NSW workers can now access $1500 COVID-19 disaster payment


From today workers in NSW will be able to access the same $1500 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment if they need to self-isolate for 14 days.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed Prime Minister Scott Morrison had given the lump sum payment the green light, telling reporters she wanted people to feel supported if they have to stop working and isolate because they have come into contact with a COVID-19 case.

“The support is there. We want to make sure, first and foremost, that those who need to isolate do so,” she said.

“Our first and foremost priority is to keep the community safe. If you have been asked to isolate whether you have been a close contact or whether you have symptoms or for any other reason, please follow those instructions and the government is here to support you.”

RELATED: Follow the latest coronavirus updates

The $1500 payment is available to workers who have exhausted their sick leave or don‘t have sick leave available and have been directed to self-isolate for 14 days by health authorities.

The financial relief was made available in Victoria last month, with Mr Morrison saying at the time it was to ensure there was “ no economic reason for you to go to work”.

Tasmanians can also access the lump sum and Western Australia also received the payment last week. All states are eligible it and can request access.

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan opted his state into the payment scheme despite no community transmission, telling reporters he wanted to be “prepared for the worst”.

“If we’ve learned anything from our counterparts on the east coast, it is complacency is deadly, complacency can bring down the state and will undo all the hard work each and every member of the community has given,” he said.

“The message is clear. Should you become sick with COVID-19 or have to care for someone with COVID-19 then you should absolutely not be working or considering returning to work until you have the all clear.

“I hope that Western Australians don’t have to take-up this payment arrangement however knowing it is available should we need it ensures we are prepared for the worst.”

“What we will be doing is establishing a pandemic leave disaster payment,’’ Mr Morrison said.

“What we’re dealing with here is a disaster. And we need a disaster payment when it comes for people who have to isolate for a period of 14 days through no fault of their own, regardless of their job — what job they’re in or employment they’re in – they need that support.”

NSW today recorded its first coronavirus death in five weeks, a man in his early 70s linked to the Sydney CBD cluster.

The state recorded two new COVID-19 cases; a taxi driver who had worked for several days while infectious across south-west Sydney and the south coast, as well as a returned traveller in quarantine.

In Victoria there was good news with just 14 new cases and five cases, the lowest coronavirus numbers in months.

WHERE IS THE PANDEMIC LEAVE DISASTER PAYMENT AVAILABLE?

The lump sum is available for workers in Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and now NSW.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR THE PAYMENT?

In order to be eligible you must have been directed to self-isolate or quarantine for 14 days by health authorities or be caring for someone with coronavirus and unable to earn an income as a result.

Those that can claim the payment are workers aged 17 and older that don‘t have leave entitlement such as carer’s leave, personal leave or pandemic sick leave.

Parents are eligible if they are caring for a child under the age of 16 who either has coronavirus or has been advised to self-isolate for 14 days.

People in a couple can both claim the $1500 payment.

FROM WHEN CAN I CLAIM THE PAYMENT?

In NSW anyone who fits the criteria and has been directed to self-isolate from September 17 is eligible for the lump sum.

Tasmanian workers have been able to claim the payment from August 22, Victoria from July 5 and Western Australia from September 11.



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Union Square Clock now counting down to climate disaster



Seven years, 105 days, and 22 hours. That’s one estimate of the time that the world has left, as of 4:00 pm today, before we run through our total carbon budget at current rates of emissions.

The Climate Clock is a new digital clock counting down the seconds that are left in the carbon budget—the amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted while still having a 67% chance of keeping the world under 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming. It’s now plastered on the side of a building in Union Square in New York City on the Metronome, a public artwork that previously displayed the time of day.

“We felt a monumental challenge like this needed something monumental in scale—a monument,” says Gan Golan, a designer and artist who collaborated on the project with climate artist and activist Andrew Boyd. “And we also wanted it to be in public, something that you couldn’t push out of sight, out of mind. We wanted something that would bring public attention to the climate on a daily basis, so it’s something that we can’t ignore.”

