NSW coronavirus death toll rises to 55, as man in his 70s dies of the disease


A man in his early 70s has died of coronavirus, Premier Gladys Berejiklian says, bringing the NSW death toll to 55.

His case was traced back to one of the Sydney CBD clusters.

He died yesterday at Sydney’s Royal North Shore hospital.

A total of 55 people have now died of coronavirus in NSW.

Ms Berejiklian confirmed two new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, one in hotel quarantine.

The other was a Sydney taxi driver who tested positive for coronavirus after working eight days while infectious and visiting several venues in Sydney and on the South Coast.

NSW Health said the confirmed coronavirus case drove in western and south-west Sydney on September 8-10 and 14-18.

People who rode in taxis in Moorebank, Bankstown, Chipping Norton, Liverpool, Lidcombe, Warwick Farm and Milperra may have been affected.

NSW Health confirmed they were working with 13CABS to contact passengers who were at risk of infection.

The confirmed COVID-19 case drove a taxi for over a week while infectious.(Supplied: NSW Government)

Health authorities said anyone who visited a list of six venues including restaurants, golf clubs and service clubs in Sydney’s west, south-west and on the South Coast, were also at risk.

People are considered a close contact of the taxi driver, and must seek testing and immediately isolate, if they spent more than an hour at:

  • Campbelltown Golf Club, Glen Alpine on September 16 from 2:00pm-4:30pm
  • Milton Ulladulla Ex Servos Club on 12 September 12 from 2:00pm-6:15pm
  • Carlo’s Italian Restaurante Bar & Seafood, Ulladulla on September 12 from 8:00pm-9:30pm
  • Bannisters Pavilion Rooftop Bar & Grill, Mollymook on September 13, 12:30pm-2:15pm
  • Mama Wok, MacArthur Square Campbelltown on September 9, from 1:30pm-2:30pm

“They must stay isolated for the entire period, even if a negative test result is received,” NSW Health’s Jeremy McAnulty said.

Anyone who visited the venues for less than an hour is considered a casual contact, which means they need to monitor for symptoms including a fever, dry cough or tiredness.

In addition to the above, people should monitor for symptoms if they visited:

  • Picnic Point Bowling Club on September 18 from 3:00pm-6:00pm
  • Campbelltown Golf Club on September 16 from 9:30am-2:00pm
  • Wray St Oyster Shed Batemans Bay on September 12 from 12:00pm-1:00pm

NSW Health said early investigations into the source of infection indicate the taxi driver may have caught the virus at Liverpool Hospital.

It’s the second time this weekend that a case has been linked to hospitals in Sydney.

On Saturday, health authorities confirmed just one coronavirus case from local transmission, a staff member who worked at Concord Hospital while infectious.

“The case cared for patients with COVID-19 and further investigation is underway to identify how the infection was acquired,” NSW Health said yesterday.

About 13,500 coronavirus swabs were completed yesterday, and Ms Berejiklian acknowledged testing rates dipped on the weekend.

“But it’s still a state of high alert for us in NSW,” she said.

Ms Berejiklian also announced NSW workers would be eligible for paid pandemic leave to the value of $1,500 if they were forced to take time off work for self-isolation.

“If you’re someone who has a job and you don’t have any leave left, you will be paid $1,500 for that fortnight you have to isolate,” Ms Berejiklian said.

Unions NSW said the decision was “welcome, if overdue”.

“No worker should ever have to choose between their health and their livelihood, a point we first made to the Premier months ago,” Union NSW’s Mark Morey said.

Restaurant with open buffet fined

Meanwhile a Korean BBQ restaurant in Strathfield has become the latest venue to be slugged with a $5,000 fine after inspectors found an open buffet where diners were sharing crockery, cutlery and food.

Inspectors visited Butchers Buffet on September 11 and found the restaurant was not spaced to allow a four-square-metre distance between tables.

They noted that there was no COVID-19 marshal on site, and no limit to the amount of patrons noted on the door.

Diners stood shoulder to shoulder while serving themselves at the buffet, sharing utensils.

people lining up blurred at a buffet
Butchers Buffet in Strathfield was one of 23 venues fined for COVID-19 breaches.(Supplied)

SafeWork NSW Director Work Health and Safety Metro, Sarina Wise, said she thought COVID-19 breaches “defied logic”.

“Self-serve buffets and pandemics simply don’t mix, creating a source of potentially contaminated items,” Ms Wise said.

“No self-serve, buffet-style food service areas are allowed including communal bar snacks and communal condiments.

“Sharing items on a buffet is clearly a direct line for COVID transmission.”

Inspectors from Liquor & Gaming NSW, SafeWork NSW and NSW Fair Trading this week dished out 23 new fines for restaurants breaking the rules.

