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What we know today, Monday October 11

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Tasting Australia creative director Simon Bryant is leaving the role after eight years, with the South Australian food festival’s new leadership yet to be announced.

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Mine worker tests positive to COVID in SA

A “very infectious” fly-in-fly-out mine worker has tested positive to COVID after arriving in Adelaide on a flight from Melbourne last night.

Chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier this afternoon revealed details of the case – a woman in her 30s who arrived on Jetstar Flight JQ778 at 5.50pm last night.

Spurrier said the woman was wearing a mask and moved quickly through the airport before getting into a taxi and going to the Quest King William South apartments to do her 14-day quarantine period.

An essential mine worker, she will be moved to Tom’s Court medi-hotel today.

“This person is clearly very infectious,” Spurrier said of the woman’s test results.

As a result, SA Health has identified two “Tier One” exposure sites, meaning anyone there at the affected time will need to quarantine and be tested.

They are:

Adelaide Airport is a “tier 4” exposure site: anyone who was there from 5.30pm to 6.20pm on Sunday should monitor for symptoms and get tested if any develop.

“Unfortunately we have got a taxi driver who we’ve contacted this morning who will be required to quarantine,” Spurrier said.

“And then there’s also the front of house person at the Quest Hotel that is going to need to quarantine.

“We will be looking at CCTV footage and making a determination about any other close contacts.

“Despite the fact that she is really quite infectious she’s only been in our state for a short period of time so we have got time to get on top of this but unfortunately it does mean a quarantine period for a number of South Australians.”

Spurrier said that people coming in from Victoria would have already needed to quarantine anyway “but we will be looking very closely at the quarantine arrangements of anybody that was on that flight”.

It comes after a truck driver in his 20s, and his co-driver in his 40s, also tested positive on the weekend, prompting a raft of regional exposure sites.

A full list of exposure sites will be published on the SA Health website.

Spurrier said an international traveller – a woman in her 30s – had also tested positive today but had been in a medi-hotel since her arrival and it was “nothing to be concerned about”.

Bryant steps aside from Tasting Australia role

Tasting Australia creative director Simon Bryant is leaving the role after eight years, with the South Australian food festival’s new leadership yet to be announced.

Event management today announced that Bryant will leave the main role but move into a new position of patron.

“I am looking forward to passing the baton to a new team of culinary geniuses and see what’s next for Tasting Australia,” Bryant said in a statement.

“I am so proud to have led the Tasting Australia festival team for the past eight years. We have attracted many great chefs to the state and really shone a light on the South Australian food and beverage industry. It is so humbling to know our efforts as a culinary tourism event have supported and paid homage to our great producers, produce and regions.

“Stepping aside into the Patron role at this time is right for me – and to ensure the festival continues to be innovative in its program whilst also creating an opportunity for others in the industry to become involved. The festival is in safe hands with the new creative team.”

Tasting Australia said its new creative team will be named in coming weeks.

Victoria records 1612 cases, eight deaths

Victoria has recorded 1612 new COVID-19 cases and eight deaths, as trials of the state’s vaccine passport system begin.

There are now more than 19,000 active infections across the state, after 73,138 tests and 34,279 vaccinations were reported in the 24 hours to Monday.

The additional deaths bring the toll from the current outbreak to 93.

Monday signals the first day regional areas will begin trialling a system to check the vaccination status of people wanting to visit a business.

The system will be used in Melbourne once lockdown lifts and businesses can reopen, with 14 regional venues participating in the trial, including gyms, pubs, cafes, churches, real estate agents, move theatres and beauticians.

Patrons will be asked to show they are fully vaccinated by displaying a digital certificate via the Services Victoria app, Medicare app or smartphone wallet.

As of 10am Monday, more than 50,000 people had successfully connected their vaccination certificates to their Service Victoria app.

The trials will test the vaccine certification technology and train staff and business owners on how to communicate vaccine requirements to patrons.

If successful, the system will be scaled up so double-vaccinated Victorians can attend the Melbourne Cup and live music within weeks.

Economy to get boost from NSW reopening

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg believes the end of the 100-day coronavirus lockdown in NSW is set to reignite the national economy, although there are mixed views how successful the recovery will be.

Frydenberg said the economy has been hit hard by the Delta variant, with lockdowns in NSW and Victoria – the nation’s two biggest economies – costing around $2 billion a week.

“But we also know from other experiences through this pandemic that the economy does bounce back,” Mr Frydenberg told the Seven Network on Monday.

“Once obstructions are raised, businesses reopen and the kids get back to school and people get back to work, that’s what we are hoping for, that’s what we expect.”

It comes as forecasts by Deloitte Access Economics showed the economy would grow to 4.5 per cent in 2022 after a 3.2 per cent expansion over 2021.

But Deloitte Access Economics partner and economist Chris Richardson said while he expects an excellent recovery over 2022, much will depend on vaccination rates.

