CASE NUMBERS RISE IN NSW
NSW is bracing for at least 100 new COVID-19 cases today, Gladys Berejiklian says, which would make it the worst day in the state’s latest outbreak. Numbers are surging: yesterday saw 77 new cases confirmed, while Saturday saw 55. The majority of new cases remain in Sydney’s southwest, which is seeing household-to-household transmission.
In response to the outbreak, a new public health ad which urges people to stay home, get tested and book a vaccination — and which was originally filmed at the end of last year — was released in Sydney over the weekend. The ad, in which a woman gasps for breath in a hospital bed, has been described as purposely “graphic” by Australia’s chief medical officer Paul Kelly, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Berejiklian has flagged her state’s lockdown will probably be extended beyond this Friday, which would make it the third time it has been extended — the ABC breaks down why. From tomorrow, masks in indoor common areas of residential buildings will become mandatory in Greater Sydney — such as lifts or lobbies. Residents outside of Greater Sydney can only enter the region for essential goods or services, or funerals. The ABC says there are four big questions NSW needs answered if the state is to recover from the Delta outbreak.
Sadly, a 90-year-old woman from southwest Sydney died on Saturday after catching the virus from a family member, Guardian Australia reports. It’s Australia’s first death from locally-caught COVID-19 this year.
IN ARM’S WAY
In good news, NSW passed a million vaccination doses late last week. The state government is calling on Sydney residents to bring their second AstraZeneca jab forward to six weeks after their first, Guardian Australia says. The recommended timeframe between two AstraZeneca doses is 12 weeks, while the minimum is 4 weeks, as ABC reports.
It comes after the ABC broke a story last night that former prime minister Kevin Rudd met with the Pfizer chairman just days before Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that earlier vaccination supplies were headed for our shores. Australia has contracted 40 million doses of Pfizer, and 4.5 million of those will arrive in August, Guardian Australia says. Health Minister Greg Hunt told The Australian ($) that K-Rudd had nothing to do with the expedited doses deal.
LAW AND BORDER
Victoria has closed its border with NSW and the ACT as of 11:59pm last night. Incredibly, Victoria hasn’t recorded a new case in 11 days. The border closure spells chaos for the footy — Sydney and GWS Giants were meant to face each other in Canberra next round, but the Herald Sun ($) says border closures will likely see the NSW-based teams settling in for an extended period in Victoria.
Northern Territory’s hotspot declarations for Queensland’s Brisbane and Moreton Bay council areas were revoked yesterday at 5pm, though a tiered-exposure site categorisation will remain in place. Territorians in NSW are being urged to return home, indicating a border closure is imminent, the ABC reports.
It wasn’t that long ago that the NSW Government said home learning for students was not on the table — but now students and parents should brace for it to continue beyond week one, SMH reports. It follows the rapidly developing situation in NSW.
It’s bad news for kids — after seven weeks at home, students were three to four months behind in reading and numeracy according to assessments provided to the NSW Government. Some 3000 students dropped out of school permanently, the NSW Teachers Federation said.
SLIP AND SLIDE
The Australian ($) says Prime Minister Scott Morrison has slid nine points in his approval rating (from 27 to 18%), reportedly led by female voters and resource-state voters. This is according to The Oz’s analysis of Newspoll surveys from April to June. Greens referencing pushes the ALP ahead to a 51-49% lead, but Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese’s net approval rating is -6%. Yep, in the negative.
Morrison’s reported approval drop comes amid heightened tensions with senior figures in the two resource states. Queensland’s chief health officer Jeanette Young accused Morrison of endangering lives with his AZ push, while Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her Western Australian counterpart Mark McGowan — who are, to be fair, both Labor leaders — have long criticised ScoMo.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE
A $3 million outdoor playground has opened in affluent Melbourne suburb Hampton. Along with the three-storey castle (naturally), there’s a human hamster wheel, a parkour course, a (pretend) DJ booth, a water feature, trampolines, a merry-go-round and animal sculptures.
It’s a far cry from the crippling, hospital-grade skid burns you suffered as you sizzled your way down a hot steel slippery dip at the local park as a kid… but to quote the Four Yorkshiremen, you tell Hampton kids that today… and they won’t believe you.
Wishing you a joyful Monday.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
It will be very difficult for Shaun Micallef to send this ad up.
The opposition leader wasn’t impressed with the government’s new vaccination campaign which urges people to “arm themselves”, quipping that even the country’s satirists would struggle to make it relevant. Incidentally, if you feel like a laugh this morning, revisit a couple of classic Micallef sketches.
“Can Scott Morrison open his mouth without causing further confusion about vaccines? And can he open his mouth without lying? Answers to such vexing questions are unclear after the prime minister finally emerged into daylight for a brief media conference at Kirribilli [on Thursday]. The first question he was asked was whether the NSW lockdown was on him.
