- SA records 4299 new COVID cases, eight deaths
- Consortium aims to develop ‘variant-proof’ vaccine
- NZ to fully reopen border early
- Election pitches tighten as leaders prepare for final TV debate
- SA business confidence stays highest in nation
- Teenager dies after motorcycle crash in Virginia
- Prison paper publisher pursues SA legal action
- VIDEO: Internal polling shows Libs face trouble in NSW
- Musk vows to reverse Trump Twitter ban
SA records 4299 new COVID cases, eight deaths
South Australia has recorded eight COVID-related deaths overnight, as the number of new cases also spiked.
In its update this afternoon, SA Health said a man in his 60s, two men in their 70s, one woman in her 80s, one man and two women and in their 90s and one woman over 100 who tested positive for COVID-19 had passed away.
The number of new infections jumped from 3683 yesterday, to 4299 today, while hospitalisations also increased by 10 to 232.
Of those in hospital, seven are in intensive care, but none are on a ventilator.
There are currently 21,101 active cases in the state.
Consortium aims to develop ‘variant-proof’ vaccine
Sydney University is leading an international consortium hoping to develop a ‘variant-proof’ COVID-19 vaccine.
The consortium has a $US19.3 million ($A27.7 million) grant from The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to develop a vaccine to provide broad protection against all known SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, as well as future variants.
CEPI CEO Richard Hatchett says repeated waves of COVID-19 infection around the world mean we will be living with the virus for many years.
“The threat of a new variant emerging that might evade the protection of our current vaccines is real, so investing in research and development for variant-proof SARS-CoV-2 vaccines is a global health security imperative,” he said on Wednesday.
The CEPI partnership with Bharat Biotech, University of Sydney and ExcellGene would advance the development of a vaccine to protect against future variants of COVID-19, potentially contributing to the long-term control of the virus, he said.
Professor Robyn Ward, executive dean and pro vice-chancellor medicine and health at The University of Sydney said the partnership offered the hope of developing broadly protective COVID-19 vaccines.
“Our researchers are at the medical forefront of tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as anticipating what may lie ahead,” she said.
Lead University of Sydney investigator Professor Jamie Triccas said the collaboration aimed to deliver safe, affordable and highly effective vaccines to combat existing and future SARS-CoV-2 variants.
“Our international consortium is well placed to achieve this goal,” he said.
NZ to fully reopen border early
New Zealand will fully reopen its international border from 11.59pm on July 31, with cruise ships also welcome back to local ports on the same day, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.
The opening is two months earlier than the government’s previous time frame.
Ardern said in a speech to a Business NZ lunch in Auckland that opening the border would help relieve urgent skills shortages, open up tourism and put immigration settings on a more secure footing.
“We are building on our proven plan to secure New Zealand’s economic future,” Ardern said on Wednesday.
Election pitches tighten as leaders prepare for final TV debate
A minimum wage increase, a pay raise for aged care workers and childcare reforms to boost women’s workplace participation will be part of Labor’s plan to tackle the cost of living, Anthony Albanese says, as he and the prime minister prepare for tonight’s final televised debate.
With 10 days until the election, and the pitches being tightened, the opposition leader is talking up his plan to boost wages and the economy, while the prime minister is promising clean energy investment.
Speaking to ABC’s 7.30 program on Tuesday night, Albanese said Labor’s increased childcare support would encourage more women back into the workforce.
“It is not welfare. It is not about (child care) going on the government tab. What it is about is growing the economy,” he said.
“We need to encourage the full economic participation of women. Women workers are underutilised, undervalued at the moment.”
Albanese on Tuesday backed a rise in the minimum wage to keep up with increasing inflation levels, which is sitting at 5.1 per cent, the highest level in two decades.
The opposition leader said it was “untenable” for people to face stagnant wages as the cost-of-living increases.
“The idea that people who are doing it really tough at the moment should have a further cut in their cost of living is, in my view, simply untenable,” he told the ABC.
Albanese and Prime Minister Scott Morrison will face off for the third and final debate on the Seven Network on Wednesday night.
The establishment of a federal anti-integrity commission is likely to be a key topic after Morrison told reporters he did not think the NSW integrity commission was a good process.
Albanese said if elected, Labor would put together its own proposal for a commission after seeking advice from the Attorney-General’s Department.
Morrison will on Wednesday announce a $50 million election commitment to develop new technology for the energy sector.
The investment would create a new business and research partnership between the University of NSW and the University of Newcastle to work with 27 industry partners to develop new solar, hydrogen, storage and green metals technology.
The latest polling from Roy Morgan shows the ALP has a lead of nine percentage points from the coalition on a two-party preferred basis.
SA business confidence stays highest in nation
Business confidence in South Australia remains the highest in the nation, according to a new monthly survey, but the state’s business conditions remain below the national average.
The NAB Monthly Business Survey released on Tuesday shows SA bucking the national trend with business confidence increasing one point to +17, which remains the highest in the nation ahead of Queensland (+15), New South Wales and Victoria (+14) and Western Australia (+7).
