Federal MPs Daniel Mulino and Celia Hammond reveal they were aware of historical rape allegation against Cabinet Minister who was named in anonymous letter


Two more federal MPs — one Liberal and one Labor — have revealed they were aware of a historical rape allegation made against a Cabinet Minister before it became public last Friday.

Labor MP Daniel Mulino told the ABC he was contacted by the alleged victim in December 2019. She was Dr Mulino’s friend.

“She indicated to me that she was determined to proceed with a formal complaint and I supported her in that decision,” he said.

“I ensured that the complainant was receiving appropriate support. I am greatly saddened by the death of my friend. I know that this has been a devastating period for the woman’s family and close friends. My thoughts are with them.”

Dr Mulino said he had told the Australian Federal Police (AFP), NSW Police and South Australian Police he was willing to assist with any investigation.

Labor senator Penny Wong and former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull were also contacted late in 2019 by the woman.

Neither spoke to police at the time because the alleged victim made it clear she was already speaking to police.

The woman went to New South Wales Police in 2020 but the investigation was suspended when she took her own life on June 24, 2020. The day before, she had told police she no longer wanted to proceed with the investigation.

South Australian Police are preparing a report into her death for the coroner.

Allegation aired following letter

A 31-page dossier outlining the allegation was sent by express post to the offices of the Prime Minister, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and Senator Wong on Wednesday.

The ABC understands the AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw also received the correspondence but by email earlier that day.

The ABC has confirmed that Celia Hammond, a WA Liberal MP, was also sent the 31-page dossier.

This is presumably because she had been asked by the Prime Minister to lead an inquiry into the Liberal Party’s workplace culture, only for it to be rolled into a broader independent investigation.

“I received a copy of the correspondence on Wednesday,” Ms Hammond told the ABC.

“I gave it to the Australian Federal Police on Wednesday afternoon and I alerted the Prime Minister’s Office.”

The Prime Minister’s Office has not responded to questions about when it alerted the police about the letter, but a statement from a spokesman said reporting to the police ensured that any alleged crimes were properly investigated.

“As per the AFP Commissioner’s instruction, any complaints or allegations of this nature made to anybody — whether they’re parliamentarians or journalists — should be referred to the AFP,” the spokesman said.

Senator Hanson-Young and Senator Wong did not open the envelope until Friday morning.

AFP sent another letter containing an allegation

Sarah henderson wears a red blazer and speaks to reporters in Canberra
Liberal senator Sarah Henderson says she has received a letter alleging a woman was raped by a male Labor member of Federal Parliament.(ABC News: Luke Stephenson)

An allegation of rape against another federal politician has also been sent to the AFP.

Liberal Senator Sarah Henderson and Senator Hanson-Young confirmed they both received an email from a woman, who alleges she was sexually assaulted by a man who is now a federal Labor MP.

In a statement, Senator Henderson said she sent the details to police.

“In immediately referring this matter to the AFP, I have followed the procedures set out by Commissioner Kershaw in his letter of 24 February 2021,” the statement said.

A Labor spokesperson said the appropriate action had been taken.

“The Australian Labor Party has seen media reports that Senator Henderson has received an allegation of sexual assault and has referred any relevant correspondence to authorities as is appropriate,” the spokesperson said.

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Formula 1, news, Red Bull reveal new car, RB16B, Max Verstappen, F1 2021, update,


Formula 1 teams are no strangers to intrigue and secrecy. But Red Bull have just taken things to the next level on the first day of promotional filming ahead of the 2021 season.

Drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez took part in a day of filming on Wednesday at the famous Silverstone track in Britain, with Red Bull releasing 76 photos of the day’s running.

However, NONE of those photos showed the new RB16B car the team will use in competition this season – despite the team stating both drivers spent time on track in the new model.

Photos were released of both drivers, and reserve driver Alex Albon, driving the 2019 RB15 car. A bunch of photos of front views, full garage shots, and whole-team shots were released – but all appear to deliberately hide the new car.

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Traveller writers reveal the meals that changed their life


One bite, and everything changes. One mere morsel of food. One tiny portion of a meal, and all of a sudden your world is turned upside down, your idea of what is good and bad, your opinion of what is delicious and what is inedible, your entire notion of life and what it can be – everything changes.

This is the beauty of food and the glory of travelling to enjoy it. Food is transformative. It’s alchemical. It should be something so simple, the combination of a few products and ingredients handed to you on a plate, and yet it’s so much more than that. It’s such a vital display of identity, such an important representation of culture, of history, of passion and of skill.

So many of us can track our travels by the dishes we’ve eaten and the places in which they were consumed. Food becomes memory so cherished and real: that first crackle of a French baguette smothered in demi-sel butter; that first sip of broth from a bowl of Saigon pho; that salty, fatty, cheesy slip of pasta at a Roman trattoria. Spectacular experiences. Otherworldly joys.

Food, when you travel, can be so many things to so many people. It can be disappointing, of course. It can be challenging. It can even be disgusting. But then it can be tasty. It can be fulfilling. It can be mind-boggling. And on occasion – on a beautiful, memorable, rare occasion – it can be life-changing.

These are the meals and the moments that the Traveller team is celebrating today: the times when food has surpassed its function as mere sustenance or even as experience and caused our writers to rethink everything they know, to see not just cuisine but the world as a whole in a different light. For some that has been the product of a deceptively simple meal; for others it’s been a journey to modern gastronomy’s outer limits. What links those experiences is the shock, the wonder, the revelation. One bite, one morsel, one meal – and everything changes.

– Ben Groundwater

TERRY DURACK

Dinner among the food shelves at Roscioli in Rome

When in Rome, I tend to do as the Romans do. I go to Roscioli for spaghetti alla carbonara, the most Roman of pasta dishes, in the most Roman of restaurants. Except it isn’t really a restaurant, and that’s what changed me.

Roscioli has always reinvented itself, beginning as a traditional Roman bakery opened by Marco Roscioli in 1972, at the suggestion of his entrepreneurial uncle, Franco. The Antico Forno Roscioli in via dei Chiavari was built on the site of a bakery dating back to 1824, and the tiny store grew and grew, as if powered by yeast. By 1993, Roscioli also opened a salumeria and grocery store nearby that sourced the finest produce from all over Italy.

It didn’t take long for local shoppers to beg for some of the mortadella or provolone to be sliced and stuffed into a panini, and maybe for a glass of wine to go with it. In 2002, Marco’s sons, Pierluigi and Alessandro, added a tiny basement kitchen and wine cellar to the deli, and squeezed a few small tables and chairs into the shop. A new Roman tradition was born.

