As it happened: Victoria records 11 new COVID-19 cases as NSW transmission extends to Macquarie University; Trump returns to Oval Office as Australian death toll stands at 897

As it happened: Victoria records 11 new COVID-19 cases as NSW transmission extends to Macquarie University; Trump returns to Oval Office as Australian death toll stands at 897

October 8, 2020

Summary

  • Victoria will not follow the NSW quarantine model by telling anyone linked to a coronavirus outbreak to self-isolate for 14 days even if their initial COVID-19 test result is negative.
  • NSW has recorded eight cases of local transmission as Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s patience for businesses that do not have COVID-safe plans wears thin.
  • Blood plasma giant CSL has confirmed the deal with the Australian government to produce the University of Queensland’s COVID-19 vaccine has been sealed, with the next stage of trials planned to start in December.
  • US President Donald Trump has described his COVID-19 infection as a “blessing from God” in a new video filmed outside the White House in which he promises to make the experimental drug he received available for free to all Americans.

Signing off and closing down the blog

David Estcourt here closing down the coronavirus blog. We’ll be back on Friday at 7am.

Thursday rounded out with Labor leader Anthony Albanese pitching his COVID-19 rejuvenation plan – promising a universal childcare subsidy to help more people into jobs in the recovery from recession.

The measure sets up a clear clash with the Morrison government over economic gains for women, an element of the Coalition’s budget that was criticised.

In other news:

  • NSW recorded 12 new coronavirus cases. Four were in hotel quarantine and eight were locally acquired, including the three reported in the media yesterday.
  • Victoria will not follow the NSW quarantine model of telling anyone linked to a coronavirus outbreak to self-isolate for 14 days even if their initial COVID-19 test result is negative.
  • Two new mystery cases among recent COVID-19 infections in Victoria have been confirmed in the past 24 hours, analysis of the state's health department data shows.
  • A communication breakdown has occurred between the Queensland and NSW premiers, as the NSW government grows increasingly frustrated by its northern neighbour's border closure.
  • Turns out people are not very good at thinking about how to accurately rate risks associated with catching COVID.
  • The Morrison government has given the suppliers of two COVID-19 vaccines indemnity against prosecution for rare side effects that experts say are "inevitable" when a vaccine is rolled out.
  • A string of royal commissions, specialist advice to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and substantial measures aimed at helping the economy have sharply increased the financial risks facing the federal budget.
  • Young casual workers laid off because they did not qualify for JobKeeper are primed to benefit from the government's $200 weekly JobMaker hiring subsidies.

Night all.

NSW Health attempting to identify visitors to inner-Sydney restaurant

NSW Health are working with an inner-Sydney restaurant to assess the risk of patrons after a confirmed COVID-19 case visited on Sunday.

Anyone who was at Monopole Restaurant, Potts Point from 6 to 8pm on the evening of Sunday October 4 should monitor for symptoms, as NSW Health say they will contact close and casual contacts directly.

Anyone who travelled on the following public transport is considered a casual contact and must monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if they develop.

  • Train from Parramatta at 14:41 arriving Town Hall 15:31 on 4th October
  • Train from Town Hall at 17:29 arriving Kings Cross 17:50 on 4th October
  • Train from Artarmon at 23:18 arriving Central 23:48 on 5th October
  • Bus replacement from Central at 23:48 arriving Strathfield 00:15 on 5th October
  • Train from Strathfield at 00:15 arriving Parramatta 00:45 on 5th October
  • Bus 550 from Epping Station, Beecroft Rd, Stand D at 17:08 to Smith St after Phillip St, Parramatta 17:41 on 6th October
  • Train from Moss Vale 04:52 arriving Liverpool 07:09 on 6th October
  • Train from Liverpool 16:58 arriving Moss Vale 19:12 on 6th October
  • Train from Moss Vale 04:51 arriving Liverpool 07:08 on 7th October
  • Train from Campbelltown 13:31 arriving Moss Vale 15:50 on 7th October

Labor promises Centre for Disease Control, integrity commission

Labor leader Anthony Albanese has said that Australia’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated that aspects of our healthcare system was unprepared.

“It's also the case that our pandemic preparedness was poor,” he said.

“The last time we had a national pandemic preparedness exercise – best practice – was run by the Rudd government back in 2008.”

“A Labor government will establish an Australian Centre for Disease Control to bring us into line with other advanced economies.

"We're the only country in the OECD that doesn't have one."

Labor have also promised to establish a federal anti-corruption body after promises to have one established have not materialised.

“A Labor government will deliver a national anti-corruption body to restore faith in our democracy,” he said.

Labor’s jobs pitch, the ‘Australian Skills Guarantee’

Labor leader Anthony Albanese has pitched his jobs plan in his budget reply speech.

One aspect includes a measure he’s dubbed the ‘Australian Skills Guarantee,’ anchored in a plan to upskill Australians working on work sites that receive government funding.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“Every year, the Commonwealth spends billions of taxpayer dollars on building and upgrading roads, maintaining railways, and repairing bridges,” Mr Albanese said.