Keeping global warming under 1.5 degrees can help avoid some of the worst impacts of climate change. The clock shows just how little time is left to make that possible. “We have this incredible stark deadline that we have to reckon with,” Golan says. “But the good news is that the number isn’t zero. It’s clarifying this time window that we have to take bold action. And so we think of this not just as a deadline, but as a lifeline, as really outlining the opportunity that we have to make the kinds of bold, transformative change that is necessary.”

In an accompanying app, the artists include more detail about solutions. Another number tracks the current percentage of renewable energy in the world. An interactive tool shows how to “flatten the climate curve” and how much difference it makes to invest more now, and to move more quickly. A DIY maker kit explains how to make a countdown clock of your own. (The artists made one for Greta Thunberg at her request, and are hoping that more public clocks will be installed in other cities.)

As emissions drop, more time can be added to the clock. “This is not meant to be static,” says Golan.”This is not a statue just sitting there in our public environment. This is a dynamic message, and one that we hope people respond to so it becomes a catalyst for action. We’re hoping that the clock serves as a tool for climate organizations and advocates and activists to be able to reference to hold governments and hold corporations accountable. Because we can all point to this clock and say, This is how much time we have left. We all need to be doing more.”





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Huge fire breaks out in Beirut’s port a month after explosion disaster


A huge fire broke out Thursday at the Port of Beirut, the site of last month’s catastrophic explosion that killed nearly 200 people and devastated parts of the capital. The new fire nearly 40 days after the blast triggered widespread panic among traumatised residents of the area.

It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the fire at the facility, which was decimated by the August 4 explosion when nearly 3000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate detonated. The blast triggered a shock wave that blew out windows, doors and walls miles away and was felt as far away as the island of Cyprus.

A fire appears to have broken out in an area near Beirut’s port, a month after a horrific blast of nearly 3000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate flattened the Lebanese capital, killing 190 people and injuring more than 6000. (AP)
The Lebanese army said the fire is at a warehouse where oil and tires are placed in the duty free zone. Photo: Sam Tarling (Getty)

A column of thick black smoke billowed from the port at midday Thursday, with orange flames leaping from the ground. Smoke covered the capital and firefighters and ambulances rushed to the scene. Army helicopters were taking part in efforts to extinguish the fire.

“We opened all windows and are in the corridor right now,” said Dana Awad, a mother of two girls in a Beirut neighbourhood. “I am still feeling the earth shake. Living a flashback.” She was referring to the tremor that preceded the August 4 explosion.

Buildings lie in ruins at the city’s port, destroyed in Tuesdays explosion in Beirut, Lebanon. (Getty)

The Lebanese army said the fire started at a warehouse where oil and tires are placed in the duty free zone, adding that efforts to battle the fire were ongoing.

Panicked residents — still struggling to get over last month’s catastrophic explosion — cracked open windows and called and texted each other to warn them of the new danger. Local TV stations said companies that have offices near the port asked their employees to leave the area.

A video circulating on social media showed port workers running away in fear as soon as the fire broke out, a chilling reminder of last month’s blast that killed dozens of port employees and 10 firefighters. Lebanese troops closed the major road that passes near the port rerouting traffic to other areas.

The August 4 explosion killed more than 190 people, injured around 6500 and damaged thousands of buildings in the Lebanese capital. The explosion, the single most destructive blast in Lebanon’s history, is blamed on government negligence and mismanagement.

Lebanese speculated in the wake of Thursday’s fire that it could be an attempt to remove evidence of last month’s explosion from the scene. Some hid in bathrooms, others dropped what they were doing and rushed home.

The panic was compounded by the trauma from the August 4 explosion and the fear that more chemicals could be in the wreckage of the port. Earlier this month, the Lebanese army said it discovered more than 4 tonnes of ammonium nitrate in four containers stored near the port that it said were “dealt with.”