I was walking past one fine day soon after, and stopped to peer in to this magical place, its walls lined with giant tins of salted anchovies, whole wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano and dozens of bottles of fine Italian wine, with tables taking almost all the available space. My laughable Italian got me a table for dinner, squeezed up against the refrigerated glass deli counter under hanging legs of prosciutto di San Daniele. It changed the game for me.

Why? The carbonara. It was chewy, resilient, challenging. It was salty, rich and peppery. I’ve had good pasta before. I’ve even had great pasta. But this really felt like I was eating Rome. The spaghettoni (like thick spaghetti) was coated in an emulsion of sizzled guanciale (pork jowl) fat, aged pecorino and the yolks of rich, golden eggs from celebrated poultry producer, Paolo Parisi, under a shower of freshly ground Sarawak pepper. The flavour came in waves, and the al dente nature of the pasta forced me to slow down, chew every mouthful, take my time. It’s probably the first time I ever really understood the principles of the slow food movement.

That pasta became an instant benchmark against which all other pasta has been measured. It helped me understand that magic happens when tradition is not considered sacrosanct but built upon – respected and yet updated, like Rome itself. I am forever looking forward to going back to Roscioli to relive the moment. See salumeriaroscioli.com

BEN GROUNDWATER

Live baby eel at Mugaritz, Spain

It’s a trick. There’s no way this is what we think it is. They’ve used some sort of gel, I tell my partner, to make the eel look as if it’s still moving. It’s meant to play with our perceptions. It’s supposed to mess with our minds.

The dish is placed in front of us with no comment or explanation. It isn’t even a dish, in fact, just a folded napkin upon which sits a perfect sphere of clear liquid, a bubble twice the size of a 50-cent piece. Inside that bubble is a single elver, a baby eel, a delicacy here in the Basque Country when it’s sauteed with olive oil and garlic. But this one seems to be moving.

My partner spies a waiter hovering nearby. “Is this alive?”

He just nods a “Yes.” We let that news settle over us as we stare at our “plates”. The eel inside is alive. We’re expected to eat it. Now.

The restaurant is Mugaritz, an avant-garde eatery in the mountains above San Sebastian. Its chef, Andoni Luis Aduriz, is known for pushing boundaries, for leading his diners on thrilling journeys through texture, aroma and taste.

This is not supposed to be just another delicious meal. You can have one of those anywhere in the Basque Country. Food at Mugaritz is adventure and experience, it’s gastronomy in all its glory, experimental and esoteric and wild. It challenges you. It tests you. And there’s nothing as testing as the live baby eel encased in seawater. We find out later that the dish is simply called “Origins”. No kidding. It looks like the very beginning of every life. It is a life. It is alive.

This is Aduriz talking to us, challenging us. When you choose to eat an animal, he’s saying, you take its life. So, here is an animal. Take its life. Maybe you’re not OK with that. But then, why were you OK with the last dish of steamed grouper? Why are you OK with the plastic packets of chicken breasts you pick off the supermarket shelf at every week? This is the reality of eating. This is what you do.

This single dish has changed my life. It’s changed the way I think about food, changed the consideration I have for eating meat, for taking life. I still do it, but I’m conscious of it. I think more about what’s on my plate and where it came from. I make decisions based on that.

There is a trick to Origins, and the message it sends. The elver, though, is real. It’s alive. I lift up the napkin and pop the sphere in my mouth and chew as the seawater explodes and the eel crunches and my partner and I stare at each other wide-eyed, having reached the zenith of a white-knuckle gastronomic ride.

Nothing will ever be the same. See mugaritz.com

NINA KARNIKOWSKI

Eight ingredients or less at Uri Buri in Acre, northern Israel

I like to think I know by now that when it comes to food, appearances can be deceiving. But then here I am in the magnificently dilapidated port city of Acre (Akko) in northern Israel, in a seafood restaurant called Uri Buri that I’ve heard people raving about across the country, looking down at my plate and getting, well, judgy.

A dozen slices of kingfish, swimming in a mix of olive oil, lime and garlic, topped with shaved onion. This, so said the ravers, is supposed to change my life? I look across at my host, chef-owner Uri Jeremias, whose spectacular waist-length white beard is outdone only by his spectacular round belly, and he nods his encouragement. So, I taste and, basically, my mouth explodes.

Here’s the thing about Jeremias. He isn’t a trained chef, just a guy with a deep love of the ocean and food, who taught himself to cook back in 1989 when he opened this restaurant. The result is the minimalist cooking style that has made Uri Buri such a success, and a menu full of fresh, unpretentious dishes.

There’s salmon sashimi sitting simply in soy sauce, topped with a dollop of wasabi gelato, that hasn’t left the menu for 20 years. There’s an elegant fish soup made with amberjack, coconut milk, curry, lime and ginger, followed by a plate of melt-in-your-mouth anchovies, perfection with a glass of chenin blanc from the nearby Golan Heights region.

“I have two cooking rules,” says Jeremias while I stuff my face. “The first is buy the best ingredients, the second is don’t spoil them … I never use more than eight ingredients in any dish.”

And that’s it. My whole concept of what defines a good meal, changed forever. Focus on quality produce, work some miracles with olive oil, garlic, chilli and lime, and food will always taste this fantastic. Well, maybe if you live somewhere like Acre, one of the oldest continually inhabited places on Earth, where Jeremias buys his fish direct from the wizened fishermen by the seaside each morning and everything else from the local market, which sources its produce from the abundant small farms this region is known for.

My meal ends with Uri Buri’s famous OMG, a trio of orange, mandarin and grapefruit (get it?) sorbets, made from organic fruit from Jeremias’ daughter’s garden, topped with a splosh of olive oil. It’s a sensation.

Luckily, I only have to roll a few hundred metres down the road to the Efendi Boutique Hotel afterwards, an opulent 12-room hotel that merges two restored Ottoman-era palaces, also created and owned by Jeremias. Too full for bed, I head up to the rooftop terrace and, looking out over the crowns of the city’s mosques and synagogues to the sea, vow never to let appearances deceive me again. See efendi-hotel.co.il

BRIAN JOHNSTON

A nameless neighbourhood trattoria, Sicily

I find the restaurant quite by accident, down a side street near the cathedral. It has no sign – that would attract the attention of Marsala’s tax collectors – but the owner is hovering outside. For €8, he says, I can have a set menu, including mineral water and local wine. “And no service charge either,” he adds. He’s a thin man with a neat moustache and relaxed manner that suggests he doesn’t much mind whether I eat here or not.

Eight euros? I shrug off my hesitation when I peer inside and see local businessmen, jackets off and ties loosened, reading pink sports pages and rumbling about politics. The walls are panelled in pine. Chequered tablecloths cover rough trestles.

I’m offered a small plate of antipasti: fat crunchy olives, good salami, dry grana cheese. The olives are the enormous southern-Italian Bella di Cerignola variety, cured in ash and magnificently blue-green. The cheese is hard, with a nutty flavour well matched to the semolina bread from a basket.

