Coronavirus Qld: Check-In Qld app launched

Long queues, waiting times and filling out countless forms could be a thing of the past as a new QR code check-in app is launched across Queensland today.

The Check-In Qld app has been spruiked by the state government as a simple way to improve contact tracing.

The free mobile phone app remembers a person’s details, eliminating the need to re-scan QR codes and re-enter personal information when visiting a particular venue.

But ministers have assured the public only the most basic data will be retained by the government in case of an outbreak.

Businesses will need to sign up to the new app, which is not mandatory.

Doug Meagher, Venue Manager at the Orion Hotel in Springfield, said it simplified the check-in process for people visiting his business and the administration duties for his staff.

“It’s made it more efficient, I’ve been able to take a staff member from the front door and put them back into a service role,” Mr Meagher said.

“It was a convoluted system we previously had, we had excel spreadsheets we needed to send to Queensland Health, we had to retain the data for 28 to 56 days on premise.

“We had QR codes with onerous information … you couldn’t check people in with that.

“Now if you come in, scan it once, you’re done.”

Digital Economy Minister Leeanne Enoch said it was similar to the contact tracing app used in the ACT and had gone through extensive trials prior to the rollout.

She said the data collected by the app would be stored for up to 56 days before being deleted.

“Queensland Health will be able to access that immediately if they have to in order to carry out contact tracing,” Ms Enoch said.

Testing and trials of the new app began in January at selected venues from Cairns to Ipswich.

The app’s launch on Sunday comes as Queensland recorded no new cases of locally-transmitted coronavirus cases.

More than 207 businesses in the trial have registered and are using the new app and more than 29,000 people have checked in at these venues.

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Boeing 777 makes emergency landing in Moscow after engine warning

A Boeing 777 airliner was forced to make an emergency landing in Moscow on Friday, after reporting engine problems.

The emergency landing comes just days after another model showered engine debris on a flight path over the United States.

State-owned Rossiya airline said the crew had registered the “incorrect operation of the engine control sensor” on a cargo flight from Hong Kong to Madrid and “decided to make an emergency landing in Moscow.”

Online flight trackers confirmed the flight was carried out with a Boeing 777.

The airline said the unscheduled landing went ahead without incident and that no one was injured. The plane was due to continue its onward journey to Madrid after a delay of several hours, it added.

RELATED: Boeing 777s grounded after Denver engine failure

Rossiya told AFP later Friday that the Boeing 777 that made the emergency landing in Moscow was fitted with a different make of engine to the plane that shed engine parts in the United States last week.

General Electric, which manufactured the engine on the jet, said it was working with the carrier.

“At GE Aviation, safety is our first priority,” a company spokesperson told AFP.

“Our technical support teams are working closely with the airline, which has returned the aircraft to service.” Boeing referred questions to Rossiya.

The incident came just days after Boeing confirmed that dozens of its 777 aircraft were grounded globally resulting from the engine of a United Airlines plane catching fire and scattering debris over a suburb of Denver, Colorado.

No one was injured in the Denver incident.

However, the 777 planes removed from service were constructed with different engines made by Pratt & Whitney.

On Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration ordered inspections of all 777 planes made with similar Pratt & Whitney engines.

Malfunctions in engines are not uncommon and most airplanes are designed to be able to fly for several hours on one engine until crew identify and land at the nearest available airport.

Investigators have attributed the Denver incident to a fan blade that broke off soon after takeoff due to metal fatigue and apparently breached the engine cover, known as a cowling.

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Passenger films engine catching on fire

A United Airlines flight flying from Denver, Colorado to Honolulu, Hawaii was forced to make an emergency landing after an engine caught on fire shortly after takeoff.

Miraculously, Flight 328 made a successful emergency landing at Denver International Airport, with no injuries recorded among the 231 passengers and 10 crew on board.

RELATED: In-flight drinks cost man $65,000

United Airlines responded to the incident, confirming that the Boeing 777-200 suffered engine failure shortly after takeoff.

“Flight UA328 from Denver to Honolulu experienced an engine failure shortly after departure, returned safely to Denver and was met by emergency crews as a precaution,” the airline tweeted.

“There are no reported injuries on-board. We are in contact with the FAA, NTSB and local law enforcement.”

RELATED: Airline boss slams ‘horrible idea’

On Twitter, several Denver citizens have shared footage of debris falling from the sky. This included large portions of the plane’s metal skin and charred exterior.

Police in the Colorado city of Broomfield also reported scenes of “dropped debris in several neighbourhoods around 1.08pm”.

Extraordinary footage taken by Mike Brown, a passenger on the plane showed the right-hand side engine continuing to operate, with flames, smoke and debris spurting from the plane.

According to air traffic control communications obtained by CNN, the pilots issued a mayday call shortly after takeoff.

Broomfield resident Kieran Cain told CNN he heard a “big explosion” while playing with his children, before seeing “black smoke” in the sky.

“Debris started raining down, which you know, sort of looked like it was floating down and not very heavy, but actually now looking at it, it’s giant metal pieces all over the place,” he said.