Days after the August 4 blast, French and Italian chemical experts working amid the remains of the port identified more than 20 containers carrying dangerous chemicals. The army later said that these containers were moved and stored safely in locations away from the port.

State-run National News Agency said the fire was at a warehouse where tires are placed. It added that firefighters are dealing with the blaze.

Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud and authorities called on people to stay away from roads leading to the port to allow fire engines to move quickly.

Port director Bassem al-Qaisi told Voice of Lebanon radio the fire started in a warehouse where barrels of cooking oil were placed and later spread nearby to where tires were piled.

“It is too early to now if it is the result of heat or some other mistake,” al-Qaissi said adding that the black smoke was from burning tires.

It was the second fire at the port this week. On Tuesday, a small fire erupted, also creating some panic, that was quickly extinguished.

– Reported with The Associated Press.



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For peat’s sake – Indonesia risks repeating an environmental disaster | Asia




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Preventing another Rio Tinto Juukan Gorge disaster


We need to articulate a progressive solution to ownership in the Pilbara — one that helps us prevent the loss of sacred sites like Juukan Gorge now and into the future, writes Dr Robert Wood.

IN A piece on the Yindibarndi’s court victory against Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest and another on what comes next for Banjima people after the destruction of sacred sites, I discussed the importance of negotiations between traditional owners and corporations in the Pilbara.

In that way, the Federal Government has been all but absent, which reflects my lived experience there. And yet, it is obvious that the Government is failing at its responsibilities to citizens and business. We must express a truer governmentality there in our ordinary lives — and in a way that respects sovereignty. Sovereignty, after all, is at the heart of these conversations, particularly as we come to think about life on the ground for traditional owners.

At a theoretical level, sovereignty is about power and control, and governance. It is about who gets a say in what happens every day and, in the case of the Pilbara, with resources. I support those actions there, just as I support the rights of Noongar people to determine what happens in the South West, where I currently live.

In that way, we must recognise that there is no going back to a mythical time and place, not even the 1946 Pilbara Strike. And so, what are we to do; how are we to collaborate on a shared vision of the future that addresses the power imbalance and allows us to look after the most vulnerable?

This is where Indigenous Australians need to be compensated better on the way to full sovereignty. This means rather than the fines for the destruction of cultural heritage sites going to the WA State Government, as they currently do, that companies should be required to give over the equivalent value in company shares. Why should they do this? They should give up part of the ownership because this is what they value most.

In the case of the Juukan Gorge, the Rio Tinto executives took a pay cut. Or rather, they missed out on the sum of their bonuses. At the time of writing this, no-one had lost their job though there have been rumbles from their superannuation fund investors that this is what is wanted. What if, instead of taking a $7 million haircut from the top bosses, Rio Tinto gave that value in company shares to traditional owners?

The critics will say that this just assimilates Aboriginal people to multinational corporations; this may not be the only way to read such an offer. It would also mean Rio Tinto becomes a more Aboriginal company in its ownership structure. And with that, there would be a change in power relations so that Indigenous Australians get a say in what happens. It is about working with an existing structure and providing a kind of internal logic that often escapes it and results in colossal failures like Juukan.

Sovereignty in the case of the Pilbara often means what happens with mining profits and, of course, what happens to the country itself. In thinking about sovereignty there, a proposed Pilbara “accord” where Native Title groups lobby to increase the required rates of royalty payments until they had more royalties than the companies themselves, may be one possible mechanism.

The other route to self-sufficiency is through owning the companies that operate there, not only their mine site operations and the ore they take from the ground but the companies themselves. This is a type of shareholder activism engaging with sovereignty questions in the Pilbara itself. That means there are many flanks in this war and the long history of independent political support up there would do well to learn from history and encourage traditional owners becoming owners once more.

Sovereignty in Australia matters everywhere we look, from Eora country to Yolgnu country to the Pilbara as a whole. But, just as each language group is distinct, each response and articulation of self-determination, of government is distinct as well. The approach Ngarluma people use might differ from that of Martu, precisely because their circumstances differ.