“This bread is the best made in town,” says the trattoria owner in unexpected English, blushing into his moustache. He pours me a glassful of amber-dark marsala, twisting the neck of the bottle when finished so none of it drips. The fortified wine is a bit sweet but, at this price point, passably pleasant.

After I’ve polished off the last olive I’m served spaghetti with a strong, rich tomato sauce flecked with pink fingernail-sized prawns hauled out of the sea that morning. The secondi is superb: lightly fried squid in batter, so tender it dissolves in my mouth, and dribbled with fresh lemon juice. My dessert is a mini-cassata decorated with marzipan, icing, lurid quarters of preserved fruit and a glace cherry.

I recall this meal again and again in the decades that follow, after every overhyped Michelin-starred meal and overpriced, Instagram-conscious dish; in every posh restaurant from Barcelona to Bergen. It has been a constant reminder that cheap food can be great food, and that unknown back-alley restaurants can provide lovely dining experiences.

Marsala sits amid red earth and prickly pears on Sicily’s sun-beaten western coast. It’s a no-nonsense place of baroque buildings and cobwebby wine warehouses bathed in blinding North African light. It has an inconsequential loveliness, and so does my meal. I slump in the heat, in the trattoria’s shadows, listening to the kitchen’s clatter and inhaling the aromas of tomato sauce and lemon.

This simple meal has forever put Marsala on my mental map. Ever since, I’ve always sought out bargain local eateries, and mostly been satisfied. Places with no awards, no likes and no hype, but dishing up delight. See visitsicily.info

ROB MCFARLAND

Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham, Alabama

Shortly after being seated in Highlands Bar & Grill, our server, Justin, swaps our white napkins for black ones. It’s a small gesture, executed wordlessly, but it speaks volumes about the restaurant’s attention to detail. The reason for the change? My dining companion and I are both wearing dark outfits and the black napkins are a better match.

Frank Stitt was just 28 years old when he opened Highlands Bar & Grill in 1982 on a rundown street in Birmingham, Alabama. His aim was to utilise the finest local ingredients and apply the cooking techniques he’d learnt in the south of France to his native Southern cuisine.

It’s an approach that hasn’t wavered in almost four decades. Although the menu changes daily to showcase the best seasonal produce, there are several dishes that are so popular Stitt daren’t remove them. One such stalwart is the stone-baked grits, an often-bland Southern staple that’s been transformed into a cloud-like pillow of cheesy perfection. Doused in a rich, buttery sauce with wild mushrooms and country ham, it’s one of the most divine things I’ve ever tasted.

The menu is brief – just nine appetisers and eight mains – but Justin’s descriptions of each dish are so detailed and evocative, I want to order everything.

The only dinner reservation we can secure is when the restaurant opens at 5.30pm. But already it’s brimming with a well-heeled crowd of tourists and locals. The atmosphere is upscale without being formal – think white tablecloths, dark wood panelling and vintage French prints. Contemporary music plays in the background while patrons at a marble-topped bar eat oysters while watching an NFL game on a small TV.

What made this meal life-changing? Well, for a start it was an experience that actually lived up to the hype. Four months before my visit, Highlands was named America’s most Outstanding Restaurant in the prestigious James Beard Awards. And this was no fluke – it had already been a finalist nine times. Its pastry chef, Dolester Miles, was named the best in the country, too.

So often these awards are bestowed on pretentious, flash-in-the-pan outfits that are more style over substance. Highlands earned this accolade through hard work and perseverance and by relentlessly obsessing over quality and service. There is something life-affirming about these old-fashioned virtues being rewarded, particularly when they’re accompanied by a refreshing dose of humility. When I ask Justin why such a prestigious award isn’t mentioned on the menu or alluded to by the staff, he simply replies: “If you don’t bring it up, we don’t bring it up.” See highlandsbarandgrill.com

UTE JUNKER

Breakfast in Iran

Other people might look at the table and see breakfast. I see riches beyond measuring. There are bowls of feta cheese, watermelon, walnuts, and cucumber. There are jams in a profusion of flavours: sour cherry, fig, peach, carrot. There are soft omelettes with fresh tomatoes, and rich lentil soups. And above all, there is bread: large round loaves, flatbread with its edges pleasantly singed, and longer, chewier loaves.

I haven’t seen such bounty in months. Before arriving in Iran late last night, I had spent months travelling through the Middle East. I wandered through medieval souks and formidable desert castles, explored Roman ruins and hiked rolling hills. And I have eaten falafel – more falafel than is entirely reasonable. It feels as if every meal I have eaten on this trip has consisted of some combination of falafel, hummus, tabbouleh and pita bread, with skewered meats making an occasional thrilling appearance.

My first Iranian breakfast, simple as it is, announces the truth as unmistakeably as a fanfare of trumpets: last night, I didn’t just cross a political border. I also crossed a culinary frontier. No more subsistence dining: things are about to get interesting.

As we criss-cross the country over the next few weeks, every meal brings new revelation: the delights of duck fesanjan, an intoxicating mix of walnut and pomegranate; the tang of gormeh sabzi, a sour, herb-filled stew; and above all else, the just-one-more-spoonful seduction of tahdig, crunchy rice that has deliberately been allowed to crust onto the bottom of the pot. (The only thing better than tahdig is potato tahdig, when sliced potatoes are slipped underneath the rice to create an irresistable carb-laden classic.)

I’ve eaten delicious food before, of course, and analysed recipes to understand how ingredients work together. But as I eat my way through Iran, for the first time I start think about how every meal you eat comes with an invisible side serve of geography and history.

The diverse landscapes we are travelling across are reflected in things we eat, from the shores of the Caspian Sea, where we feast on smoked fish and the last of the season’s caviar, to hilltop hikes where we gaze down on the leafy orchards that supplied the fruit on which we’re snacking.

Even the long-vanished Persian empire has left its mark on the country’s cuisine. Persia’s emperors may have got the glory, but perhaps the most lasting imperial achievement came courtesy of the empire’s engineers. They are the ones who created the gravity-assisted irrigation systems that transformed once-arid areas of the country into fertile gardens. That makes the rich flavours of Iranian food – the pistachios and pomegranates, the oranges and mint – the empire’s most delicious legacy.

JILL DUPLEIX

Lentil Soup In a medieval ghost town In Abruzzo

The soup was thick with lentils, chickpeas, barley and white beans; a nutty, earthy, wintry soup cooked by two elderly woman in floral aprons, and served in a tough, hollowed-out bread roll. It was winter, 2004, and I was hungry and cold, with shoes soaked through from snow. Every spoonful brought me back to life, infusing me with warmth and strength.

