A man has returned a “moderately positive” COVID-19 test after finishing 14 days in a Perth quarantine hotel, the ABC reports, which officials believe is likely due to his body shedding viral particles. Three potential exposure sites have been identified in the city for Friday, June 4: Optus Murray Street, 4.30-5.15pm; Chemist Discount Centre Perth, 5-5.30pm; and Rubix Bar and Cafe, 6-8pm.
Victorian officials also recorded several new sites over the weekend in Brunswick, Campbellfield, Craigieburn, Docklands, Greenvale, Melbourne, Mickleham, Moonee Ponds, Point Cook, Preston South, Somerton and Thornbury. This includes two new tier one venues in Melbourne stretching across multiple days: Probuild Construction Site, 100 Queen Street from May 30-June 4; and Levels four and five all areas, 227 Collins St from May 31-June 3.
Melbourne recorded four new cases yesterday, including another two more from aged care facility Arcare Maidstone (who, thankfully, are currently asymptomatic), while officials are continuing to search for the source of the Delta variant first recorded in a family that returned from Jervis Bay.
The state government yesterday announced a $32.2 million tourism package, as Melbourne residents will be barred from leaving the city during the upcoming long weekend even if the hard lockdown ends on Friday, while the Morrison government yesterday pledged another 330,000 vaccines for Victoria following last week’s blitz.
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PS: According to advice cited by Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock, the Delta variant is estimated to be 40% more transmissible than the Alpha variant but is no more effective against vaccinations.
HIGH FLYING CARTEL
Chief executive of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Michael Phelan has told Nine newspapers and 60 Minutes that bikies and other organised crime groups have infiltrated government agencies, as well as Qantas, as part of an international drug cartel the commission estimates is worth $1.5 billion a year.
A Qantas security spokesperson says the company has not been advised of any investigations and would support appropriate actions, while the news comes as Labor opposes transport security laws proposed by the Coalition and backed by police that would allow criminal intelligence to be used to prohibit workers from gaining aviation and maritime government security clearances.
Shadow ministers for Home Affairs and transport Kristina Keneally and Catherine King have since called for a review of border security, while claiming legislation has been held up by the Morrison government’s refusal to address maritime security provisions for foreign crews.
PS: Phelan also argued encrypted platforms are tied to “elements of the Aussie cartels”. ACIC, you might remember, was the agency that argued that encrypted devices are “almost exclusively” used by serious and organised crime groups in its submission to the Coalition’s latest surveillance bill.
DUTY OF MEDICARE
Finally, The Daily Telgraph ($) yesterday reported that changes from July to more than 900 procedures covered by Medicare could cost patients up to $10,000, with, for example, some tendon procedures for elbow surgeries wiped entirely.
Years after Labor’s 2016 “Mediscare” election campaign, one in four existing items for shoulder surgeries will also be wiped, while fee cuts for hip arthroplasty could deliver a $1200 gap.
The Australian Medical Association has warned the changes will create larger gaps from the first of July, and, citing a lack of notice and details provided to doctors and health funds, “chaos” for some patients.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
[to Sky News host Rita Panahi]: You have completely misrepresented my comments. I strongly and unambiguously support the Victorian government’s response. My comments on the epidemiology — which you did report on — do not imply the policy response is anything other than exemplary.
If you can believe it, an Australian epidemiologist has taken issue with how his comments were conveyed in a News Corp commentator’s discussion of a COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria.
We’ve been talking about QAnon and the PM for 18 months. Now the ABC has self-censored, Australia is finally catching on
“For close to 18 months the prime minister has done his level best to keep his relationship with a QAnon family friend out of the public domain. Now, courtesy of an ABC decision to halt a Four Corners investigation from airing on Monday night, the news is everywhere. It was even on Seven’s Sunrise this morning.
“Crikey has been reporting in detail on the relationship between Scott Morrison’s wife, Jenny, and her best friend Lynelle Stewart, whose husband, Tim, became at one point Australia’s most prominent QAnon adherent, as measured by Twitter followers.”
“The ABC board needs to take action on news director Gaven Morris and its own failures to properly handle communications with the government.
“It’s clear that Morris is acting as a conduit for complaints and attempts to influence the ABC from the prime minister’s office. The PMO’s Nick Creevey complained to Morris about Dylan Welch’s reporting of the COVIDSafe app last year. In 2018, Morris fielded complaints from Malcolm Turnbull’s office about articles on tax avoidance by Emma Alberici.”
“A nation without history, the poet A.D. Hope called us, but he didn’t intend it as a programmatic statement. Coalition governments have fixed that.
“Despite the investigations, the exposes and the Tune report, there remains a mystery around the genuinely shocking neglect by and of the Australian National Archives (NA). As news reports have made clear, the archives appears to have allowed itself to approach a ‘digital cliff’ in which large amounts of material in the form of old tapes, film and the like are hitting the point at which they dissolve into their elements.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Global approach to vaccination will deliver long-term dividends — Editorial (The Sydney Morning Herald): “The United States will soon ship 25 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to a range of countries in desperate need. President Joe Biden has committed to exporting a total of 80 million doses by the end of the month with more to come, after growing pressure on nations such as the US that have ample supply and have already vaccinated a large proportion of their populations. While this is a welcome change, when you put it into the context of the global need for more vaccine doses, America’s newfound generosity is a drop in the ocean. About 11 billion doses are needed to vaccinate 70% of the world’s population, which most experts consider an absolute minimum requirement to reach herd immunity.
Politicians asleep at wheel on vaccination, quarantine and aged care ($) — Chris Mitchell (The Australian): “As Ross Gittins implied in the Nine newspapers on Wednesday, the pandemic may be showing the limits of public sector reforms in the 1980s and 1990s. Federal and state governments need to re-empower their public services and decide whether outsourcing functions such as the delivery of vaccination programs and quarantine is working. Had aged-care vaccination been left to state health bureaucracies rather than contracted to the private sector would the industry’s workers have been left out? Much of the media coverage of the latest Victorian COVID-19 lockdown is as politicised as it was during last year’s 112-day winter lockdown. While the ABC could barely bring itself to question anything the Andrews government did then — despite more than 800 deaths — the national broadcaster has been running a pile-on against the federal government since the latest lockdown.”
Narendra Modi turned COVID-19 into a catastrophe for India — Somdeep Sen (Jacobin): “It appeared that India had avoided the worst-case scenario. In March this year, the Union Health Minister declared that the country was in the endgame of the epidemic. He boasted that India was well prepared for a nationwide vaccination drive and had also supplied vaccines to seventeen low- and middle-income countries. A month later, the country was facing a shortage of vaccines, medical oxygen, and hospital beds. The Lancet criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi for ignoring the warning signs of a second wave and for his catastrophic mismanagement of a national public-health crisis.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
ABC managing director David Anderson will return to Senate estimates to discuss the broadcaster’s recent agreement with Christian Porter.
Day one of Ben Roberts-Smith’s defamation case against Nine Entertainment Co.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet will launch the NSW 2021 Intergenerational Report at a CEDA event.