Regional Victoria starts second lockdown, as cases continue to rise


Regional Victorian towns at the heart of country hotspots have welcomed stage 3 restrictions that come into play today.

There’s been a sharp increase in the number of people infected with coronavirus in regional towns including Bendigo, Colac and the Latrobe Valley.

The surge in cases has been caused by outbreaks in aged care homes, child care centres and schools.

Business leaders in regional and rural hot spots agree stage 3 restrictions are being re-imposed just in time.

Although in areas with few active cases, local politicians and business owners have raised questions.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the restrictions were needed to stop the virus spreading through aged care homes as it had in Melbourne.

From today, until at least September 13, regional Victorians are only allowed to leave home for four reasons — to go shopping for food and essentials, work and study, caregiving, and exercise.

Some ‘won’t make it through’

In Wodonga, in Victoria’s north-east, businesses are once again bracing for a tough six weeks.

Wodonga Retailers Group president Greg Haysom said he feared businesses in his town wouldn’t survive a second lockdown.

“There seems to be a common misconception that running a business is a licence to print money … you only make a living out of it, and not too much more,” Mr Haysom said.

Mildura Mayor Simon Clemence said while he understood the reasoning behind regional Victoria going back into lockdown, it would be tough for the city.

“I think they could have had much easier restrictions here and I think it would be the case for other areas in rural Victoria as well.”

The Hindmarsh Shire in Victoria’s west hasn’t recorded a single known case of COVID-19.

The council’s mayor, Rob Gersch, said the return to stage 3 restrictions was difficult, but he understood why it was important.

“It would be good if our local restaurants could retain those local customers.”

Latrobe Valley cases on the rise

The restrictions come amid growing cases in the state’s far south-west in Portland, and numbers keep rising in the state’s east at Traralgon in Gippsland.

The Latrobe Valley has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Gippsland, in the state’s east — another three active cases have been recorded, bringing the municipality’s total to 15.

A man who works at the Australian Paper mill in Maryvale tested positive.

closed sign on gate of early learning centre
A second person at the Moe Early Learning Centre has tested positive for COVID-19.(ABC Gippsland: Jarrod Whittaker)

The mill — which is the biggest private employer in Gippsland — is undergoing a deep cleaning and some of the infected man’s colleagues are being quarantined.

A second person at the council-managed Moe Early Learning Centre also tested positive, but did not attend work displaying symptoms.

Latrobe City Council chief executive Stephen Piasente said other workers at the centre were still waiting for their results.

“They should come through in a couple of days, so we’ll know the results of those fairly soon,” Mr Piasente said.

“So having the centre continue to be closed is important now for that cleaning process and for that contact tracing to occur.”

Elective surgeries cancelled

The Victorian Government is freezing all non-urgent surgery in regional Victoria from today due to the pandemic.

The Government said surgeries that had already been booked would take place if possible, but at each hospital’s discretion.

Ballarat Health Service director of acute services Ben Kelly said the sorts of procedures that would still be allowed under urgent category two included oncological or cancer-related surgeries.

“We wouldn’t want to see people delaying cancer surgery, for instance, when it’ll lead to an escalation of the disease.”

In the state’s south-west, Portland Health Service confirmed a new outbreak in the town.

Director Chris Giles said several new cases had now been linked back to two cases diagnosed on Sunday.

“This is a completely new chain,” Ms Giles said.

Several other health services from neighbouring districts have been called into Portland to help with testing and contact tracing.

Testing sites inundated

Meanwhile, the central Victorian town of Bendigo has ramped up testing at its drive-through and walk-through clinics, testing an average of 1,000 people a day.

A grey man with glasses stands in front of a sign that says Bendigo Health
Bendigo Health chief executive Peter Faulkner.(ABC Central Victoria / Tyrone Dalton)

Bendigo Health chief executive Peter Faulkner said while he appreciated those doing the right thing, he raised concerned about the prevalence of the virus in the community and tracing its sources.

“This virus does not respect geography, it does not respect time.

