available this year and applications remain open.”

The researchers called on all levels of Australian government not to apply a one-size-fits-all approach, or over-focus on large organisations when formulating support for the arts.

Brisbane to be voted 2032 Olympics host

Brisbane will be formally declared as host of the 2032 Olympic Games by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Wednesday.

The Brisbane bid encompassing south-east Queensland will be ratified by a vote of 87 IOC members meeting in Tokyo.

The vote is essentially a rubber-stamping of Brisbane’s bid, given it has already been granted preferred bidder status and no other cities are running against it.

The Brisbane 2032 delegation will make a formal final presentation to the IOC meeting before the vote, expected about 6pm AEST.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner have flown to Tokyo to be part of the presentation, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison to feature remotely.

The bid has detailed a $5 billion cost of hosting the Games in Brisbane, which will be the third Australian city after Melbourne (1956) and Sydney (2000) to host an Olympics.

Bid documents forecast most of the Games income will come from ticket sales of around $1.3b and domestic sponsorship of $1.7b.

The IOC’s global sponsorship would contribute another $446 million.

Worldwide broadcast rights would be worth at least $951m, or 19 per cent of the Brisbane Games’ budget – that figure could grow during future television rights negotiations.

Brisbane’s bid committee has also earmarked spending $690m on existing and new venues and also and temporary infrastructure for various venues.

-With AAP and Reuters

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