Exclusive: A leaked government database shows hospital transmission is key to Victoria’s recent Covid-19 cases, as new concerns are raised about access to protective equipment.Hospitals have become a key risk area in this phase of the pandemic. Staff at some of these hospitals have not been told about the transmissions happening in their workplaces and are not being offered extra protection.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has pushed back against federal criticism of his health safeguards road map, warning a premature easing of restrictions risks a third wave of Covid-19 infections. Andrews spoke to ABC’s 7:30 after Prime Minister Scott Morrison critiqued the plan by claiming Sydney would be under lockdown now if NSW set the same infection number targets as Victoria. Andrews rejected the comparison. “Given the amount of community transmission, the amount of mystery cases that we have now and that we've seen in Victoria, we need to get these numbers down to very low levels so that we can be confident that when we open up in a safe and steady way, we can stay open,” he said. Victoria recorded 41 new cases and nine deaths on Monday, while NSW recorded four cases. The federal criticism comes as Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack falsely characterised the Black Lives Matter protest in June as the cause of Victoria’s second wave on ABC’s Q&A.
Leaked documents reveal Qantas developed a plan a decade ago to outsource all airport ground handling work by 2020, throwing into doubt its claim that a recent move to sack all 2400 remaining ground workers was related to the pandemic. The airline in August said that outsourcing Qantas and Jetstar baggage handling, aircraft cleaning and ground crew work to third-party contractors was “part of its COVID recovery plan”. But an internal company document from 2010 obtained by The Age shows that Qantas had a “2020 Vision” plan to make the move as a way to cut costs.
Former foreign minister Julie Bishop has criticised the Coalition's history of foreign aid cuts as “regrettable” in an op-ed article for the consultancy Palladium, of which she is a director. Bishop, who at times pushed back against the cuts in her former role, warned they “sent mixed messages about Australia's commitment as a partner” to South Pacific neighbours, and undermined influence in the region. The Abbott government cut foreign aid from about $5 billion in 2014 to about $4 billion. The overall aid budget has largely flatlined since then.
Leading Belarussian opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova has gone missing, shortly after witnesses claimed she had been bundled into a vehicle in central Minsk by masked men. Police have denied detaining her according to a Russian news agency. Kolesnikova was one of three women who joined forces to challenge incumbent Alexander Lukashenko in August's contested presidential election. More than 600 people were arrested on Sunday, on the fourth consecutive weekend of anti-government protests across the country.