Medicare develops vaccine ID

Australian vaccination certificates can now be downloaded onto digital wallets, as authorities weigh up Covid-19 vaccine requirements for travel and public venues.

What we know:

  • An update to the Express Plus Medicare app means fully immunised Australians can now store digital vaccination certificates in their Apple and Google digital wallets (iTnews); 
  • A request for tender reveals additional plans for a My Health Record app to provide access to vaccine certificates, test results and vaccination bookings;
  • 72% of Guardian Essential survey respondents back vaccination requirements to travel interstate (The Guardian); 
  • A growing number of countries require proof of vaccination to travel (BBC); 
  • Qantas is working with the International Air Transport Association on a test and vaccine app (Explore); 
  • Some experts are calling for home quarantine options for vaccinated travellers to allow stranded Australians to return (The Guardian); 
  • National cabinet is considering whether to allow pubs, hairdressers and sports stadiums to require proof of vaccination for entry (news.com.au); 
  • Labor has called for a $300 payment for Australians who are fully vaccinated by December (ABC). 
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Queensland children test positive

South-east Queensland’s lockdown has been extended to Sunday, after the state recorded 13 new local cases.

The lockdown, which had been scheduled to end today, will extend to at least eight days (Nine). 

Queensland’s chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young is yet to determine how the Delta strain moved from two returned travellers on June 29 into the state's south-east.

10 of the new cases are children aged under 10.

Young maintained her opposition to young people getting an AstraZeneca jab, saying it was for people aged 60 and over (SBS). 

She did concede that under 60s can consult with their doctors about access to the vaccine.

Federal deputy chief medical officer Dr Michael Kidd said that as a designated Covid-19 hotspot, the benefits of AstraZeneca for south-east Queensland outweigh the miniscule risks for all age groups.

In NSW, where 207 new local cases were recorded on Monday, state authorities are unequivocally urging people of all ages to get AstraZeneca.

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Plot to impersonate police

A Perth man has been charged over a plot to overthrow the federal government that included production of hundreds of police badges and a fake video of AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw.

The man is accused of impersonating a Commonwealth public official during an unsuccessful attempt to obtain stamps and ID badges bearing the AFP logo (The Guardian). 

Authorities say a fake video connected with the plan purported to show Kershaw calling on people to overthrow the federal government.

Police raids were carried out over the weekend in Perth, Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns and South Australia on a group involved in the plot.

More arrests are expected.

The group has been connected to the manufacture of 470 fake Australian Federal Police badges found dumped in a creek in Cairns.

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Sunscreen recall over cancer link

A Neutrogena sunscreen product is being recalled in Australia after the discovery of a harmful chemical in some batches.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) warned against use of Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen Spray SPF 50+ with an expiry date of August 30, 2023, or earlier (ABC). 

It recommended consumers discard it and visit the Neutrogena website to request a refund.

Benzene, which can cause cancer, was detected in some batches.

Last month Neutrogena owner Johnson & Johnson recalled five sunscreen products in the US after internal testing identified low levels of benzene in some batches.

The recalled sunscreens included Beach Defense, Cool Dry Sport, Invisible Daily Defense and Ultra Sheer, as well as Aveeno’s Protect + Refresh.

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Trans weightlifter makes history

New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard made history on Monday by becoming the first openly transgender weightlifter to compete at the Olympics.

Hubbard’s three lifts on Monday night were declared invalid, ruling her out of medal contention in the women’s over-87kg division (AP). 

Hubbard made a heart gesture to the audience before leaving the arena.

“I’d particularly like to thank the IOC for, I think, really affirming their commitment to the principles of Olympism, and establishing that sport is something for all people,” she said.

China’s Li Wenwen won the gold medal with a 320kg winning total, 37kg ahead of the UK’s Emily Campbell in second.

Hubbard qualified after meeting rules introduced in 2015 that allow transgender athletes to compete if their testosterone is below a certain level.

Some former athletes criticised Hubbard’s inclusion, claiming she had an unfair physiological advantage (Reuters). 

Trans activists defended the move, saying that hormone therapy puts athletes who make the transition at a disadvantage and that huge physiological differences already exist between competitors.

Canadian women’s soccer player Quinn, a nonbinary athlete, became the first openly transgender Olympian when they took the field last week (AP). 

Chelsea Wolfe, a transgender cyclist, is a reserve on the US women’s BMX freestyle team.

The IOC will release a revised framework for the participation of transgender athletes in the coming months.

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We suggested it wasn’t an appropriate development for a residential area … nobody expects a gigantic ball of light to arrive on their doorstep.

If you believe your neighbours are bad, spare a thought for Ceren Sonmez of Stratford, England, where an enormous orb planned for next door is set to beam blinding advertisements into her home with the force of 36 million LEDs (The Guardian).

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Postscript: How would a piano sound on Mars? Embark on an interplanetary sonic journey

If the Universe is born and no one is present to hear it, does it still make a sound? Well, theoretically, yes. As this video from the US filmmaker John D Boswell (also known as Melodysheep) explores, where a “thick soup of atoms” is present, sound is possible (Aeon).

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Max Opray is Schwartz Media’s morning editor and a freelance writer.