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COVID-19: News and Updates
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Young Australians are struggling in record numbers to cope with the anxiety of watching their world turned upside down.
Experts compare the disruption and stress of the coronavirus pandemic to living through a war, or the Great Depression, but this is a crisis on a scale most of their parents, and even their grandparents, never had to face.
It has hit young people the hardest because it comes at such a critical moment; a time when they’re laying the foundations and making decisions that will affect the rest of their lives.
Forget Gen Z, they may forever be known as Generation COVID.
As the pandemic began unfolding, the ABC launched this project, asking young people from around Australia to share their innermost thoughts, fears — and hopes.
Source: ABC News
Events will be an important part of bringing our industry and our community back to life. As restrictions are eased, event organisers can plan for a return to business with gradually increasing confidence. An important part of preparing for a COVID-safe event future is an understanding of evolving social distancing and hygiene requirements and reassuring event attendees of our professional practices.
This Industry Framework for Events has been released today, approved by the Chief Health Officer. It reflects the public health restrictions applicable in Queensland as set out under Queensland’s Roadmap to easing COVID-19 restrictions and the Chief Health Officer Public Health Directions. It has been endorsed by Queensland Health. This Industry Framework for Events is subject to change, in accordance with public health requirements.
The Framework for Events was developed by the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) in conjunction with Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) and the Department of State Development, Tourism and Innovation (DSDTI), and in collaboration with industry stakeholders and Queensland Health. Professional expertise was provided by Griffith University.
Roadmap to easing restrictions
Queensland’s Roadmap to Easing COVID-19 restrictions outlines a staged approach to giving Queenslanders more freedom to travel, participate in more activities and hold more gatherings.
On Tuesday 30 June 2020, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced Stage 3 Easing of Restrictions, including border changes.
After several weeks of edits, rewrites and feedback the new ‘COVID Safe Plan for Outdoor Recreation Activity Providers’ has been APPROVED and is available for download from our COVID Safe Plans page and the Queensland Government website: Approved Industry COVID Safe Plans.
Please note the COVID Safe Plan for Outdoor Education Providers has yet to be approved and is only available from the COVID Safe Plans page in DRAFT form.
Organisations will need to modify their operational plans to show how within your operating environment you will achieve compliance with the protocols in the industry plan. We will assist with implementation of the plan, but each organisation is the expert regarding their own operating environment.
One Planet is a Melbourne based manufacturer of outdoor equipment specialising in world-class gear rucksacks, sleeping bags and tents for the travel and outdoor adventure markets. Their philosophy is simple: make it good, make it work, make it last.
As the outdoor sector faces the challenge of rebuilding after the pandemic, One Planet has released a set of COVID-19 cleaning and disinfecting guidelines.
These guidelines will be updated as research and testing continues. For supporting research and documentation, refer to the Fleet servicing and cleaning page
Coronavirus rules to be relaxed to bring big crowds back to stadiums, concerts, pubs, restaurants and other venues around Australia
Thousands of fans would be able to attend sporting events again and limits on the numbers of people in indoor venues would be scrapped under relaxations of coronavirus rules flagged on Friday.
- The PM says socially-distanced crowds of 10,000 could soon go to concerts and sporting matches
- The 100-person rule on indoor gatherings will be removed
- All states and territories are on track to complete to move to the new rules next month
Speaking after a National Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said states were working toward rules which would let stadiums capable of seating up to 40,000 people host crowds of up to 10,000
He said states and territories were on track to implement the changes in July.
The changes would apply to events like sporting matches, concerts and festivals, though venues would only be able to seat 25 per cent of their capacity.
“It would have to be a large, open area. There would need to be seats at the appropriate distance. It would need to be ticketed, so people would be able to understand who was in attendance at that event,” Mr Morrison said.
Mr Morrison said venues with capacities of more than 40,000 people could be allowed to fill a quarter of their seats, but said the details of that were still being worked out in conjunction with chief health officers around the country.
Source: ABC News
Two great reports from Analyse Australia (McCrindle)
From how we shop to how we work, engage in community, learn, educate, contribute and lead, COVID-19 and our response is marking a significant societal shift, the impacts of which will be felt even after the virus is kept under control.
COVID-19 turned the world upside down seemingly overnight. 2020 was a year that held so much promise yet plans and aspirations for the year feel like they have been put on hold or blindsided. These moments in history can bring out the best or worst in society. Positively, amidst these unprecedented times, we have seen the resilience, generosity and strength of the Australian spirit and community come to the fore.
This is who’s changing what and when
It’s the first days of a new month — and for some Aussie states, a new normal with big changes to coronavirus restrictions.
Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia all enter their next phase of easing restrictions today, with each state implementing their own rules.
Other states and territories don’t have any changes at all flagged for June 1 though — they’ll have to wait a little longer for their next stage of coronavirus recovery.
So who has rule changes coming into effect today, and what are they?
From today, Queenslanders will be able to travel anywhere within the state, with the exception of Indigenous communities.