“Trouble is, Morrison himself unveiled a vaccine rollout schedule on March 14 that assumed around 20 million Australians would have had a first jab by now. And that was his revised schedule; his previous schedule had the entire population being fully vaccinated by October. There was a vaccination rate that would have put us in a different position right now, and Morrison promised us that rate.”
‘Moral obligation’: John Howard intervenes to prick Payne and ScoMo’s conscience on Afghans who risked everything for us
“Most politicians agree Australia has a duty to protect Afghans who helped the ADF. But with the Australian embassy closed, and troops now gone, there are fears a distant Australian bureaucracy is being outrun by the Taliban advance. So far, around 240 Afghans have come to Australia since the withdrawal was announced in April. Hundreds still remain in Afghanistan, often living in hiding and separated from their families.
“Many of those are contractors who worked with Australian troops but might not have had a direct employment relationship sufficient to satisfy local decision-makers. According to Howard, however, such distinctions shouldn’t stop us granting visas.”
Bloodless coups, bloody assassinations and headless chooks: Haiti is a real-life novel of calamitous proportions
“Haiti’s first revolution was by the slaves in 1804, which led it to become the world’s first free Black republic. In 1915 the US Marines invaded the nation and occupied it for 20 years. They did so again in 1994 after the post-Duvalier leaders foundered. Since then, there have been plenty of coups and murders but this week’s shooting of President Jovenel Moïse was, incredibly, the first actual assassination of a leader.
“And once again the US is dragged into the turmoil with reports this morning that two of the assassins were Haitian-Americans. The only thing certain at the moment is that this obscure Caribbean island will continue to captivate the world’s attention with the next chapter in its tragic turbulent political history.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
‘She made me proud’: Goolagong Cawley hails Ash Barty’s Wimbledon win (Guardian Australia)
Vaccine rollout key to economic recovery says OECD chief Mathias Cormann (The Australian) ($)
How Legally Blonde became a feminist classic (The New Daily)
‘The stars aligned’: Ash Barty’s Wimbledon win is an historic moment for Indigenous people and women in sport — Adele Pavlidis, Marcus Woolombi Waters (The Conversation): “Australia has always seemed to struggle with celebrating Indigenous sporting success, particularly when it happens overseas. Achievements like Patty Mills’ magic 17 points to help secure the 2014 NBA championship for the San Antonio Spurs, Chad Reed’s legendary status in motocross and Jesse Williams’ 2014 Super Bowl ring have largely flown under the radar.
“But Barty breaks this mould. She has long cited her Indigenous heritage and relationship with Goolagong Cawley as an inspiration. Yes, it is Barty’s tennis success that has made her famous. But it is her grace negotiating Australia’s uneasiness with its past and present relationship with our Indigenous peoples that makes her a true champion.”
Don’t believe the boys who cry ‘interest rates to rise’ – Ross Gittins (The SMH): “The plain truth is, no one knows what the future holds — not even me. But all of us crave to know what’s coming, and keep searching for the person who may be able to tell us. The traders in the financial markets — who do infinitely more buying and selling of securities and currencies than is required to meet the needs of their business customers — earn a well-buttered crust by betting with each other on what’s coming down the pipe.
“The media make their living partly by catering to their customers’ unquenchable curiosity about the future. Any interesting opinion will do, though they know that bad news sells better than good. A rise in rates would be bad news for people with mortgages, but good news for people living on their savings in retirement. But the people who choose what news we’re told about can’t imagine they’ll be old themselves one day.”
The Big Game Is Today, England vs. Italy. I Know the England I am Rooting For – Musa Okwonga (The New York Times): “For the last few months, [Marcus Rashford] has been one of the footballers taking the knee before matches in support of Black Lives Matter, an action met with extreme scorn — if not outright fury — by members of their government, prominent commentators and far too many fans. Once more, though, the dignity of Mr Rashford and his teammates appear to have won the day. Even if some booed this political gesture at first, it’s now impossible for the vast majority of people in England not to cheer for them.
“Mr Rashford has played only a small part at Euro 2020. Yet in terms of his activism, he remains in excellent company. Raheem Sterling, perhaps the player of the tournament, has defied horrific racism from the nation’s papers to speak out about discrimination. Jordan Henderson, a midfielder, has been vocal in support of queer, nonbinary England fans. [Gareth Southgate], the coach, recently penned a beautiful essay to England’s supporters in which he praised his players for engaging with issues of which our hard-right media try to make us ashamed: equality, inclusivity, racial injustice.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
A national inquiry into health services in regional and remote NSW kicks off today.
Hear from The Wheeler Centre’s emerging writers at ‘The Next Big Thing’, taking place at basement restaurant The Moat.
Member for Caloundra Jason Hunt and others will discuss the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill that has been introduced to Queensland parliament at a public meeting on the Sunshine Coast.
The WA government is hosting a workshop to seek input from Indigenous Australians on the state’s Aboriginal Family Safety Strategy.