Because cops threatening people on benches apparently isn’t scary enough, The Australian reports ($) that members of the Australian Defence Force have joined NSW police in undertaking random self-isolation checks across Sydney.
Riot squads have also been deployed to parks and beaches to enforce the two-person rule, while the soldiers, in a small blessing, are at least unarmed and have no “additional powers”.
THE COPS ARE, URGH, TECHNICALLY RIGHT: Turns out, according to The Conversation‘s experts, no one in Queensland, NSW or Victoria is actually allowed to sit on benches. But please, go for a goddamn walk!
QUEENSLAND’S RENT RELIEF
In a Facebook Q&A last night, Queensland Deputy Premier Jackie Trad announced emergency rent relief of up to $500 a week for four weeks for tenants hit by the economic crisis, while also promising to backdate the state’s incoming six-month eviction moratorium to March 29.
Details of the program are otherwise scant but, as The Courier-Mail reports, Trad justified a need for immediate support by noting new Centrelink applicants may not access payments until April 27. Residents can reportedly apply for the four weeks of relief through the Residential Tenancies Authority by calling 1800 497 161.
REAL ESTATE AGENTS STRIKE BACK: Melbourne Real Estate has created relief application forms — which requests information such as entertainment expenses, accrued leave and access to superannuation funds — while McInnes Property Management has pre-emptively threatened to evict anyone who leans on the moratorium once their six months are up, Domain reports.
Victorian will fast-track the return of thousands of retired medical professionals and call-on paramedics, anaesthetists and critical-care nurses to staff intensive care units, according to The Age, as part of a $1.3 billion plan to create 4,000 new beds — almost double Australia’s existing 2,400.
Over in NSW — which is also aiming to double ICU capacity under March’s $700 million plan — the government has launched a portal for companies willing to build parts or supply hand sanitiser, examination gloves, disinfectant and cleaning products, handwash and soap, masks, eyewear, gowns or paper products including toilet and tissue paper.
OTHER STATE ANNOUNCEMENTS
- A “military-style operation” is being planned to helicopter doctors onto eight cruise ships stuck in a standoff across the NSW coast to test more than 8,000 people, The Australian ($) reports.
- Victoria has launched a $50 million agriculture workforce plan as part of the $500 million working for Victoria initiative, designed to provide unemployed people with work in critical food industries.
- WA’s health department has launched a “heat map” of confirmed cases across the state, WAToday reports.
- UniSA has established a $10 million hardship fund for students stood down from work or unable to access government or family support, according to The Advertiser ($).
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
And in order to avoid those very high numbers, we have to do at least several things: one, we have to depend on what the president’s going to do right now. And first of all, he has to tell, wait ’til the cases before anything happens. Look the whole idea’s, he’s got to get in place things that we’re shortages of.
The presumptive Democratic nominee takes a swing at Donald Trump‘s monstrous failures over the pandemic and does. not. miss.
“Crucial disability support services have been slashed amid the coronavirus pandemic. Support workers are pleading for testing kits and personal protective equipment, and warning that slow-moving procedures are risking the lives of thousands.”
“By now, the early signs are well-documented: a dry, hacking cough, a temperature, body chills, fatigue.
“But when you suspect you have the coronavirus, even the process of getting tested is unpleasant. It involves someone in full protective gear sticking a swab very far up your nose.”
“Exercise is one reason you may leave the house, and for my first hour out, which I spent in neighbouring Seddon, I barely see anyone not either camouflaged in active wear, or brandishing their dog like papers at a checkpoint.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Coronavirus: Stubborn yet supple, Morrison pivots at crisis speed — Niki Savva (The Australian): “Yet faced with this potentially soul-destroying, nation-destroying threat, he has relented at critical points to do things he said he wouldn’t and that no centre-right government would ever contemplate. John Howard defied his natural constituency to toughen gun laws. Morrison has done it with $130bn to pay the workers.”
Beneath the virus lurks a bigger emergency, but the world is distracted from the climate threat — Bob Carr (The Sydney Morning Herald): “What did our battered old planet do to bring this run of wretchedly bad luck? Just before the 2008 Wall Street disaster, Washington was about to force emitters to pay for the privilege of dumping carbon waste in the upper atmosphere. Congress approved a cap and trade scheme so its economy could trade its way to a low carbon future. In a similar spirit the Rudd government was legislating its own carbon trading model.”
Reality has endorsed Bernie Sanders — Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (The New Yorker): “The case has never been clearer for a transition to Medicare for All, but its achievement clashes with the Democratic Party’s decades-long hostility to funding the social-welfare state. At the heart of this resistance is the pernicious glorification of ‘personal responsibility,’ through which success or failure in life is seen as an expression of personal fortitude or personal laxity.”