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Border feud blows up over 'cruel' rules

3 weeks ago 16


Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has lashed out at the management of state borders during the coronavirus pandemic, saying it has resulted in too much "cruelty and confusion".

The national cabinet has yet to reach consensus on how to manage internal borders, but it has agreed to come up with a national standard of what exactly constitutes as a Covid-19 'hotspot'.

On Sunday, Mr Frydenberg said there needs to be changes to the way borders are currently governed.

“We're seeing too much confusion, too much cruelty and not enough compassion and not enough common sense," he said.

"That is why the Prime Minister is determined to get a definition, based on medical advise, of what is a 'hotspot'."

It comes after Scott Morrison on Friday demanded answers from Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk about why a pregnant woman in Ballina in northern NSW had to travel to Sydney for medical care instead of obtaining an exemption to cross the border for treatment in Brisbane.

It resulted in the woman, Kimberly Brown, who was pregnant with twins, losing an unborn child.

A scan at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital on Thursday revealed the baby had died at 26 weeks, and the couple are now in a desperate fight to ensure the little girl’s twin sister survives.

Last week, before the tragedy occured, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters that, “People living in NSW, they have NSW hospitals. In Queensland we have Queensland hospitals for our people.”

Mr Frydenberg told Sky News it is "inexplicable that a mother can lose their child because of confusion as to how they can access a hospital in Brisbane".

Queensland‘s Health Minister Steven Miles said there was a “communication problem” south of the border and an emergency medical flight carrying Kimberley and her unborn twins would not have been turned away.

The case prompted Mr Morrison to declare there will be a definition of the COVID-19 hotspot – even if state premiers refuse to follow suit.

“I can assure you of this, there will be a national definition of a hotspot, come rain hail or shine,” he said at the Daily Telegraph’s bush summit on Friday.


New Zealand’s largest city left lockdown overnight and moved into what Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described as “level 2.5” after just two new cases were announced on Sunday.

Masks will also become compulsory on public transport in any part of New Zealand from August 31 while level two restrictions are in place.

Ms Ardern on Sunday thanked residents in the country’s largest city, Auckland, after living through two and a half weeks of lockdown, but she has warned the government would raise levels again “if we need to”. The lockdown was lifted at 11.59pm local time.

“It is designed to keep us on track with our elimination strategy at level two in the scenario we now have, but it will only work if people follow the guidance, I understand it is easy to become complacent,” Ms Ardern said.

“For Auckland, you are at a form of level two that I am going to call level 2.5.”

Level two means social gatherings in Auckland are limited to 10, with a maximum of 50 people for COVID-safe funerals.

She also announced that as of Monday 31, anyone above the age of 12 must wear a mask on public transport, with those failing to comply facing $300 fines on the spot.


Influential Victorian upper house MP Fiona Patten, who is the head of the Victorian Reason Party, said her office was receiving thousands of emails a day, some even close to death threats, because of a misunderstanding that extending the state of emergency meant extending the stage 4 restrictions.

It comes after the Victorian Government proposed to extend the state of emergency, which expires in September, by a further 12 months.

Under current laws, a state of emergency must be renewed each month and can last for a maximum of six consecutive months.

“I would say most of the crossbenchers are being attacked in this incredibly vicious way and most often in incredibly misunderstood way,” Ms Patten told the ABC.

“We are certainly getting threats like I hope someone shoots you in your bed.”

Ms Patten said the Government was offering a six-month extension with a sunset clause.

She is calling on a legislation that will lay out how Victorians would continue to live with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future, from how schools could be quickly closed in the event of an outbreak to triggers for when mask-wearing would become mandatory.

“All things that can be done through workplace, other health legislation that wouldn’t require an ongoing rolling state of emergency,” she said.

Fiona Patten. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw

On Thursday, Ms Patten told ABC News Breakfast she had been told by the Health Minister Jenny Mikakos and crossbenchers "that the 12-month extension just won't pass the Parliament".

Her concern was a 12-month extension would allow future governments "to instil a state of emergency into this state for 18 months, without going back to the Parliament".

"They're looking for a modified version, and that would hopefully include a maximum of six months before it came back to the Parliament," she she told the ABC.


Notting Hill Carnival has returned, but with a twist.