“It is on the job 24/7 and if we let our guards down in the wrong place at the wrong time, for the shortest time, it will take its chance to transmit,” he said.



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Beirut blast survivors sift rubble for bodies as death toll continues to rise


Survivors of a cataclysmic explosion that devastated the Lebanese capital of Beirut last night were picking through the remains of their city for victims today as the death toll topped 100 and was expected to continue rising, with more than 4,000 wounded. 

Beirut, once known as the Paris of the Middle East, resembled a huge scrapyard as the sun rose on Wednesday – with barely a building left unscathed in a blast caused by 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate that exploded with a fifth of the power of the atomic bomb that levelled Hiroshima.

Street after street, neighbourhood after neighbourhood, buildings were left without roofs or windows, their interiors shredded by the force of the explosion – believed to have been sparked when a welder caused a fire at the port, which in turn set light to a warehouse storing chemicals which had been seized from a ship six years ago.

After a night of shock and awe, the full scale of the calamity now facing Lebanon – a country that was already in the midst of an economic crisis – was laid bare at dawn.

The economic cost of the damage is thought to be around $5billion, but the more-pressing human cost includes 300,000 people left homeless along with dozens of missing, and hospitals creaking under the strain of thousands of wounded.

As authorities began totting up the cost of the disaster the threat of recriminations was also hanging in the air, along with smoke from still-burning fires. 

Prime Minister Hassan Diab vowed those responsible will ‘pay the price’ as he declared a two-week state of emergency to deal with the crisis, urging all world leaders and ‘friends of Lebanon’ to donate aid to the country, adding: ‘We are witnessing a real catastrophe.’  

The US, UK, France, Gulf states and even bitter rivals Israel have offered money and assistance, as President Michel Aoun declared three days of mourning and announced he would release $66million of emergency funds.  

Lebanon has begun the daunting task of trying to clean up its capital Beirut after a devastating explosion tore apart the city’s port (pictured) and caused damage across the city after several tons of explosive chemicals ignited

Fires were still burning at the destroyed port on Wednesday morning as the full extent of the devastation – in a country that was already in the midst of an economic crisis – was laid bare

Survivors of the blast which devastated Beirut overnight were sifting through the ruins of the city on Wednesday for bodies as the death toll rose to 100 with more than 4,000 wounded, and hospitals struggling to cope

Survivors of the blast which devastated Beirut overnight were sifting through the ruins of the city on Wednesday for bodies as the death toll rose to 100 with more than 4,000 wounded, and hospitals struggling to cope 

Dramatic footage on social media shows people screaming as an enormous blast rocks the waterside area of Lebanon's capital city

Dramatic footage shows smoke billowing from the port area shortly before an enormous fireball explodes into the sky and blankets the city in a thick mushroom cloud

A warehouse fire sparked by a welder set light to 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate that was being stored at the city’s port, causing an explosion with force roughly equal to a fifth of the atomic bomb which levelled Hiroshima

Lebanese soldiers picked through the rubble of buildings for bodies, with the death toll expected to rise further

Lebanese soldiers picked through the rubble of buildings for bodies, with the death toll expected to rise further

A survivor pulled from the rubble by Lebanese soldiers is rushed to hospital following the blast which devastated Beirut

A survivor pulled from the rubble by Lebanese soldiers is rushed to hospital following the blast which devastated Beirut

The latest developments came as:

  • It was revealed port authorities repeatedly warned of the dangers of storing the ammonium nitrate without safety measures, saying it was enough to ‘blow up the whole of Beirut’
  • Court documents revealed customs officials had applied at least six times starting in 2014 for the chemicals to be removed, but all of their requests were turned down
  • Lebanon’s President said an investigation into what happened is already underway, and that punishment will be ‘meted out’ to those who deserve it
  • Lebanese people launched desperate appeals to find loved ones – including port workers and a fireman who was called to the initial blaze before the main explosion
  • Locals warned of a major exodus from the country, which was already struggling to feed millions of refugees from the civil war in Syria 

France says it is sending two planes with dozens of emergency workers, a mobile medical unit and 15 tons of aid. French President Emmanuel Macron’s office says the aid should allow for the treatment of some 500 victims.

