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The government announces another job package. The active wear promising to protect against viruses and bacteria. Queensland is now home to all Victorian AFL teams. And chaos still reigns in the US.

(Gym) pants on fire

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has accused active wear brand Lorna Jane of exploiting consumers’ fears about COVID-19 with a new line of clothing it says protects wearers against viruses and bacteria.

The company advertises that a non-chemical, water-based mist sprayed on the clothing creates a permanent shield to ensure bacteria, mould and “infectious diseases like COVID-19”. 

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The Therapeutic Goods Association is looking into the matter, and RACGP president Dr Harry Nespolon said: “Active wear is great for the gym but it can’t protect you against viruses or bacteria. I suspect Lorna Jane is cynically trying to exploit fears concerning the COVID-19 pandemic to sell clothes.”

A hand sanitizer brand has also been pulled from the shelves after consumer advocacy group CHOICE conducted a lab test, finding AIR clean instant hand sanitizer sold by Mosaic Brands only had 23% alcohol — well below the 60 to 80% necessary to be effective and the 70% it advertised.

Everybody gets a job (except those at universities) 

The federal government will today unveil “JobTrainer,” a skills investment program aimed at getting school leavers into the workforce and reskilling the unemployed.  

The $2 billion program aims to create around 340,700 free or low-cost training places for high-demand areas such as healthcare, manufacturing and trade.

It’s another blow to the country’s already struggling universities. The University of NSW announced yesterday it would cut 493 full-time jobs and combine three faculties to deal with a $370 million shortfall.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will also cut 60 positions — though aims to do so through attrition. 

Footy dump 

The AFL is planning to cram an entire season’s worth of games into 19 consecutive days of football, playing 100 in eight to 10 weeks, with the grand final slated for October 17. 

All Victorian AFL teams will be relocated to Queensland to allow the home and away portion of the season to go ahead. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been praised as the “most valuable contributor” to the sport by Gold Coast Suns president Tony Cochrane for saving the season. 

The NRL spent Wednesday cross-checking addresses of players who live in south-west Sydney after Queensland announced those postcodes would be considered hotspots under its border rules. Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’Landys has written to Palaszczuk to ask for an exemption for those players to enter Queensland.

How’s our south-east coast doing? 

Things in Victoria are still looking grim, with 317 new infections recorded in the past 24 hours, and two more deaths. Experts warn face masks might become part of every day life until a vaccine is found, and Victorian police have been told to wear face coverings while working in their stations. 

Five healthcare workers have tested positive for coronavirus at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital. So far, there have been no recorded cases in the hospital. There have also been six Royal Women’s Hospital staff who’ve contracted the virus, and 12 at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. 

Tougher restrictions still may be possible in Victoria, with some questioning what the yet undefined stage four restrictions could entail. 

In NSW, some cases linked to Sydney’s Crossroads Hotel cluster — which now includes 37 cases — are becoming infectious within a day of catching the virus, putting pressure on contact tracers. NSW confirmed 10 new cases overnight.

The Northern Territory will keep its borders closed to Victoria and Sydney indefinitely while reopening to other states from tomorrow. 

We’re not alone in our second wave: Tokyo recorded record highs of cases this week, raising its alert level to the highest possible, while Barcelona has flagged possible lockdowns. Parts of Catalonia and Magaluf have also implemented restrictions. 

It’s still chaos in the US

A politician in Oklahoma who pushed for his state to reopen has become the first governor to test positive for COVID-19. Republican Kevin Stitt has limited symptoms and is still not considering a statewide mask mandate.

Meanwhile the court’s oldest (and most iconic) member Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been released from a hospital in Baltimore after being treated for a possible infection. If the 87-year-old judge vacates her seat before the upcoming US election, Democrats fear she’ll be replaced with a conservative justice, reshaping the court. 

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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