For the first time in its 54-year history, it is being streamed online after organisers made the decision to cancel the west London street party in May due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The annual event, which celebrates Caribbean culture in the UK, would usually draw more than a million visitors.

But this time, it is attracting massive digital crowds as people from around the world tune in online.

Organisers have put together a digital festival, complete with videos filmed all over the world, as well as at venues across London, including the Royal Albert Hall, Abbey Road Studios, Theatre Royal and the Tabernacle.

Matthew Phillip, the executive director of Notting Hill carnival, said people should enjoy the event “at home safely” in order to help protect the future of the carnival.

He said cancelling the carnival had not been an easy decision.

“We did it in the interest of safety, so we would urge people to stay at home, stay away from the streets of Notting Hill," Mr Phillip said.

The events are currently being live streamed on the official YouTube channel.


Glastonbury Festival is the largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world – and organisers have "no plans" to postpone next year's event.

Michael Eavis, who is the festival's founder, had previously said the fate of the 2021 event was uncertain as this year's festival was cancelled because of coronavirus.

However, his daughter, Emily, confirmed on Twitter that it's still going ahead and it will not be moved to September, despite some rumours.

"For those who have been asking, we have no plans to move next year’s Glastonbury to September 2021 – we’re still very much aiming for June," she wrote.

Emily also announced they have moved ticket resales back from October to April.

"Because so few people have asked for a refund (next year’s Festival remains sold out), meaning we don’t have enough tickets to resell," she said.

"Plus, we’ve extended the free cancellation deadline until the end of January."

Yin Wang

Scientists have warned current anti-environmental policies like logging, farming wild animals and mining will create a "perfect storm" allowing deadly diseases to prosper.

Conservationists and biologists set to present at a UN summit in New York next month claim there is now clear evidence between an increased likelihood of pandemics and deforestation and a loss of biodiversity.

Speaking to The Guardian, Professor Stuart Pimm said the current COVID-19 pandemic could be contributed to "illegal logging, clearing and mining – with associated international trades in bushmeat and exotic pets".

“In the case of COVID-19, it has cost the world trillions of dollars and already killed almost a million people, so clearly urgent action is needed.”

Although scientists are uncertain of exact origin of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the virus is believed to have began in a wet market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, most likely from a bat.

Yin Wang

India has claimed an unenviable global record, reporting the largest daily spike in cases.

Home to 1.3 billion people they recorded 78,761 new infections in the past 24 hours. Previously this was held by the US who tracked 77,638 new cases on July 17.

India currently has a total of 3.54 million active cases, with 63,498 deaths attributed to COVID-19. This places it behind the US and Brazil which have 6.01 million and 3.85 million active cases respectively.

Yin Wang

NSW Health has announced passengers who travelled on the X39 bus from the Sydney CBD to Randwick on the evening of August 20 are now considered close contact of a case.

The bus left Pitt Street opposite Australia Square at 6.08pm and arrived at Clovelly Rd, Carrington Road at Randwick at 6.40pm.

While the case associated with the CBD cluster wore a mask during the trip, a second passenger was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Friday. NSW Health is investigating the source of the second person's infection and are contacting the 11 other passengers who were also on the bus during this time. All travellers have been asked to immediately isolate for 14 days (until midnight September 3) and be tested for COVID-19 regardless of symptoms.

Passengers on the following public transport services have also been identified as casual contacts of the case and have been asked to monitor for symptoms.

– Route 339, August 19: Clovelly Rd at Carrington (5.57am) to Martin Place Station (6.16am)

– Route X39, August 19: Pitt St opp Australia Square (5.57pm) to Clovelly Rd at Carrington (6.27pm)

– Route 339, August 20: Clovelly Rd at Carrington (6.30am) to Martin Place Station (6.58am)

– Route 339, August 20: Pitt St opp Australia Square (9.47am) to Clovelly Rd at Carrington (10.17am)

– Route 339, August 20: Clovelly Rd at Carrington (2.34pm) to Martin Place Station (3pm)

– Route 339, August 21: Clovelly Rd at Carrington (5.26am) to Martin Place Station (5.49am)

– Route 339, August 21: Clovelly Rd at Carrington (6.29am) to Martin Place Station (6.54am)