French peacekeepers stationed in Lebanon, a former French protectorate, have been helping since the explosions, Macron’s office said.

Jordan says a military field hospital including all necessary personnel will be dispatched, according to the Royal Court. Egypt has opened a field hospital in Beirut to receive the wounded.

Trump calls deadly Beirut explosions a ‘terrible attack’ 

President Trump

President Trump

President Donald Trump described deadly explosions as a ‘terrible attack’ during a Tuesday press conference, despite no evidence suggesting the blasts were intentional.

A series of massive explosions in the Lebanese capital’s port area rocked the city earlier today, killing at least 70 people and injuring more than 3,000 others. 

‘The United States stands ready to assist Lebanon,’ Trump said at a White House briefing. ‘We will be there to help. It looks like a terrible attack.’

When quizzed by a reporter if he was certain the explosion was in fact an attack, Trump confirmed that he was, insisting he had ‘met with some of our great generals and they seem to feel that it was.

‘They would know better than I would,’ the president continued. ‘They seem to think … it was a bomb of some kind, yes.’

Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamacek says Lebanon has accepted an offer to send a team of 37 rescuers with sniffer dogs to Beirut. Denmark says it is ready to provide humanitarian assistance to Lebanon, and Greece says it is ready to help Lebanese authorities ‘with all means at its disposal.’

Russia’s emergency officials say the country will send five planeloads of aid to Beirut after an explosion in the Lebanese capital’s port killed at least 100 people and injured thousands on Tuesday.

Germany says it is ready to send a team of 47 search-and-rescue experts to Beirut after the enormous explosion in the city’s port on Tuesday killed at least 100 people and injured thousands.

Germany also says its embassy was damaged in the blast but diplomats have reactivated an old building and are able to work.

Meanwhile President Donald Trump last night offered US aid to Lebanon, before calling the explosion a ‘terrible attack’ and claiming that his generals had said it appeared to have been caused by a ‘bomb of some kind’, without offering evidence. 

Robert Baer, a former CIA operative who operated for years in the Middle East, stuck a more nuanced tone -saying the explosion appears to have been an accident, but he is not convinced that ammonium nitrate was the sole cause.

He pointed to videos of what appeared to be fireworks going off amid a pall of white smoke, right before the main blast which sent a column of reddish-brown smoke high into the sky.

Baer told CNN that those ‘fireworks’ were likely munitions that had been stored as part of a weapons cache that included military-grade propellant.

‘It was clearly a military explosive,’ he said. ‘It was not fertilizer like ammonium nitrate. I’m quite sure of that.’ 

But he added that it would likely take years to learn the truth of what caused the blast, if it was ever revealed, because ‘no one is going to want to admit they kept military explosives at the port’.

Lebanon is effectively run by Hezbollah, an Iranian paramilitary group with a history of secrecy.

The U.S. embassy in Beirut warned residents in the city about reports of toxic gases released by the blast, urging people to stay indoors and wear masks if available. 

Thousands of people have also been left homeless by the blast, which threatened a mass exodus from the Mediterranean country that was already suffering with coronavirus, poor governance, and an economic crisis. 

‘We’ve had some dark days in Lebanon over the years but this is something else,’ said Rami Rifai, a 38-year-old engineer, speaking to AFP from a hospital where his two daughters were receiving treatment after sustaining cuts despite being half a kilometre from the seat of the blast.

‘We already had the economic crisis, a government of thieves and coronavirus. I didn’t think it could get worse but now I don’t know if this country can get up again. Everyone is going to try to leave. I will try to leave,’ he said, his voice choked by tears.

Firefighters had already been on the scene dealing with an initial blaze when the explosion took place. One security source told Reuters that the initial fire was caused during welding work on a hole in a warehouse wall.

Sources said the blaze started at warehouse 9 of the port and spread to warehouse 12, where the ammonium nitrate was stored. 

One Israeli bomb expert suggested fireworks could have been stored in one of the warehouses close to the ammonium nitrate.