Stage 2 of the roadmap was originally down for June 12, but the easing of restrictions was brought forward by the State Government.
That takes their gathering limit up to 20 at:
- Public spaces including lagoons, playgrounds, skate parks, outdoor gyms
- Restaurants, cafes and pubs operating under a COVID-safe checklist
- Non-contact indoor and outdoor community sport
- Gyms, health clubs, yoga studios and personal training
- Pools (indoor and outdoor) and community sports clubs
- Museums, art galleries and historic sites
- Parks, playground equipment, skate parks and outdoor gyms
- Hiking, camping and other recreational activities in national and state parks
- Places of worship and religious and civil ceremonies
- Indoor cinemas
- Tourism accommodation
- Amusement parks, zoos, arcades and other tourism experiences
- Concerts, theatres, auditoriums and stadiums
- Beauty therapy, nail salons, tanning, tattoo parlours and spas (with a COVID-Safe checklist)
Funerals will permit 50 people maximum, with 20 people now allowed at weddings.
READ MORE to find out about other states
Many local outdoor recreation and sporting clubs have been required to suspend, shorten or cancel their 2020 sporting seasons, and may be struggling to manage membership cancellation requests and to manage the financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. That said, many consumers are also experiencing financial hardship at this time and so it is important to recognise and balance the concerns of both local clubs and consumers.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), mindful that local and community sporting clubs or associations have been directly impacted by government restrictions imposed due to COVID-19, has outlined its expectation that appropriate remedies will be provided to consumers where sporting seasons have been suspended, shortened or cancelled, as required by law.
Executive Summary (excerpts)
This report was developed to examine the current impacts of COVID-19 on members of the Queensland Outdoor Recreation Federation (QORF).
The following research addresses concerns about the scope, scale and nature of impacts of COVID-19 on those working in and for the outdoor sector. Based on answers to structured interview questions with 88 (54%) of QORF’s members, the findings reveal:
- 80% of QORF members have lost business resulting in staff needing to be stood down, work reduced hours, work from home, or rely on JobKeeper;
- 18% have no work for their casual/ non-essential staff and have had to stand them all down;
- 68% have already experienced major impacts on their revenue, with State Recreation Organisations (SRO’s), Activity & Tour Providers, and Campsite/ Conference Centres indicating the greatest impacts;
- nearly 70% of respondents have a strong level of certainty their organisation would be operating in 6 months-time; and
- only 60% rated a strong level of confidence they would still be operating in 12-months-time.
Through their responses to a series of structured interview questions, the outdoor sector clearly expressed the vital and important role they play in people’s health, wellbeing, education, resilience and lifestyle. The sector also, however, believes this value is often unseen or insufficiently acknowledged. When asked what they would like government to understand – 70% of respondents indicated a desire for government to recognise and value the outdoor sector’s community, economic and health importance.
Way To Be
Helping community sport, recreation and fitness organisations with a range of funding and grants.
Following on from the delivery of the Return to Play guide just over a week ago, the Queensland Government has taken another leap forward in support of the sector, in line with easing of restrictions.
The Queensland Government has been working hard with Return to Play Advisory Group members and the sport and recreation industry to assist organisations to restart operations, while also keeping Queenslanders healthy and safe.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having significant impacts on the ongoing viability of Queensland small businesses, including income, activity and supply chains. In response, the Queensland Government has announced a Worker Assistance Package that aims to assist employees and businesses who have lost their jobs or income as a result of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE
The program is now OPEN. Lodge an Application
Queensland small businesses can now apply for a up to $10,000 grant under a new $100 million package to help them counter the impact of COVID-19.
Comment from the Active Queenslanders Industry Alliance (AQIA)
The grants could benefit small businesses in the Fitness, Sport and Recreation sector and can be used towards the following:
- financial, legal or other professional advice to support business sustainability and diversification
- strategic planning, financial counselling or business coaching aligned to business development and diversification
- building the business through marketing and communications activities, for example, content development (web pages, mobile apps, visual and audio media etc.)
- digital/technological strategy development
- digital training or re-training to adapt to new business models
- capital costs associated with meeting COVID-19 safe requirements
- specialised digital equipment or business specific software to move business operations online (e.g. logistics program for online ordering)
- meeting business costs, including utilities, rent.
Click for more information https://www.business.qld.gov.au/starting-business/advice-support/grants/adaption
As part of the Queensland Government’s ongoing response to COVID-19, national parks, state forests and recreation areas will progressively reopen to visitors, in line with the Queensland Government’s Roadmap to easing restrictions.
From 11.59pm 15 May, all national parks and forest day use areas and walking tracks reopened, except for some popular rock pool destinations.