This was my introduction to the medieval town of Santo Stefano di Sessanio, perched high on the panoramic mountain range of Abruzzo’s Gran Sasso National Park, an hour and half’s drive from the coastal town of Pescara. The solemn little village, with its tall, limestone houses, twisting, cobblestoned alleyways and circular fortress, dates back to the 11th century. Discovering it was like walking through a portal in time.

It was also my introduction to Swedish-Italian architect Daniele Kihlgren and his passion for saving this ancient hilltop town from falling into rubble. Since 2005, Kihlgren’s Sextantio foundation has been slowly and painstakingly buying abandoned buildings and restoring them using purely local and regional materials and crafts.

“Italy isn’t only the Coliseum, Venice and the Uffizi Gallery” says Kihlgren. “It’s a whole distinct world of traditions and sensations that is at risk of disappearing.”

It could so easily have been lost to the ravages of time. Once part of an estate belonging to the Medici family, Santo Stefano was a thriving township devoted to the production of carfagna, a coarse wool used for military uniforms and monks’ cowls. For thousands of years, shepherds moved their flocks from the mountain pastures down to the wide plains of Apulia in a rhythmic seasonal process known as transhumance. The inevitable march of progress led to the younger generations deserting the village to escape the poverty of rural life, and the population fell from 1500 people at the start of the 20th century, to around 50 today.

Thanks to Kihlgren, you can now stay in the exquisite Palazzo della Loggia, furnished with hand-crafted mattresses, blankets and antiques. You can also dine on lentil soup in the atmospheric Locanda Sotto Gli Archi, where original recipes are recreated using locally grown crops.

This tiny little village, and what it has become, taught me as a traveller to never take for granted the beauty that we find. I am now far more conscious of the commitment and passion that lies behind many of the wondrous sites we visit as tourists. So often, the tradition, the heritage or the natural beauty we seek, only exists because one (usually quite mad, often ridiculed) person is sufficiently obsessed with saving it, protecting it or restoring it. It’s fair to say I came home changed, with an overwhelming craving for lentil soup. See sextantio.it

MORE DRINKS AND DISHES – HONOURABLE MENTIONS

VINCISGRASSI, LE MARCHE

You grew up on lasagne – nice, creamy, comfort-food lasagne. Now it’s time to go next-level and step up to vincissgrassi ( vin-chiss-grarsy), a proudly regional dish from Italy’s mountainous Le Marche region, of pasta layered with creamy calves’ brains, chicken livers, wild mushrooms, prosciutto, white wine, and herbs. Once you’ve had it, you’ll look at lasagne and laugh.

CASSOULET, SOUTH-WEST FRANCE

To call cassoulet baked beans and sausages is to call Dom Perignon a nice little bubbly. This is the king of all stews, a hearty, rustic and yet sophisticated baked dish from the south-west of France that brings together white beans, sausage, and pork with duck or goose confit under a golden crust of breadcrumbs. Pass the red wine, please.

SHOYU RAMEN, JAPAN

This is Tokyo’s classic ramen-noodle dish, a soup made from chicken bones or dried fish, seasoned with soy sauce and then added to chewy noodles, fermented bamboo shoots, and a marinated boiled egg – sensational.

TXULETA, SPAIN

It doesn’t get much more simple or delicious than this: a bone-in rib-eye steak, cut as thick as your arm, doused with salt and then seared until it’s barely rare over open fire at an “asador” high in Spain’s Basque Country.

BANH MI, HOI AN, VIETNAM

This might just be the world’s best sandwich, a short, French-style bread roll smeared with pate and butter and filled with various pork products, pickled vegetables, fresh herbs, and a secret chilli sauce that is the stuff of instant addiction.

THALI, INDIA

Is there a greater joy than being able to dig into your food with your hands, to mixing up curries with rice, to scooping it up with bread, to adding chutneys, to crackling pappadums, to doing all this with the simplest eating tools imaginable? Surely not.

SOLE MEUNIERE, FRANCE

One of the often-unsung heroes of French cuisine, sole meuniere has an otherworldly greatness, the delicate meat of the fish perfectly balanced by the richness of lightly browned butter with lemon and parsley.

SCHNITZEL IN VIENNA

This dish might be considered a greasy pub filler, but the real deal has a succulent veal interior, crunchy coating and accompaniment of potato or cucumber salad that raises it to a simple but elegant meal fit for an emperor. See wien.info

NISHIMURAYA HONKAN, JAPAN

The winter snow-crab season in venerable hot-spring town Kinosaki Onsen is a must for gourmets. Stay at this ryokan and your kaiseki meal might include crab sashimi style, boiled, grilled and in a hotpot. See nishimuraya.ne.jp

MORE RESTAURANTS AND BARS – HONOURABLE MENTIONS

THE AMERICAN BAR, THE SAVOY HOTEL, LONDON

With its white-jacketed mixologists, black-and-white Chanel colour scheme and warm and clubby atmosphere, this is a bar – at nearly 130 years old, the oldest in London – in which you could move in and live on cocktails all year round. And as its legendary bartender, Harry Craddock, said in the 1930s, cocktails are “the finest appetisers around”. thesavoylondon.com

BAR DESY, SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN

This is the local bar of your dreams, a plain, unfashionable little joint in the San Sebastian suburbs where the food is excellent, the craft beer is top-notch and the welcome from the father-son team of Jose and Gorka Perez makes you feel instantly like part of the family.

UOSHIN, TOKYO, JAPAN

There’s nothing fancy about Uoshin, a seafood izakaya in Tokyo’s Ebisu neighbourhood – but that’s its attraction, the perfect demonstration of just how relaxed and enjoyable and yet incredibly tasty a Tokyo bar can be. See uoshins.com

ASADOR ETXEBARRI, AXPE, SPAIN

This Basque restaurant is no secret – it’s currently No. 3 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list – but it’s well worth the trouble to secure a booking: the food here, each dish grilled over hot coals, and yet cooked with surprising delicacy and finesse, is cuisine at its absolute pinnacle. See asadoretxebarri.com

HARWOOD ARMS, LONDON, ENGLAND

England has extremely good food: allow that to sink in as you sit at the Harwood Arms, a “gastro-pub” in west London, and enjoy traditional fare that has been given a gentle nudge into greatness, expertly handled and perfectly presented. See harwoodarms.com

CORIANDER LEAF, SINGAPORE

Odd fusion cuisines are usually better for shock value than flavour, but this modest, mid-range restaurant proves otherwise. Pan-Asian influences range from Turkey and Iran through to India, Korea and Japan, and every dish is sensational. See corianderleaf.com

HIGH NOTE SKYBAR, ARIA HOTEL, BUDAPEST

Voted No. 1 hotel in the world by TripAdvisor in 2017, this gorgeous music-themed property’s crowning glory is a stunning rooftop bar with gasp-inducing views of the city and St Stephen’s Basilica. See highnoteskybar.hu