Explosives certification expert Boaz Hayoun said: ‘Before the big explosion … in the center of the fire, you can see sparks, you can hear sounds like popcorn and you can hear whistles. This is very specific behavior of fireworks.’ 

A drone captures the devastation wrought by the explosion, including a watery crater (bottom left) where the warehouse containing the explosive chemicals previously stood

An aerial image of port before the explosion took place, showing the now-destroyed grain silo at the centre of the image with the warehouse containing the explosives to the left of it - which is now completely gone

An aerial image of port before the explosion took place, showing the now-destroyed grain silo at the centre of the image with the warehouse containing the explosives to the left of it – which is now completely gone

A Lebanese army helicopter flies over the site of the blast in Beirut's port area on Wednesday morning as smoke still rises from the rubble

A Lebanese army helicopter flies over the site of the blast in Beirut’s port area on Wednesday morning as smoke still rises from the rubble

A survivor of the Beirut blast is pulled from rubble of a building that was ripped apart by a shockwave that reverberated around the city, tearing it apart

A survivor of the Beirut blast is pulled from rubble of a building that was ripped apart by a shockwave that reverberated around the city, tearing it apart

Soldiers use pickaxes to dig through the rubble of buildings in Beirut in a desperate search for survivors on Wednesday

Soldiers use pickaxes to dig through the rubble of buildings in Beirut in a desperate search for survivors on Wednesday

Lebanese soldiers patrol the streets of Beirut on Wednesday to keep the peace after a blast tore the city apart

Lebanese soldiers patrol the streets of Beirut on Wednesday to keep the peace after a blast tore the city apart

A woman is evacuated from the partially destroyed Beirut neighbourhood of Mar Mikhael in the aftermath of a massive explosion in the Lebanese capital

A woman is evacuated from the partially destroyed Beirut neighbourhood of Mar Mikhael in the aftermath of a massive explosion in the Lebanese capital

A shockwave caused by the blast left barely a building in the city untouched, with damage reported up to 15 miles away

A shockwave caused by the blast left barely a building in the city untouched, with damage reported up to 15 miles away

Survivors of the blast walk the streets of the city, looking for victims amid the ruins of their old neighbourhoods

Survivors of the blast walk the streets of the city, looking for victims amid the ruins of their old neighbourhoods

Wounded people are treated at a hospital following the explosion, which has left hundreds of casualties in Beirut last night

Wounded people are treated at a hospital following the explosion, which has left hundreds of casualties in Beirut last night

Men gather in a street close to the destroyed port as they sift through the ruins of Beirut to salvage what they can

Men gather in a street close to the destroyed port as they sift through the ruins of Beirut to salvage what they can

A destroyed facade of a building is seen following the blast on Tuesday. Rescuers worked throughout the night to find people amid the devastation

A destroyed facade of a building is seen following the blast on Tuesday. Rescuers worked throughout the night to find people amid the devastation

Police and forensic officers work at the scene of an explosion on Wednesday morning and rescuers continue to look for survivors

Police and forensic officers work at the scene of an explosion on Wednesday morning and rescuers continue to look for survivors

Firefighters spent the night battling blazes at the port, which were still burning as the sun came up on Wednesday

Firefighters spent the night battling blazes at the port, which were still burning as the sun came up on Wednesday 

After the second, more devastating explosion, images showed port buildings reduced to tangled masonry, devastating the main entry point to a country that relies on food imports to feed its population of more than six million. 

Charbel Haj, who works at the harbour, said the explosion started as small explosions like firecrackers before he was suddenly thrown off his feet by the huge blast. 

The explosion damaged the Roum Hospital, which put out a call for people to bring it spare generators to keep its electricity going as it evacuated patients because of heavy damage.

Ammonium nitrate – the terrorist’s bomb ingredient 

Ammonium nitrate – identified as the cause of the deadly explosion in Beirut – is an odourless crystalline substance used as a fertilizer that has been behind many industrial explosions and terrorist attacks over the decades. 