Recreation Areas including K’gari (Fraser Island), Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) and Mulgumpin (Moreton Island) are now open for day use visitors (camping and overnight stays are not yet allowed under Stage 1 restrictions). Bribie Island and Cooloola recreation areas remain closed for the time being for community safety, but we are working on providing safe access soon. READ MORE
This evening, the Queensland Government released a Queensland Return to Play webpage (www.covid19.qld.gov.au/returntoplay), with a series of sub-pages, and valuable resources, including “Return to Play – Guide for Queensland sport, recreation and fitness industries”.
Check out the Return to Play Readiness checklist to check whether your organisation’s activities can restart.
Some key points from the Guide:
Purpose of this Guide – This information is a regularly updated guide for returning to play for fitness, sport and active recreation peak bodies, individuals, organisations and clubs impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions across Queensland. It sets out key considerations that should be taken into account when restrictions start to lift, including a Return to Play Readiness Checklist to assist in this process.
The Guide reiterates the National principles for the resumption of sport and recreation activities, taken from the AIS Framework for Rebooting Sport in a COVID-19 Environment”, and references the OCA Framework for Rebooting Outdoor Activities in a CIVID-19 Environment” and Fitness Australia’s “Re-opening Considerations of Fitness Facilities in Australia”
The Guide specifically states that “Before re-opening, organisations and businesses delivering sport, recreation and fitness activities must consider how to meet physical distancing and hygiene obligations at the relevant stages.”
QORF recommends that all Queensland outdoor organisations, commercial and non-profit, should become familiar with the resources, and follow the guidance contained within. A key task is completing an updated Safety Management Plan for your operations, documenting and displaying relevant parts of that plan. Information on WHS planning for the outdoor sector is available on the QORF website here.
Outdoor operators are well aware that the best safety management system is useless if it isn’t clearly communicated to and followed by all workers – paid and unpaid. All workers involved in your operations need to be trained on changes to the safety management system and in any additional identified risks and control measures. If you are introducing additional controls, training is required. For example, for any extra personal protective equipment that is required for your activity, workers need to know where it will be kept and how to use it. Consider how you will document all training.
The Queensland Government web resources provide more information in a readily accessible manner. QORF salutes the large amount of work that has been done with the outdoor sector by the Queensland Government, particularly Sport and Recreation within the Department of Housing and Public Works, in a very tight timeframe, since the announcement on Friday 8th May 2020 of the “Roadmap to easing Queensland’s restrictions”.
QORF will continue to work with the Queensland Government to clarify the return to play for outdoor operators across the State. If you have questions or comments, please contact us.
Discretion is the better part of valour
QORF urges all outdoor organisations to take time to consider when your organisation will genuinely be in a position to “Return to Play”. This is not a decision that should be rushed into – just because some restrictions lift as of Saturday 16th May, that does not mean that all eligible organisations will be ready to do so. If you are not ready, and have further queries that we could help with, please contact us.
All Queensland employers have obligations under Work Health & Safety legislation and must take action to protect workers and others at the workplace from the risk of exposure to COVID-19 so far as is reasonably practicable. All employers should put in place their own plan to respond to COVID-19 and to any directives issued by Queensland Health. They should consult with their workers on this plan and display it. This is an internal plan that does not need to be submitted to Queensland Health.
As a service to the outdoor industry, the Outdoor Council of Australia has prepared a template (“COVID-19 Management Plan Template for Group Based Outdoor Activities“) that presents a series of headings and questions that outdoor operators should consider when developing their internal plan.
The COVID-19 Management Plan Template for Group Based Outdoor Activities draws on the work that was invested by the OCA in the OCA Framework for Rebooting Outdoor Activities, which was released on 8th May 2020.
The COVID-19 Management Plan Template for Group Based Outdoor Activities has been produced to assist organisations in planning for resumption of group activities in a safe and considered way. This template is intended to be used as a general guide, and assist organisations to cover the appropriate issues. Your organisation may have additional issues that need to be included in your Safety/Risk Management Plan.
Please note that this is not a template for a COVID SAFE Plan, which has a technical meaning under the Queensland Roadmap to easing Queensland’s restrictions.
Updates for the Queensland Recreation Sector
Outdoor recreation plays an integral role in keeping Queenslanders fit and active.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our ability to enjoy the outdoors and over the next few months, there will be opportunities to re-introduce physical activity in our communities.
Change is coming for Queenslanders
Following on from the National Cabinet meeting on 8 May, the Queensland Government will provide a staged approach to phase in sport and recreation over the coming months. We will work hard to help community sporting and outdoor activity clubs and organisations restart, while also keeping Queenslanders healthy and safe.
The Queensland Government has established the Return to Play Advisory Sub-Committee to provide advice on the best ways to reintroduce sport and continue with active recreation for the whole community.
To get back into organised physical activity, we need to build on the progress we have already made – listen to the health advice, maintain a safe distance from others and keep up good hygiene.
Before re-opening, physical activity organisations and businesses must demonstrate their ability to meet physical distancing and hygiene obligations at the relevant stages. Peak bodies will provide guidance around incorporating COVID Planning into WHS Planning, and will lead the development of COVID-SAFE plans for industry (where COVID-SAFE Plans are required).
