Monday, August 10, 2020

Doctors and nurses face mask shortage

A survey of Australian doctors and nurses finds one in five have limited or no access to face masks, as active Covid-19 infections in Victorian health workers jumped to nearly 1000 at the weekend. The Royal Australasian College of Physicians president John Wilson told The Sydney Morning Herald 19 per cent of 677 doctors reported limited access to surgical masks, and 3 per cent had no access. One in five doctors in public hospitals reported having to source their own protective equipment. A separate New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Association survey of 1270 nurses found close to 10 per cent had been told not to wear PPE when they believed it was important for their safety. It comes as a nurse claims to the ABC that operators of Victoria’s botched hotel quarantine system may have relaxed restrictions after a suspected suicide in April. On Sunday, Victoria identified 394 new Covid-19 cases and a record 17 deaths, while in New South Wales a worker at a pharmacy in Sydney’s north was one of 10 people to test positive. Lifeline 13 11 14

A summit of world leaders has offered $420 million for Lebanon to recover from the Beirut blast, conditional on the country implementing changes demanded by protesters. Following Tuesday’s explosion which killed more than 150 people, France and the United Nations arranged for more than 30 international leaders and government officials to attend Sunday's virtual conference, including Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, US President Donald Trump, and Jordan’s King Abdullah II. The summit also called for an inquiry into the blast. The aid would be co-ordinated by the UN and delivered directly to the Lebanese people, circumventing the country’s embattled government. On Sunday protesters again took to the streets, with hundreds clashing with security forces near the parliament.

Wild storms have caused widespread damage and triggered flood evacuation alerts across New South Wales coastal regions. Evacuations were ordered at Sussex Inlet, Moruya, Terara, East Nowra, Worrigee and North Nowra after a weekend of heavy rain. Up to 200mm fell on towns including Moruya, Nowra and Captains Flat, but the rain is set to ease today. This morning the Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning in NSW, including Sydney. A trough along the coast together with multiple low centres are bringing increased winds and swells to the state’s coast.

South Australian crossbench senator Rex Patrick will today quit the Centre Alliance party to stand in the next election as an independent, reports The Adelaide Advertiser. Patrick took Centre Alliance founder Nick Xenophon's seat in federal parliament in 2017, to allow a return to South Australian state politics for Xenophon, a move that was not supported by voters. Centre Alliance’s vote has collapsed since Xenophon’s departure, suffering a 19 per cent swing against it in the Senate election in 2019.


“Crisp, as a delegate of the minister, would have the power to ‘direct any government agency to do or refrain from doing any act, or to exercise or perform or refrain from exercising or performing any function, power, duty or responsibility’ and suspend any law or ‘subordinate instrument’ that might ordinarily bind public servants. Essentially, all of the state’s laws are overridden by this decree. The law allows Crisp to make decisions without the premier. Something of this scale has never before happened in the country.”


“A doula, derived from the Greek for ‘female servant’, provides emotional and informational support, traditionally during pregnancy, to help develop a birth plan. Then in childbirth, they offer comforting breathing techniques, massage, and hot and cold packs to help with the pain, while acting as a strictly non-medical intermediary between the midwife and patient. In addition to the orthodox doula role, Planned Parenthood clinics in the United States have for the past few years offered abortion, or ‘full spectrum’, doulas. Bolger is one of nine Australian Doula College students trained in March for such a duty.”


“Scott Morrison keeps misreading the mood of a nation gripped by fear. Nowhere is this more obvious than his now-abandoned legal case against state border closures – or, to be more precise, against the lockouts in the Labor-governed states of Western Australia and Queensland. The Liberal-governed states of Tasmania and South Australia escaped his censure.”


“There has been a sharp increase in the number of Victorians presenting to hospital for self-harm in recent weeks, prompting the Victorian government to announce $60 million of mental health funding for people struggling to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. While there has been a 9.5 per cent rise in the number of overall hospital admissions for self-harm in the past six weeks, the biggest spike was among young Victorians – a 33 per cent increase compared to the same period last year.” Lifeline 13 11 14


“Even at the height of New Zealand’s lockdown, which in some ways was harsher than Melbourne’s stage four restrictions, people who lived alone were allowed to visit or stay at another residence under a so-called ‘shared bubble’ arrangement … Ms Scibilia recently wrote to Premier Daniel Andrews, Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley and her local Greens MP Tim Read pointing to the New Zealand measure and calling for the mental health of those who live alone in Australia to similarly be addressed.”


“Over the past year or so, some 27 human genes have been renamed, all because Microsoft Excel kept misreading their symbols as dates … So far, the reactions seem to be extremely positive — some would even say joyous.”

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