Tag: ACT


Live: Stay up to date with all the COVID-19 news in our live blog


Catch all the latest COVID-19 updates from across Australia, all in the one place.

Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreak

Follow all of Monday's live updates in our blog below.

Key events

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Live updates17m ago17 minutes agoSun 14 Nov 2021 at 9:17pm

By Peta Fuller

Victoria's rolling out rapid antigen testing for some of our youngestMorning bloggers!
Just saw the story on ABC24 regarding Rapid Antigen testing in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) settings. Glad I saw the story because, as with most other initiatives and announcements during the pandemic, nothing has been communicated to us. Just another "process" and change to manage.

-Something else to navigate

So if you've got young children in Victoria, this is one for you: kinders and long-daycare centres will be offered free rapid antigen COVID test kits from today. 

Here's what we know about it so far, Something else to navigate:

  • All eligible kindergarten and long daycare services can choose to be part of the program — and parents and carers will opt-in for their children to be part of the scheme;
  • The tests are for kids who have been identified as primary close contacts;
  • The tests indicate a result for coronavirus in 15 to 30 minutes;
  • The Victorian Government says it will reduce both quarantine time and pressure on families, while ensuring early childhood settings are as low-risk as possible.

When it was rolled out in primary schools just last week, these were the guidelines:

The tests are optional, and will only be offered to unvaccinated or partially vaccinated students — largely those under 12 years old — if they become primary close contacts of a positive case at their school.

Usually, these students are asked to quarantine for 14 days, but the new testing program would allow them to return to school after seven days if they return a negative test on day six.

After that, the students can return to the classroom but will have to take the rapid antigen test before school on days eight to 14 of the quarantine period.

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29m ago29 minutes agoSun 14 Nov 2021 at 9:05pm

By Peta Fuller

Here's how each state and territory's vaccine rollout is going

Impressive ACT topping the chart with almost everyone 16 and over now at least partially vaccinated.

Queensland passed their important 70 per cent double-dose target yesterday (ahead of schedule), so we'll hear more from the Premier today about how border passes will work as restrictions ease.

While welcoming the move to reunite families, infectious disease expert Robert Booy has warned of the "very real risk of chains of transmission kicking off and spreading dangerously" with so many people there still to get a single COVID jab.

About 1.6 million Queenslanders still haven't got a single dose – you can read more on that in Janelle Miles' story here.

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46m ago46 minutes agoSun 14 Nov 2021 at 8:48pm

By Peta Fuller

Key EventLet's take a look at our national vaccination numbers

Australia's now hit a big milestone: we're at 90 per cent single-dose (for those 16 and over)

ABC News BreakfastBy official real time data we are 69.2% fully vaccinated!

-The one that counts

And yes, The one that counts, the whole population number is important. 

Here's us against a few other nations – we're now ahead of the UK and US on 69.16 per cent fully vaccinated.

But we're still a bit off matching countries like Singapore….

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1h ago1 hours agoSun 14 Nov 2021 at 8:20pm

By Peta Fuller

Mask mandate could end in Katherine this afternoon

People in the Northern Territory town of Katherine are due to find out whether a mask mandate will be lifted this afternoon, as authorities continue investigating positive wastewater samples.

The mask mandate had been due to end on Friday, but was extended until 5pm today, after wastewater samples tested positive for coronavirus late last week.

Authorities say there've been no further cases of coronavirus detected in the town, but they say testing numbers on Thursday and Friday were low.

They're encouraging anyone in Katherine with even mild symptoms of COVID-19 to get tested.

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1h ago1 hours agoSun 14 Nov 2021 at 8:19pm

By Peta Fuller

Key EventHere's Sunday's blog

Before you ask, here are yesterday's entries from the blog world.

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1h ago1 hours agoSun 14 Nov 2021 at 8:17pm

By Peta Fuller

Key EventBrett Sutton has criticised the national COVID-19 roadmap

Victoria's Chief Health Officer has written in the Medical Journal of Australia, questioning why there is no recovery phase in the roadmap agreed on by National Cabinet.

"It [is] as if we could all soon heave a sigh of relief and simply move on," Professor Sutton wrote.

He argued a recovery phase would help address the economic and mental health impacts of the pandemic.

"The recovery phase needs to rebuild community and system resilience and redress disadvantage exacerbated by COVID-19," he said.

"Planning for workforce responses, especially preparing for burnout and the needs of staff for time out to recover, will be crucial."

Professor Sutton also warned there will be long-term challenges for the health sector due to mental health issues, the deferment of elective surgeries, and the impact of so-called "long COVID".

"Decision-makers in health systems will need to spend early 2022 assessing and developing strategies in response to these problems, and this situation will be more confronting if new vaccine-resistant virus variants emerge," he wrote.

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1h ago1 hours agoSun 14 Nov 2021 at 8:17pm

By Peta Fuller

Good Morning!

I'll be taking you through all the COVID news this morning.

How is it Monday already?