For more information, reach out to SR_Covid19@npsr.qld.gov.au or call 3330 6166
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly has confirmed the Federal Government’s coronavirus tracing app is now working after all states and territories signed up to allow its use.
Professor Kelly said 5.6 million Australians had now downloaded the COVIDSafe app.
“I can announce the app is fully functional,” he said during an update in Canberra on Wednesday afternoon.
“It is ready to go, all the states and territories have now signed up to use it.
- Health authorities nation-wide now have access to the app’s data
- States and Territories have worked out privacy and security rules
- Professor Kelly says all jurisdictions have been trained to use the app
The ‘Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes during COVID-19’ has been released by 13 aged care peak bodies and consumer advocacy organisations.
The Code creates a nationally consistent approach that ensures residents can receive visitors while minimising the risk of spreading COVID-19.
A suggestion of COTA Australia, the Code was finalised after public consultation with both consumers and aged care providers. It cements a human rights approach to care that both protects and respects aged care residents and their visitors. The Code acknowledges the work that providers and staff are doing to keep people safe during the pandemic.
The Code includes the respective rights and responsibilities of providers, residents and visitors. It outlines that homes should allow residents to meet their visitors in a way that minimises the risk of COVID-19’s introduction to, or spread within, a residential care home.
Source: COTA Australia
QORF and Nature Play QLD welcome the release by the Queensland government of the “Roadmap to easing Queensland’s restrictions – A step down approach to COVID-19”… excerpts
“We are seeking additional details regarding what should be included in any COVID SAFE Plans that might be required by outdoor organisations”.
“QORF is seeking more detail from government regarding what is required for outdoor organisations to resume organised group activities with up to 10 people in Stage 1, in accordance with the Roadmap. We are conscious of the short timeframe involved for organisations to be ready to operate from day 1 on Saturday 16th May 2020 – we will do all that we can to assist with this process.”
National Cabinet is unlikely to make quick changes to restrictions when it meets tomorrow (today Friday May 5) to chart a roadmap out of the coronavirus crisis, the ABC understands.
When changes are made, they will come in four-week increments to gauge their impact on the number of infections in Australia.
The premiers, chief ministers and the Prime Minister are determined not to inadvertently allow a second wave of major infections by lifting restrictions haphazardly.
But, on the firm advice of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), National Cabinet is expected to agree to a clear framework to allow Australians to understand how the next few months will look.
For every relaxation of social distancing rules or easing of shutdown measures, there will be a so-called “epidemiological timeframe” to analyse whether the change causes an uptick in infections.
That will allow health authorities the chance for a medical stocktake of the curve, which will take between three and five weeks per set of restrictions lifted.
- National Cabinet will likely agree to ease restrictions in four-week increments, rather than all at once
- This will allow monitoring of the impact each change has on infection risk
- The Federal Government sees getting schools back to normal as the “keystone” of reopening the economy
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has hosed down the likelihood of a sudden opening of the Australian border to New Zealanders, insisting the initial focus is on reopening state borders.
- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern joined National Cabinet to discuss a trans-Tasman travel zone
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Ms Ardern have committed to a travel zone when it’s safe to do so
- They expect a coronavirus-safe travel bubble will help boost each country’s economies
National Cabinet has met with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to consider a trans-Tasman travel bubble as part of broader efforts to reopen the Australian economy.
Mr Morrison said a “safe travel zone” with New Zealand had been discussed in recent weeks but it was “some time away”.
He said he expected New Zealand would be the first country Australia would open its borders to.
“At some point, both Australia and New Zealand will start connecting with the rest of the world again,” Mr Morrison said.
“The most obvious place for that to start is between Australia and New Zealand but that’s not something that’s about to start next week
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has declared Australia must now work to flatten the curve of rising unemployment, pushing the need for workplaces and the broader economy to become “COVID-safe” so they can re-open.
- National Cabinet has agreed to a set of COVID-19 work safety principles
- Mr Morrison says each week of restrictions is costing the economy $4 billion
- Safe Work Australia’s website has been overhauled with information about COVID-19 safety
Putting the Government’s focus on the millions of workers affected by the pandemic, including up to 1 million that have lost their jobs entirely, Mr Morrison said the need to get people back into work was weighing on National Cabinet as it met on Tuesday.
Mr Morrison said more than 5 million Australians were on the JobKeeper payment, with a further 1 million out of work and on the JobSeeker payment.
More than 1 million people in financial need had also raided their retirement savings early, Mr Morrison said
As part of the Queensland Government’s ongoing response to COVID-19, some national parks and State forests will reopen to visitors from 11.59pm Friday 1 May.
Access is available to local walk-ins and local vehicles limited to site car park capacities only. Local recreational access is defined by the Chief Health Officer, as a travel radius from residence of 50km.
Camping areas, barbeques and some rock pools and swimming areas will remain closed for public safety.