CONNIE, TWA HOTEL, NEW YORK

The standout feature of JFK’s new TWA Hotel is Connie, an intimate ’60s-themed cocktail bar located in a refurbished 1958 TWA Lockheed Constellation Starliner. See twahotel.com

TROISGROS, FRANCE

France’s first family of food has held three Michelin stars for more than 50 years, but everything about their restaurant, from the conceptual design to the fresh flavours on the plate, is ultra-contemporary. troisgros.com

DIRT CANDY, NEW YORK

Three cheers for chef Amanda Cohen. In addition to launching New York’s first vegie-based restaurant 12 years ago, she has abolished tips and curated a wine list consisting exclusively of female winemakers. See dirtcandynyc.com/

D.O.M., SAO PAULO

Long before everyone was a locavore, Brazilian chef Alex Atala’s showcased Amazonian ingredients – from heart of palm to ants – in ambitious degustation dinners at his Sao Paulo restaurant. See domrestaurante.com.br

LE COMPTOIR, PARIS 

It’s the bistro of your dreams, as you sit inside or out on the street, elbow-to-elbow, with platters of terrines and cheeses by day, and an adventurous set menu at night. Former fine dining chef, Yves Camdeborde, is the poster boy for France’s “bistronomy”, with an aim to make traditional bistro cooking relevant to today. See hotel-paris-relais-saint-germain.com

SWAN OYSTER DEPOT, SAN FRANCISCO

For the past 74 years, three generations of the Sancimino family have been behind the marble counter of this gussied-up seafood diner, serving up local oysters and cracked Dungeness crab with sauce Louis, Anchor Steam beer and wise-guy humour. The counter, however, is short, and the queue is long. Visit 1517 Polk Street, San Francisco. 

THE LONG BAR, RAFFLES, SINGAPORE

The Long Bar does what a bar should do … transport you to another place. With its rattan ceiling fans and potted palms, this is a glimpse of old colonial Singapore. The Singapore Sling cocktail, first created here in 1915, is no longer as sweet as it was ( a good thing), but you’re really here for the illicit pleasure of cracking open peanuts and strewing the shells on the floor. See raffles.com



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Australia’s spending habits reveal the weakness of our economy | Australian economy


The final retail trade figures for 2020 show that despite some big monthly surges in spending, 2020 was a horror year.

Retail trade has been truly bizarre since the pandemic hit. In a normal recession, people have less to spend and thus retail spending takes a hit. And yet last year total retail spending went up more strongly than it has for well over a decade.

In December we spent 9.6% more in the shops than we did in December 2019. Before the pandemic, the last time we saw such growth was way back in 2004:

Graph not displaying? Click here

It looks like a bonanza! What recession?!

Consider that even the restaurant, cafe and takeaway sector, which was absolutely smashed by the pandemic and lockdowns, had turnover in December just 2.1% below that of December 2019.

Now yes, that is bad, but not unprecedented. It was that bad back in 2011 – and much better than the 50% fall we saw in April last year.

And yet this is where we get beguiled by the monthly figures, and forget that that is not how life operates.

If you run a restaurant or cafe, sure, it was good that December was not as bad as April, but that doesn’t mean the loss of income from April is no longer there:

Graph not displaying? Click here

This is where looking at the total turnover throughout the whole year gives us a much more interesting and realistic picture of what happened last year.

For while turnover for cafes and restaurants in December 2020 was just 2.1% below that of December 2019, the entire amount of turnover in 2020 was 15% below that recorded in 2019:

Graph not displaying? Click here

Similarly, spending on clothing and personal accessories was down 8.5% in 2020 compared with 2019 – the worst annual fall ever recorded.

Household goods and furniture went gangbusters – up a stunning 17% – but department stores, which were much more affected by lockdowns, saw no increase at all.

And while that huge increase in spending on household goods had a large impact on overall spending, it was dwarfed by the impact of our increased spending on food items.

Of the $20.3bn more we spent in 2020 on retail than in 2019, $15.7bn of it was in grocery stores:

Graph not displaying? Click here

As we all know, the pandemic brought on an absolute stampede to grocery stores – and it continued throughout the year whenever any fears of a lockdown occurred, and even during the lockdowns as we were limited on where we could go to spend.

What we saw in 2020 was a massive reallocation of our spending habits – away from non-retail items (because, for example, we were unable to spend on holidays) – and towards groceries and household goods.

Last year we spent a larger share of our retail spending in grocery stores than ever before. Over the past decade we normally spend about 41% of our retail spending on groceries – last year that went up to 43.2%:

Graph not displaying? Click here

We spent a greater share on household goods than we had since 2008, but less on clothing than ever before and the least on eating out than any year since 2002.

The thing is, spending money on groceries, while certainly helpful for the economy, is not a very good indicator of economic health.

We need food and groceries such as toilet paper – that we are spending more on necessities than luxuries does not suggest a thriving economy.

And so it is more useful to look at the growth of total non-food spending in 2020 to get a better picture of things.

Normally there is little difference between the growth of total retail and total “non-food” retail spending, because the growth of how much we spend on groceries is much less erratic than other items:

Graph not displaying? Click here

But in 2020 the abnormal increase in spending on groceries, and the drop of spending on clothing and eating out, meant that there was a large difference between the growth of total retail and total non-food retail spending:

Graph not displaying? Click here

We only spent 2.4% more in 2020 on non-food retail than we did in 2019 – a pretty weak increase.

But while the amount of dollars spent is important, when we’re looking at the strength of the economy overall – such as GDP growth – we care more about the volume of things we bought.

And when we look at the volume of non-food items bought we see the real weakness of the economy in 2020.

While the volume of total retail bought in 2020 was 2.5% above the level of 2019 – a fairly unspectacular if decent level of growth – when we exclude food items, that growth falls to just 0.5% – the worst result since 1991:

Graph not displaying? Click here

So yes, the impact of jobkeeper and jobseeker bonuses did keep retail businesses afloat in circumstances which normally would have led to massive falls. But we should not be beguiled by monthly surges.

Spending overall, outside grocery stores, in 2020 was terrible and reflected the very weak economy.

