Monday and another week began in earnest. I was very busy and stressed about my secondment but was enjoying the work.
In the news there was some talk about a proposal that Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaczszuk put forward for the border processing to move south into northern NSW to alleviate wait times and to help those who lived in the border communities such as Coolangatta. She claimed she had suggested this back in March.
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian had a straight forward response.
“I’m happy to consider all options except I do not believe at any stage we should move the border. If anything, the border should be moved north. There is zero infection in northern NSW at this stage,” she said.
So that was that.
There were a couple of a cluster of cases in New South Wales.
In Victoria there were 275 confirmed cases overnight and it was announced that masks were going to become mandatory come Thursday. Students across the state were going back to learning from home.
Federally there were announcements made about changes to welfare.
There are 3.5 million people on Jobkeeper which is a $1,500 payment for workers who are employed but who are not getting any hours from their employer due to the economic shutdown.
After September, Jobkeeper which worked out to $1,500 a fortnight would go down to $1,200 and then on the 4th of January, 2021 $1,000 a fortnight. It would also switch to a two tier system.
Then there are 1.3 million on Jobseeker which was the old Newstart allowance for people looking for work. When COVID and a sharp rise in unemployment occurred there was $550 supplement added to the Jobseeker allowance. That would be reduced to $250 per fortnight in October and continue until March 2021.
The government was hoping that as time went on more and more would be at work as these payments decreased. The debt was increasing and there was certainly reform needed around Jobkeeper.
Yet for those who would struggle to survive with less money this gave them some certainty about what was coming and increased uncertainty about how they would get by.
A woman out and about garnered a little bit of media interest when she was found walking outside of her local area. But she had a very simple explanation.
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In Queensland on Wednesday, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk did not rule out further border restrictions even as she called on people to visit the state if they were not coming from one of the declared hotspots.
“I am absolutely determined to keep Queenslanders safe,” she said.
“If we have to declare further hotspots we will declare further hotspots and if there is an outbreak of community transmission in NSW like we have seen in Victoria we will not hesitate to take quick and swift action.”
Facing an election in October, businesses particularly tourism ones were hurting and she wanted to show her support including scrapping of fees for those who run whale watching tours. This would equate to about $6,000 for each operator.
In Victoria there was a growing need to be considered.
40 aged care homes in the state had at least one positive COVID-19 case and over 200 cases were linked to aged care facilities.
Anybody familiar with what had happened at Newmarch House in New South Wales knew this was of particular concern.
The lessons from Newmarch were clear to some.
Professor Marylouise McLaws, an infection control expert at the University of New South Wales and an adviser to the World Health Organisation noted in an article published by The Guardian that infection control was very difficult in aged care homes.
“Unless you have dedicated bathrooms – and not every aged care facility does – and unless you have highly trained staff in infection control, which you don’t have in aged care, then it is very difficult to ensure that any shared area is kept clean all the time,” she said.
This bore out with the fact that residents at Newmarch were isolated in their rooms and COVID free for weeks before becoming ill with it.
Newmarch sent 16% of infected patients to hospital and 19 residents died.
Also in New South Wales the Dorothy Henderson Lodge sent 80% of patients to hospital and six of their residents died.
Professor McLaws and Professor Joseph Ibrahim (Head of the Health, Law and Ageing Research Unit at the Department of Forensic Medicine at Monash University believed generally speaking patients should be moved to hospitals to avoid infecting residents. Aged care staff just are not trained in infection control the same ways. McLaws pointed out they don’t have pressured rooms, Hepa filters and designated areas to store PPE. Ibrahim also said their capacity for waste is not the same.
How much would their advice be heeded.
How many people were at risk if they were not listened to.
In Victoria there were 484 new cases, the largest in a single day since the pandemic began.
In Victoria 403 cases were reported overnight with five deaths taking the state’s death toll to 49.
There were 201 Victorians in hospital with COVID and 40 in Intensive Care Unit including four children. Victoria Health Minister Jenny Mikakos advised 20% of Victoria’s COVID patients were under 50.
A man in his 50s was also one of the ones who had passed away.
Premier Daniel Andrews as a result said, “One of the terrible tragedies today is a man in his 50s — this is not just something that affects people that are frail-aged. That would be reason enough to do what we’re doing, but it would be wrong to assume that young people are somehow immune to this.”
Premier Andrews advised there 3,630 active cases in Victoria.
Premier Andrews also advised that 9/10 people who were confirmed cases were continuing to move around the community after developing symptoms. Over half of people who got tested did not immediately self-isolate after waiting to get their results.
He also announced a $300 payment that could be claimed by casuals or those with insecure work who needed to self-isolate.
Minister Mikakos said the data showed a quarter of infections from the start of July are young people in their 20s and people over 60 only represented 6%.
Premier Andrews said “If you want this to be over, if you want to get to the other side of it and find that COVID normal — and be able to go and have a beer, or go and have a meal with a friend and be able to move around the community much more freely than you can now — you’ve got to follow the rules.”
On the 23rd of July the World Health Organisation reported globally there had been 15,019,293 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 248,393.
There had been 614,311 deaths with a daily increase of 7,035.
In Australia there had been 12,896 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 468. There had been 128 deaths with a daily increase of two.
In Canada there had been 111,697 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 573. There had been 8,862 with a daily increase of four.
In United Kingdom there had been 297,663 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 751. There had been 41,047 deaths with a daily increase of 17.
Having reached over one million cases on July 17, in India on the 23rd of July there had been 1,238,635 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 45,720. There had been 29,861 Indians die with a daily increase of 1,129.
In the United States of America there had been 3,868,453 confirmed cases with a daily increase of 62,929. There had been 141,479 deaths with a daily increase of 1,042.