Another Drug Lab Scandal — One That Took Kids From Their Parents — Ends In Prison Time

from the behold-the-motherfuckery-of-your-tax-dollars-at-work dept

Another horror story involving the government and a drug-testing lab is finally coming to a close. And the owner of the drug lab is going to jail.

Unlike others we’ve covered, this drug lab didn’t contain employees who falsified drug tests that landed people in jail. But the outcome for the innocent was nearly as miserable. Faked drug tests performed by Brandy Murrah, the owner of A & J Lab Collections, resulted in parents losing their children.

As Ozark police continue to investigate reports of falsified drug and paternity cases involving a company contracted by the Department of Human Resources, families are coming forward with claims forged documents impacted their homes.

Jennifer Seavers is one of them.

“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t cry, and I just want to bring my babies home as any parent would want to do,” Seavers said.

Seavers says she used the Department of Human Resource’s Pike County drug testing vendor, Brandy Murrah of A & J Lab Collections, as part of her custody battle for her youngest girls, Madilyn and Jennifer Grace.

Seavers said Murrah provided false positive drug tests, which prompted a judge to order restrictions on her access to her children – further complicating the custody battle.

This victim dug into the lab work supposedly performed by Murrah and found her test had been faked. The doctor that supposedly signed off on it had never seen the paperwork or reports generated by Murrah, who forged the doctor’s signature on the documents.

The county also began digging into Murrah’s drug testing and found more of the same.

Murrah had an agreement with the Dale County Department of Human Resources to perform drugs test on individuals involved in dependency, or custody, cases. She was not involved in any criminal cases.

Investigators said they launched their probe May 2 after evidence of drug screening reports that were provided to the Dale County Department of Human Resources by Murrah were found to be falsified. Ozark police Sgt. Cody Evans said multiple other drug screening reports provided to DHR are also believed to have been forged by Murrah.

It’s unclear whether Murrah’s actions were prompted by animosity towards her victims or just plain laziness. It really doesn’t matter. Her actions ripped families apart and destroyed people’s futures. But in the end, at least some justice was served.

Judge William Filmore decided Murrah, the former owner of an Ozark lab test collection company, will spend 15 years in prison after hearing testimony from those who said she falsified lab reports that led to their children being taken away.

Murrah pleaded guilty in September, agreeing to 15 years on a felony charge of perjury and 12 months on each of 16 misdemeanor counts of forgery to run concurrently.

This will give victims some closure. But it will only provide limited comfort. Their lives went through serious upheaval. Seavers isn’t the only victim. Grace Newton went through the same nightmare. She fought through her drug problems to get her kids back only to have the state take away her three-month-old infant after a drug test handled by Murrah came back positive. This was reversed after a negative drug test, but for three weeks, the state became her baby’s new parent, thanks to Murrah.

But here’s the thing: it shouldn’t take citizens wronged by a government contractor to suss out malfeasance and wrongdoing. The system residents are paying for with their tax dollars needs to be more proactive with its oversight. Rigorous oversight is difficult. But, ultimately, it’s worth the time and effort. It’s better to be perceived as skeptical than as a group of public servants willing to throw the public to the subcontracted wolves.

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

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Filed Under: brandy murrah, drug testing lab, forged results, law enforcement
Companies: a&j lab collections

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The Muscle Lab is Open


Cody Haun is the epitome of a 21st century strength scientists. As he ventures out on his own, leaving academia for private practice, he is set up to track, analyze, and assess every aspect of your training and nutrition.



In this episode, we geek out about:


  • Inter-individual heterogeneity and response to training and nutrition
  • Starting a research and training practice
  • Case studies, database processes, and accountability to trainees
  • Ultrasound units, portable metabolic analyzers, and the tools of the trade


If you enjoyed this podcast and took value from it, please rate and review to help us spread the word to motivate and inspire others to take their performance to the next level.


For more podcasts like this, visit the Breaking Muscle Six Pack of Knowledge page. Find all out podcasts on most streaming services available including: iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, YouTube, Stitcher, PlayerFM, and PodBean.