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Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Canberra hay fever sufferers are in for a tough summer as the ACT experiences its worst pollen season on record


Hay fever sufferers across the ACT are in for a rough summer — with 2021 already topping the charts for the worst year on record for pollen counts. 

Key points:

  • The ACT is the hay fever capital of Australia
  • 2021 has already had five times more extreme pollen days than the average year
  • The season has impacted many people who have never previously suffered the allegies before

The hay fever season usually runs from July to January, with tree pollens filling the air from June, and grass pollens from September.

But one Canberra-based research project has found that this year, the ACT has already recorded 11 days of extreme pollen levels — with many months of the season left — compared to a yearly average of just two or three extreme pollen days.

The lead of the Canberra pollen research project, run through the Australian National University, Dr Simon Haberle, said this year's weather had created the perfect conditions for the worst season since records began 10 years ago.

"We had such a wet winter, and now we're getting quite warm temperatures as well and this is a perfect combination for hyperactivity in the grasslands," Dr Haberle said.

"So Canberra, normally, we only seen two or three extreme days during a pollen season for grass, but this year we're already up to 11 days in which we have extreme pollen being measured."

And with the hay fever season not over until January, Dr Haberle warned sufferers there may be more difficult days ahead.

ACT a 'hotspot' for high pollen levels One scientist analyses the daily pollen count under the microscope at the ANU. (ABC News: Mark Moore)

The ACT is the hay fever capital of Australia. Across the nation, one in five people suffers from hay fever — in the ACT it is one in three.

The reason, according to Dr Haberle, is that the city is landlocked.

"We don't have an ocean border like Sydney or Melbourne where we can have the benefits of sea breezes that blow the pollen, perhaps away," he said.

"Canberra's surrounded by grasslands or forest and these grasslands, in particular, have a lot of rye-grass, or pasture grasses, which are quite allergenic for people."

Dr Harberle said strong winds blew pollen in from the grasslands, where it settled across the city and could cause allergy flare-ups. 

He said while Canberrans who suffered from the condition might not be able to avoid the pollen, the next best thing was to know when they could expect to suffer the most.

"One of the other reasons we do that monitoring is to actually provide that information so that the Bureau of Meteorology and the ACT Health directorate can actually then determine if there's a need for a thunderstorm asthma warning," Dr Haberle said.

Record season impacting those who have never had hay fever before Kim Yang had never suffered from hayfever until this year. (ABC News: Mark Moore)

Kim Yang moved to the ACT in 2012, and before this year, had never suffered from hay fever.

"This year was particularly difficult for me," she said. 

"One time I went out for a coffee and just took my face mask off and talked on the phone with a client and suddenly I just got choked up and I couldn't breathe, I couldn't talk."

Ms Yang said she immediately sought treatment, but, after years without allergies, was shocked when symptoms set in.

"It was a really strange experience I'd never had before, it was pretty terrifying at the time."

Canberra-based GP, Antonio Di Dio, said there were important steps to take if you were experiencing allergies for the first time.

"If you are getting it for the first time you may not be aware exactly how unpleasant it is, or how it can trigger other respiratory things," he said.

Dr Di Dio urged Canberrans to seek medical assistance and suggested a few simple ways to avoid flare-ups moving forward.

"Probably the most important things are to regularly check on your own environment and to make sure that you take regular antihistamines. Not just on an ad hoc basis, but every single day for at least the time that you've got it really badly," he said.

"Staying indoors when you don't have to go out, monitoring the pollen forecasts every day in various weather and news media, and washing yourself and your clothes regularly."

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Scott Morrison now shares the same ambition on emissions reduction as Queensland’s Labor government. Here’s why that’s awkward


When the Prime Minister promised last month that Australia would reach net zero emissions by 2050 he was not only trailing some of our international partners, but following behind every premier and chief minister in the country.

Indeed, Queensland Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon mocked Scott Morrison's tardiness with a tweet that included a yawning emoji.

Her partner, Transport Minister Mark Bailey, retweeted a speech by federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese, criticising the Morrison plan with the caption: "Australians deserve a government that is serious about climate change."

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But while most states are out in front of the federal Coalition on climate change policy — including Coalition states New South Wales and South Australia — Queensland's Labor administration now finds itself with the same ambitions as Mr Morrison.

The Prime Minister says Australia is on track to cut emissions by 30 to 35 per cent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels (although he declined to revise the official target of 26 to 28 per cent).

Queensland's current 2030 target is a 30 per cent reduction, set back in 2017.

But the passage of time has seen this eclipsed by most other jurisdictions:

  • Tasmania: net zero emissions by 2030
  • ACT: 65-75 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030
  • South Australia: a cut of "at least 50 per cent" by 2030
  • New South Wales: 50 per cent reduction by 2030
  • Victoria: a 45-50 per cent cut

The governments of Northern Territory and Western Australia are yet to announce targets for 2030, although federal Labor MP Anne Aly said her home state of WA "probably should".