What we do know, though, is that all kinds of people must be along for the ride and this includes those who want to profit. All too often, sympathetic white liberals assume and project a green politics onto traditional owners, which means mining is anathema. Equally often, white unionists in solidarity assume and project an anti-capitalist ideology onto traditional owners, which means corporations are anathema.

Neither mining nor corporations are going to disappear from the Pilbara anytime soon. And if the use of ochre and the incorporation of groups after Mabo is anything to go by, Aboriginal people have adopted both mining and corporations to a degree that they are rendered traditional.

And so, as environmentalists and anti-mining activists do not often sit at mining company boardroom tables, it is upon us to articulate what a progressive solution to ownership in the Pilbara looks like. That might be where taking shares in Rio Tinto helps us prevent the loss of sacred sites like Juukan Gorge now and into the future.

Dr Robert Wood is chair of PEN Perth. A Malayali with East Indian Ocean connections, he lives on Noongar Country in Western Australia. The author of four books, Robert has held fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University.

The fight for the future of the Pilbara

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A summer break – In England, reopening has not been the disaster many feared | Britain


AT THE START of June, when England took a big step out of lockdown, many observers were nervous. Dissenting members of the official Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) warned the government that allowing people to mingle risked another flare-up. The new test-and-trace system, intended to squash outbreaks, had only just been established. Polling found that the public believed ministers were being insufficiently cautious.

The government’s decision to ease restrictions was a gamble, but one that has paid off. Following a small rise in July, the Office for National Statistics’ infection survey, which tests a sample of people in England and Wales each week, finds that the number of cases has since remained flat. Although there has been a gradual rise in the number of positive test results, much of this is accounted for by the fact that the number of tests has increased, meaning more asymptomatic cases are found and false positives recorded. Hospital admissions remain very low.

England has so far avoided the spikes seen recently in France and Spain, meaning it is now in a similar position to Germany (see chart). A recent study found that 6% of people in England have antibodies, which may offer some protection against the virus. There is huge uncertainty about the level at which herd immunity kicks in, but even London—where the study found 13% of people had antibodies—appears short of the most optimistic estimates.

The state has begun to do a better job at preventing covid-19’s spread. The test-and-trace system still has flaws, not least in the time it takes to get results from tests. But there is now a functioning system, which helps suppress the growth of cases, as do local restrictions where necessary. After a weak start, Britain is now a testing heavyweight. Over the last week for which there is data, it carried out 2.5 tests per 1,000 people, compared with 1.7 in Spain and Germany, and 1.8 in France.

Public caution has played a part in keeping cases down, too. According to Google’s mobility statistics, Britons are less likely to have returned to work than those in other big European countries; something the government, concerned by the economic implications, is now trying to change. John Edmunds, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and one of the dissenting SAGE members when restrictions were eased, notes that cross-country data imply “the release from lockdown has resulted in larger changes to at-risk behaviour [in Europe] than here.” It is unclear why this is.

With children returning to school and students to university, and people moving indoors as the weather cools, keeping cases down will soon become trickier. “I think although we’ve got a lot of testing going on, we probably don’t have anywhere near as much as we will need to manage the next month or so,” says Sir John Bell of the University of Oxford. There has been a worrying jump in cases in Scotland, and it will be difficult to avoid importing cases from parts of Europe that are currently seeing spikes, given the volume of summer travel. Removing restrictions went better than expected in England. That does not mean some will not have to be reimposed over the coming months.

Editor’s note: Some of our covid-19 coverage is free for readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. For more stories and our pandemic tracker, see our hub

This article appeared in the Britain section of the print edition under the headline “A summer break”

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Steve Forbes predicts Biden presidency would be ‘unmitigated disaster,’ bring return of ‘stagflation’


A Joe Biden presidency would be “an unmitigated disaster” for the American economy, Forbes magazine editor-in-chief and two-time GOP presidential candidate Steve Forbes told “The Ingraham Angle” Friday.

