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.
A Chinese military contractor engaged in spreading disinformation and promoting conflict has amassed profiles on tens of thousands of Australians ($), as part of a database targeting influential figures. The database of 2.4 million people, including 35,558 Australians, has been leaked from Shenzhen company Zhenhua Data, believed to be used by China’s Ministry of State Security, reports The Australian Financial Review. The information includes details of partners, relatives, photographs, political associations, and criminal records. It appears to be drawn from social media, news stories, confidential bank records, job applications and psychological profiles. Of the list, 656 Australians are singled out as being of “special interest” or “politically exposed”, including current Victorian Supreme Court judge Anthony Cavanough, retired rear admiral Raydon Gates, and former foreign minister Bob Carr.
Australia’s oil refineries will be subsidised by taxpayers to stay open, while $211 million will be committed to build an additional 780 megalitres of onshore diesel storage, under a federal plan to shore up fuel security. Companies will also face new obligations for storing a minimum number of days worth of fuel physically in Australia, with 24 consumption days of petrol and 28 days for diesel. The Morrison government hopes grants for new storage will be matched by state governments or industry. The plan is projected to cost $2.5 billion over 10 years, most of which is earmarked for refinery subsidies.
Coronavirus restrictions have slightly eased from today in Melbourne, with bubble buddies for people who live alone, and exercise or social interaction out of the home for up to two hours, split over a maximum of two sessions. The social interaction can be “with one other person or the members of your household”, as long both parties live within 5km of the meeting point. Outdoor playgrounds can be used again, along with outdoor fitness equipment. Public libraries and toy libraries are reopening for click and collect only. Melbourne’s curfew has been moved an hour back to 9pm. In regional Victoria, public gatherings of up to five people from up to two households are now allowed. Victoria recorded 41 new cases on Sunday, and seven deaths.
Advocates are warning that immigration detention practices during the pandemic have sparked a rise of self-harm incidents. SBS reports that self-harm incidents in several detention facilities have been higher in the first seven months of 2020 than the yearly average between 2016 and 2019. Between 2016 and 2019 there were an average of 71.5 self-harm incidents inside Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation each year, jumping to 99 self-harm incidents in the first seven months of 2020. Medical experts and asylum seeker advocates argue the trend is the result of a lack of mental health resources in detention facilities and a failure to respond to the heightened isolation of detainees because of Covid-19 restrictions. Lifeline: 13 11 14