"The idea of … having a target by 2050 I think is a good idea but increasingly the world is talking more about 2030 and I think that's where we need to start focusing our attention, on a plan towards 2030," she told the ABC's Afternoon Briefing on September 29.

The Premier's office says Queensland is currently about 14 per cent below 2005 carbon emission levels.(ABC News: Jasmine Hines)

All this raises some challenges for Mr Albanese, who is just months away from a federal election and without his own target for 2030.

What's in the federal government's net zero modelling?

The government has dropped the modelling that underpins its net zero emissions by 2050 plan, two weeks after it announced the target. Here are a few of the key takeaways. 

Read more

"We'll have more to say, we need to see the government's modelling.. and of course Glasgow, COP26, is still going and we await the final communique," he told Virginia Trioli on ABC Radio Melbourne.

If he announces a more ambitious target (such as the 45 per cent called for at the COP26 summit) and condemns Mr Morrison's 35 per cent projection, fingers will be pointed at Labor-run mining states such as Queensland and Western Australia.

Queensland swung the last election for Mr Morrison, but maybe in the intervening years the public mood has shifted towards more action on climate change.

If it has, this hasn't been picked up on by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk — or perhaps she has confused two different issues, because twice recently (including yesterday) when asked about her state's 2030 emissions reduction target, she responded by talking about the Renewable Energy Target of 50 per cent by 2030.

When informed by a journalist the two targets were different things, she said: "I'll get back to you."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has referenced the state's Renewable Energy Target of 50 per cent by 2030 when asked about emission targets.(ABC News: Lucy Murray)

The Premier's office says Queensland is currently about 14 per cent below 2005 levels. Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told the National Press Club that getting to 45 or 50 per cent is "very doable" with one key move.

"It's done essentially by a very early retirement of coal-fired generation," he said.

The tricky thing for Queensland is that while it owns a fleet of coal-fired power stations they are relatively young, with just one due for retirement this decade — Callide B in 2028. And at 700 megawatts, it is only half the size of the big boppers of Queensland coal — Gladstone (1680MW), Stanwell (1460MW) and Tarong (1400MW).

So either the Queensland and federal Labor parties will have different targets going into the federal election, or there is a big policy change in the works in the sunshine state.

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Live: All the COVID news you need to know in the one spot


A significant contact tracing effort is continuing today as Greater Darwin enters its fifth day of "lockout" restrictions.

Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreak

No new local COVID-19 cases have been diagnosed since the weekend, but the government yesterday extended the "lockout" after new information came to light.

Follow live.

Key events

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Live updates

By Bridget Judd

PinnedCase numbers

If you don't see your state or territory yet, don't worry — case numbers aren't always released until the afternoon.

Press conferences won't be streamed live on the blog everyday, but we'll provide a link when major announcements are expected.

NSW:

Victoria:

Queensland:

ACT:

Western Australia:

Northern Territory:

Tasmania:

South Australia:

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2m ago2 minutes agoMon 8 Nov 2021 at 9:31pm

By Bridget Judd

Key EventIn some more good news, restrictions will ease in Canberra from Friday

Restrictions in the ACT are set to further ease from 11:59pm Thursday night, with the next round of changes fast-tracked.

  • Face masks will only be required in high risk settings, like hospitals and aged care facilities, on public transport and in schools
  • There will be no limits on home visits or informal outdoor gatherings
  • Indoor and outdoor entertainment venues with fixed seating can have events at 100 per cent capacity
  • Restrictions on cinemas and swimming pools will be relaxed
  • Organised sport can recommence in indoor settings
  • Density limits will ease in most businesses and shops to allow one person for every two square metres, with no density limits outdoors for most activities

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13m ago13 minutes agoMon 8 Nov 2021 at 9:21pm

By Bridget Judd

Questions from the audienceHiya! Just wondering if you can please clarify where we can get a booster shot in SA – is it only from pharmacies? I had my 2nd dose almost exactly six months ago now and keen for a booster, but none of the online vax booking forms have a booster option. (And if it is just pharmacies, where is the list of available pharmacies? I can't find it anywhere.) Thanks for your help!

-Boosters

Morning, Boosters.

According to the SA government, the boosters are being rolled out in two waves:

  • Currently eligible: Frontline workers who received their vaccinations as part of phase 1A when the rollout first began — that includes frontline hospital, GP and testing clinic staff, medi-hotel and quarantine pathway workers, aged and disability care staff and residents
  • December 1: Anyone aged 18 and over who received their second shot at least six months ago

If you fit into that first category (which I'm assuming you do), you can walk into any SA Health vaccination clinic to receive your booster dose.

Frontline staff will need to show their employee identification at the clinic and will also be able to book online for their booster dose from November 8.

If you're in that second category, bookings for Pfizer booster doses will be available at all SA Health COVID-19 vaccination clinics. 

Will we need to wear masks on public transport in QLD once we hit 80%? Tired of arriving at work with half my makeup inside my mask !!

-El

You and me both — I reckon I've got about half of Sephora in there.