“Forecasts for everything from wages to unemployment to hospitalisation and haircuts depend on vaccination,” he said in his latest quarterly business outlook.

Even so, Mr Richardson believes a large lift in wages growth is still “miles off”.

New SA exposure sites linked to COVID-positive truckies

SA Health has overnight added three new exposure sites and upgraded the risk level of two existing sites after another two Victorian truck drivers tested positive for COVID-19 in South Australia over the weekend.

One of the truck drivers came from Victoria and tested COVID-positive in Yamba on Saturday, sending health authorities scrambling to identify exposure locations after he failed to use QR check-in.

In a statement issued last night, SA Health said it had been made aware that the man in his 20s was also in South Australia on a previous trip on September 30.

It said two exposure locations had been upgraded because the man’s co-driver tested positive late yesterday.

“He was therefore infectious in the exposure locations, which has necessitated the risk upgrade,” the statement said.

The Port Augusta OTR and Yamba Caltex are now listed as tier two exposure sites, meaning anyone who visited the service stations at the at-risk times must get tested and quarantine immediately.

SA Health has also added Ceduna OTR, Renmark McDonald’s and Renmark OTR as exposure sites on its website.

Both truck drivers are currently quarantining at the Tom’s Court medi-hotel.

A teenager who travelled on a Virgin Australia flight from Melbourne to Adelaide last week also tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend, sending all passengers into quarantine.

The boy travelled on flight VA219 from Melbourne to Adelaide on October 4 and has been in a medi-hotel since his arrival.

He was on the same flight as a Virgin Australia flight attendant who also tested positive for the virus over the weekend.

SA Health yesterday afternoon issued a statement saying it was treating the flight as a transmission site and had ordered all 25 passengers into quarantine.

Meanwhile, SA Police have arrested a Victorian couple after they were caught allegedly sneaking into South Australia without permits.

The 55-year-old man and 51-year-old woman from the country town of Colignan, near Mildura, were arrested in Moorook South in the Riverland on Sunday.

SA Police will allege they drove into the state, avoiding checkpoints, with neither having approval to enter.

Both have tested negative for COVID-19.

The man and woman have been charged with failing to comply with a direction and are due to appear in the Berri Magistrates Court via video link today.

SA drivers increasingly fined for unbuckled kids

The RAA is urging motorists to ensure young passengers are properly restrained, following the release of new data showing South Australian drivers are increasingly being fined – rather than cautioned – for failing to comply with the rule. 

Latest police data collected by the RAA shows 3100 South Australian motorists were either fined or cautioned for failing to properly restrain passengers aged under 16 over the past five financial years.

Fines over that time period totalled almost one million dollars – $943,000.

The rate of motorists being fined rather than cautioned for the offence has increased from 64 per cent in 2016-17, to 76 per cent last financial year.

RAA safety and infrastructure senior manager Charles Mountain said the return to school this morning should remind motorists to be vigilant around schools and ensure young passengers are properly restrained. 

“It’s of vital importance that drivers correctly restrain youngsters for all trips, irrespective of the distance travelled, as crashes can occur at any time,” he said.

“A child who is properly secured in an approved child restraint is far less likely to be injured or lose their life in a car crash than one who is not, research shows.”

2022 Adelaide Fringe poster captures ‘a whimsical world’

Photo: Fumika Takagi

Indigenous artist Mali Isabel has become the youngest ever winner of the Adelaide Fringe poster design competition with a rainbow-coloured magical landscape inspired by the CBD and its key locations.

“The scattered symbols and dots throughout the painting hold meanings that will shift in the eye of the beholder,” said Isabel, a 22-year-old Arabana and Kokatha woman.

“They represent the hundreds of gatherings, performances, venues and exhibitions that take place across the city throughout Adelaide Fringe, highlighting the many unique and fulfilling experiences available.”

Today’s unveiling of the winning poster, titled A Whimsical World, heralds the countdown to next year’s Fringe, which will be held from February 18 to March 20.

It was selected from 360 entries, with Fringe director and CEO Heather Croall saying the design was a standout to the judging panel and “a runaway favourite in the public vote”.

Read the full story on InReview.

– Suzie Keen 

Perrottet urges patience as NSW reopens

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has called for patience as the state emerges from lockdown, amid concerns customer-facing staff could be at risk of abuse from unvaccinated people denied entry to venues.

After 106 days, almost 63,000 COVID-19 cases and 431 deaths, stay-at-home orders were lifted across New South Wales today.

Having surpassed a 70 per cent double-dose vaccination milestone early last week, gyms, cafes, restaurants, pools, shops, hairdressers and beauticians will reopen and people will be allowed to travel more than five kilometres from home.

But as the lockdown ends for most, a “lockout” of the unvaccinated is in place with only those who have had both jabs able to enjoy the new freedoms.