What we know so far about Australia’s coronavirus contact tracing app
Scott Morrison says the Australian government’s covid safe tracking app won’t be mandatory to download and install, but it could play a part in easing Covid-19 restrictions.
The Australian government has launched Covidsafe, an app that traces every person running the app who has been in contact with someone else using the app who has tested positive for coronavirus in the previous few weeks, in a bid to automate coronavirus contact tracing, and allow the easing of restrictions.
Here’s what we know about the app so far … Read Full Story (The Guardian)
The COVIDSafe contact tracing app has been developed by the Australian Government to help keep the community safe from coronavirus (COVID-19). Together, let’s help stop the spread and keep ourselves and each other healthy.
COVIDSafe uses the Bluetooth technology on your mobile phone to look for other devices with COVIDSafe installed. Your device will take a note of contact you’ve had with other users by securely logging the other user’s reference code. If you or someone you’ve been in contact with is diagnosed with COVID-19, the close contact information securely stored in your phone can be uploaded and used—with your consent—by state and territory health officials to quickly trace people who’ve been exposed to the virus.
As health authorities continue to refine modelling of Australia’s coronavirus curve, the margin of error in their findings is getting wider — but that’s actually a good thing.
Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy presented the latest coronavirus modelling this afternoon, showing that Australia continues to stamp down the number of new infections being recorded each day.
Currently, there have been 6,675 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, of which more than 5,000 have recovered.
There have been 78 deaths.
Here’s what the latest modelling shows.
Margins of error are getting wider
The Government’s “nowcasting” of the coronavirus situation in Australia aims to take stock of the coronavirus situation using the latest numbers.
But that process gets less accurate if less data is fed into it.
As case numbers continue to fall, the data being put into modelling is shrinking, making forecasts less precise … READ FULL STORY
Source: ABC News
Advice supplied by the Queensland Police Service on the question of “what is local and how far can you travel for outdoor exercise?”.
The Home Confinement Direction provides a number of permitted purposes for a person to leave their principal place of residence. One of these permitted purposes is for exercise and cycling is considered exercise. A person can leave their residence to the extent necessary to accomplish the purpose of exercising. The direction does not stipulate a distance a person can travel to achieve this purpose.
In essence, a person is permitted to travel a reasonable distance in order to undertake exercise. However, it would not be permissible for a person to travel further than is reasonably necessary in order to undertake said exercise. For example, a person living on the Gold Coast could not travel to Brisbane in order to go for a run/ride.
New Zealand wants coronavirus elimination, Australia wants COVID-19 ‘suppression’ — but can we have both?
To eliminate or suppress — that is the question.
As the number of coronavirus cases across Australia continues to drop dramatically, some experts, and the community at large, have started exploring that very question.
Yet, the answer is not simple.
Since declaring the pandemic last month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stood firm on a “containment and suppression” COVID-19 strategy — with the way out to the “other side” determined by data modelling to make sure the “effective reproduction number” stays below one.
A gradual lifting of social-distancing restrictions would follow broader testing and better contact tracing over the next three weeks, he said, giving medical staff time to prepare for any potential second or third-wave outbreaks.
He stressed Australia was “not in eradication mode”.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced elective surgery restrictions will start to be eased after this weekend.
- Elective surgery will start up again in a phased approach, subject to capacity
- IVF, joint replacements, cataracts and post-cancer recovery procedures can restart
- National Cabinet will consider another expansion of surgery in May
National Cabinet, which includes Mr Morrison, premiers and chief ministers, has decided to lift the restrictions, imposed last month, following a briefing from health officials.
IVF, joint replacement, cataracts, breast reconstruction and dental procedures are among those that will be able to take place following the Anzac Day weekend.
Elective surgeries were cancelled last month to free up beds amid fears the coronavirus would overwhelm the hospital system.
The decision has been reversed following a decline in the spread of the disease and the arrival of millions of face masks and other items of personal protective equipment (PPE). READ MORE
Source: ABC News
- The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder of our dysfunctional relationship with nature.
- Studies show deforestation and loss of wildlife cause increases in infectious diseases.
- Half of the world’s GDP is highly or moderately dependent on nature. For every dollar spent on nature restoration, at least $9 of economic benefits can be expected.
Many people are wondering when life will get back to normal after the COVID-19 crisis. We should be asking: can we use this opportunity to learn from our mistakes and build something better?
Prepare for a ‘new normal’ as lockdown restrictions ease: Monday’s COVID-19 WHO briefing
- Lockdowns must be lifted strategically, and not all at once, said WHO officials at a briefing on 13 April 2020.
- Countries with lower numbers of cases can begin easing restrictions.
- Social distancing and handwashing need to continue longer term.
Half the world has been under some form of lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19. While many are eager to see restrictions lifted, especially as numbers stabilize in some countries, we must remain patient and vigilant, said officials at the World Health Organization (WHO) briefing on Monday 13 April. READ MORE
Source: World Economic Forum
Australians will have to live with coronavirus restrictions for at least another four weeks, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said, as the Government begins to chart a path out of the measures.
