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Alert issued after travellers who quarantined at hotel returned home Alert issued after travellers who quarantined at hotel returned home – as it happened
(about 13 hours later)
Annastacia Palaszczuk calls for hotel quarantine rethink after cluster discovered; NSW records one new community case. This blog is now closedAnnastacia Palaszczuk calls for hotel quarantine rethink after cluster discovered; NSW records one new community case. This blog is now closed
With that, we’ll be closing the blog for today. Here is everything that happened:With that, we’ll be closing the blog for today. Here is everything that happened:
Chief medical officer Paul Kelly defended Australia’s vaccination strategy amid concerns about the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine compared with the Pfizer and other alternatives, declaring the AstraZeneca jab will save lives and is effective in preventing severe illness from Covid-19. “We’ve got what we’ve got and we’ve got the AstraZeneca,” he said.Chief medical officer Paul Kelly defended Australia’s vaccination strategy amid concerns about the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine compared with the Pfizer and other alternatives, declaring the AstraZeneca jab will save lives and is effective in preventing severe illness from Covid-19. “We’ve got what we’ve got and we’ve got the AstraZeneca,” he said.
Google has admitted to a trial removing some Australian news results from searches, in a move interpreted by the media industry as a show of force in bargaining with the Australian government.Google has admitted to a trial removing some Australian news results from searches, in a move interpreted by the media industry as a show of force in bargaining with the Australian government.
Queensland health authorities ordered hundreds of returned travellers and hotel staff to restart their quarantine period over fears the UK Covid variant strain has spread within Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor. Six cases of Covid-19 have been recorded among people who are in isolation on the seventh floor of the hotel.Queensland health authorities ordered hundreds of returned travellers and hotel staff to restart their quarantine period over fears the UK Covid variant strain has spread within Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor. Six cases of Covid-19 have been recorded among people who are in isolation on the seventh floor of the hotel.
New South Wales health authorities has also issued an alert for the Hotel Grand Chancellor after it learned returned travellers who quarantined there have travelled on to NSW. The state announced one new locally-acquired case of Covid-19 on Wednesday, as leaders urged residents to present for testing.New South Wales health authorities has also issued an alert for the Hotel Grand Chancellor after it learned returned travellers who quarantined there have travelled on to NSW. The state announced one new locally-acquired case of Covid-19 on Wednesday, as leaders urged residents to present for testing.
Paul Kelly also slapped down government MP Craig Kelly for giving prominence to views about coronavirus that are “not scientifically based”. The CMO’s rejection of the Coalition politician’s claims - which included touting ivermectin as a coronavirus treatment and likening mandatory mask use to child abuse - follow acting prime minister Michael McCormack’s defence that “facts are sometimes contentious”.Paul Kelly also slapped down government MP Craig Kelly for giving prominence to views about coronavirus that are “not scientifically based”. The CMO’s rejection of the Coalition politician’s claims - which included touting ivermectin as a coronavirus treatment and likening mandatory mask use to child abuse - follow acting prime minister Michael McCormack’s defence that “facts are sometimes contentious”.
Google has admitted to a trial removing some Australian news results from searches, in a move interpreted by the media industry as a show of force in bargaining with the Australian government.Google has admitted to a trial removing some Australian news results from searches, in a move interpreted by the media industry as a show of force in bargaining with the Australian government.
The Australian government is attempting to impose a new code on internet giants including Google and Facebook that would force them to negotiate a fair payment with news organisations for using their content.The Australian government is attempting to impose a new code on internet giants including Google and Facebook that would force them to negotiate a fair payment with news organisations for using their content.
The move, a world first, has been strenuously resisted in messages to the search engine’s users and a warning from Facebook it will block Australians from sharing news if the plan proceeds.The move, a world first, has been strenuously resisted in messages to the search engine’s users and a warning from Facebook it will block Australians from sharing news if the plan proceeds.
On Wednesday the Australian Financial Review first reported that Google had tweaked its search and news algorithm to bury links from commercial Australian media outlets for some users.On Wednesday the Australian Financial Review first reported that Google had tweaked its search and news algorithm to bury links from commercial Australian media outlets for some users.
Anecdotal evidence from readers of Guardian Australia appears to confirm the trial.Anecdotal evidence from readers of Guardian Australia appears to confirm the trial.
A Google spokesperson said:A Google spokesperson said:
New South Wales health authorities have issued an alert for anyone who has been at Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor to immediately get test and isolate for 14 days.New South Wales health authorities have issued an alert for anyone who has been at Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor to immediately get test and isolate for 14 days.
The alert comes was issued because the Queensland government notified NSW Health “there were NSW people staying at the hotel who have since returned to NSW”.The alert comes was issued because the Queensland government notified NSW Health “there were NSW people staying at the hotel who have since returned to NSW”.
A NSW Health statement said:A NSW Health statement said:
South Australia recorded no new locally-acquired Covid-19 cases in the most recent reporting day. However two returned international travellers tested positive to Covid-19 while in hotel quarantine.South Australia recorded no new locally-acquired Covid-19 cases in the most recent reporting day. However two returned international travellers tested positive to Covid-19 while in hotel quarantine.
Western Australia also recorded no new locally-acquired cases in the same period. The state recorded one new case in a returned overseas traveller who tested positive while in hotel quarantine.Western Australia also recorded no new locally-acquired cases in the same period. The state recorded one new case in a returned overseas traveller who tested positive while in hotel quarantine.
The Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases (ASID), the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control (ACIPC), and the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) have criticised the concerns raised about Australia’s reliance on the AstraZeneca vaccine in its vaccination strategy.The Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases (ASID), the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control (ACIPC), and the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) have criticised the concerns raised about Australia’s reliance on the AstraZeneca vaccine in its vaccination strategy.
The organisations said concerns about the ability of any vaccines to create herd immunity were not justified at this stage of the process.The organisations said concerns about the ability of any vaccines to create herd immunity were not justified at this stage of the process.
ASID immediate past president Prof Josh Davis, ACIPC president Assoc Prof Philip Russo, and PHAA president Prof Tarun Weeramanthri released a statement that said “the current debate over the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine could undermine public trust in the country’s vaccination plan”.ASID immediate past president Prof Josh Davis, ACIPC president Assoc Prof Philip Russo, and PHAA president Prof Tarun Weeramanthri released a statement that said “the current debate over the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine could undermine public trust in the country’s vaccination plan”.
Labor has told the Guardian it will seek “commonsense” changes to the migration act to end a requirement that some visa applicants leave Australia temporarily before they can receive final approval.Labor has told the Guardian it will seek “commonsense” changes to the migration act to end a requirement that some visa applicants leave Australia temporarily before they can receive final approval.
Currently, the migration act requires that applicants for some permanent visa categories be outside Australia when their case is decided.Currently, the migration act requires that applicants for some permanent visa categories be outside Australia when their case is decided.
For those who are already in the country, this forces them to fly abroad for a short period, obtain the final visa approval, and then return.For those who are already in the country, this forces them to fly abroad for a short period, obtain the final visa approval, and then return.
That is causing understandable concern during the middle of a pandemic and the existing strain on quarantine places.That is causing understandable concern during the middle of a pandemic and the existing strain on quarantine places.
Late last year, the then immigration minister, Alan Tudge, bowed to pressure and announced he would absolve those applying for partner visas from having to be offshore to have them granted.Late last year, the then immigration minister, Alan Tudge, bowed to pressure and announced he would absolve those applying for partner visas from having to be offshore to have them granted.
But other visa types – such as parental visas, for example – will not have such a concession.But other visa types – such as parental visas, for example – will not have such a concession.
The numbers of people placed in this situation are small. But Labor says it is “madness” to continue to require applicants go offshore to receive their visas.The numbers of people placed in this situation are small. But Labor says it is “madness” to continue to require applicants go offshore to receive their visas.
Labor MP Julian Hill plans to move a private member’s bill granting the minister the temporary power to issue any visa onshore during the pandemic.Labor MP Julian Hill plans to move a private member’s bill granting the minister the temporary power to issue any visa onshore during the pandemic.
“Forcing people to fly overseas and back again just so their visa can be granted is madness in the middle of a global pandemic,” Hill said.“Forcing people to fly overseas and back again just so their visa can be granted is madness in the middle of a global pandemic,” Hill said.
South Australia is lifting its hard border closure to regional New South Wales.South Australia is lifting its hard border closure to regional New South Wales.
The change will come into effect from 12:01am on Thursday.The change will come into effect from 12:01am on Thursday.
The announcement was made on Wednesday afternoon, as South Australia recorded no new locally-acquired cases in the previous reporting day.The announcement was made on Wednesday afternoon, as South Australia recorded no new locally-acquired cases in the previous reporting day.
The operator of Sydney’s Luna Park has been fined $5,000 after a police investigation found a New Year’s Eve event breached legal gathering limits.The operator of Sydney’s Luna Park has been fined $5,000 after a police investigation found a New Year’s Eve event breached legal gathering limits.
Officers launched an investigation into the New Year’s Eve party “after receiving mobile phone footage of a large crowd gathered at the Milsons Point venue”.Officers launched an investigation into the New Year’s Eve party “after receiving mobile phone footage of a large crowd gathered at the Milsons Point venue”.
A New South Wales police statement said that “following inquiries with the venue and a review of further footage, the company secretary of the amusement park was issued a $5,000” penalty infringement notice for failing to comply with the public health order.A New South Wales police statement said that “following inquiries with the venue and a review of further footage, the company secretary of the amusement park was issued a $5,000” penalty infringement notice for failing to comply with the public health order.
NSW police are urging the community to contact Crime Stoppers to report suspected breaches of the gathering limits and public health orders related to coronavirus.NSW police are urging the community to contact Crime Stoppers to report suspected breaches of the gathering limits and public health orders related to coronavirus.
The chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, has rejected unfounded claims about Covid-19 treatments made by Liberal MP Craig Kelly.The chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, has rejected unfounded claims about Covid-19 treatments made by Liberal MP Craig Kelly.
Asked about Kelly’s interest in anti-parasitic drug ivermectin, the CMO said it is useful for treating river blindness but there “is no evidence at the moment that it has any benefit or use in the prevention or treatment of Covid-19”.Asked about Kelly’s interest in anti-parasitic drug ivermectin, the CMO said it is useful for treating river blindness but there “is no evidence at the moment that it has any benefit or use in the prevention or treatment of Covid-19”.
Asked if he is frustrated by other claims (including likening masks to child abuse), the CMO said:Asked if he is frustrated by other claims (including likening masks to child abuse), the CMO said:
Chief medical officer Paul Kelly has said he can’t explain why Australia hasn’t been able to secure more Pfizer vaccines while other countries have been ordering extra doses.Chief medical officer Paul Kelly has said he can’t explain why Australia hasn’t been able to secure more Pfizer vaccines while other countries have been ordering extra doses.
Kelly said:Kelly said:
The press conference has ended.The press conference has ended.