Australia news live: health officials say hotel quarantine ‘fit for purpose’; Port Arthur massacre commemorated | Australia news


The World Health Organisation issued its latest epidemiological update overnight, and it makes for concerning reading. It says that globally, new Covid-19 cases increased for the ninth consecutive week, with nearly 5.7 million new cases reported in the last week – surpassing previous peaks.

The number of new deaths increased for the sixth consecutive week, with over 87 000 new deaths reported.

The report said:

While a number of countries in the region are reporting upward trends, India accounts for the vast majority of cases from this regional trend and 38% of global cases reported in the past week.

Similarly, all but two regions, South-East Asia and Eastern Mediterranean, reported declines in new deaths this week.

The highest numbers of new cases were reported from India (2,172, 063 new cases; 52% increase), the US (406,001 new cases; 15% decrease), Brazil (404,623 new cases; 12% decrease), Turkey (378,771 new cases; 9% decrease), and France (211,674 new cases; 9% decrease).

Virus evolution is expected and the more the virus circulates, the more opportunities it has to mutate, the report says.

The Crown Resorts executive chair, former Howard era minister Helen Coonan, has responded to the Victorian casino regulator slapping the company with a $1m fine for failing to properly control junket operators yesterday.

You may remember that in February an inquiry in NSW found that junket operators who brought high rollers to Crown’s Melbourne and Perth casinos were linked to organised crime.

In a statement to the ASX, Coonan said:

Crown continues to engage with the VCGLR and the Victorian Government in relation to its reform agenda.

These reforms and changes to our business are aimed at delivering the highest standards of governance and compliance as we restore public and regulatory confidence in our operations.

As part of this reform agenda, Crown has already ceased dealing with all junket operators.

As mentioned earlier in the blog, the chief medical officer Professor Paul Kelly fronted the Covid committee hearing last night, saying while hotel quarantine could be improved, the system was nonetheless fit for purpose and he was not aware of any plans to create new purpose-built facilities, despite estimates from the Australian Medical Association president that the system might be needed until at least the end of next year.

He was also questioned about airborne transmission, which has been a hot topic following the latest hotel quarantine outbreak in Western Australia. Kelly told the committee;

There is no question, and never has been a question, right throughout this pandemic that aerosols do play a part in the transmission of this virus.

This was particularly the case indoors when many people were positive with the virus and in places with inadequate ventilation – such as some hotel quarantine facilities. But, Kelly said, it was not the key form of transmission.

This idea that the commonwealth government … are all denying that aerosols are important is ridiculous and false.

You can read our explainer on aerosol spread and why it’s become a topic of discussion again here:

Queensland reports no local Covid cases but nine in hotel quarnatine


Victorian off-duty police suspended after chase



Ongoing black deaths in custody are a “national crisis” that requires urgent action, the Greens senator, Lidia Thorpe, has said, after confirmation of deaths in Victoria and NSW.

Seven Aboriginal people have died in custody across Australia in the past two months. Four of the deaths were in NSW jails.

An Indigenous man died at Port Phillip prison in Melbourne’s west on Monday night, Corrections Victoria said. It is believed he suffered a medical episode. A smoking ceremony was being arranged.

Separately, NSW authorities confirmed that a 37-year-old man had been found dead in his cell at Cessnock correctional centre on Tuesday morning.

“Another two people dead. More suffering and more pain,” said Thorpe, a Gunnai Gunditjmara DjabWurrung woman.

You can read the full report below:


Man dies during arrest in Victoria


An environmental consultant who holds interests in a property that made more than $40m selling conservation offsets to governments is part of a consortium that has made tens of millions of dollars more, Guardian Australia can reveal.

Steven House is a former director of Eco Logical Australia, a firm that advised governments on major projects in western Sydney.

He is also a director of Meridolum No 1 – a company that Guardian Australia revealed had made more than $40m selling offsets for infrastructure projects that Eco Logical, which employed two of Meridolum’s directors, provided offset advice on.

The directors denied any suggestion of wrongdoing or conflict of interest and said they had made the appropriate declarations.

You can read the full report below:


Victoria records no local Covid cases



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