Two tonnes of it was used to create the bomb in the 1995 Oklahoma City attack that destroyed a federal building, leaving 168 people dead, and it has been widely used by the Taliban in improvised devices.

Experts say a fire in Beirut started after a spark from a welder likely ignited the highly reactive chemical, causing a blast the equivalent to three million kilotons of TNT, killing at least 100 people and leaving thousands more injured.

There were 2,750 tonnes of the hazardous chemical held in the warehouse at the time of the explosion – which measured as the equivalent of a 3.5 earthquake. 

Death and injury from the explosion would have come in a number of phases, according to Dr David Caldicott from the Australian National University. 

‘Primary injuries are blast-related, as a consequence of the overpressure wave interacting with the hollow space in victims; lung injuries are often survived, but subsequently fatal, and bowel injuries are common.

‘Secondary injuries are caused by flying debris; effectively environmental shrapnel.

‘Tertiary injuries are as a consequence of being thrown by the blast, and quaternary injuries by other features such as inhalation.’ 

When combined with fuel oils, ammonium nitrate creates a potent explosive widely used in the construction industry, but also by insurgent groups to create bombs.

As well as the Oklahoma City bomb in the US, it has been used in a number of IRA attacks on the UK. 

These include the Bishopsgate attack in April 1993 that left 40 injured and a 40ft wide crater, and a 3,300lb bomb in Manchester in June 1996 that left 2000 injured but no deaths due to a phone warning an hour before the blast. 

In agriculture, ammonium nitrate fertiliser is applied in granule form and quickly dissolves under moisture, allowing nitrogen to be released into the soil.

However, under normal storage conditions and without very high heat, it is difficult to ignite ammonium nitrate, Jimmie Oxley, a chemistry professor at the University of Rhode Island, said.

‘If you look at the video (of the Beirut explosion), you saw the black smoke, you saw the red smoke – that was an incomplete reaction,’ she said.

‘I am assuming that there was a small explosion that instigated the reaction of the ammonium nitrate – whether that small explosion was an accident or something on purpose I haven’t heard yet.’

That’s because ammonium nitrate is an oxidiser – it intensifies combustion and allows other substances to ignite more readily, but is not itself very combustible.

For these reasons, there are generally very strict rules about where it can be stored: for example, it must be kept away from fuels and sources of heat.

In fact, many countries in the European Union require that calcium carbonate to be added to ammonium nitrate to create calcium ammonium nitrate, which is safer.

In the United States, regulations were tightened significantly after the Oklahoma City attack, with inspections required if more than 2,000lbs of it are stored in one place.  

Outside the St George University Hospital in Beirut’s Achrafieh neighbuorhood, people with various injuries arrived in ambulances, in cars and on foot.

The explosion had caused major damage inside the building and knocked out the electricity at the hospital. Dozens of injured were being treated on the spot on the street outside, on stretchers and wheelchairs.   

Lebanon’s Red Cross said it had been drowning in calls from injured people, many who are still trapped in their homes.  

Miles from the scene of the blast, balconies were knocked down, ceiling collapsed and windows were shattered.  

Beirut’s main airport, six miles away from the port, was reportedly damaged by the explosion, with pictures showing sections of collapsed ceiling. 

Beirut’s governor told journalists he does not know the cause of the explosion and said he had never seen such destruction, comparing the sobering scenes to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  

Local Fady Roumieh was stood in the car park to shopping centre ABC Mall Achrafieh, around 2km east of the blast, when the explosion occurred.

He said: ‘It was like a nuclear bomb. The damage is so widespread and severe all over the city. 

‘Some buildings as far as 2km are partially collapsed. It’s like a war zone. The damage is extreme. Not one glass window intact.’ 

A soldier at the port, where relatives of the missing scrambled for news of their loved ones, said: ‘It’s a catastrophe inside. There are corpses on the ground. Ambulances are still lifting the dead.’

A woman in her twenties stood screaming at security forces, asking about the fate of her brother, a port employee.

‘His name is Jad, his eyes are green,’ she pleaded, to no avail as officers refused her entry.