I am the host, Tom MacCormick and I am a personal trainer and online coach whose goal is to be the curator of the greatest hypertrophy experts on the planet. If you are interested in working with me or finding out more about me then follow me on Instagram @tommaccormick.

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China launches mobile COVID-19 testing lab

BEIJING, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) — The following are the updates on the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

– – – –

CANBERRA — Leaders of seven of Australia’s eight states and territories have agreed in principle to a plan to open their borders by the end of this year.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday chaired a meeting of the National Cabinet at which the local leaders, with the exception of West Australian Premier Mark McGowan, agreed to open up the country by Christmas on Dec. 25.

– – – –

BEIJING — Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus epidemic, waiting in long queues for a COVID-19 test has been a major hurdle in getting tested. However, the advent of a mobile laboratory may help alleviate the problem.

A team of researchers from Tsinghua University and the university-affiliated Beijing CapitalBio Technology Co., Ltd has developed a mobile testing van, called COVID-19 Mobile Laboratory. The lab can analyze nucleic acid samples on the spot immediately, allowing people to obtain results within 45 minutes, much faster than before.

– – – –

MOSCOW — Russia registered 17,340 COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, a new daily record as the pandemic resurges, the country’s COVID-19 response center said Friday.

Russia’s cumulative number of coronavirus cases has grown to 1,480,646, including 25,525 deaths and 1,119,251 recoveries, the center said in a statement.

– – – –

JAKARTA — The COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 4,369 within one day to 381,910, with the death toll adding by 118 to 13,077, the health ministry said on Friday.

According to the ministry, 4,094 more people were discharged from hospitals, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 305,100.

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Two men charged over ‘sophisticated’ drug lab

Both men were taken to Liverpool police station where Mr Jolley was charged with manufacturing a large commercial quantity of prohibited drugs.

Mr El Badar was charged with taking part in manufacturing a prohibited drug.

The alleged drug lab, located in Sydney’s south-west, will take police several days to dismantle given the size of the set-up.Credit:NSW Police

Following Mr Jolley’s arrest, investigators searched the Moorebank property and three homes, in Minto Heights, Lugarno and Mount Hunter, all in Sydney’s south-west.

During the search at the Moorebank property, officers allegedly seized more than 4.5 kilograms of methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), which had the potential to produce upwards of 200,000 pills, with an estimated street value of more than $4 million.

MDA is part of the ecstasy drug family, which also includes MDMA.

Police also allegedly seized more than 200 items, including a significant quantity of chemicals, precursors and solvents, as well as equipment used to manufacture prohibited drugs.

NSW Police drug and firearms squad commander Detective acting Superintendent Jayne Doherty said the drugs were commonly used at music festivals or nightclubs.

Given the size of the set-up, she added it would take police a number of days to dismantle it.

“Initial inquiries into the clandestine laboratory suggests the operations of these men were planned and well-established,” she said.

“The laboratory itself was sophisticated in its design and contained significant quantities of chemicals and solvents used to manufacture prohibited drugs – in particular MDA.”

“The efforts of investigators have disrupted what could have led to the large-scale supply of prohibited drugs in the community and, together with officers across the state, we will continue to target drug supply on all levels.”

During the search of the homes in Minto Heights and Lugarno, police allegedly seized a firearm, an electronic stun device and ammunition. They also allegedly seized electronic devices, documentation and an amount of methylamphetamine.

All items will undergo further examination.

Acting Superintendent Doherty said police would allege Mr Jolley and Mr El Badar were involved in the manufacturing of prohibited drugs from the Moorebank unit.

She added that investigations were continuing and further arrests could be made.

“Our investigations don’t stop at the arrest, so we continue to look at the supply chain that they were involved in and any other persons that were involved in the manufacturing, or prior to that, in supplying the chemicals and the reaction vessels,” she said.

Both men appeared in Liverpool Local Court on Thursday.

They did not apply for bail and it was formally refused.

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IBM has built a new drug-making lab entirely in the cloud

The news: IBM has built a new chemistry lab called RoboRXN in the cloud. It combines AI models, a cloud computing platform, and robots to help scientists design and synthesize new molecules while working from home.