- Australia will continue with social distancing restrictions for at least another four weeks
- Mr Morrison has set out benchmarks that will need to be met before restrictions ease
- Parliament will likely return for a “trial week” of sittings in May
Mr Morrison said National Cabinet’s focus had begun to turn to “the road out” of the crisis, but the restrictions would need to stay in place until three criteria were met.
So-called sentinel testing to detect COVID-19 within the community would need to be expanded, as would the Government’s ability to trace the movements of infected people.
‘We need to lift that to an industrial capability,” he said.
Greater ability to respond to local outbreaks would also be needed, Mr Morrison said. Read More
Australia’s Chief Medical Officer revealed “we’re in a good place” in the coronavirus fight, but warned we cannot become complacent, as another three people have died, including an 82-year-old in Sydney.
The one COVID-19 number to watch
he vast array of data on the coronavirus pandemic can feel overwhelming, as we all try to make sense of how fast COVID-19 is spreading around the world and the relentless daily count of new cases and deaths.
Helpfully, there’s one number that can tell us quickly and clearly whether the coronavirus outbreak is getting better or worse. It’s called the growth factor.
The main thing to understand is this — to be sure we’re staying on top of the outbreak, we must keep this number below one. Read Full Story
Source: ABC News
A closure of a number of HIGH use visitor locations in Queensland national parks, state forests and recreation areas is in effect until further notice
The closure will be immediately implemented in identified extreme COVID public risk areas, and progressively implemented in identified high COVID public risk areas subject to risk assessments.
The affected areas include high use picnic and day use areas, toilet and shower facilities, lookouts, swimming holes, mountain bike and walking tracks and trails, and four-wheel drive beach areas in National Parks, State Forests and recreation areas managed by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. The closures apply to all users including commercial tour operations.
Suggests a new Belgian study
People exercising outdoors during the coronavirus lockdown should apply social-distancing rules that are stricter than those officially recommended, a new study suggests.
Researchers at KU Leuven and at the Eindhoven University of Technology created simulations showing how those working out outdoors could be exposing themselves to the new coronavirus (Covid-19) even when staying 1.5 metres apart.
The simulations show that the respiratory droplets of someone potentially infected with the virus could come into contact with anyone located behind them by travelling through what he referred to as a slipstream.
- Confirmed cases in Australia: 5,314, with around 650 recovered. NSW is the worst hit with 2,389 and about 650 people have recovered.
- Australian deaths: 28 (12 in NSW, seven in Vic, three in Qld, three in WA, two in Tas, one in ACT).
- The average daily increase in cases has been at seven per cent for the past three days, down from 25-30 per cent a week ago.
- Australia is the world leader in testing, at 1000 for every 100,000 people or about one per cent of the population, with a 1.9 per cent positive rate.
- The number of global coronavirus cases has passed one million.
- The federal government has committed $320 billion, or 16.4 per cent of gross domestic product, to combat the virus’ health and economic effects.
- Welfare recovery scheme robo-debt has been frozen for six months
- Social distancing rules have been eased to allow churches to organise Easter service broadcasts and webcasts
- Backpackers travelling to farms for fruit-picking and other jobs will be forced to self-isolate for 14 days to avoid spreading coronavirus
- READ FULL STORY
Source: Newcastle Herald
… In the midst of all of this Australia has done well. Modelling released yesterday highlighting that while we might have acted a week or two later than would have been ideal, Scott Morrison did act two or three weeks early enough to avoid the challenges the US and UK now face.
Dozens more people were fined at the weekend for leaving their house for non-essential reasons with the police promising to crackdown even harder during the Easter break …
Here is the full list of permitted excuses for leaving your house:
When you are allowed to leave your house
- to obtain essential goods and services
- receive medical treatment or health care services
- exercise, either alone or with one other person or those who reside in the same household
- do work or volunteering that is essential and cannot be done from home (this is any type of work that is not restricted under the latest ‘non-essential business activity and undertaking closure’ direction)
- visit another person’s house, as long as there are no more than 2 people who are not ordinarily members of that household
- visit a terminally ill relative or attend a funeral
- assist, care for or support immediate family members or close friends
- attend court or comply with a court order
- attend a childcare facility, school, university, or other educational institution to receive instruction that is not possible to receive at home.
- assist with an investigation by police or other law enforcement authority
- all shared custody arrangements of children under 18 years of age, whether informal or court-ordered, can continue as normal. You are allowed to leave the house to take children from one parent’s home to the other parent’s home
- to avoid illness, injury or the risk of harm
- to comply with directions of a government agency.
Source: Brisbane Times
In the new world order of physical distancing, self-isolation and a creeping paranoia about other people’s germs, should you still puff and pant along a running attack, passing others who may have the coronavirus?
University of Queensland infectious disease expert Charles Gilks said it was technically possible to catch COVID-19 from a passing jogger, but that would be extremely unlucky.