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World Cancer Day: Teal returns, stats reveal yearly cases in city | The Border Mail


news, local-news,

Without knowing it, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews lifted border checkpoints and enabled a long-standing tradition to continue on the Lincoln Causeway. Mr Andrews may not have said why the infrastructure was removed, but the Border Ovarian Cancer Awareness Group is just happy their teal undies can fly unimpeded for the month of February. “Last week, we were scrambling to find a place we could put them as they had trucks and all sorts of things parked in front,” president Heather Watts said. “And then, the day before we were due to put them up it all came down and it was fine.” As Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month begins, $15,000 has been dedicated to local research into the cancer by a Border group. The Community Crew Albury ran the ‘Touch of Teal’ lunch at the Albury Entertainment Centre last year, with 100 people raising the funds for the Kelsey Watts Memorial Ovarian Cancer Research Grant. The grant began with $100,000 donated by BOCAG in 2016 to the Border Medical Oncology Research Unit, to fund a nurse position. The unit is currently involved in five clinical trials for ovarian cancer, some which are testing new compounds shown to be effective in treating the disease. Ms Watts said the $15,000 from the Community Crew was a significant boost for the research grant, which complements work done by David Bowtell as principal investigator for the Australian Ovarian Cancer Study. “Professor Bowtell says you won’t be able to eradicate it, but you’ll be able to live with it, and that’s what they’re aiming for,” she said. Ovarian cancer is one of the most serious forms of cancers affecting women; only 46 per cent diagnosed survive past five years. There can be genetic links but in most cases, the cause is unknown, and there is no screening test. Researchers believe they’ve never been closer to improving treatment for the deadliest female cancer, Ovarian Cancer Australia says. Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre board member John Watson said it was crucial research into ovarian cancer be funded. “We’re very appreciative of any group bringing funds,” he said. “To have a nurse there [at the research unit] doing trial work is fantastic. “To think that the philanthropic people in our wider community keep giving to the trust is amazing. “It means it all gets spent here, it’s not tied up in an organisation in Melbourne. “The important message is awareness, and to talk to your GP if you don’t feel right.” For World Cancer Day, Cancer Council Victoria released data showing 239 people are diagnosed with cancer in Wodonga each year and 34 locals lose their lives to the disease. IN OTHER NEWS: Of these new cases each year, 26 people are diagnosed with lung cancer on average, 23 with melanoma, 31 with bowel cancer, 31 with breast cancer and 30 with prostate cancer. “We were concerned to see a drop in screening rates across the board last year due to COVID-19 restrictions,” Cancer Council Victoria chief executive Todd Harper said. “If you have received an invitation to participate in a cancer screening program, please do not delay.”

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Wait times for elective surgery in Tasmania on the rise, new figures reveal


Allison O’Donoghue lives in pain and in daily fear that an internal abscess will lead to septicaemia and the loss of limbs, or death.

She’s one of thousands of Tasmanians waiting for life-changing surgery on the public waiting list.

“It’s terrible. My whole life is on hold, I have no idea what’s happening or when,” she said.

Ms O’Donoghue, who lives in Launceston, first sought treatment last June for a suspected urinary tract infection that turned out to be a fistula — or hole in the bowel.

Allison O’Donoghue has been waiting for months for surgery to fix a hole in her bowel.(Supplied)

Months later, doctors discovered the fistula had led to a hole in the bladder and a growing abscess.

Although a colonoscopy has now been scheduled for next month, she’s yet to be told when she will have surgery to fix the problem.

In the meantime, she cannot work and is cautious about leaving the house in case she deteriorates.

“It’s completely changed my quality of life. It just revolves around the house and waiting, waiting, waiting,” Ms O’Donoghue said.

Waiting times on the rise

A new report released by the Productivity Commission reveals Ms O’Donoghue is not alone.

Just over half of patients on the elective surgery waiting list in the most urgent category — 51 per cent — experienced extended delays longer than the recommended treatment timeframe of 30 days.

Two surgeons operating in scrubs.
More than half of patients on the elective surgery list in Tasmania are waiting more than a month for their procedure.(Unsplash: Jafar Ahmed)

That is significantly higher than the 16 per cent recorded in 2015-16.

Category two patients are recommended to receive elective surgery within three months, but figures show 75 percent waited longer than that in 2019-20, up from 54 percent the previous year and 40 percent recorded in 2015-16.

Overall, almost 55 per cent of Tasmanians on the elective surgery waiting list waited longer than clinically recommended.

The Productivity Commission’s annual Report on Government Services also shows just 66 per cent of emergency patients and 58 per cent of urgent cases presenting to Tasmanian emergency departments were seen on time.

Just 60 percent of Tasmanian ED presentations stayed for four hours or less.

That figure has been steadily declining since 2013-14, and is below the national figure of 69.2 per cent.

A sign pointing to the emergency entrance of the Launceston General Hospital
Only two-thirds of patients presenting to the state’s emergency departments were seen on time.(ABC News: Luke Bowden)

The report reveals there were three patient suicides in Tasmanian inpatient units in 2018-19.

Tasmania’s suicide rate has risen to 19.5 per 100,000 people, up from 14.5 in 2018 — significantly higher than all other jurisdictions apart from the Northern Territory.

There were 108 suicide deaths in the state in 2019, compared to 78 in 2018.

The new report shows Tasmanian ambulances took longer to respond to callouts than anywhere else in the country in 2019-20.

The median response time statewide was 13.8 minutes, with New South Wales recording the next highest median response time at 11.7 minutes.

Health Minister Sarah Courtney issued a statement on the Productivity Commission report, saying it showed there were “significant challenges” on the health system last year, including the pandemic.

She pointed to improvements in staffing, and said emergency department waiting times and median elective surgery waiting times remained stable.

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Japan Suicide Rates Reveal COVID-19’s Mental Health Toll



AsianScientist (Jan. 19, 2021) – In a wide-ranging study covering the entire Japanese population, researchers found that suicide rates among women, children and adolescents surged during COVID-19’s second wave. Their results were published in Nature Human Behaviour.

While COVID-19’s varied list of symptoms (or even lack thereof) is well-documented, the disease’s psychological toll has received less attention. Referred to as a ‘hidden epidemic,’ mental health issues have spiked during the pandemic—likely due to anxiety caused by the threat of catching COVID-19 as well as loneliness resulting from social distancing measures.

To investigate COVID-19’s impact on mental health, Dr. Shohei Okamoto from the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology and Mr. Takanao Tanaka from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology examined changes in Japan’s suicide rates before and after the pandemic’s onset.

The researchers analyzed city-level data covering the entire Japanese population—more than 120 million people—from November 2016 to October 2020. They found that monthly suicide rates dwindled by 14 percent during the pandemic’s first five months, covering a period of February to June 2020.

Suicides among adults saw the greatest decline during Japan’s state of emergency from March to April 2020, in both women (27 percent) and men (21 percent). This decline was likely linked to lower economic stress resulting from the provision of government subsidies along with reduced working hours and commuting time, leading to improved quality of life and mental health. Likewise, the closure of schools during the first wave may have lessened COVID-19’s mental toll on children and adolescents.

In contrast, during the pandemic’s second wave from July to October 2020, monthly suicide rates grew by 16 percent overall, with a respective increase of 37 percent and 49 percent observed among females and adolescents. Meanwhile, suicide mortality rates increased by only about 7 percent in Japanese males.