How it works: The online lab platform allows scientists to log on through a web browser. On a blank canvas, they draw the skeletal structure of the molecular compounds they want to make, and the platform uses machine learning to predict the ingredients required and the order in which they should be mixed. It then sends the instructions to a robot in a remote lab to execute. Once the experiment is done, the platform sends a report to the scientists with the results.

The online platform lets scientists draw the skeletal structure of the molecular compounds they want to make.


Why it matters: New drugs and materials traditionally require an average of 10 years and $10 million to discover and bring to market. Much of that time is taken up by the laborious repetition of experiments to synthesize new compounds and learn from trial and error. IBM hopes that a platform like RoboRXN could dramatically speed up that process by predicting the recipes for compounds and automating experiments. In theory, it would lower the costs of drug development and allow scientists to react faster to health crises like the current pandemic, in which social distancing requirements have caused slowdowns in lab work.

Not alone: IBM is not the only one hoping to use AI and robotics to accelerate chemical synthesis. A number of academic labs and startups are also working toward the same goal. But the concept of allowing users to submit molecules remotely and receive analysis on the synthesized molecule is a valuable addition of IBM’s platform, says Jill Becker, the CEO of one startup, Kebotix: “With RoboRXN, IBM takes an important step to speed up discovery.”

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NFL Has 77 Apparently False Positive COVID-19 Tests from Lab

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL had 77 positive COVID-19 tests from 11 teams re-examined by a New Jersey lab after false positives, and all those tests came back negative.

The league asked the New Jersey lab BioReference to investigate the results, and those 77 tests are being re-tested once more to make sure they were false positives.

Among teams reporting false positives, the Minnesota Vikings said they had 12, the New York Jets 10 and the Chicago Bears nine.

The Jets canceled a walk-through Saturday night but had a full practice Sunday morning after the previously positive tests came back negative. The Bears moved their practice scheduled for Sunday morning to the afternoon.

The Detroit Lions had a player with a false positive test from the same lab in New Jersey and he was held out of practice Sunday, a league source told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the league and team were not disclosing test results.

The Pittsburgh Steelers said they had six false positives and those players will be back at practice Monday. The Philadelphia Eagles held out four players from working out Sunday. The Cleveland Browns initially canceled practice, but after re-testing turned up negative tests they decided to have their workout.

There are five labs nationwide that service the 32 teams, with only the New Jersey facility having the false positives this weekend.

The number of positive COVID-19 tests from a specific facility that might actually be false demonstrates the precarious position the NFL is in less than three weeks from the regular-season opener.

“Definitely probably better that this happened now than three weeks from now,” said Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane, whose club had some of those positive results. “But it seems like every few weeks, or even every week, something’s going on. Who know what the next curveball will be?”

Beane said tests in the Northeast had gone “haywire,” and called it “a lab issue and not a true issue with our guys currently” after several Bills were held out of practice.

Anyone testing positive for COVID-19 — even a false positive upon a retest — is required to have two more negative tests before being cleared to return.

The NFL uses BioReference for all of its COVID-19 testing, though tests are handled by labs throughout the nation to ensure teams get results quickly — hopefully within 24 hours. Heading into this weekend, there had been four confirmed positive tests for players who were at training camps.

“Clubs are taking immediate precautionary measures as outlined in the NFL-NFLPA’s health and safety protocols to include contact tracing, isolation of individuals and temporarily adjusting the schedule, where appropriate,” the NFL said in a statement. “The other laboratories used for NFL testing have not had similar results.”

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Labster lands new cash to bring its virtual reality science lab software to Asia – TechCrunch

You could Zoom call into your science class, or you could conduct a lab experiment in virtual reality. During the coronavirus pandemic, the latter has never felt more full of potential.

The global need for learning solutions beyond Zoom is precisely why Labster, a Copenhagen-based startup that helps individuals engage in STEM lab scenarios using virtual reality, is growing rapidly. Since March, the usage of Labster’s VR product has increased 15X.

On the heels of this unprecedented momentum, Labster joins a chorus of edtech startups raising right now, and announced it has brought on $9 million in equity venture funding. The round was led by GGV, with participation from existing investors Owl Ventures, Balderton and Northzone.