To answer your question, though, the details are a bit skint at the moment (beyond the fact that they won't be required in schools/workplaces etc).

Hopefully we'll have a bit more clarity later in the day.

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20m ago20 minutes agoMon 8 Nov 2021 at 9:13pm

By Bridget Judd

Schools are the new COVID breeding ground and parents are losing their patience with shutdowns

While case numbers are dropping in all age groups in NSW and Victoria, they're falling faster among adults.

And that means younger people — who are fast becoming the only groups of unvaccinated people mingling in close quarters — are dominating reported coronavirus cases.

People aged 0-19 are close to making up half of NSW's cases each day, and Victoria is trending the same way.

And that's unlikely to change soon, with 5-11 year olds unlikely to be able to get a vaccine before the end of this year.

Read the full story.

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30m ago30 minutes agoMon 8 Nov 2021 at 9:03pm

By Bridget Judd

WA has hit 80pc single dose coverage

Good stuff, sandgropers.

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36m ago36 minutes agoMon 8 Nov 2021 at 8:58pm

By Bridget Judd

Live in Victoria? Getting married soon?

Weddings, funerals and religious gatherings can still go ahead under Victoria's COVID settings, but you can invite more people if everyone attending is fully vaccinated.

  • If the vaccination requirements are met, then you can have 1 person per 4 sqm indoors, or 1 person per 2 sqm (up to 500 people) outdoors
  • If vaccination status isn’t being checked, then attendance is limited to 30 people plus select others required for the service
  • If these events are happening at a private home, then the household visitor limits of 10 people apply – regardless of vaccination status

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47m ago47 minutes agoMon 8 Nov 2021 at 8:46pm

By Bridget Judd

Key EventChiropractors and osteopaths in SA must have had at least one COVID vaccine dose by December

Chiropractors and osteopaths in South Australia who work face-to-face with patients must have had at least one COVID-19 vaccination by December 6.

SA Police issued the emergency direction after leaving them off a list of health care workers that had to be vaccinated by yesterday.

By November 30, disability workers and in-home and community aged care workers will join them.

Anyone visiting a residential aged care facility will also need to be fully vaccinated from December 6.

Reporting by Patrick Martin

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55m ago55 minutes agoMon 8 Nov 2021 at 8:39pm

By Bridget Judd

Good luck to all the year 12s sitting your HSC exams todayJust wanted to pop on before all of the busyness happens and say a good luck to all of my fellow year 12s sitting their first HSC exam today. We’ve all got this!

-Good luck

Keep your heads up and remember: it doesn't matter if you score terribly, because you can always become a journalist.

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1h ago1 hours agoMon 8 Nov 2021 at 8:31pm

By Bridget Judd

Flying doctors on alert for looming COVID outbreak in the bush

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) and the LifeFlight aeromedical rescue have already transported 88 suspected or confirmed COVID patients in Queensland since the pandemic began.

With the state's border rules set to relax in December, the RFDS is working to get ahead of the deadly disease, travelling to isolated communities to deliver and administer doses of the vaccines.

In figures released by the Commonwealth on Monday, outback Queensland has 53.2 per cent of its eligible population fully vaccinated, and 63.4 per cent with one dose.

RFDS chief medical officer Katie Clift says she's worried about regions that are a long way from a major hospital.

"We're particularly concerned for those areas where we know that the vaccination rate is lower than ideal," Dr Clift said.

"Vaccination will reduce disease severity but also the spread of the disease."

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1h ago1 hours agoMon 8 Nov 2021 at 8:19pm

By Bridget Judd

Key EventMasks won't be required when Queensland hits 80pc single-dose coverage — and we're expecting that today

In some welcome news for the Sunshine State, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the mask mandate will be removed when 80 per cent of eligible Queenslanders have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

That means no masks indoors, including schools, cafes, pubs, clubs, hairdressers and workplaces.

At last count yesterday, 79.4 per cent of Queenslanders aged 16 and over had received their first COVID shot.

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1h ago1 hours agoMon 8 Nov 2021 at 8:16pm

By Bridget Judd

Key EventContact tracing efforts in Darwin now focused on Noonamah Tavern

A significant contact tracing effort is continuing today as Greater Darwin enters its fifth day of "lockout" restrictions.

No new local coronavirus cases have been diagnosed since the weekend, but the government yesterday extended the "lockout" after new information came to light.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner says contact tracing efforts are now focused on the Noonamah Tavern exposure site.

"The source contact spent just over four hours at the Noonamah Tavern from 2:12pm to 6:17pm," he says.

"We believe there were about 350 people who frequented the hotel during this period, but we had just 47 check-ins.

"The lack of check-ins has greatly increased the workload for our contact tracers."

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1h ago1 hours agoMon 8 Nov 2021 at 8:13pm

By Bridget Judd

Good morning, I'm Bridget Judd and I'll be bringing you today's COVID updates from across the country.

As always, you can send in your questions and comments by hitting the big blue button up the top.

Grab a coffee and let's get into it.