Among them, Albion Hotel in Parramatta, Ashfield Bowling Club in Ashfield, Cafe on Monash in Gladesville, Commercial Hotel in Kingsgrove, Collector Hotel in Parramatta, Crown Hotel in Parramatta, Erciyes Turkish Restaurant in Redfern General Bourke in Parramatta, Glasgow Arms Hotel in Ultimo, Indian Leaf in Redfern, La Famiglia Ristorante & Pizzeria in Jindabyne, Lotus Barangaroo in Barangaroo, Maya Da Dhaba in Redfern, Mohr Fish in St Ives, Rosehill Hotel in Rosehill, Oscars Sports Hotel in Bankstown, Rosehill Hotel in Rosehill, Royal Hotel in Darlington, Ship Inn in Sydney, Southern Cross Hotel in St Peters, St Jude Café in Redfern, Thredbo Alpine Hotel and Zushi Restaurant in Barangaroo.

To date, hospitality businesses have been dealt 150 fines totalling $658,000.



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‘That ’70s Show’ actor Danny Masterson charged in three rape cases


“That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson has been charged with the rapes of three women in the early 2000s, Los Angeles prosecutors said Wednesday.

The three counts of rape by force or fear come after a three-year investigation of the 44-year-old Masterson. The charges were filed and an arrest warrant issued Tuesday. Masterson was taken into custody late Wednesday morning, jail records showed. He was being held on $3.3 million bail and is scheduled to be arraigned on Sept. 18.

Masterson’s attorney Tom Mesereau said his client is innocent, and “we’re confident that he will be exonerated when all the evidence finally comes to light and witnesses have the opportunity to testify.”

Prosecutors allege that Masterson raped a 23-year-old woman sometime in 2001, a 28-year-old woman in April of 2003, and a 23-year-old woman he had invited to his Hollywood Hills home between October and December of 2003.

If convicted, he could face up to 45 years in prison.

Prosecutors declined to file charges in two other Masterson cases that police had investigated, one because of insufficient evidence and the other because the statute of limitations had expired.

Masterson has been married to actor and model Bijou Phillips since 2011.

“Obviously, Mr. Masterson and his wife are in complete shock considering that these nearly 20-year old allegations are suddenly resulting in charges being filed, but they and their family are comforted knowing that ultimately the truth will come out,” said Mesereau, who has previously represented Michael Jackson and Bill Cosby in their trials for sexual crimes.

“The people who know Mr. Masterson know his character and know the allegations to be false.”

___

AP Television Writer Lynn Elber contributed to this report.

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Danny Masterson: That ’70s Show actor charged with raping three women | Ents & Arts News



The American actor Danny Masterson, star of the hit sitcom That ’70s Show, has been charged with forcibly raping three women in the early 2000s.

The 44-year-old was arrested by detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department’s robbery and homicide division on Wednesday and later released on bail.

Police opened an investigation into sexual assault allegations made against Masterson by four women in March 2017.

As a result of the allegations, he was written out of the Netflix comedy show The Ranch in December 2017. At the time, the actor said he was “very disappointed”.

The allegations emerged at the height of the MeToo movement as powerful figures in the entertainment industry, including Harvey Weinstein, were accused of sexual assault and harassment. Masterson was dropped by his talent agency after the allegations became public.

He now faces charges that he raped a 23-year-old woman between January and December 2001. He is also alleged to have raped a 28-year-old woman in April 2003 and a 23-year-old woman between October and December of that year.

Prosecutors say all of the incidents are alleged to have happened at Masterson’s home.

The actor has repeatedly denied the allegations. If he is found guilty, he could face a sentence of 45 years in prison. Two other investigations have been dropped, one for insufficient evidence, another because the statute of limitations has expired.

In a statement, his lawyer Thomas Mesereau said Masterson and his wife, the actress Bijou Philips, were in “complete shock”.

He said: “We’re confident that he will be exonerated when all the evidence finally comes to light and witnesses have the opportunity to testify.”

Masterson made his acting breakthrough in 90s hit ‘That ’70s Show. He featured in all eight series with the likes of Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis. Alongside his television and movie roles, he has worked a DJ in Los Angeles.

Last year four women filed a lawsuit against Masterson and the Church of Scientology alleging stalking and harassment following their allegations of sexual assault.

He will appear in court in Los Angeles for arraignment on the rape charges on 18 September.



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Vaccine trial extended to 10,000 people including over 70s and children



A prominent Oxford epidemiologist has called for a more rapid exit from Britain’s lockdown, saying the coronavirus pandemic is “on its way out” of Britain after infecting as much as half the population.

Professor Sunetra Gupta says there would be a “strong possibility” that pubs, nightclubs and restaurants in Britain could reopen without serious risk from Covid-19.

The professor of theoretical epidemiology at the University of Oxford said the UK had most likely erred on the side of over-reaction in its handling of the crisis, suggesting imposing the lockdown itself was one such misstep.

Prof Gupta told unherd.com the Government had brought in the lockdown based on the worst-case scenario modelling of the Imperial College London.

Prof Gupta said the epidemic had “largely come and is on its way out in this country” and she said the Government’s defence of the lockdown was that it was based on a plausible, “or at least a possible”, worst case scenario.

“The question is, should we act on a possible worst case scenario, given the costs of lockdown?

“It seems to me that given that the costs of lockdown are mounting, that case is becoming more and more fragile,” she said.

Prof Gupta called for a “more rapid exits from lockdown” based on factors such as “who is dying and what is happening to the death rates”.

“Remaining in a state of lockdown is extremely dangerous from the point of view of the vulnerability of the entire population to new pathogens,” she added.





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