Considering that the suicide rate among males in Japan is typically 2.3 times higher compared to females, their findings represent a marked difference from historical suicide patterns. Across both waves of the pandemic, suicides among married and unemployed women also increased. These results are consistent with recent studies that show the outsized impact of COVID-19 on industries dominated by women, as well as the greater burden of stay-at-home orders on mothers.

In summary, the pandemic may have disproportionately affected the mental health of women, children and adolescents. Suicide prevention strategies should therefore consider the factors that may have contributed to reduced suicide rates during the first wave, with these strategies tailored towards specific population groups.

“Our results offer a number of important insights on suicide mortality during the pandemic that may be relevant even after normal life resumes,” wrote the paper’s authors. “Overall suicide trends must be monitored, so that immediate policy responses can be considered.”

The article can be found at: Tanaka & Okamoto (2021) Increase in Suicide Following an Initial Decline During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Japan.

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Source: Nature; Photo: Shutterstock.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.


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SA police reveal 99 security guards stood down or sacked for coronavirus medi-hotel breaches


Police records show 99 security guards were stood down or terminated for coronavirus medi-hotel breaches in South Australia.

SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens provided a list of all the breaches to an SA parliamentary committee last month and it was released by the Opposition today.

One of the security guards was terminated for falsely claiming to be “a member of ‘Defence’ to enter [a] parking facility associated with the medi-hotel”, the records show.

One was “observed to be smelling of alcohol” while on duty; another was caught posting a video on social media, taken inside a medi-hotel while on duty; another “became disorderly” when found using a mobile phone on duty.

That security guard was one of 31 disciplined for using a mobile phone while on the job.

A further 23 security guards were caught sleeping while on duty.

Only one of those was terminated, with the other 22 “stood down” from duties.

Of the remaining breaches, 35 were for failures to properly use personal protective equipment and seven were labelled “other (miscellaneous)” breaches.

SA Labor Opposition health spokesperson Chris Picton described the breaches as “shocking”.

“Every precaution must be taken to ensure that our state stays safe,” Mr Picton said.

Changes should prevent further breaches, Chief Health Officer says

SA Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said she was confident in the safety of the system.

She said “significant improvements” had been made to medi-hotel protocols since the Parafield cluster briefly sent South Australia into lockdown late last year.

“When we previously had security guards sitting for long periods of time — up to 12 hours — you can appreciate how somebody might have nodded off,” Professor Spurrier said.

“But we have redone our security model and we have much more roving security, we’ve got state of the art CCTV and infrared sensors.

Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier says she is very confident in South Australia’s hotel quarantine system.(ABC News: Michael Clements)

SA Health believes that COVID-19 outbreak started in the Peppers Waymouth Hotel in Adelaide’s CBD, but likely because of poor ventilation rather than an individual breaching infection controls.

“I’m very confident about the way the medi-hotels are currently being run,” Professor Spurrier said.

“We want to know every single time that somebody might have touched their face when they’ve had their mask on, or perhaps didn’t use hand sanitiser or the like.

“So I’m actually pleased to see we’ve got a high level of reporting … if we don’t have that reported then we can’t do something about it.”

Acting Health Minister Rob Lucas said he was encouraged by level of reporting and the disciplinary action taken in response.

“I think the fact that we’ve seen regular reporting of incidents such as use of mobile phones or inappropriate wearing of PPE …. is an example of the system working, and working effectively,” he said.

South Australians urged to rethink travel to Victoria

Meanwhile, Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said South Australians should reconsider travelling to Victoria as the state’s health authorities worked to contain a COVID-19 outbreak.

But she said SA’s border with Victoria would remain open for now.

Professor Spurrier said the Victorian situation was “relatively stable” and two close contacts in SA were in quarantine and had tested negative.

A medical worker in PPE wearing a mask and visor talks to a disembarked passenger at an airport
Travellers arriving at Melbourne Airport have been getting tested for COVID-19.(AAP: Tim Carrafa)

“I am very hopeful the situation in Victoria will come to an end, and obviously we will be looking at the border, but that’s not necessary at the moment,” she said.

“It is important we take a proportionate response … and be very mindful of the great work Victoria is doing with their contact tracing.”

People travelling across the border are being sent text messages urging them to check the Victorian health website for exposure sites.

South Australia has recorded zero new cases today, but a second returned traveller has been shown to have the UK’s highly infectious coronavirus strain.



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Killers who refuse to reveal where they hid victim’s body could still be freed after Helen’s Law | UK News


Murderers who refuse to disclose where they disposed of their victim’s body could still be freed from jail despite new laws designed to deny them parole.

Martin Jones, the chief executive of the Parole Board, has issued the warning as “Helen’s Law” is due to come into force early next year.

Mr Jones has said convicts will be questioned about where they have hidden a body and failure to co-operate will not work in their favour.

However, he added they will still be released if it is decided they are no longer a risk to the public.

Mr Jones said: “This is a really difficult area.

“It’s described as ‘no body, no parole’ – that’s not what this legislation does, at all.

“It requires the Parole Board to take it into account before we make a decision, but it’s very clear that ultimately the Parole Board has to apply the public protection test in relation to whether that person remains a risk to the public.”

Image:
Ian Simms has never revealed where he hid Helen McCourt’s body

Mr Jones acknowledged missing body cases were “heartbreaking” for victims’ families, but said it would not be helpful for the Parole Board to mislead them about Helen’s Law.

He added: “It is vital that we explain that this is something we will take into account very carefully and will add weight to our decision-making.”

Helen’s Law, officially called the Prisoners (Disclosure Of Information About Victims) Bill, is named after murder victim Helen McCourt.

The insurance clerk vanished on her way home from work in 1988.

Ian Simms, Miss McCourt’s murderer, was released from prison earlier this year despite never saying where he hid her body.

Her family spent five years calling for the legislation to help give grieving relatives closure before it finally gained Royal Assent in November after a series of political and constitutional setbacks.

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‘He knows where my daughter’s body is’

When asked whether the law would have changed the Parole Board’s decision to release Simms, Mr Jones said: “My own view is even if this legislation had been in place it would not have changed the Parole Board decision that we made.

“It would not have made a difference if this law had been brought in prior to us making a decision on the case.”

The latest comments could cast doubt on how effective the new rules will be in changing the current system.

Parole Board guidance already says offenders who withhold information may still pose a risk to the public and could therefore face longer in prison.

Courts can also hand down tougher sentences for murderers who deliberately conceal the location of a body.

The law sets out to toughen up existing guidelines, making it a legal requirement for the Parole Board to take into account a killer’s failure to disclose the location of their victim’s remains when considering them for release.

Helen McCourt still
Image:
Marie McCourt has said she wishes Helen’s Law could go further

Marie McCourt, Helen’s McCourt’s mother, said: “I wish the law could have gone further, definitely. It’s upsetting to hear the law may not have helped our case.