According to the independent Tax Foundation, Biden’s policies, which include raising taxes on individuals making more than $400,000 per year, would collect approximately $3.2 trillion over the following 10 years.

BIDEN WILL RAISE TAXES, ‘CRATER’ STOCK MARKET AND ECONOMY, SAYS KUDLOW

Forbes said such policies would “trash” the economy at a time when it would still be recovering from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

“This economy is recovering from those lockdowns, we’re making some good progress, but we are still convalescing,” Forbes said. “Those taxes would dry up investment at a time when Chinese companies are becoming more competitive in high tech — we are going to hurt venture capital and the like.

“He’s also going to bring back some of the ObamaCare taxes that the Republicans got rid of,” Forbes added. “This tax increase is going to hit everyone. When you have a lousy economy, that hurts people, they can’t get raises and wages, they don’t get jobs, they can’t get higher pay. This is going to be an unmitigated disaster.”

The publishing magnate told Ingraham that America would “hear a word again we haven’t heard for 40 years: stagflation — inflation and a stagnant economy. That’s what Biden is going to bring with this program of higher taxes and higher regulation.”

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“Stagflation,” a portmanteau of “stagnation” and “inflation” describes an economic situation in which a country’s inflation rate and unemployment level is high, and the rate of economic growth slows.

In the U.S., the term is commonly used as a catch-all to describe the recession that lasted from November 1973 to March 1975, the effects of which continued through the rest of the 1970s and into the early 1980s.



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Brexit: UK ‘sleepwalking into disaster’ over border plans, hauliers warn


Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionRod McKenzie says the government should “act now before it’s too late”

The UK is “sleepwalking into a disaster” over its border plans for the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December, road hauliers have warned.

Groups representing truckers have written to ministers warning of “severe” disruption to supply chains.

Rod McKenzie, from the Road Haulage Association, said the government should “act now before it’s too late”.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said they were working to ensure the “best systems are in place” at the border.

The government has also given itself powers to build temporary lorry parks in England without local approval.

But Mr McKenzie told BBC News: “It is a real case of the government sleepwalking to a disaster with the border preparations that we have, whether it is a deal or no-deal Brexit at the end of December.

“The supply chain on which we are all dependent to get the things we need could be disrupted and there is a lack of government focus and action on this.”

He added: “When we are trying to emerge from the crisis of covid, if we then plunge straight into a Brexit-related crisis, that will be a really difficult moment and we need real pace.

“The difference here is between a disaster area and a disaster area with rocket boosters on.”

Labour’s shadow cabinet office minister, Rachel Reeves, said the government “must urgently come forward with a plan to put workable solutions in place”.

‘Planning hasn’t stopped’

The UK left the European Union on 31 January, but a transition period – where the UK continues to follow some of the bloc’s rules – remains in place until 31 December while the two sides negotiate a trade agreement.

However, trade talks have been taking place since March and both sides have complained of little progress being made.

If a deal is not agreed and ratified by parliaments by the end of the year, the UK will go into 2021 trading with the bloc on World Trade Organization rules, which critics fear cause issues at the border.

In a letter to the Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, seen by Bloomberg, eight logistics organisations – including the Road Haulage Association – raised concerns over IT systems, the funding to train up customs agents and the pace of physical infrastructure being built.

They asked for an “urgent roundtable meeting” with Mr Gove, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the transport secretary, saying supply chain must be protected ahead of a potential second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Shapps said he regularly met the Road Haulage Association and wanted to reassure them “planning for the end of the transition period hasn’t stopped” during the coronavirus outbreak.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he “could not pre-empt the outcome” of trade talks with the EU, which he conceded created “some uncertainty”.

But, he said the government had kept supply changes going throughout the pandemic and “we are absolutely confident we will do that again in the future”.

Why could trade be disrupted?