Business owners and hospitality staff are nervous the risk of transmission is still high, and the risk of abuse from customers is even higher.

Perrottet urged the state’s residents to show patience, kindness and respect.

“We’re the first state in the country that’s put these plans in place,” he said.

“There will be challenges and difficulties as we go through this … but we certainly don’t want to be having police moving through cafes and restaurants.

“That’s just not the state that I love and know.”

He rejected concerns business owners have been left out on a limb when it comes to dealing with angry people denied entry and in-venue service.

Clear guidelines have been issued in terms of training staff and signage, he added.

“If an individual feels unsafe, if a business owner … feels unsafe, then yes, it’s important that they do contact police,” Perrottet said.

“But that’ll be the same today as it will be tomorrow.”

Signage at an entertainment venue at Barangaroo in Sydney. Photo: Joel Carrett/AAP

Sydney bartender Lucy is one of those anxious about being on the frontline when stay-at-home orders cease and people flood the pubs.

The venue where the 34-year-old works will not be hiring a security guard, after going months without income, so staff will be responsible for checking a patron’s vaccination status and making sure they follow safety measures.

“A lot of people are angry about having to get vaccinated and I worry they will try to make a point at the door,” Lucy said.

While she’s keen to return to work after being stood down during the latest lockdown, Lucy also feels exposed as the delta variant continues to circulate throughout Greater Sydney.

“I definitely feel at risk,” she said.

“I worry a lot of the pubs will be environments where the virus can spread pretty easily.”

The United Workers Union, which represents essential frontline and public-facing workers, is concerned staff checking a person’s vaccination status could face unsafe situations and is calling for clearer, binding rules for bosses to protect staff as well as penalties for non-compliance.

From Monday, indoor and outdoor gatherings will also be permitted, with caps increased to 10 and 30 people respectively.

However, people who are unvaccinated – or have not had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine – effectively remain locked down until December.

NSW on Saturday reached 90.3 per cent first-dose vaccination coverage for the eligible population,  while 73.5 per cent are now fully jabbed.

On the final day of the lockdown on Sunday, the state reported 477 new local COVID-19 cases and six deaths.

None of those who died – all men – were fully vaccinated.

There are 794 COVID-19 patients in NSW hospitals, with 159 in intensive care units and 76 on ventilators.

Lennon broke up The Beatles: McCartney

Paul McCartney has revisited the break-up of The Beatles, flatly disputing the suggestion that he was responsible for the group’s demise.

Speaking on an episode of BBC Radio 4’s This Cultural Life that is scheduled to air on October 23, McCartney said it was John Lennon who wanted to disband The Beatles.

“I didn’t instigate the split,” McCartney said.

“That was our Johnny.”

The band’s fans have long debated who was responsible for the break-up, with many blaming McCartney.

But McCartney said Lennon’s desire to “break loose” was the main driver behind the split.

Confusion about the break-up was allowed to fester because their manager asked the band members to keep quiet until he concluded a number of business deals, McCartney said.

The interview comes ahead of Peter Jackson’s six-hour documentary chronicling the final months of the band.

The Beatles: Get Back, set for release in November on Disney+, is certain to revisit the break-up of the legendary band.

McCartney’s comments were first reported by The Observer.

When asked by interviewer John Wilson about the decision to strike out on his own, McCartney retorted: “Stop right there. I am not the person who instigated the split. Oh no, no, no. John walked into a room one day and said, ‘I am leaving The Beatles.’ Is that instigating the split, or not?”

McCartney expressed sadness over the break-up, saying the group was still making “pretty good stuff”.

“This was my band, this was my job, this was my life. So I wanted it to continue,” McCartney said.

US to provide aid to Afghanistan: Taliban

The United States has agreed to provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan – which is on the brink of an economic disaster – while refusing to give political recognition to the country’s new rulers, the Taliban says.

The statement came at the end of the first direct talks between the former foes since the chaotic withdrawal of US troops at the end of August.

There was no immediate comment from the US on the weekend meeting.

The Taliban said the talks held in Qatar “went well,” with US freeing up humanitarian aid to Afghanistan after agreeing not to link such assistance to formal recognition of the Taliban.

The US made it clear that the talks were in no way a preamble to recognition of the Taliban, who swept into power on August 15 after the US-allied government collapsed.

Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen also told the Associated Press that the movement’s interim foreign minister assured the US during the talks that the Taliban are committed to seeing that Afghan soil is not used by extremists to launch attacks against other countries.

On Saturday, however, the Taliban ruled out cooperation with the US on containing the increasingly active Islamic State group in Afghanistan.

IS, an enemy of the Taliban, has claimed responsibility for a number of recent attacks, including a suicide bombing at a mosque on Friday that killed 46 minority Shi’ite Muslims.

“We are able to tackle Daesh independently,” Shaheen said when asked whether the Taliban would work with the US to contain the group, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

-With AAP and Reuters

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