‘It was like an atomic bomb,’ said Makrouhie Yerganian, a retired schoolteacher in her mid-70s who has lived near the port for decades.

‘I’ve experienced everything, but nothing like this before,’ even during the country’s 1975-1990 civil war, she said.

‘All the buildings around here have collapsed.’  

One witness said: ‘I saw a fireball and smoke billowing over Beirut. People were screaming and running, bleeding. 

‘Balconies were blown off buildings. Glass in high-rise buildings shattered and fell to the street.’ 

Rami Rifai, a 38-year-old engineer,from a hospital where his two daughters were receiving treatment after sustaining cuts despite being half a kilometre from the seat of the blast said: ‘We’ve had some dark days in Lebanon over the years but this is something else.

‘We already had the economic crisis, a government of thieves and coronavirus. I didn’t think it could get worse but now I don’t know if this country can get up again. Everyone is going to try to leave. I will try to leave,’ he said, his voice choked by tears.

One resident of Mar Mikhail, one of the most affected neighbourhoods, said she saw bodies strewn in the middle of the street, apparently thrown off balconies and rooftops by the blast. 

For a long time after the blast, ambulance sirens sounded across the city and helicopters hovered above. 

Residents said glass was broken in houses from Raouche, on the Mediterranean city’s western tip, to Rabieh 10 km (6 miles) east). 

And in Cyprus, a Mediterranean island lying 110 miles (180 km) northwest of Beirut, residents reported hearing two large bangs in quick succession. 

One resident of the capital Nicosia said his house shook, rattling shutters.  

‘We do not have information about what has happened precisely, what has caused this, whether its accidental or manmade act,’ he said. 

Condolences poured in from across the world with Gulf nations, the United States and even Lebanon’s arch foe Israel offering to send aid. France also promised to send assistance.

The blast revived memories of a 1975-90 civil war and its aftermath, when Lebanese endured heavy shelling, car bombings and Israeli air raids. Some residents thought an earthquake had struck. 

‘The blast blew me off metres away. I was in a daze and was all covered in blood. It brought back the vision of another explosion I witnessed against the U.S. embassy in 1983,’ said Huda Baroudi, a Beirut designer. 

DOZENS MISSING AS LEBANESE LAUNCH DESPERATE SEARCH FOR LOVED ONES

Dozens of people have been reported missing following a cataclysmic explosion in Beirut as Lebanese people issued desperate appeals for information about their loved ones. 

An Instagram page called ‘locate victims Beirut’ sprung up in the wake of the tragedy, featuring images of those whose fates were unknown – including dock workers and firemen who rushed to the initial blaze before the larger blast.

People also flocked to emergency rooms where some of the 4,000 injured in the blast had been taken, desperately hoping for news. 

Marwan Chamaouni

Leila Nasser Fawaz

Marwan Chamaouni (left) and Leila Nasser Fawaz (right) were among those reported as missing by Lebanese media following the explosion in Beirut which killed at least 100 people

Ralph Mallahi

Ralph Mallahi

A firefighter named Ralph Mallahi (left and right) was also listed among the missing online, with relatives saying he was sent to the site of the initial fire before the main explosion and has not been seen since

At least 100 people have been confirmed dead in the explosion though that total is expected to keep rising.

The intensity of the blast threw victims into the sea and rescue teams were still trying to recover bodies. Many of those killed were port and custom employees and people working in the area or driving through during rush hour.

The Red Cross was coordinating with the Health Ministry to set up morgues because hospitals were overwhelmed,

Search and rescue teams were also coming through the rubble of nearby neighbourhoods in the hopes of finding survivors, with at least one person pulled from a destroyed apartment building.

The port district was left a tangled wreck, disabling the nation’s main route for imports needed to feed a nation of more than 6 million people. 

Lebanon has already been struggling to house and feed hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria.

Hassan Zaiter, 32, a manager at the heavily damaged Le Gray Hotel in downtown Beirut, said: ‘This explosion seals the collapse of Lebanon.’

