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What we know today, Friday January 14

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The Adelaide Strikers are back in the BBL top five after a convincing six-wicket win over the top-placed Perth Scorchers at the Adelaide Oval today.

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Strikers knock off Scorchers in convincing BBL win

The Adelaide Strikers are back in the BBL top five after a convincing six-wicket win over the top-placed Perth Scorchers at the Adelaide Oval today.

The Strikers only needed 17 overs to knock off Perth’s meagre 9-127, with openers Matt Short (34 off 28) and Henry Hunt (27 and 23) getting the home side off to the ideal start with a 52 run opening stand.

New English import Ian Cockbain then impressed with a quick fire 35* off 24 balls and the winning runs.

The win temporarily moves the Strikers above the Melbourne Stars into fifth place with 20 points, while the Scorchers remain in top spot after recording just their third loss of the season.

The Perth side was rocked on the morning of the match when Cam Bancroft and Matt Kelly tested positive for COVID-19.

The absence of Bancroft, the Scorchers’ first-choice gloveman since Josh Inglis joined Australia’s Ashes Test squad, triggered an extraordinary wicketkeeping merry-go-round.

Englishman Laurie Evans was originally named as wicketkeeper but was unable to don the gloves after suffering a toe injury when he was struck by a Harry Conway yorker while batting.

That forced Chris Sabburg into a makeshift ‘keeping role for the first 10 overs of the Strikers’ innings before he was replaced by fourth-stringer Brayden Sepien.

Sepien, who is part of the Melbou rne Renegades’ bubble, was enjoying a coffee down the road before receiving a phone call at the innings break and rushing to ground to take the gloves from Sabburg.

Earlier in the day, Strikers spinner Fawad Ahmed (3-30) and captain Peter Siddle (2-20) put the pressure on the Scorchers early.

Siddle struck with his first ball when opener Nick Hobson top-edged a return catch, sent Laurie Evans packing for a duck and was involved in the run out of Chris Sabburg (3).

Siddle also grabbed a sharp chance at short cover to dismiss Kurtis Patterson (25) off Fawad, who was impressive in replacing fellow leggie Rashid Khan who has joined Afghanistan’s ODI team in Qatar.

Laurie Evans defied a sore toe, after being struck by a Harry Conway yorker, to top-score with 39 before Fawad enticed him to edge behind.

After a sedate start, the Scorchers pushed the accelerator through Evans and Ashton Turner (28) to advance the score to 80 approaching the halfway mark.

Turner took a liking to Henry Thornton but the Strikers seamer had the last laugh when the Scorchers skipper went for one big shot too many, holing out in the deep.

Turner’s downfall kickstarted a 6-27 collapse as the Scorchers, without Cam Bancroft and Matt Kelly who both tested positive for COVID-19, plunged from 2-80 to 8-107.

They managed just 47 runs from their last 10 overs against the disciplined Strikers attack.

Dozens of emergencies left uncovered overnight: ambos union

There were 42 serious emergencies left uncovered across South Australia overnight with some patients experiencing wait times upwards of five hours, the paramedics union says, as the ambulance service concedes it is “undoubtedly facing unprecedented demand”.

As South Australia grapples with an Omicron outbreak which has seen hundreds hospitalised with COVID-19, the Ambulance Employees Association says at 7.45pm and 9pm last night there were 42 emergencies triaged as priority two – requiring assistance within 16 minutes – for which there was no ambulance to send.

The union also said Thursday marked the 11th straight day the ambulance service has declared an “Opstat White” event, meaning “operational capacity, capability and/or resources are insufficient to maintain effective service delivery for high acuity cases”.

AEA general secretary Leah Watkins said it was the “worst night we’ve ever had on record”.

“There was an unconscious collapse [patient] who at that point [7:45pm] had already waited four hours,” she said.

“There was a patient with heart problems who had waited 5.5 hours, and a priority two fall case who had waited six and a half hours.

“I have never seen it this bad, even the concept of priority twos pending with no ambulance to send for a long period of time had never been an issue until up about a year ago.

“About six months ago it was gobsmacking to hear that it had reached a record 20 cases … and then very quickly we’ve escalated to this situation of 42 cases pending with no ambulance to send.”

It comes as the ambulance service implements measures to “ration” ambulance crews to one paramedic and one non-emergency ambulance officer – as opposed to two paramedics – in a bid to bolster the agency’s capacity to respond to emergencies.

A spokesperson for the SA Ambulance Service said the agency was “undoubtedly facing unprecedented demand” and “this is a tough time”.

“Once again we received a huge number of triple zero calls yesterday evening,” the spokesperson said.

“But we must be clear to the South Australian public that at all times yesterday, we continued to ensure our most urgent Triple Zero (000) calls were prioritised.

“We are certainly not choosing not to respond to cases that require an ambulance but those that are less serious or less urgent will experience delays.”

