Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Nursing home residents evacuated

Hundreds of critically ill aged-care residents are being evacuated from Victorian nursing homes into hospitals, after elective surgeries were suspended to free up capacity to deal with the Covid-19 crisis. Victoria recorded 384 new cases on Tuesday, with another six deaths, including four in aged care. The suspension of elective surgeries means thousands in chronic pain will be left awaiting their procedures. John Fawkner Private Hospital in Coburg is the latest private facility to open its doors to nursing home residents, while a specialist medical team and nurses from the Australian Defence Force are being deployed into aged-care facilities. The Estia Aged Care Facility in Ardeer has reported 88 cases, St Basil's 86 cases, 82 at Epping Gardens Aged Care, and 76 cases at the Kirkbrae Presbyterian Homes. The Australian Medical Association is calling for every nursing home in Victoria to undergo an urgent risk assessment, reports The Age. Most cases are in private facilities that are the responsibility of the federal government, but the state health department provides advice to all residential aged care facilities in the state.

Cruising Yacht Club of Australia vice-commodore Noel Cornish has been identified as the link between two Covid-19 outbreaks at restaurants in Sydney, reports The Daily Telegraph. Cornish and his partner were infected after attending both the Apollo and Thai Rock restaurants in Potts Point in the same week. The yacht club in Rushcutters Bay was closed on Tuesday for deep cleaning. Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s senior advisor Nico Louw is among the Apollo restaurant diners ordered to self-isolate. As Louw tested negative, the prime minister will not have to self-isolate. New South Wales recorded 14 new cases on Tuesday, with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk issuing a new call for Queenslanders to avoid travel south of the border.

A presentation on the final report of the National COVID-19 Co-ordination Commission NCCC manufacturing taskforce recommends “cutting red and green tape” to ramp up gas extraction, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. The report, finalised in late May but yet to be published, recommends tax incentives for the construction of gas infrastructure and letting pipeline owners charge higher prices. The presentation suggests the recommendations will benefit developments such as the proposed Narrabri Gas Project, despite fears the project could damage groundwater in NSW communities.

A host of Australians have been nominated for the 2020 Emmy Awards. Hugh Jackman is up against Jeremy Irons and Mark Ruffalo for Best Actor in a limited series for Bad Education. Cate Blanchett received her first Emmy nomination as Best Lead Actress in a limited TV series or movie category for Mrs America. Toni Collette also features in the limited series or movie category, nominated for Best Supporting Actress in the Netflix-produced Unbelievable, while Sarah Snook was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role in HBO's Succession. Award winners will be named in September. 


“It’s what all Australian governments, indeed all Australians, assume will happen: that in times of crisis – bushfires, floods, droughts, pandemics et cetera – charities will be there to help. And not only in time of crisis. As the chairman of the CCA board, Reverend Tim Costello says, much of what we think of as the social safety net that the government provides is actually dependent on charities that are contracted by government ‘to be the arms and legs, to be the vehicle of that safety net’.”


“In the past three months the government has announced $200 billion of new spending. That’s enough to buy back most of the companies we privatised, to build four more nationwide broadband networks or 40 projects the size of Snowy 2.0. If Snowy 2.0 was a ‘nation-building scheme’, the stimulus packages announced to date must be what? Planet building? But despite this spending, the rules of Australian ­public debate insist we mustn’t think too broadly or deeply about what we’d like to do with all that money.”


“I’m at a class called Foundations of Creative Perfumery. Also here is a healer, a jewellery designer, a psychologist, a storyteller and a guy who’d googled ‘other fun things to do in Los Angeles’. There’s a lady who has chaperoned her teenage grandson. ‘He has an amazing nose,’ she says. ‘He can smell spoiled broccoli in the refrigerator from the other side of the house.’”


“Tech and telecommunications companies warn Australia’s encryption-busting laws would give the sector ‘self-inflicted wounds’ ... the telco industry lobby have told parliament’s security and intelligence committee that overseas customers are wary of doing business in Australia because of the invasive powers. The current laws force companies to create ways to decrypt user data on their systems for access by Australian police and security agencies. But tech giants have warned such a back door would make their systems too vulnerable to hackers.”


“For at least two years sexual assault complaints were being sent to an unmonitored Western Australia Police Force email address, with questions remaining over how many victim reports may have been lost, or never received by police at all. Archived web pages found by WAtoday reveal that any victims who attempted to report a sexual crime between February 2016 and March 2018 via an email listed on the WA Police website were sending highly sensitive reports to an incorrect address not monitored by police.”


“The emus are known to target tourists, stealing food, drinks, car keys and generally making a mess. ‘Their toileting [inside] is not particularly pleasant,’ Mr Gimblett said. ‘That's the biggest problem — because they do toilet quite frequently.’ Rope barriers have been erected at the entrances, along with signs asking tourists to help keep the emus out. ‘They still hang around each gate, hoping that they'll be able to slip in when someone opens it up,’ he said. ‘But so far we are winning the war.’”

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