“I can’t say there are no risks, but I think they’re very, very, very small,” Professor Gilks said. READ MORE
Source: ABC News
Coronavirus shutdowns: Retail remains open, beauty salons close, and Aussies urged to avoid “non essential” shopping
Thousands of additional businesses will be forced to shut down or further restrict their operations from midnight on Wednesday after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced tough new lockdown measures in a bid to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beauty and personal care service firms, auction houses, outdoor and indoor markets have been added to the list of restricted firms required to close within 24 hours as the federal government continues to resist mounting pressure from health professionals to institute a full-scale lockdown of non essential services in response to the coronavirus crisis.
Speaking in Canberra late Tuesday night in the wake of a national cabinet meeting, Morrison declared shopping centres would remain open for the time being, but in an extraordinary step, he urged Australians to avoid shopping for anything but basics.
“Stay at home unless it’s absolutely necessary that you go out,” Morrison said.
Queenslanders now have access to a single source of truth on COVID-19 with the launch of a dedicated website with the latest news and advice from the Queensland Government … read more
Go to website: Unite against COVID-19
Coronavirus in Australia: how many cases are there?
All the Covid-19 confirmed cases, data and stats from NSW, Victoria, Queensland, SA, WA, Tasmania, ACT and NT to get a broad picture of the Australian outbreak and track the impact of government response
Australia’s strict new coronavirus social distancing rules explained
Scott Morrison has tightened physical distancing restrictions, but how they are applied will be determined by each state. Find out what’s illegal, and what happens if you break the law.
On Sunday night (March 29), the prime minister announced the tightening of restrictions to try to stop the spread of Covid-19, gatherings are limited to a maximum of two people. But several states have gone much further while others have opted not to follow the new recommendations.
So what are the laws as they currently stand?
Queensland has announced a state of emergency, and along with enforcing the two-person limit, residents are now only allowed to leave their home for one of eight essential reasons. These are:
- Obtaining food or other essential goods or services.
- Obtaining medical treatment or other healthcare services.
- Engaging in physical exercise, either alone or in the company of no more than one other person; or in the company of a family group who ordinarily live in the same household.
- Performing work on behalf of an employer that is engaged in essential business, activity or undertaking, and the work to be performed is of a nature that cannot reasonably be performed from the person’s principal place of residence.
- Visiting a terminally ill relative or to attend a funeral.
- Providing assistance, care or support to an immediate member of the person’s family.
- Attending any court of Australia or to comply with or give effect to orders of the court.
- Attending a childcare facility, school, university or other educational institution, to the extent care or instruction cannot reasonably be obtained in the person’s principal place of residence.
Queensland also restricts gatherings of more than two people. This applies both in public and private area but exempts members of the same household.
This means someone can still socialise with the family or roommates they live with, but if there are more than two people in the home, no visitors are allowed.
If someone lives alone they are allowed one social guest. That guest is allowed to leave their home to visit.
If someone leaves their house for an essential reason, such as exercise, they can be joined by only one other person or the members of their household.
Queensland police officers will be able to issue on-the-spot fines of $1,334.50 for individuals and $6,672.50 for corporations, who breach these laws. The maximum penalties available through the courts will be 10 times those amounts.
Those arriving in Queensland from other states are required to undertake a 14-day quarantine, as well as returning Queensland residents who have been to areas deemed to be “Covid-19” hotspots in Australia.
There are some exemptions for those who regularly cross the Queensland-NSW border for work.
Queensland police now have the option to issue on the spot fines for breaches of Chief Health Officer (CHO) directions to support community efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
An integral part of the Queensland Police Service’s (QPS) response is to ensure compliance with directions particularly around self-isolation, mass gathering, borders, non-essential business activity and now private residence gatherings.
From yesterday, officers now have the option of issuing infringement notices in appropriate circumstances.
Under the direction, homeowners or persons in control of a residence must not allow more than ten people to be present at the residence at any one time and to take reasonable steps to encourage occupants of and visitors to the residence to practise social distancing as much as possible.
This does not apply if more than ten people are present who ordinarily live at the residence.
During the implementation of this new compliance option officers will consider the circumstances and context of each incident and apply a decision-making model prior to issuing any notice.
If a person does not comply with quarantine directions, penalties of up to $13,345 for individuals and $66,672.50 for corporations may apply.
Officers can also issue on the spot fines of $1334.50 for individuals and $6,672.50 for corporations which fail to abide by the health directions. Read Full Story
Source: Queensland Police News
As of midnight tonight, gatherings in Australia will be restricted to two people in a further attempt to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
The two-person limit does not apply to people within your own household. But gatherings with other friends or family, outdoor or indoor, will need to comply with the new restriction.
What happens if you don’t comply will depend on which state you are in.’
In Queensland, on-the-spot fines of $1,330 for individuals and $6,670 for corporations can be issued by police for breaching new public health directions.