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Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


If you’re going crazy at home, take a staycation in Canberra — the Government says it’s OK


Canberra 2600

If you’re going crazy at home, take a staycation in Canberra — the Government says you can.

In surprising news, the ACT’s acting chief health officer confirmed that “staycation” packages advertised by hotels were not banned, giving locals the green light to take up offers over the long weekend.

“The ACT Government understands the change that is being asked of Canberrans, particularly during holiday periods like Easter,” Dr Vanessa Johnston said in a statement today.

“‘Staycation’ packages are not prohibited and might provide relief and respite for people in crowded homes or who are worried about their mental health and wellbeing.

“If someone takes up this package, they must still practise good hand hygiene and maintain the physical distancing measures.”

External Link:

Latest coronavirus update from ACT Health.

In a marketing email to prospective guests, one hotel, Hotel Realm, said: “To our locals, we understand the pressures of living and working from home.”

“For those needing away time while not actually going ‘away’ we invite you to have a staycation.”

The hotel is also offering 24-hour room service and in-room exercise sessions.

But while the hotel industry has largely shut down during the coronavirus crisis, staycations are entirely legal.

“Businesses should make sure they are following government measures and advice to protect their employees and customers,” Dr Johnson said.

“If you do need to go out for essential reasons, like shopping, exercising, for medical reasons or to work, please limit the amount of interaction you have with other people.”

Coronavirus update: Follow the latest news in our daily wrap.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr spent much of the week urging Canberrans to stay at home — especially over coming Easter break — but said today that going to a hotel could still be “within the health guidelines”.

He also suggested people might want to use hotels as quiet workplaces, if they were struggling to be productive at home.

“Some people are finding that they don’t have enough computers or enough bandwidth at home and they need to do some work and acquire the space, and so that’s sort of appropriate and within the health guidelines,” he said.

“Similarly, a staycation might be appropriate in the context of respite, and a little bit of a break for people.

“I wouldn’t anticipate there being a massive demand, but there might be some circumstances in which it’s appropriate … All of the usual rules would apply around physical distancing and hygiene and the like.”

He expected greater demand for hotels as workplaces rather than as holiday breaks, to help parents “get a little bit of quiet time” for work.

What the experts are saying about coronavirus:

Meanwhile, the ACT recorded two new cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours. A total of 99 cases have now been confirmed in Canberra.

The new cases were both men: one aged in his 60s and the other in his 70s. One had travelled overseas recently while the other had been in close contact with someone infected earlier.

Police warn against speeding on empty roads



Photo:

ACT police are urging people not to speed on Canberra’s relatively empty roads. (ABC News: Ewan Gilbert)

Police confirmed today that no one in Canberra has yet been fined for breaching social distancing rules.

But ACT Chief Police Officer Ray Johnson warned people against trying to travel to the coast over Easter, saying New South Wales officers would be on the roads in large numbers.

He also said the average speed of cars in Canberra had increased “as a result of the lower number of cars on the road”.

Police had stopped two cars recently travelling at more than twice the speed limit: one was recorded speeding at 191kph in an 80kph zone; the other at 122kph in a 60kph zone.

“I spoke to one of our traffic members this morning — he reflected on the fact that he’d seen speeds much above 20kph over the speed limit,” Assistant Commissioner Johnson said.

“So I encourage you not to be thinking about that.

“If you’re out and about on the weekend doing what you appropriately and should be doing, don’t compound it by getting double demerit points and the fines that go with it.”

Helpline established

The ACT Government has also set up a helpline “to assist Canberrans through the challenges of COVID-19”.

The COVID-19 line will operate on (02) 6207 7244 between 8:00am and 8:00pm daily, and offer health advice, as well as information on stimulus spending and self-isolation.

Asked whether the Government was encouraging Canberrans to “dob” on those who breach infection control measures, Mr Barr said people could use the line to report “really bad behaviour”.

But he hoped most Canberrans would focus on their own conduct and what they could control.

“So focus mostly on your own personal response,” Mr Barr said.

Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreak


Video: The Virus: latest developments on COVID-19 for April 10

(ABC News)

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Canberra records its first coronavirus death as new cases slow overnight


ACT

A woman in her 80s who acquired COVID-19 overseas has become the first person in Canberra to die of the virus.

Key points:

  • The elderly woman, who died in Canberra Hospital over the weekend, was the first person to die of coronavirus in the ACT
  • Authorities say it is a “tragic reminder” of the necessity of social distancing
  • The ACT also recorded one new case of COVID-19 overnight, bringing the territory’s total to 78

ACT Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman confirmed today that the woman had died at Canberra Hospital over the weekend.

“This is the very sad reality of this disease, which is seeing the elderly at an increased risk of complications from COVID-19,” Dr Coleman said.

“My thoughts are with the family and friends of this person through such a difficult time.”

The woman is the 18th person in Australia to die from COVID-19.

External Link:

Latest coronavirus update for Canberra.