The SAAS reiterated its ongoing call to the public to seek alternative care if their situation is not an emergency.

“There are many options available, from an out of hours GP to the Children and Adolescent Virtual Urgent Care Service, COVID information lines and COVID care services,” the spokesperson said.

“Help us to help you and contact SAAS when you need an emergency ambulance; save Triple Zero for when it matters.”

NSW records new deadliest day of pandemic

NSW has reported another 63,018 COVID-19 cases and 29 deaths.

The spike in daily reporting numbers comes as the state works through a backlog of results from rapid at-home tests, which were only able to be reported from Wednesday.

Some 25,080 cases came from the rapid antigen tests (RATs), while 37,938 were diagnosed from PCR, laboratory processed tests.

NSW Health cautioned some of those cases were the same positive cases reported numerous times from multiple rapid antigen tests and PCR tests.

The 29 deaths reported on Friday make it the deadliest day of the pandemic for NSW.

The number of patients in hospital is also steadily climbing, now at 2525 with 184 in intensive care.

Vic records 18 deaths, 34,836 new cases

Victoria has recorded 34,836 new COVID-19 cases and 18 deaths.

The new infections include 15,440 from rapid antigen tests and 19,396 from PCR tests, the health department confirmed on Friday.

There are a record 976 patients in hospital, up 23 from Thursday, including 112 in intensive care of which 30 require ventilators.

The state is managing 239,396 active cases.

The number of Victorians 18 and over who have received their booster vaccine shot has risen to 21 per cent.

New RAT distribution areas revealed

The State Government has unveiled a list of seven council areas that will house free rapid antigen test pickup centres, as the Premier today prepares to provide more information to parents about the staggered return of children to school.

Following the launch of the first RAT pickup site in the southern park lands yesterday, the government revealed the next seven areas where asymptomatic close contacts will soon be able to register to collect two free rapid tests.

The new areas are:

The exact locations and opening date for each area is yet to be announced. The State Government says it expects the centres to be up and running in the next 10 days.

Negotiations are also underway for more LGAs to become part of the RAT distribution program, according to the State Government.

More than 10,000 people registered on Thursday to receive free their free RATs at the southern park lands distribution site located at Josie Agius/Wikaparntu Wirra Park (Park 22).

Premier Steven Marshall called for patience as the new process is rolled out.

“I ask all South Australians to work with us as we make this pivot in our testing regime, it’s a big change so it will take some time to get used to,” he said.

“If you don’t have immediate access to a RAT test and you are a close contact, or of course have symptoms, please continue to use the over 80 PCR testing sites we have across the state.”

Meanwhile, Marshall is set to provide further details today about the State Government’s “hybrid” plan for the first two weeks of term one.

Marshall announced on Thursday afternoon that South Australian schools will be open for face-to-face learning on Wednesday, February 2 – two days later than scheduled – for children in reception and years 1, 7, 8 and 12.

However, other year levels will begin their school year learning from home.

Questions remain over the use of rapid antigen tests in education settings and how positive cases will be managed in a school environment, although Marshall indicated on Thursday that schools will not close if a positive case is recorded like last year.

South Australia recorded four COVID deaths and 3669 cases on Thursday, slightly down from the 3715 cases reported on Wednesday.

The number of people in hospital with the virus in South Australia jumped to 225 yesterday, up from 190 on Wednesday.

There are 26 people in intensive care and seven requiring ventilation.

The State Government will also soon provide an update on its latest modelling and when the state’s current Omicron outbreak is set to peak.

Marshall rejects call by majority of MPs to recall parliament

Speaker Dan Cregan. Photo: Tony Lewis / InDaily

Premier Steven Marshall has rejected a push from a majority of state MPs to recall parliament “to assist in managing the COVID-19 crisis”.

In a letter released late yesterday by independent Speaker Dan Cregan, who quit the Liberal Party last year before seizing the Speakership, 25 MPs demand Marshall recall parliament to “provide parliamentary oversight” for the current Omicron outbreak – although the nature of the oversight is not specified.

The letter is signed by the state’s 19 Labor MPs and all six crossbenchers – including former Liberals Sam Duluk, Troy Bell, Liberal exile Fraser Ellis and Cregan himself.

It comes weeks after the power to recall parliament was returned to the Government, after it briefly rested with the Speaker after a shortlived procedural change enacted when Cregan was elevated to the chair.

“When the House of Assembly adjourned for five months it did so on the basis that the COVID-19 re-opening in South Australia would be well-managed without parliamentary oversight, including the management of any new variants,” the letter reads.

“We are deeply concerned that the Government has not adequately planned for new variants in its COVID-19 reopening arrangements.

“Families and individuals are fearful for their safety and confused by unclear messages [while] businesses are facing extraordinary economic hardship… retail and stock distribution chains are facing worker shortages [and] frontline staff and allied health professionals… are under unacceptable pressure.