Image copyright
Getty Images

Analysis by Sebastien Ash, BBC political analyst

On 1 January 2021, the way that UK businesses trade with the EU will fundamentally change.

It’ll mean new hurdles for traders to clear, including the need to fill in customs declarations – forms with detailed information on goods being imported and exported.

For the first six months of this new era – and whatever the outcome of the negotiations between the UK and the EU – goods entering the UK will not have to complete these processes, as they normally would, at the border.

Instead, the government is giving businesses time to file their paperwork and pay the duties they owe after the goods have entered the UK.

This exceptional measure is designed to mitigate the risk of delays for goods coming into the UK.

However, for goods being exported the concern is greater. The EU has said it will impose its normal controls. And on the UK side, key systems to manage the flow of lorries at the UK border and make sure consignments are cleared to proceed to the EU are not up and running.

The concern among the industry is that this could lead to lorries being refused entry onto ferries headed for the EU, long tail-backs at the ports through which much of the UK’s trade with the EU flows and slow down and disrupt the supply chains between UK and EU businesses.

In short, it becomes hard to conduct business as usual if you can’t get your goods to the customer.

Earlier this week, the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said the UK was risking leaving the transition period without a deal unless it began to compromise.

He said he was “worried and disappointed” about the lack of concessions from his British counterpart, David Frost, after a trade deal meeting on Tuesday.

No 10 said it was “clear” that a deal “will not be easy to achieve”.

Lorry park plans

The logistics industry letter came as the government gave itself powers to grant emergency planning permission for it to build temporary lorry parks and inspection posts in 29 councils areas across England, without the need for local approval.

The government said the lorry parks, which can stay in place until the end of 2025, would contribute to “an orderly transition to the new system of controls to secure the border” and would help to address the impact coronavirus may have had on port operators’ ability to provide the necessary infrastructure themselves, in time for the end of the transition period.

Areas affected by the law change – brought about through a statutory instrument – include Cheshire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, Devon, East Sussex.



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WHO warns easing coronavirus restrictions early is ‘recipe for disaster’


The World Health Organisation has issued a stark warning about easing COVID-19 restrictions too early as many countries, including Australia, are dealing with deadly second waves of the virus.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he understood people were tired of being in lockdown, but warned rushing to open the economy was a “recipe for disaster” if coronavirus transmission wasn’t under control.

“WHO fully supports efforts to re-open economies and societies. We want to see children returning to school and people returning to the workplace – but we want to see it done safely,’ Dr Tedros said during a media briefing on Monday.

“At the same time, no country can just pretend the pandemic is over. The reality is that this coronavirus spreads easily, it can be fatal to people of all ages, and most people remain susceptible.

“The more control countries have over the virus, the more they can open up. Opening up without having control is a recipe for disaster. It’s not one size fits all, it’s not all or nothing.”

RELATED: Follow our live coronavirus coverage

This warning comes as Victoria struggles with the growing pressure to lift it’s tough lockdown measures while still suppressing a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

Premier Daniel Andrews has continually told Victorian residents it is “too early” to ease restrictions right now or even have a clear understanding of when the state can start to reopen.

Even though the state’s daily COVID-19 cases were in the low 70s on Monday, Mr Andrews said he couldn’t rule out having to extend Melbourne’s strict stage four lockdown beyond the September 13 end date.

But to do this the government will need to be granted an extension on the state of emergency powers that allows for the legal framework behind most of the state’s restrictions, a move that has prompted outrage from the public.

“If we were to open up with numbers anything like what we have had, even with a really positive trend, then those numbers will explode,” Mr Andrews said.

“We will have a seesawing effect where the rules are on and off, that will do enormous damage and it of course means also that we are likely then to have many thousands of people needing hospitalisation and many people dying.”

RELATED: Radical plan to end lockdown faster

There has also been pressure from Prime Minister Scott Morrison for Australian states and territories to remove their hard borders, with the PM now putting a Christmas deadline on the restrictions.