Dr Coleman said her death was a reminder of why new measures limiting gatherings to two people were needed.

“It is why we need everyone to take the social distancing measures we are implementing seriously,” Dr Coleman said.

“We need everyone to stay at home where possible, to practice good hygiene and to keep at least 1.5 metres away from others.”

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the health service also expressed its deepest sympathies.

Coronavirus update: Follow the latest news in our daily wrap

The woman was believed to have had pre-existing conditions that increased her vulnerability to the virus.

Ms Stephen-Smith confirmed the woman had contracted COVID-19 during overseas travel, but would not say whether she had been a passenger on a cruise ship.

“This is a small community and we really don’t want to release details in relation to this individual,” she said.

“[It is] a tragic reminder of just how serious this situation is — the ACT as a community is not immune.”

Coronavirus questions answered
Breaking down the latest news and research to understand how the world is living through an epidemic, this is the ABC’s Coronacast podcast.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said he also wanted to thank the health workers who were “dedicated” in their care for the woman.

Two cases in ACT still of unknown origin

There has been one new confirmed case of coronavirus in the ACT in the past 24 hours, bringing the territory’s total count to 78.

The new case is a woman in her 30s, who recently returned from travelling overseas.

There are currently six COVID-19 patients in Canberra Hospital, including two in intensive care.

ACT Health is still investigating how two of the territory’s cases came into contact with the virus, but is not yet prepared to declare the cases instances of community transmission.

“When we investigate a case, it can be quite a complex procedure in terms of trying to understand where they may have been exposed to the virus, and that can take several days or up to a week,” Dr Coleman said.

“Once we’re comfortable that we’ve sought down every little thread in which we think that we may have identified where the person became exposed, then we will close off that [investigation].”

Meanwhile, the virus’s impact on businesses in the ACT has also continued, with Aquis Entertainment announcing that Casino Canberra would be standing down 210 staff.

The casino has been closed since March 23, with the company telling the ASX that the decision represented a cut to 90 per cent of its workforce.

What the experts are saying about coronavirus:


Video: The rate of COVID-19 infections appears to be slowing but don't celebrate yet

(7.30)

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Regional Australia cops brunt of rainfall from ex-tropical cyclone Esther


Australia

Heavy rain from ex-tropical cyclone Esther has fallen across regional Australia overnight, and it’s set to continue.

Key points:

  • There has been heavy rainfall in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, the NT, the ACT and Tasmania
  • The weather is a result of ex-tropical cyclone Esther, which made landfall in February and has been making its way across Australia ever since
  • More rainfall is expected today and severe weather warnings are still in place across the country

After making landfall in the Gulf of Carpentaria on February 24, ex-tropical cyclone Esther made its way across to the West Australian coast before doing a U-turn and moving back over the Northern Territory.

New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, the ACT, the Northern Territory and Tasmania all copped a drenching.

In Victoria, State Emergency Service (SES) crews received at least 100 calls for help as the state received more than a month’s worth of flooding.

The worst hit areas were Wodonga in north-east Victoria, Kilmore north of Melbourne and the bayside suburb of Frankston.



Photo:

The flooding in Melbourne has affected tram lines. (ABC News: Pat McGrath)

In NSW a severe weather warning for heavy rainfall and damaging winds was this morning in place for much of the state’s west and the ACT, but were mostly cancelled in the afternoon.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Jiwon Park said widespread falls of between 40 and 70 millimetres were expected, but that falls of more than 100mm would be possible if there were thunderstorms.

In Sydney between 10 and 30 millimetres of rain was expected.

Mr Park said it would be the same in much of the state’s east.


Infographic:
There is more rain on the way for eastern Australia in the coming days.
(Supplied: BOM)

Roads closed in Central Australia

In Central Australia the heavy rain led to significant road closures.

An Emergency Operation Centre was set up in Alice Springs on Wednesday to coordinate the response to local flooding in the Tanami Desert in the NT’s centre.

The BOM warned that despite easing conditions, it could take several days for the flooded roads to reopen.

“We’re likely to see these flood watches continue for the next couple of days, however the severe weather associated — the heavy rainfall and damaging winds — is likely to start to ease,” meteorologist Chris Kent said.

Heavy overnight falls in Queensland, Tasmania

In Queensland, the best overnight falls were in the state’s south-west near the NT border, with 214mm recorded at Thargomindah in two days.

Earlier weather warnings for heavy rainfall and damaging winds had largely been cancelled by Thursday afternoon.




Photo:

There were grey skies in Australia’s southernmost capital. (Supplied: Kyla Judd)

Meanwhile, in Tasmania the state’s north east was bearing the brunt of the widespread rainfall.

The highest fall since in the state was 81 mm at Gray on the east coast since 9:00am on Wednesday.

There was heavy rain throughout the day in Hobart, making for a wet commute for CBD workers.

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Canberra records its hottest temperature as fire conditions keep authorities on edge


Canberra 2600

Canberra is in a state of alert amidst extreme bushfire danger that threatens to create disaster in the ACT if a fire were to break out.