Ali Abbas Ismael

Marwan Chamouni

Appeals were also issued online for Ali Abbas Ismael (left) and Marwan Chamouni (right), who could not be found after the explosion

Footage shows a thick column of smoke rising from the port before an explosion sends a fireball into the sky

A general view of the harbor area with smoke billowing from an area of a large explosion, with damage and debris after a large explosion rocked the harbor area of Beirut

A general view of the harbor area with smoke billowing from an area of a large explosion, with damage and debris after a large explosion rocked the harbor area of Beirut

The scene of the explosion that devastated the capital of Beirut last night. Rescuers worked throughout the night to look for survivors

The scene of the explosion that devastated the capital of Beirut last night. Rescuers worked throughout the night to look for survivors

People inspect a damaged petrol station near the scene of an explosion. Destroyed vehicles can also be seen and the nearby buildings all have shattered windows

People inspect a damaged petrol station near the scene of an explosion. Destroyed vehicles can also be seen and the nearby buildings all have shattered windows

The explosion has ripped a huge hole in the middle of this building as a man inspects the damage at the front

The explosion has ripped a huge hole in the middle of this building as a man inspects the damage at the front

Lebanese firefighters work at the scene of explosion at the Beirut Port, Beirut following the huge explosion yesterday evening

Lebanese firefighters work at the scene of explosion at the Beirut Port, Beirut following the huge explosion yesterday evening 

An injured man covered in blood is seen in Beirut following the explosion in Beirut on Tuesday

An injured man covered in blood is seen in Beirut following the explosion in Beirut on Tuesday

A man reacts at the scene of an explosion at the port in Lebanon's capital Beirut on August 4

A man reacts at the scene of an explosion at the port in Lebanon’s capital Beirut on August 4

Glass is shattered by the explosion at the Cavalier Hotel in Beirut following the explosion

Glass is shattered by the explosion at the Cavalier Hotel in Beirut following the explosion 

Explosion rocks Lebanon during time of deep economic turmoil 

The explosion comes amid political tension in Lebanon, with street demonstrations against the government’s handling the worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.

Late last year investigators revealed what was effectively a state-sponsored pyramid scheme being run by the central bank, which was borrowing from commercial banks at above-market interest rates to pay back its debts and maintain the Lebanese pound’s fixed exchange rate with the US dollar.

In January mass protests against the corruption allegations and a faltering economy led to the fall of Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s government.

His predecessor , Independent Hassan Diab, cut the country’s budget by $700million and put in place a financial rescue plan a month later.

But Lebanon’s problems have persisted after the Covid-19 pandemic forced global border closures, and protests have returned after the Lebanese pound fell in value, despite a lockdown being imposed in March.

Many businesses have been forced to close, but as prices continue to rise with a devalued currency some are struggling to buy basic necessities, and the prime minister warned that Lebanon was at risk of a ‘major food crisis’.

Analysts suggest the crisis has been prolonged because of political sectarianism, with the president, prime minister and speaker split between the three largest cultural groups; Christians; Shia Muslim; and Sunni Muslims.

Parliament is also drawn down the middle between Christian and Muslim members.

With the country’s governance in need of unity between the competing groups, external powers have been able to interfere in the country. Iran, for instance, backs the militant Hezbollah Shia movement

UN chief Antonio Guterres expressed his ‘deepest condolences … following the horrific explosions in Beirut’ which he said had also injured some United Nations personnel. 

Boris Johnson offered to help the crisis-hit country, tweeting: ‘The pictures and videos from Beirut tonight are shocking. 

‘All of my thoughts and prayers are with those caught up in this terrible incident. The UK is ready to provide support in any way we can, including to those British nationals affected.’ 

The UK Foreign Office has said a few of its embassy staff sustained non-life threatening injuries in the blast. 

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said in a tweet: ‘The images of explosions in Beirut are deeply worrying. Our thoughts are with those affected, the emergency services and the people of Lebanon.’ 

Offers of aid also came from bitter rivals Israel, with which it is still technically at war. 

Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, on behalf of the State of Israel, have offered the Lebanese government – via international intermediaries – medical and humanitarian aid, as well as immediate emergency assistance,’ said a joint statement from the two ministries. 