“COVID-19 has been a great awareness builder of Labster, opening teachers’ eyes to the good sides of online learning as opposed to Zoom-only learning, which is largely failing,” CEO and co-founder Michael Jensen told TechCrunch.

Labster sells its e-learning solution to support and enhance in-person courses. Based on the subscription an institution chooses, participants can get differing degrees of access to a virtual laboratory. Imagine a range of experiments, from understanding bacterial growth and isolation to exploring the biodiversity of an exoplanet. Along with each simulation, Labster offers 3D animations for certain concepts, re-plays of simulations, quiz questions and a virtual learning assistant.

Photo credit: Labster.

While the majority of Labster’s customers are private institutions, the company landed a deal with all of California’s community colleges during the pandemic. The partnership added 2.1 million students to Labster’s customer base, which Jensen said has been bolstered by a broader growth in annual license deals and partnerships.

With GGV on board, Labster is looking to strengthen position in Asia. Breaking into new markets often requires a strategic investor with eyes on the ground on how that market works, thinks and, most importantly, learns. Asian markets are specifically lucrative for edtech companies because consumer spend is higher compared to the North American market.

Jenny Lee, a Shanghai-based partner with GGV, will take a board seat at Labster.

Lee has expressed interest in how automation, virtual and AI-based teachers can help bridge the gap between K-12 markets and lack of good-quality teachers everywhere.

Jensen said that the capital will also be used to bolster the company’s mobile offering, since Asian markets have high mobile usage compared to North American and European markets.

The round is significantly smaller than Labster’s previous $21 million Series B, closed in April of 2019. And it contrasts sharply to the momentum that has benefited edtech companies like MasterClass, Coursera and, reportedly, Udemy into raising nine-figure rounds.

So naturally, I asked Jensen: why the conservative raise?

Jensen says that the $9 million check was a strategic growth check to bring on GGV (all existing investors in Labster also participated in the round). Since being founded in 2012, the company has been relatively conservative in raising cash. To date, inclusive of this round, Labster has raised $40 million in venture capital.

He argues the new money, thus, is offensive capital instead of defensive capital. It’s a strategic check to open a global door.

This isn’t the first time an edtech company has raised a smaller round than expected during the coronavirus pandemic. In April, edtech unicorn Duolingo raised a short $10 million to expand into Asia and bring on General Atlantic as an investor to expand into global markets.

Duolingo, however, is cash-flow positive. Jensen did not comment on if Labster has turned a profit, but adds that it was a “significant up round” that brought the company’s valuation to above $100 million.

“Our primary objectives continue to be rapid growth and global impact, not profits,” he told TechCrunch.

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Coronavirus: Greg Hunt announces $20m mental health boost, Chinese lab kept live bat viruses

  • Wuhan lab admits having bat viruses
  • The Industries receiving support after JobKeeper cut-off
  • COVIDSafe app downloads hit six million
  • Australian death toll rises to 102

Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced the Federal Government’s mental health response to COVID-19 will be give a $20 million boost as Australians battle with the fallout from the pandemic.

The cash injection is the third stage of the Federal Government’s mental health response to the coronavirus pandemic, where $10.3 million will be dedicated to suicide prevention.

Funds will also be directed to mental health-specific coronavirus research.

The investment was necessary to battle “other clinical conditions are associated with the fear that comes with health concerns”, such as anxiety and depression,” Mr Hunt said.

Mr Hunt said Australia has made significant progress in lowering coronavirus transmission rates.

“We now have over five consecutive weeks of days in which the growth rate of new cases in Australia has been less than half a per cent,” he said, adding that it was an “extraordinary national achievement”.

He said six new cases had been recorded overnight.


The Chinese lab eyed as a potential source of COVID-19 has admitted having three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site — but insisted none are the source of the global pandemic.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology has since 2004 “isolated and obtained some coronaviruses from bats,” its director Wang Yanyi said in an interview that aired Saturday, according to the New York Post.

“Now we have three strains of live viruses … But their highest similarity to SARS-CoV-2 only reaches 79.8 per cent,” Yanyi said, referring to the coronavirus strain that causes COVID-19.