Those caught ignoring quarantine directions could face penalties of up to $13,345 or $66,670 for corporations. Read More
- Public gatherings, excluding household members, have been reduced to a maximum of two people. Check State and Territory websites for further enforcement information.
- Everyone should stay home unless you are: shopping for essentials, receiving medical care, exercising or travelling to work or education.
- People aged over 70, aged over 60 with pre-existing conditions, or Indigenous people aged over 50 should stay home wherever possible for their own protection.
- Evictions will be put on hold for 6 months by the states and territories. Landlords and renters are encouraged to talk about short term agreements. More information to come this week.
- If you are in self-isolation because you are confirmed or suspected to have Coronavirus (COVID-19), or have been in close contact with a confirmed case, use this form to help us track the spread of the virus. Read more.
- Stay informed. Download the official government “Coronavirus Australia” app in the Apple App Store or Google Play, or join our WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android.
The Guardian, March 29
Scott Morrison says gatherings in Australia will now be restricted to two people, down from 10, and there will be a six-month moratorium on evictions for commercial and residential tenants in financial distress because of the economic shock associated with the coronavirus outbreak. Read More
- These directions apply from the time of publication until the end of the declared public health emergency, unless they are revoked or replaced.
- A person who owns, controls or operates a non-essential business, activity, or undertaking in the State of Queensland, including operating at a private residence, must not operate the business, activity or undertaking during the period specified in paragraph 5, subject to the exceptions set out in Column 2 of the Definitions table at paragraph 7.
Source: Queensland Health
The Guardian, March 25
Here’s what’s included …
As of midnight tonight, beauty services will close, but hairdressers will still be able to operate.
Personal training can go ahead, but with no more than 10 people, outdoors, and observing physical distancing rules.
You’d be forgiven for being confused by the Federal Government’s second stage of restrictions.
Let’s unpack them with five quick questions. READ MORE
The Palaszczuk Government today announced the closure of all campgrounds in national parks, state forests and state managed recreation and protected areas, in response to the COVID-19 (corona virus) outbreak.
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch said this decision is consistent with the expert medical advice of the state’s Chief Health Officer, with closures coming into effect from tomorrow.
“As the Easter school break approaches, closure of the campgrounds will help protect the health and safety of campers, the wider community as well as Queensland Park and Wildlife Service (QPWS) rangers and staff,” Minister Enoch said.
“The Premier has been very clear that Queenslanders should cancel their Easter break plans and stay close to home. Read More
Source: Media Statement
The Guardian, March 24
Exercise outdoors, while you still can
If you’re not self-isolating or unwell, the experts agree you and your family can still go outside to exercise at this stage.
But you must practise social distancing, keep up good hygiene practices, and wash your hands when you get home.
This advice may change in the event of widespread community transmission of this coronavirus, said Adam Kamradt-Scott, an expert in the spread and control of infectious diseases at the University of Sydney.
So walking, cycling and running are still on the menu … read more
You might be concerned for your friends and family.
That’s totally understandable. We are too.
We will get through this, because when faced with a crisis, Aussies pull together and have each other’s backs.
There’s a great example of this already on the ground and we’re going to play a part too.
Check out “Can I Help?” – it’s a little form you can print off and deliver to your neighbours, to let them know you’re there and you’re willing to help them if they need it.
The Guardian, March 24
With requirements for everyone entering the country in force, as well as interstate restrictions, here’s what it means to self-isolate.
Tasmania, South Australia, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland have also imposed mandatory self-isolation requirements on non-essential travellers from interstate – including residents returning home.
But what does self-isolation actually mean, and can you still Uber home from the airport? We answered your burning questions. READ MORE
Governments have now called for all swimming pools to close by midnight 25th March 2020. This includes all non-essential education services. It may allow for the continuation of swimming pools in the setting of Allied Health Facilities. Read More
Royal Life Saving Australia
From midday on Monday, Australia entered a new era in its history.
Widespread closure of businesses will be enforced, and people have been told to stay at home to slow the spread of coronavirus.
With constantly evolving information and advice, some people may be confused about what exactly they can and cannot do. We’ve got some answers for you.
Source: ABC News (March 23)
Chief Health Officer Public Health Directions
Direction from Chief Health Officer in accordance with emergency powers arising from the declared public health emergency
Public Health Act 2005 (Qld)
- Home Confinement, Movement and Gathering Direction
(includes Q&A and help with understanding what these Directions mean)
- Stay Home, Stay Safe
Direction from Chief Health Officer in accordance with emergency powers arising from the declared public health emergency
Public Health Act 2005 (Qld)
- Non-essential business, activity and undertaking Closure Direction
(includes Q&A and help with understanding what these Directions mean)
- Stay Home, Stay Safe
The information on this page has been taken from credible sources and is shared with the best of intentions. While we have have done our best to provide the most up to date information, we cannot take responsibility for any person or organisation suffering as a result of using the information shared on this page. It is the responsibility of all organisations to do their research, to comply with all relevant legislation and to be aware of current government advice.