“To deliver maximum public value for money, Labor will create an Australian Skills Guarantee, and every major work site receiving federal government funding, 1 out of 10 workers employed will be an apprentice, a trainee, or a cadet.

“These common-sense measures will train tens of thousands of workers.

“We will also consider how this principle can be extended to federal government subsidised sectors like aged care, disability care and childcare, in cooperation with providers,” he said.

He said Labor also has a plan to invest widely in repairing existing and building new social housing.

"These are people's homes. And there's a job-creation plan that is ready and waiting in every city and town," he said.

"Tradies could be ordering from suppliers today – they could be on site tomorrow.

"Almost 200,000 Australians are on waiting lists for social housing. I grew up in public housing. I know that, when you don't have much, having a roof over your head provides security and makes all the difference to your life.

"So many economists have identified investing in social housing as the best way to provide immediate stimulus to the economy."

Albanese pledges universal childcare subsidy in budget reply

Families are being promised a universal childcare subsidy in a Labor pledge to help more people into jobs in the recovery from recession, setting up a clash with the Morrison government over economic gains for women.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese is pitching the plan as a saving worth $600 to $2900 every year for almost every family with children in care, accusing the government of leaving women behind in this week's federal budget.

“It's working mums who cop the worst of it,” the Labor leader said.

“For millions of working women, it's simply not worth working more than three days a week.

“This derails careers, it deprives working women of opportunities they've earned, and it costs workplaces,” he said.

The proposal is the centrepiece of a Labor budget reply that also promises $20 billion to upgrade the electricity grid in a mammoth works program using Australian steel and aluminium.

In a "made in Australia" pitch, Mr Albanese also calls for government spending to be used to favour local manufacturing such as making trains for new rail networks and defence equipment for the military.

Mr Albanese dismissed the government's budget as an "incoherent grab bag" of proposals and called for bigger ambitions to rebuild the country from recession with "strength and fairness" as guiding principles."

This is an opportunity to reset and renew," he told Parliament in his budget reply on Thursday night.

Vaccine expert warns against complacency

One of Australia’s leading epidemiologists has again warned against complacency, citing outbreaks around the world a cautionary tale.

Raina MacIntyre is an epidemiologist and professor of global biosecurity at the UNSW’s Kirby Institute.

In an interview with the Australian Academy of Science, Professor MacIntyre warned people against getting ahead of themselves, despite the progress being made.

"We're still in the middle of a pandemic and it's actually worse today around the world than it was back in March or April," she said.

"So there's always a risk that infection can be reintroduced, and set off community transmission in Australia."

Professor MacIntyre said that the precautions people take in the immediate future will determine how severely an epidemic could grow.

"If people are being cautious, keeping their distance, wearing masks and generally being careful, then even if infection is introduced into the community, hopefully it won't take off as badly."

She said that a vaccine was probably likely in the first half of next year – but that supply and efficacy could be issues.

"You need a vaccine that's at least 70 to 80 per cent protective to be able to achieve herd immunity … However, if you've got a vaccine that's low efficacy, you can still achieve a good outcome if the vaccine reduces the severity of the disease."

She said that the drug Remdesivir was the "most promising" drug that scientists have looked into so far.

"The drug Remdesivir does have phase 3 clinical trials, which is the sort of ultimate evidence that we look for, which is showing protection in people, in human beings, from the effects of the disease – and that does show a modest benefit in terms of making the time to recovery faster," she said.

‘This budget leaves people behind’: Albanese

Labor leader Anthony Albanese has taken the opportunity to criticise the Morrison government’s Wednesday budget as one that leaves too many people behind.

The merits of tax cuts and youth wage subsidies as well as the role of assumptions about the passage of the coronavirus have dominated public discussion following the release of the federal budget.

Anthony Albanese.Credit:Alex Ellighausen.

The budget released on Tuesday night featured billions of dollars in spending to boost the economy including tax cuts and the establishment of the JobMaker employment subsidy for young people.

Mr Albanese said older Australians are being treated “without the respect and dignity they deserve”.

“If you're over 35, you have certainly been left behind. This week, your wage subsidy was cut. In March, your wage subsidy disappears,” he said.

“If you're unemployed then, you get $40 a day and are forced into poverty.

“Then you will compete to get a job with people who will have their wages subsidised. A quadruple whammy from the Morrison government.”

Anthony Albanese gives Labor's budget reply

The Opposition Leader gives Labor's economic recovery pitch after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If an infected person walks past you on the street, they move past so quickly your chances of catching COVID-19 from them are low.Credit:Luis Ascui

But he sees those same people not wearing their masks properly. Or hopping on a crowded tram. Or heading to the office. Or – in Sydney at least – going to the pub.

The problem, says Dr Vally – an associate professor of epidemiology at La Trobe University – is that humans are not very good at thinking about risk.

And given we’re probably going to be living with COVID-19 for a long time, we need to get better at it.

“I still feel there are a lot of people who think of risk in terms of this binary framework: something is either risky or completely safe," Dr Vally says.

Read Liam’s full story here.

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