“It’s an obvious difference.”

media_cameraElectron microscope image made available by the US National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Picture: AP, File

Yanyi rubbished the conspiracy that the pandemic started in her lab — one pushed by US President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — as “pure fabrication”.

Her scientists had never “encountered, researched or kept the virus” until it received samples on December 30, when it had already unknowingly taken hold on Wuhan, the contagion’s epicentre, she said.

“In fact, like everyone else, we didn’t even know the virus existed,” she said of the new virus that as of Sunday had infected more than 5.3 million and killed more than 340,000 worldwide.

“How could it have leaked from our lab when we never had it?”

Chinese scientists have always said that the virus first emerged at a wet market selling live animals in Wuhan.

But US authorities raised suspicions over the lab at the heart of the epicentre — claims that the World Health Organisation have insisted are purely “speculative” without evidence being offered.

Chinese Foreign minister Wang Yi on Sunday claimed US politicians chose to “fabricate rumours” about the origins to “stigmatise China.”

This aerial view of the P4 laboratory (centre) on the campus of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan. Picture: Hector Retamal/AFP
media_cameraThis aerial view of the P4 laboratory (centre) on the campus of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan. Picture: Hector Retamal/AFP

He said China would be “open” to international co-operation to identify the source of the novel coronavirus, as long as any investigation is “free of political interference.”

But a worrying scientific report claims coronavirus is “uniquely adapted to infect humans” raising fears it may have been lab-made.

A team of top researchers have now said those looking into the origins of the outbreak should probe the possibility it “leaked” from Wuhan.

Professor Nikolai Petrovsky, who headed the Australian team, said the virus was not typical of a normal animal-to-human infection as it had the “exceptional” ability to enter our bodies immediately.

Petrovsky, a professor of medicine at Flinders University in Adelaide, runs a research unit which will start human trials for a vaccine next month.

He told The Mail on Sunday when a new virus crosses over from animals to humans it normally strengthens as it adapts to its new host.

However, for reasons which cannot yet be explained, the new coronavirus seems perfectly adapted to infect humans.

Sino-US ties have nosedived since the outbreak, with the administrations of US President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping repeatedly trading barbs over issues related to the pandemic, especially US accusations of cover-ups and lack of transparency.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with President Donald Trump. Picture: Evan Vucci/AP
media_cameraUS Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with President Donald Trump. Picture: Evan Vucci/AP

The two top economies have also clashed over Hong Kong, human rights, trade and US support for Chinese-claimed Taiwan.

Speaking at an annual news conference on the sidelines of China’s parliament, Wang Yi said: “What China and the United States need to do the most is to first learn from each other and share their experience in fighting against the epidemic, and help each country fight it.”

He added China and the United States need to start co-ordinating macro policies for their respective economies as well as the world economy.

Wang said China remained prepared to work with the United States in the spirit of co-operation and mutual respect when asked if Sino-US relations would further worsen.

“China has always advocated that, as the world’s largest developing country and the largest developed country, both of us bear a major responsibility for world peace and development,” he said.


As the death toll in the United States approaches 100,000 who have died from coronavirus, the New York Times its weekend front page to recording the names of those deceased from COVID-19.

Even as this grim milestone was acknowledged, lockdowns across the nation continued to ease as Americans prepared to celebrate the beginning of summer.

US governors of the 50 states continued to loosen restrictions despite medical warnings while the White House coronavirus task force urged Americans to continue to wear masks in public and to practice social distancing.

The United States is headed to double the number of fatalities seen in the Vietnam War, but

US President Donald Trump has said he would not shut down the economy again, saying more is known about the coronavirus.

The US has the highest reported death toll of more than 97,000 and has recorded more than 1.6 million cases of infection.

Mr Trump has been criticised for his slow response to the pandemic and has repeatedly clashed with state governors urging them to reopen their economies faster, with nearly 40 million Americans thrown out of work by the coronavirus shutdowns.

But Mr Trump said he would not change his original response but would not repeat the lockdowns again.


Arts, housing construction and tourism industries will receive federal government support beyond the September cut-off for JobKeeper in recognition of the sustained economic hit caused by the COVID-19 shut down.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has flagged there will be additional targeted measures for industries unlikely to bounce back while bans on mass crowds and international border restrictions remain in place, including a comprehensive package for the arts due to be finalised in the coming weeks.