Key points:

  • The ACT is in a state of alert due to extreme fire conditions expected today
  • There are currently no bushfires burning in the territory
  • Firefighters are concerned that any new ignitions will quickly become difficult to control

Shelves stocking bottled water have been stripped bare in some supermarkets and Canberrans are being urged to ensure their bushfire survival plans are ready to be actioned in the event of a fire.

Here’s why today is being taken so seriously, and what you need to know.

Are we in danger of fires?

As of Saturday evening, there are no fires burning in the ACT.

The territory has been heavily affected by smoke from fires burning in the surrounding region for nearly a month, but the blazes are out of range of the ACT and modelling conducted by the Emergency Services Agency (ESA) suggests those fires are very unlikely to reach the territory this weekend.

But authorities are concerned that new fires started by dry lightning strikes or arson could quickly become difficult to control.

Follow our live blog for updates on bushfires and evacuations.

Hot, dry conditions with winds from the northwest are headed for the territory, and predictions of 42C highs have been surpassed, with the ACT’s hottest ever temperature, 44.0C, recorded just after 4:00pm.

Today’s fire danger rating is extreme, and a total fire ban is in place until the end of the day.

“We’re keeping a close eye on the weather conditions, those conditions are quite unpredictable,” ESA Commissioner Georgeina Whelan said


Video: A grass fire was extinguished near Yarralumla overnight. (Supplied: Nazmul Hasan)

(ABC News)

Overnight, a grass fire was extinguished on Cotter Road near Yarralumla and Curtin, however it was an isolated incident and not linked to any bushfire activity.

Police said a 20-year-old Mawson man was apprehended near the scene of the fires, and had been charged with lighting a fire during a total fire ban.

What is a state of alert?

The ACT Government has declared a state of alert, effectively putting the territory on notice to be prepared for an emergency.

Firefighters on loan to other parts of the country where fires rage have been recalled to the ACT and other government service adjustments are being considered due to air quality concerns.



Photo:

Many Canberrans appear to be preparing for fire, with supermarkets sold out of bottled water. (Supplied: Matthew Guthrie)

Nature reserves will be closed until midnight, and some at-risk roads have been closed.

Canberrans appear to be taking the warnings from Government seriously; several supermarket shelves were yesterday stripped bare of bottled water.

The National Zoo and Aquarium has announced it will be closed tomorrow as a result of the extreme fire warning and continued poor air quality.

Staff will be on site to care for the animals.

How does this affect what’s happening in Canberra?

As mentioned, a total fire ban is in place, but the message at the moment is: be alert, not alarmed.

But while business as usual should somewhat continue, the ACT’s Chief Minister Andrew Barr has put pressure on the Summernats car festival to cancel planned burnout events.



Photo:

Summernats has fire crews on standby, but the Chief Minister wants burnouts to be postponed. (AAP: Lukas Coch)

“Our preference would be that they would come to that conclusion themselves as responsible mature adults, and I know that [Summernats co-owner] Andy Lopez is a responsible, mature adult,” Mr Barr said.

“He has the capacity to alter his program to meet the conditions and he should do so.”

But organisers are standing firm against Mr Barr’s request, saying it was more about political optics than safety, and noting the precautions that are put in place around burnout events.

“There is no risk for bushfires or anything coming from what we’re doing. We’ve put in the work and made the effort to make our activities safe, so we don’t see any reason not to proceed,” Mr Lopez said.

“Whilst it’s Minister Barr’s right to make those comments, he’s made those comments without any consultation with the Summernats about what that would mean and how that would shake out.”

Stay across our bushfire coverage:

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Canberra chokes through hazardous smoke, as ACT records worst-ever air quality


Canberra 2600

As south-eastern Australia continues to burn amid the bushfire crisis, smoke has crossed the Tasman to shroud New Zealand, and Canberra has recorded unprecedented smoke pollution.

Key points:

  • Canberra’s air quality index is 23 times the hazardous rating, rivalling some of the worst in the world
  • Heavy smoke from the NSW and Vic bushfires is also blanketing New Zealand
  • The ACT Government says it is the worst air quality ever recorded in Canberra

Canberrans woke up to a new year with air quality more than 22 times the hazardous rating.

Smoke from the NSW South Coast bushfires blanketed the capital overnight, with Canberra’s south the hardest hit.

The 2:00pm air quality index reading in the ACT’s southern station at Monash was 4,650 — more than 23 times the hazardous level of 200.

But the poor conditions did not stop at the border. Many parts of south-eastern Australia are also blanketed in smoke as fires rage on across NSW and Victoria.



Photo:

Satellite imagery showing the south-east drift of smoke from Australia to New Zealand. (Supplied: Bureau of Meteorology )

In Batemans Bay, where hundreds of homes and structures are believed to have been lost, the concentration of smoke particles in the air was nearly double that of Canberra.