“The circumstances now facing our state require the House of Assembly to sit to assist in managing the COVID-19 crisis and to provide parliamentary oversight.”

The missive states that “a majority of members of the House” now wish to sit on February 8,9 and 10, adding that “certain members who have requested an urgent briefing have also had no response to those requests”.

Cregan adds that as Speaker, he is “satisfied that the public interest requires the House to meet again at an earlier time and I would welcome your concurrence with that view”.

However, Marshall did not concur, telling InDaily during his daily COVID update yesterday: “No, we’re only a few weeks away now from going into caretaker mode [ahead of the March election, and] my focus is on listening to the experts and keeping SA safe.”

Read the full story here

-Tom Richardson

New Adelaide Festival CEO announced

RISING Melbourne executive director Kath Mainland has been appointed CEO of the Adelaide Festival. Photo: supplied

The Adelaide Festival has appointed prominent Melbourne arts executive Kath Mainland as its new CEO.

Mainland is currently the co-CEO and executive director of RISING, formerly known as the Melbourne International Arts Festival, where she has worked since 2016.

She has also chaired Regional Arts Victoria since 2019.

Her appointment at the Adelaide Festival will see her take over as chief executive in April following the conclusion of this year’s festival season.

Touted as a globally recognised leader in the arts, Mainland held a number of high profile arts roles in Scotland including CEO of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society and chair of Festivals Edinburgh.

Adelaide Festival Chair Judy Potter described the appointment as a “coup” for the organisation.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have Kath join Adelaide Festival, bringing with her experience from some of the world’s pre-eminent arts companies,” Potter said.

“She’s an exceptional talent, adept at identifying opportunities and making them happen.

“With her clear and decisive leadership she is primed to navigate the new world that international arts festivals now face.”

Mainland’s appointment comes after former Adelaide Festival executive director Elaine Chia departed the organisation in November after around a year and half at the helm.

Mainland said she has been attending the Adelaide Festival for nearly two decades and the opportunity to lead the arts event was a “privilege”.

“I am incredibly passionate about the arts and its place in society, so it will be pure delight to immerse myself in the arts and cultural scene of South Australia and build on the legacy of one of the world’s great festivals,” she said.

The 2022 Adelaide Festival is set to run from March 4 to March 20.

Woman charged with murder after Kilburn stabbing

A 26-year-old woman will face court today charged with murder after a stabbing in the northern suburbs on Thursday morning.

Police and paramedics were called to a block of units in Kilburn just after 1am on Thursday after reports a 45-year-old woman had been stabbed.

She was treated at the scene with a stab wound to her leg before being taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital where she died later that morning.

A 26-year-old woman from Pennington was arrested and charged with the woman’s murder on Thursday night.

The two women were known to each other, police say.

The accused has been refused bail and is due to face the Port Adelaide Magistrates Court today.

Woolworths introduce purchase limits amid supply chain disruption

Customers at Woolworths stores in South Australia and across the country will be limited to buying two packs of toilet paper and painkillers at a time, in the latest bid from the supermarket giant to combat supply chain disruptions and increased demand.

The changes – which echo those introduced in response to panic buying at the start of the pandemic in 2020 – will apply in-store and online and ensure fair access to necessities, Woolworths said on Thursday.

The company said the limits on toilet paper and analgesic products are a result of supply chain disruptions preventing the products from reaching shelves, as well as some pockets of increased demand.

Western Australian shoppers will also face limits on purchases of mince, sausages and chicken products due to “excessive buying” of the meat products.

Woolworths director of stores Jeanette Fenske said it was an anxious time for customers, but pledged stores would remain open.

“We will continue to closely monitor product availability across our stores, with stock continuing to be sent to stores daily. Customers will notice some gaps on shelves but we’re doing all that we can to meet demand,” she said.

“We encourage everyone to be mindful of others in the community and to continue shopping in reasonable quantities.”

Supply chain disruptions have led to empty shelves in Woolworths and Coles stores across the country, as truck drivers and other essential workers are hit by the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Prince Andrew stripped of military, royal titles

Prince Andrew has been stripped of his military affiliations and royal patronages, Buckingham Palace says, after his lawyers failed to persuade a US judge to dismiss a civil lawsuit against him that accuses him of sexual abuse.

Andrew will also no longer use the title “His Royal Highness” in any official capacity and his other roles are set to be distributed among other members of the royal family.

“With The Queen’s approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement on Thursday.

“The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”

The move represents the duke’s complete removal from official royal life, and an attempt to distance the royal family from Andrew, who was once second in line to the throne as the spare to the heir, in the year of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The development is a major blow for Prince Andrew, who is facing a court showdown after a judge ruled on Wednesday that Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit against him could go ahead.

Giuffre is suing the duke in the US for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager.

The duke has strenuously denied the allegations.

-With AAP and Reuters

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