“There are many challenges that the economy will face beyond September, we know that, and there are particular sectors that will feel this for longer,” he said. “We will be considering that carefully.”

Mr Morrison said help would not be in the form of extending the criteria for the JobKeeper wage subsidy in light of an “administrative error”, which meant the program cost $60 billion less than estimated.

Mr Morrison said he ultimately took responsibility for the mistake, but warned the extra funds were not about to be quickly spent, likening the sudden windfall to a house build coming under budget.

“What it means is that Australians won’t have to borrow as much money,” he said.

“It’s not going to cost Australia more money, it’s going to end up costing Australians less.”

Mr Morrison said the government would not be borrowing any more than what was needed to deliver the program under its current parameters, adding he took “responsibility” for the error.

“What people were told is we’d drawn a line in the sand on the eligibility for that program … now treasury made an estimate of what that would cost, that estimate was cautious, it overstated what the demand would be,” he said.

Mr Morrison said treasury officials were ordered to pour over the JobKeeper program looking for any more mistakes after the bungle was discovered last week.

Liberal candidate for the seat of Eden-Monaro Fiona Kotvojs with Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: AAP
media_cameraLiberal candidate for the seat of Eden-Monaro Fiona Kotvojs with Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: AAP

He added JobKeeper was designed to work alongside JobSeeker and other support programs, which together would support more than five million Australians.

“Sure the estimate was overstated and the process with the taxation office to keep us updated on that had a flaw in it, we acknowledge that, I acknowledge that,” Mr Morrison said.

“This is not money that is sitting in the bank somewhere, this $60 billion, this is money that would have otherwise had to be borrowed against the taxes that future generations would pay and so the result of this is that the program will cost not what it was estimated to cost and that means for the taxpayer, their debt levels will be lower, their interest bill will be lower and the government will be able to ensure it will continue to provide the many other essential services without the burden of that greater debt.”


Australia will continue its push for the World Health Organisation to be granted independent inspection powers despite increasing tensions with China.

Beijing officials have openly criticised Australia for claiming victory in securing a COVID-19 inquiry at the World Health Assembly last week, arguing the motion – which was backed by China – was nothing like what the federal government had been proposing.

But Prime Minister Scott Morrison has not backed down from pursuing options to grant the WHO weapons inspector-style powers.

“Australia has advanced, I think, a very common sense idea and it’s not directed at any one country, it would simply be the idea that in future, including here in Australia if there was ever something like this that would occur again, that we might have the ability to ensure that we were able to access information as quickly as possible,” he said.

“That is not a criticism, that’s … a very common sense and straight forward suggestion and we’ll just work with the various agencies to see if that can be achieved.”

Mr Morrison said he did not think China’s moves against Australian barley and red meat exporters were linked to Australia’s international efforts securing a COVID-19 inquiry.

“We see this from time to time, and I can understand in current circumstances why lines might be drawn by some but I would caution against that, there is a regularity to some of those things we’ll continue to manage each of those issues on their merits,” he said.


Handshakes, high-fives, huddles and parents cheering from the sidelines are off the cards for the forgeable future under new government guidelines for community sport during COVID-19.

As part of federal government agency Sport Australia’s Return to Sport Toolkit, which outlines how clubs can safely operate once activity resumes, grandparents are being advised to stay away from the sidelines once sport resumes as well as expect to see physical barriers installed at canteens.

For medium to large organisations – in a bid to lower the risk of contracting COVID-19 – only one parent will be allowed to attend children’s sporting events under new rules, and players will be told to shower and change at home.

Sport Australia also states players must wash their hands before, during and after training, and spitting, coughing and nose-clearing will no longer be allowed.

Spartans players cheer at the under 12 girls QBL basketball tournament in Brisbane during a game in 2019. It could be moments like these which could be missed by parents and grandparents under new government guidelines for community sport during COVID-19. Picture: Jono Searle/AAP
media_cameraSpartans players cheer at the under 12 girls QBL basketball tournament in Brisbane during a game in 2019. It could be moments like these which could be missed by parents and grandparents under new government guidelines for community sport during COVID-19. Picture: Jono Searle/AAP

Scoreboards, balls and dugout benches at sporting ovals will also be wiped with disinfectant under new rules, as well as drinking taps banne, and teams discouraged from taking buses to games and travelling interstate.