External Link:

Getrochelle "his is smoke from the fires in Australia. Since the rain began the smell has become worse. If you have ever been in a burnt or smoke damaged building, that’s what it reminds me of out there today"

Goulburn, to Canberra’s north, also suffered poor air quality overnight with the air quality index hitting 2,075 at its worst.

NSW Health has set up special air quality monitoring stations in regional areas to monitor the effects of the bushfires.

But the impact is stretching beyond Australia, with those across the Tasman also noticing heavy smoke.

The huge cloud of smoke generated from the fires has travelled some 2,000 kilometres and blanketed New Zealand’s South Island.

Forecaster Tuporo Marsters from New Zealand’s MetServices said a strong north-westerly wind was blowing the smoke, which had reduced visibility to 10 kilometres in some areas.

“It’s appearing as an orangey haze across Christchurch and places like Timaru,” he said.

“It’s quite amazing.”

Mr Marsters said a cold front moving up the South Island was expected to gradually thin out the smoke-laden air.

Twitter user @getrochelle woke to heavy smoke over Port Chalmers in New Zealand, saying she could smell the smoke from Australia in the rain.

“Since the rain began the smell has become worse. If you have ever been in a burnt/smoke damaged building, that’s what it reminds me of out there today,” she posted.

Canberra readings off the charts

In the ACT, other air quality stations recorded ratings of 3,436 at Civic and 3,508 at Florey.



Photo:

The smoke turned the sky orange over Dunedin, New Zealand, with Twitter user @BeneHoltmann capturing this striking image. (Twitter: @BeneHoltmann)

ACT acting chief health officer Dr Paul Dugdale said the air quality was the worst ever recorded in the capital.

“It is in the highest range that we go up to … and in fact it was out of range overnight on one of our smoke detectors,” he said.

“It went off the scale on the small particles.

“It’s certainly extremely smoky as anyone can see looking outside.”

How to battle the ‘airpocalypse’
The message from authorities is simple: stay indoors and limit your exposure. But while that might work for a day or two, what happens when it becomes the new norm?

By 11:30am visibility remained extremely low and people in affected areas were advised to avoid outdoor activity.

“No heavy exercise outdoors — it’s not the day to start your New Year’s resolution with a morning jog,” Dr Dugdale said.

For those going outside, Dr Dugdale recommended wearing a P2 mask, which filters out small PM2.5 particles.

“A P2 mask will help reduce smoke intake into your lungs, but they can be a bit tricky to fit,” he said.

More bushfire coverage:

“The ordinary surgical masks probably don’t do anything particular for your health, but if it feels better and some people are finding comfort from them, then I’m not about to discourage that.”



Photo:

The shores of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra were eerily empty as smoke blanketed the water. (ABC News: Niki Burnside)

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


G Herbo – At The Light (Welcome To Fazoland Album)


[Verse 1]
So much money keep coming, I get it like "what I’ma do with that?"
Buy choppas and clips hold a hunnid, now what I’ma do with that?
Wonder who I’ma shoot with that
Ride through the 8 block and the Rugers clap
Call up J.Dot, broad day face shot
Hollows make his face drop, knock his noodles back
Now how true is that?
Yeah my niggas they doing that
All black, lets go do a hit
Hoodie on, they like "who is that?"
We at war, we got stupid shit
Talking 50 shot macs with the cooling kit
Fazoland where I’m cooling at
Bodies drop, I don’t got nothing to do with that
And man it’s crazy, that I ain’t even made it, but these niggas hate me
And I’m patient cuz I’m still in 1st place, but I ain’t even racing
I’m just sprinting to 100’s and 50’s and Beamers and Bentleys
Yea its with me, if you want it come get me
I move with that semi
Don’t come near me, cause I’ll act a fool with that semi
In that new SRT8 with a whole pint of drank and a tool in this hemi
Heater right on my lap yea so I’m cool in this Hemi
And when I stop at the light I make sure I grip tight on that pipe

[Hook]
I know niggas out for my life
Gotta look to my left and my right
I’ll be damned I get left at the light
Summertime, I remember them nights (2x)

[Verse 2]
Me and Kobe off ACT with the sprite
He just left and they took his life
Wish the lord woulda just let him fight
But don’t trip man its gon be aight
Cuz I got lil niggas tryna earn stripes
I could write them a check for your life
They might walk up and check you tonight
40 sneeze we gon’ bless you tonight
Mask up broski, lets do it right
Catch a crowd bring them choppas out
Ain’t no shooting out the car, nah bro’nem hopping out
Yea, smash on sight fuck the cops we gon’ pop it out
And we stay in the field, block busting I’m popping out
NO LIMIT’s what’s popping now
City love me, ain’t nun else to talk about
Labels all on my bumper now
Call Mikk like "bro, what they talking bout?"
If they ain’t talking them M’s, ain’t none else to talk about
Wait ’till my tape drop, watch the label start stalking now

[Hook]
I know niggas out for my life
Gotta look to my left and my right
I’ll be damned I get left at the light
Summertime, I remember them nights (2x)




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