“What we need to do is continue to focus on the road back. The restrictions in the arrangements we have today are not things we want to see by Christmas,” Mr Morrison said on Monday.

“What we want to know is what is going to happen when we get to know just September 1, but October 1, and November 1, and December 1 and January 1, because our economy needs to continue on the road back.”

ESSENTIAL STEPS TO REOPENING

Dr Tedros outlined the four essential things communities must focus on if they want to control the virus enough to start easing restrictions.

The first is to prevent large gatherings, with “explosive outbreaks” across the world linked to crowds at stadiums, nightclubs, places of worship and many other settings.

The WHO Director-General said there are some ways to hold large gatherings safely but the most effective way to reduce significant community transmission is to postpone these types of events.

The second step to reopening the community is to reduce the death rate by giving more protection to vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, people with underlying health conditions and essential workers.

“By protecting those who are most at risk, countries can save lives, prevent people becoming severely ill, and take the pressure off their health systems,” Dr Tedros said.

The third essential move is to ensure individuals comply with safety measures such as social distancing, washing their hands and wearing a mask.

Individuals are also urged to avoid the “three Cs”: closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings.

The fourth factor in safely easing restrictions is for governments to have a clear plan of action on how to find, isolate, test and care for COVID-19 cases, while also quickly tracing and quarantining close contacts.

“Widespread stay-at-home orders can be avoided if countries take temporary and geographically-targeted interventions,” Dr Tedros said.

Victorians are eagerly awaiting the reveal of their own roadmap out of lockdown, which Mr Andrews said would be announced on Sunday.

The premier hinted at what the reopening plan would entail but said it was “too early” to lock in the details, claiming another week of coronavirus data was needed to finalise the plan.

Some of the “key principles” the roadmap is expected to cover include:

• Ensuring physical distancing, with venues and businesses following density requirements and limited the number of staff and customers in an enclosed area.

• Making sure staff are working from home wherever possible.

• Wearing a face covering at all times in the workplace and ensuring full PPE is worn in high-risk settings.

• Having high-touch points regularly cleaned, ensuring staff are regularly washing their hands and having hand sanitisers available to staff and customers.

• Acting quickly if a staff member becomes unwell and ensuring they stay home and get tested, even with mild symptoms.

• Hospitality venues may be encouraged to introduce more outdoor eating and service to limit the number of people in enclosed spaces.

Mr Andrews said the current strategy was working to lower COVID-19 cases, but more still needed to be done.

“This strategy is working, but it is too early for us to either open up right now, or put forward a detailed road map as to what that opening up will look like,” he said.

“We will defeat this second wave, and if we do it properly and we will, with a phased appropriate, safe and steady opening up, then we will avoid a third wave.

“We will avoid again losing control of this virus, seeing thousands of people in hospital and hundreds of people losing their lives. That is what we are aiming for. A set of rules and opening up that lasts for a very short period of time, but instead, gradually working and finding that COVID normal.”



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Typhoon Maysak Carries Potential for ‘Major Disaster’ in Japan


A powerful typhoon approached the southern Japanese prefecture of Okinawa late on Monday, August 31. The Japan Meteorological Agency said on Monday that Typhoon Maysak could carry a threatening storm surge, heavy rain, and intense winds, potentially causing a “major disaster” in Okinawa. Typhoon Maysak was forecast to affect Japan overnight Monday into Tuesday and the Korean peninsula from Tuesday into Wednesday. US Air Base Kadena, in Okinawa, increased its readiness level, warning on Monday evening of sustained winds already upwards of 40mph. The typhoon was expected to pass southwest of the Kadena Air Base early on Tuesday, according to the US military. Sustained winds of 138 mph or more could be expected by 9 am, with gusts upwards of 167 mph, according to reports. As of Monday evening, the high winds from Maysak had already caused damage to buildings in Okinawa. This footage shows strong wind and rain in Okinawa late on the afternoon of August 21. Credit: D’Nache Wright via Storyful



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