Associations at every level will also be required to appoint a COVID-19 safety co-ordinator to liaise with other clubs and peak bodies, and implement and oversee guidelines.

Sport Australia acting CEO Rob Dalton said public health remained “paramount” and urged “all sporting participants not to jump the starting gun without first the consent of your relevant state and territory health authorities.”

“Australia’s sporting community is desperately keen to get back in the game and resume playing the sports they love, but we need to ensure that is done in a safe, responsible and low risk manner so that we can keep moving forward towards the full resumption of sport,” he said.


Six million Australians have downloaded the COVIDSafe app less than a month after being launched to help health authorities across the nation trace coronavirus infections.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the app is playing a significant role in Australia’s response to the pandemic and several countries have expressed interest in learning from its positive impacts.

Registered nurse Sharan Coulter conducts a nasal swab test on Shi Yang Liu in the clinical assessment room at St George Hospital. Picture: Getty Images
media_cameraRegistered nurse Sharan Coulter conducts a nasal swab test on Shi Yang Liu in the clinical assessment room at St George Hospital. Picture: Getty Images

“Australia continues to be a world leader in testing, tracing, and containing the coronavirus and I would encourage all Australians to contribute to that effort and download the COVIDSafe app today,” Mr Hunt said in a statement on Sunday.

Only state and territory health officials have access to contact information from the app which is triggered when people come in close contact with someone who has the virus – that is 1.5 metres or less for a duration of 15 minutes or more.

The European Central Bank headquarters during a rally against restrictions to limit the spread of the new coronavirus in Frankfurt, western Germany. More than 107 churchgoers have been infected. Picture: AFP
media_cameraThe European Central Bank headquarters during a rally against restrictions to limit the spread of the new coronavirus in Frankfurt, western Germany. More than 107 churchgoers have been infected. Picture: AFP


At least 107 people have tested positive for the coronavirus after attending a service at a Baptist church in the western German city of Frankfurt, the regional health ministry says.

The affected worshippers were residents of Frankfurt and three districts in the surrounding central state of Hesse, said the state’s Health Minister Kai Klose.

The new numbers came a day after authorities said they had confirmed at least 40 cases related to the service.

“Most of them are not particularly sick. To our knowledge, there is only one person in a hospital,” said Rene Gottschalk, head of Frankfurt’s health department on Saturday.

Earlier, Wladimir Pritzkau, deputy head of the Baptist congregation, indicated that six people were being treated in hospital.

In response to the outbreak, authorities called off a Muslim service scheduled for Sunday in Hanau’s Herbert Droese Stadium, saying allowing the event to go ahead would be irresponsible in light of events in Frankfurt.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has risen to 178,281, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases indicated on Sunday. The reported death toll rose by 31 to 8247.

Originally published as Mental health gets $20m boost as China makes shock virus admission

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Win a Glow Lab prize pack

Win a Glow Lab prize pack

Get your hands on the latest launches from New Zealand made Glow Lab with their Rosehip Oil+ Plus, Tinted SPF15 Moisturiser and Eye Mask. RRP $50.00.

Terms and Conditions – Glow Lab

  1. Entry is open to New Zealand residents only.
  2. To enter, individuals must, during the competition period, visit follow the prompts on the competition entry page, input the requested details including the answer in 25 words or less to the following question “Which Glow Lab product is your favourite or would you love to try?” and submit the fully completed entry form.
  3. Competition commences on 15/05/2020 AEST. Entries close 10pm on 14/06/2020 AEST. The judging will take place at McHugh Media Australia Pty Ltd, 102/4-14 Buckingham Street Surry Hills NSW 2010 on 26/06/2020 by 12pm AEST. Winners will be notified by email. The Promoter’s decisions final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  4. The Promoter has five Glow Lab packs to giveaway, valued at $50. Total prize value is $250.

For further terms and conditions, please CLICK HERE.





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