Overall business confidence across the country reduced six points to +10 since March, NAB reported.
The bank’s survey covered 400 non-farm businesses from 22 to 29 April.
SA’s business conditions, however, remain among the worst in the nation at +12 despite increasing seven points since March.
The +12 result is only above Tasmania (+11) and level with Victoria (+12). It is behind NSW (+14), WA (+15) and Queensland (+17), and also well below the national average (+15).
SATreasurer Stephen Mullighan touted the survey result as a “strong vote of confidence in the election of the new government”.
“But our work has only just begun, and next month I will hand down the Malinauskas Labor Government’s first budget,” he said in a statement.
“The Malinauskas Labor Government is committed to delivering on our commitments for the future.”
Teenager dies after motorcycle crash in Virginia
A teenage motorcyclist has died after a crash with a ute in the northern suburbs on Tuesday evening.
Police say they were called to Old Port Wakefield Road in Virginia shortly after 5:30pm yesterday evening following a crash between a motorbike and a Holden ute.
The motorcyclist, an 18-year-old from Burton, died at the scene, police said.
The 22-year-old ute driver from Lewiston was not injured.
Major Crash investigators examined the scene last night and closed off Old Port Wakefield Road between Penfield Road/Sheedy Road and Nash Road.
South Australia’s road toll for 2022 now stands at 28, compared to 40 at the same point last year.
Prison paper publisher pursues SA legal action
A prisoner advocacy group is pressing on with legal action against South Australia’s Correctional Services Department following a decision not to allow prisoners access to a newspaper offering federal election information.
Detainee advocacy group Justice Action said 40,000 copies of the JUST US detainee newspaper were distributed to prisoners across Australia in April.
But it said SA’s Department for Correctional Services had refused to accept it and the issue would now proceed to a Supreme Court hearing in Adelaide on Friday.
Justice Action coordinator Brett Collins said the group had also sought an urgent meeting with new SA Correctional Services Minister Joe Szakacs.
Collins said the JUST US publication was an exercise in social inclusion and constitutionally protected by the entitlement of political parties to communicate with citizens everywhere.
“Additionally it carries the right of people in prisons and locked hospital wards to engage in the political process and cast an informed vote,” he said.
But in a written response to the group, the department’s chief executive David Brown stood by its decision not to distribute the newspaper.
“In my opinion, the document contains provocative and inflammatory material that may inflame or incite unrest amongst prisoners or otherwise inspire conflict,” he said.
Brown said all prisoners had access to mainstream print, TV and radio media to receive election-related information and were provided with all official election material.
A spokesperson from the Department for Correctional Services told InDaily last week the department was “committed to ensuring that all eligible prisoners are able to vote in the upcoming federal election”, with voting facilitated in a “fair, neutral and unbiased manner”.
“The Department will respond to the law firm representing Justice Action accordingly,” the spokesperson said at the time.
In SA, all prisoners serving a sentence of less than three years can vote in the May 21 federal poll.
The matter is set for a Supreme Court hearing on Friday.
VIDEO: Internal polling shows Libs face trouble in NSW
Confidential internal polling reveals Scott Morrison and the Coalition are in serious trouble in several key New South Wales seats – with at least one electorate already looking unwinnable.
Musk vows to reverse Trump Twitter ban
Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he would reverse Twitter’s ban on former US President Donald Trump, calling his account suspension “morally wrong and flat-out stupid”.
Speaking at the Financial Times Future of the Car conference, Musk claimed the decision to ban Trump amplified his views among people on the political right.
Musk, who has called himself a “free speech absolutist,” recently agreed a $US44 billion ($A64 billion) deal to acquire the social media platform.
The suspension of Trump’s account, which had more than 88 million followers, silenced his primary megaphone days before the end of his term and follows years of debate about how social media companies should moderate the accounts of powerful global leaders.
Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter shortly after the January 6 riots at the US Capitol last year.
Twitter cited “the risk of further incitement of violence” in its decision.
But Musk labelled the ban “morally wrong and flat-out stupid” and said his distaste for permanent bans is shared by Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey.
Musk said: “I think there’s a general question of should Twitter have permanent bans? I’ve talked with Jack Dorsey about this and he and I are of the same mind which is that permanent bans should be extremely rare and really reserved for accounts that are bots or spam scam accounts.”
“I do think that it was not correct to ban Donald Trump. I think that was a mistake because it alienated a large part of the country and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice … I think this could end up being frankly worse than having a single forum where everyone can debate.
“So I guess the answer is that I would reverse the permanent ban, obviously, I don’t own Twitter yet, so this is not a thing that will definitely happen because what if I don’t own Twitter?”
Trump previously told Fox News that he would not return to Twitter even if Musk purchases the platform and reinstates his account, and said he would use his own social media app called Truth Social.
– With AAP and Reuters
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