From Australia’s coronavirus modelling secrecy to Easter fines and penalties for learner drivers, there’s a lot of hubbub about what the coronavirus rules and predictions really are.
Crikey takes a look at some of the confusion.
Modelling’s in, out, back in again
Following some flip-flopping by the federal Health Department, modelling of the scientific projections of the spread of the coronavirus in Australia is set to be released this morning, following a meeting of state and federal leaders today.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison initially refused to make the modelling available. Last week, deputy chief medical officer Professor Paul Kelly made a vague pledge to release the modelling, only to backtrack two days later.
Kelly said last night modelling shows Australia may have already hit its coronavirus peak, but warned we should not become complacent.
Other models are not so optimistic: one presented to intensive care consultants shows the peak won’t occur until the end of October, meaning Australians will be in lockdown until summer.
Another model from the Centre for Complex Systems at Sydney University found if 90% of Australians maintain social distancing rules, coronavirus cases could peak in mid-April and reduce to almost zero new cases by July.
Ruby Princess blame-game
Senior government MPs are still playing the blame game into whose idea it was to let 2700 passengers potentially infected with COVID-19 off the Ruby Princess cruise ship.
Anonymous sources are saying NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and state Health Minister Brad Hazzard were being unfairly accused, pointing the finger at NSW Ports Minister Andrew Constance for not releasing call logs between the Port Authority of NSW and Carnival Australia.
A NSW Police investigation has been launched into the debacle.
Easter rules established
Australians have been told they are “not welcome” in regional NSW over the Easter weekend, with Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro warning police will be issuing $11,000 fines and jail time to those who break the rules.
In comparison, Victoria Police has said they will not issue fines to people travelling to their own holiday homes, provided they stay put on arrival.
The announcement came just a day after an L-plater was fined $1652 for going on a driving lesson with her mum in Melbourne. NSW has said driving lessons are permitted.
Year 12 graduations to go ahead
Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan has ruled out an extra year of school for year 12 students, with term two moved online and final exams postponed until at least December.
State and territory education ministers will today meet to devise a national framework. Universities will likely be asked to delay the start of the 2021 academic year.
Boris Johnston in intensive care
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved to the intensive care unit of a London hospital just a day after being admitted for coronavirus symptoms. The move is precautionary in case he needs ventilation.
The first secretary of state Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will be standing in as PM.
Wage subsidy and wage freezes
A breakthrough agreement was reached last night between Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter and Australian Council of Trade Unions national secretary Sally McManus on the draft JobKeeper bill.
The bill will give six million workers a wage subsidy worth $1500 a fortnight for six months, though around one million casuals who have not worked at the same place for a year will be ineligible.
Meanwhile, Queensland frontline service workers are threatening union action for not receiving promised pay rises. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk froze the rises last week.
Africa won’t be the world’s vaccine guinea pig
Two French doctors have been slammed by the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) after suggesting a coronavirus vaccine be tested in Africa.
Jean-Paul Mira, head of intensive care at Cochin hospital in Paris said a proactive test should be done in Africa where there are limited personal protective equipment, treatment and resuscitation options.
The comments were made during a TV debate, with WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus calling the comments “racist” and a hangover from the “colonial mentality”.
Universal basic income is set to become a reality in Spain, with the government hoping it will be a permanent fixture in the Spanish economy. The monthly income is expected to be set around 440 euros, or about A$780, a month.
Spain this morning had 136,675 confirmed coronavirus cases, the second-highest in the world after the US, with more than 13,300 deaths.