“Simms has a violent history. How can they say a man like that, who also won’t reveal information, is safe to be released?

“But they have to make sure Helen’s Law makes it harder and makes it far more difficult than it has been.”

Mr Jones, who has been the boss of the Parole Board since 2015, said killers could also add to a family’s distress by lying about how they have disposed of a body.

Helen’s Law will also apply to paedophiles when it comes into force in 2021.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice said: “Helen’s Law will mean that murderers and paedophiles who refuse to provide details about their victims could spend more time in prison.

“More families will also get the answers and closure they deserve.”



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Nervous wait to see how many new cases testing blitz will reveal


There is a nervous wait to see how much Sydney’s Northern Beaches cluster will grow today as the outbreak threatens to cause a Christmas crisis as cases surge.

Holiday plans are in chaos with states and territories slamming their doors shut to Northern Beaches residents, and NSW Health has put residents across the entire state on high alert to monitor for any COVID-19 symptoms.
The Spit Bridge serves as the gateway to the Northern Beaches and is normally busy at all times of the day. (9News)

“If we find we’re not getting on top of the virus we will need to consider further measures, I’m hoping it won’t get to that,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said yesterday.

“The harder all of us work together, the better Christmas we will have.”

Those in the Northern Beaches who weren’t in isolation yesterday were in lines at their nearest COVID clinic — the testing blitz will reveal how successful authorities have been at containing the cluster amid fears it has already spread further through Australia’s biggest city, as the list of venues linked to known cases grows.

“Anyone in the state with even the mildest symptoms such as headache, fatigue, cough, sore throat or runny nose, is asked to come forward immediately for testing, then isolate until a negative result is received,” NSW Health said yesterday.

The premier said she will wait another 24 to 48 hours before changing any restrictions, saying she did not want to tighten anything ahead of Christmas. (Nine)

Stay at home, wear a mask

Ms Berejiklian said the weekend would be crucial in deciding if any restrictions needed to be changed, despite her reluctance to tighten anything ahead of Christmas.

“But I also do want to stress we don’t want to be in a position just before Christmas to have to restrict the easing of restrictions we have put in place a couple of weeks ago,” she said.

“I know from the testing regime overnight but also from the behaviour of people today, especially in Avalon and the Northern Beaches, the people are taking our advice and they are listening to the health messages.

“But if we don’t feel that is enough and we feel the number of cases is going up to an extent we are not comfortable with, we will take greater measures in and around the Northern Beaches community and perhaps even through Greater Sydney if we feel that risk is there,” the premier said.

All beaches from The Spit to Palm Beach have been closed, and Ms Berejiklian said people should also wear masks in supermarkets, places of worship and other indoor areas.

“Nobody should be getting on public transport without a mask. It would be just crazy not to do this,” she said.

Situations where mask use is not expected include:

  • In your home
  • Infants or young children unable to tolerate mask use
  • Where there is a relevant medical condition

NSW Health said currently it was only an advisory measure rather than a mandatory regulation, but it would continue to monitor the situation.

The Manly Wharf area - usually bustling - is deserted.
The Manly Wharf area – usually bustling – is deserted. (9News)

Venues linked to confirmed cases grows

Anyone who was at the below venues during these times must immediately self-isolate for 14 days and get tested. They must remain in isolation regardless of the result.

  • Hair by Erika, Village Shopping Centre Lane Cove, 11 December, 3.30-5pm
  • Rusti Fig Café Newport, 12 December, 9-10am
  • Salon of Hair Turramurra, 15 December, 10am-3pm, and 16 December, 9.30am-3.30pm

Close and casual contacts:

  • Sienna Marina, 7-41 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomoolo, 11 December, 12-2pm. (Anyone who spent one hour or longer at the restaurant at this time must get tested and isolate until December 25. Other patrons should monitor for symptoms, and isolate and get tested immediately if symptoms appear.)
  • Pilgrims Vegetarian Café, 97 Gerrale St, Cronulla, 16 December 11.30am-2.30pm (Anyone who was at the café during this time for one hour or more must be tested immediately and isolate until 30 December. Other patrons should monitor for symptoms, and get tested immediately if they appear.)
  • Cronulla RSL Club, 38 Gerrale St, Cronulla on 16 December, 5pm to closing time. (Anyone who was at the RSL at this time must get tested and isolate until further notice. Close contacts will need to isolate until 30 December.)

People who have visited the following locations are casual contacts, and should get tested immediately and isolate until they receive a negative result:

  • Coles Newport, 11 December, 5-7pm, and 12 December, 3.15-3.30pm
  • Hills Florist, Terrey Hills, 12 December, 8-8.45am – close contacts have been contacted directly by NSW Health
  • Restaurant Lovat, Newport, 12 December, 2.15-2.25pm and 4.10-4.15pm
  • Nourished Wholefood Café, Avalon, 12 December, 7.30-7.40am
  • RAN Sailing Association Darling Point, Navy Bear Café and Christmas party, 13 December, 10am 4pm
  • Sabiang Thai Restaurant, 4/49 Old Barrenjoey Rd, Avalon Beach, 13 December, 6-8pm
  • Seven West Media Building, 8 Central Ave, Eveleigh, 14 December, 8-11.30am
  • Mentmore and Morley Café and public toilets, 55 Mentmore Ave, Roseberry, 14 December 10am-3pm
  • Harris Farm, Mona Vale Plaza, 14 December, 11-11.10am
  • Paris Seafood Café, 136 Cronulla, 15 December, 8.30-9pm
  • Cronulla Mall, 15 December, 8-9pm and 16 December 11am-12pm
  • Blend @ Grantham Café, Riverstone, 16 December 11-11.45am
  • Westfield Bondi Junction, 15 December, 1-2.30pm
  • Forest Way Fruit Market, 2 Myoora St, Terrey Hills, 16 December, 4-4.10pm

Confirmed cases travelled on the following transport services. Other passengers are considered to be casual contacts, and should get tested and isolate until a negative result is received.

  • Ferry from Palm Beach to Wagstaffe, 16 December, 6.15pm-6.35pm
  • Forest Coach Lines buses between Forestville and the CBD
    • Route 273, 15 December, Departing Jamieson Square, Forestville, 7.10am and arriving QVB, 8am
    • Route 271, 15 December, Departing QVB 5.25pm and arriving Austlink Business Park Belrose 6.28pm
    • Route 273, 16 December, Departing Jamieson Square, Forestville 7.10am and arriving QVB, CBD, 8am
    • Route 271, 16 December, Departing QVB 5.25pm and arriving Austlink Business Park Belrose, 6.28pm
Large queues at Mona Vale COVID clinic after two cases were detected in in Avalon. (Nick Moir)
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