– Route 339, August 21: Clovelly Rd opp Searle Ave (2.42pm) to Sheraton on the Park (3.06pm)

– Route 339, August 21: Pitt St opp Australia Square (6.35pm) to Clovelly Rd at Carrington (6.56pm)

– Route 339, August 22: Clovelly Rd opp Searle Ave (7.27am) to Martin Place Station (7.50am)

– Route 339, August 24: Clovelly Rd at Carrington (5.30am) to Martin Place Station (5.53am)

– Route X39, August 24: Clovelly Rd at Carrington (7.20am) to Oxford St at Brisbane St (7.39am)

– Route 339, August 24: Clovelly Rd opp Searle Ave (2.21pm) to Martin Place Station (2.21pm)

– Route 339, August 24: Museum Station (3.15pm) to Clovelly Rd at Carrington (3.46pm)

– Route X39, August 24: Pitt St opp Australia Square (6.33pm) to Clovelly Rd at Carrington (7.03pm)

– Route X39, August 25: Clovelly Rd at Carrington (7.21am) to Oxford St at Brisbane St (7.39am)

– Route 339, August 25: Museum Station (1.55pm) to Clovelly Rd at Carrington (2.20pm)

– Route X39, August 26: Clovelly Rd at Carrington (7.21am) to Oxford St at Brisbane St (7.39am)

– Route 339, August 26: Museum Station (12.59pm) to Clovelly Rd at Carrington (1.21pm)

– Route X39, August 27: Clovelly Rd at Carrington (7.21am) to Oxford St at Brisbane St (7.40am)

– Route 442, August 25: Gladstone Park, Darling Street (9.18am) to Gladstone Park, Darling Street (9.31am)

– Route 442, August 25: QVB York St, Stand B (2.39pm) to Darling St at Phillip St (2.52pm)

– Route 333, August 25: Bondi Rd at Dudley St (8.19am) to Bondi Junction Station, Grafton St, Stand Q (8.31am)

– Route 333, August 25: Bondi Junction Station, Stand A (6.07pm) to Bondi Rd opp Dudley St (6.16pm)

– Route 333, August 26: Bondi Rd at Dudley St (7.39am) to Bondi Junction Station, Grafto St, Stand Q (7.55am)

– Train, August 25: Bondi Junction (8.32am) to Martin Place (8.42am)

– Train, August 25: Martin Place (5.51pm) to Bondi Junction (6.05pm)

– Train, August 26: Bondi Junction (7.56am) to Martin Place (8.07am)

NSW Health has strongly advised all residents travelling by public transport to wear masks.

Yin Wang

Police were called to multiple Sydney beaches after thousands after warm weather proved too tempting for sunseekers.

A NSW Police spokesman said officers had responded to concerns about crowding at Clovelly, Little Bay and Gordons Bay, where 50-60 people were having a party.

Police were also called to Sydney's popular Coogee beach, where they were seen asking groups to move on. An unverified estimate of 15,000 were believed to have visited the beach and its surrounding parks and reserves.

Around 3000 to 4000 people were also seen at the neighbouring Bondi beach, however officials said crowds were complying with social distancing rules.

Read the full story here.

Yin Wang

An unidentified WA man is planned to be the first Australian to be fitted with a tracking ankle bracelet after flouting restrictions.

The 53-year-old returned to the state after visiting family in QLD however failed to apply for a G2G exemption .

Upon landing in WA, the man was taken to hospital after complaining of chest pains, however he allegedly went against official instructions and escaped before checking into Hotel Northbridge.

Police later found the man at the hotel which was immediately closed down for cleaning.

While the man has since tested negative for the virus, he remains under police supervision in hotel quarantine and could face a fine of up to $50,000 and 12 months in jail.

WA Police Minister Michelle Roberts said the Government is considering using powers granted by the Emergency Management Act to have him fitted with an ankle monitoring bracelet. She said the Government had purchased 200 units of the device earlier this year but would only use them on a "case by case basis".

"We're not about putting ankle bracelets on people that don't need them or having additional requirements where they're not required," she said, as reported by the ABC.

"It will be assessed on a case by case basis [and] this person has proven themselves to be someone that can't be trusted, and that's why this action will be taken."

As of August 29, there have been a total of 644 confirmed cases in the state, with no new cases in the last 24 hours.

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