“I was surprised that the plane sort of continued on uninterrupted, without really altering its trajectory or doing anything. It just kind of kept going the way it was going as if nothing happened.”

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board have confirmed they will be investigating the incident.

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Cathay Pacific axe all long-haul flights to Australia, excluding Sydney

Cathay Pacific Airways has announced they will be axing all flights to Australia, except routes servicing Sydney, following Hong Kong’s plan to introduce tough new quarantine rules on airline crew.

The airline announced the intention to cull flights to most of Australia, as well as Vancouver, San Francisco and Frankfurt in response to the local government’s new ruling that will force flight staff into quarantine for 14 days if they leave China.

The reduction in flights is expected to begin on February 20 and last until at least the end of the month.

RELATED: Emirates to resume flights to Australia after meeting COVID standards

With flights to Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne and Auckland now on the cutting room floor, only the airline’s five weekly flights between Hong Kong and Sydney will remain in place.

“In view of the Hong Kong SAR Government’s latest announcement, with effect from February 20, 2021 our Hong Kong-based pilots and cabin crew are required to undergo 14 days of hotel quarantine plus 7 days of medical surveillance when they return to Hong Kong after being on duty,” the airline confirmed in a statement, as reported by Executive Traveller.

“The new measure will have a significant impact on our ability to service our passenger and cargo markets,” noted Cathay Pacific chief operating officer Ronald Lam.

According to local media, flights in the region that will go ahead include Taipei, Beijing, Shanghai, Jakarta, Surabaya, Osaka, Tokyo, Manila, Singapore and Bangkok.

In addition to Sydney, the long-haul flights that survived the cull include to Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, plus flights one-way from Hong Kong to London and one-way from Amsterdam to Hong Kong.

It is understood the airline made the decision following the government’s announcement on

February 5 following growing concern over the risk of importing mutant strains of COVID-19.

The new order requires city-based pilots and cabin crew to quarantine in a designated hotel for 14 days, before re-entering the community and undergoing an extra seven days of medical surveillance involving regular temperature checks and health monitoring.

The decision comes just weeks after Emirates backflipped on their decision to no longer fly into Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

The airline’s sudden U-turn to resume flights to the east coast of Australia came as the Australian government lifted international arrival caps within Australia from mid-February.

The number of people allowed to fly into NSW, Queensland and Western Australia were halved at the beginning of January in response to the new strain of the virus from the United Kingdom.

But the weekly cap will now increase from 4127 to at least 6362 nationwide.

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Heavy rain, thunderstorms, flash flooding expected to hit Melbourne

Melbourne is bracing for up to a month’s worth of rain to fall in one day after heavy downpours brought flooding and damaged buildings across the city.

A severe weather warning for heavy rainfall and isolated thunderstorms remains in place for southern Victoria with the heaviest falls expected to hit Melbourne from late Tuesday morning until the evening.

The weather bureau has warned heavy rainfall could lead to flash flooding in parts of western and central Victoria with up to 70mm possible in some areas.

State Emergency Service volunteers have already responded to 91 requests for help across the state in the past 24 hours, including 51 in the central region, which includes Melbourne.

Frankston and Greater Dandenong were the hardest hit areas with 15 call-outs.

An SES spokeswoman said 29 calls for help were for fallen trees, 21 for building damage and 20 for flooding.

Melbourne is bracing for more heavy rain on Tuesday.
Camera IconMelbourne is bracing for more heavy rain on Tuesday. Credit: News Corp Australia, Ian Currie

The highest rainfall totals between 9am on Monday and 4.45am on Tuesday were at Cape Nelson in southwest Victoria, which recorded 42.8mm, while Portland saw 39.6mm, Port Fairy 35.4mm and Rowville and Lang Lang each received 23.4mm.

In the city 13.2mm has fallen since 9am on Monday, while Frankston has recorded 30.2mm and Moorabbin Airport 25mm.

The weather bureau said the rain could ease across the city for periods during Tuesday morning but would increase again during the middle of the day.

Widespread falls of between 20mm to 40mm is expected across Melbourne on Tuesday, with up to 70mm possible in areas hit by isolated thunderstorms.

Locations likely to be affected by heavy falls include Warrnambool, Maryborough, Ballarat, Geelong, Melbourne and Bacchus Marsh.

Bureau of Meteorology senior meteorologist Claire Yeo said some areas could receive more than the December monthly average rainfall in one day if hit by thunderstorms.

“The rainfall across Victoria is actually being sourced from the northwest of the country where there’s an active monsoon across the Kimberly district of Western Australia,” she said.

“This moisture is actually providing a conveyor belt of moisture that in combination with an upper trough is generating the heavy rainfall that we’re seeing develop across the southwest and central parts of our state.”

The SES has urged people to avoid travel if possible and to stay away from dangerous hazards, such as floodwater, mud, debris, damaged roads and fallen trees.

It also recommended people to stay indoors when the rain hit and away from trees, drains, gutters, creeks and waterways.

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