Last week, Israel accused the Lebanese group Hezbollah of trying to send gunmen across the UN-demarcated Blue Line and said it held the Lebanese government responsible for what it termed an attempted ‘terrorist’ attack. 

Hezbollah said all of the country’s political powers must unite to overcome the ‘painful catastrophe’. 

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that France stood ‘alongside Lebanon’ and was ready to help, tweeting: ‘France stands and will always stand by the side of Lebanon and the Lebanese. It is ready to provide assistance according to the needs expressed by the Lebanese authorities. 

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted: ‘We are monitoring and stand ready to assist the people of Lebanon as they recover from this horrible tragedy.’

Iran’s foreign minister has said it is standing by to help Lebanon recover from the fallout of the explosion.

Countries in the Gulf paid tribute to victims of the explosion as Qatar said it would send field hospitals to support Lebanon’s medical response.

Qatar’s ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani called President Michel Aoun to offer condolences, according to the state-run Qatar News Agency.

Sheikh Tamim wished ‘a speedy recovery for the injured,’ adding that he ‘expressed Qatar’s solidarity with brotherly Lebanon and its willingness to provide all kinds of assistance’. 

Pictures shows the scene of an explosion at the port in the Lebanese capital Beirut, which lay waste to surrounding buildings

Pictures shows the scene of an explosion at the port in the Lebanese capital Beirut, which lay waste to surrounding buildings

Firefighters spray water at a fire after an explosion was heard in Beirut

Firefighters spray water at a fire after an explosion was heard in Beirut

Medics shift an injured person from Najjar Hospital to another hospital in Al-Hamra area in Beirut after several hospitals were damaged in the blast

Medics shift an injured person from Najjar Hospital to another hospital in Al-Hamra area in Beirut after several hospitals were damaged in the blast  

Buildings and cars are partially destroyed in the neighbourhood of Mar Mikhael following an explosion at the port of Beirut last night

Buildings and cars are partially destroyed in the neighbourhood of Mar Mikhael following an explosion at the port of Beirut last night 

Firefighters douse a blaze at the city's port tonight following the deadly explosion which has wreaked devestation on Beirut

Firefighters douse a blaze at the city’s port tonight following the deadly explosion which has wreaked devestation on Beirut

Smoke billows from harbor area with damage and debris after a large explosion rocked the harbor of Beirut

Smoke billows from harbor area with damage and debris after a large explosion rocked the harbor of Beirut

The thick plume of smoke looms over the city of Beirut on Tuesday evening after the explosion at the port

The thick plume of smoke looms over the city of Beirut on Tuesday evening after the explosion at the port

A view shows the damages entrance of a store in Burj Abu Haidar area in Beirut

A view shows the damages entrance of a store in Burj Abu Haidar area in Beirut

Israel among the countries to offer bomb-struck Beirut humanitarian aid 

In a televised message this evening, Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab called on all ‘friendly and brotherly countries to stand by Lebanon’, hours after the bomb blast which tore through downtown Beirut, killing dozens, wounding thousands, and destroying countless buildings in the city centre. 

Among those to answer the call were Iran, Britain and France. 

Israel, whom Lebanon is still technically at war with, also offered their support. 

‘Following the explosion in Beirut, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, on behalf of the State of Israel, have offered the Lebanese government – via international intermediaries – medical and humanitarian aid, as well as immediate emergency assistance,’ said a joint statement from the two ministries.

The offer comes after two weeks of heightened tensions between the rival neighbours, with a series of border clashes between the Israeli Defence Forces and Hezbollah on Israel’s northern frontier. 

Israel accused the Lebanese group Hezbollah of trying to send gunmen across the UN-demarcated Blue Line and said it held the Lebanese government responsible for what it termed an attempted ‘terrorist’ attack.

Hezbollah and Israel last fought a 33-day war in the summer of 2006.  

Elsewhere in the Gulf, the United Arab Emirates’ Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash tweeted that ‘our hearts are with Beirut and its people’.

He posted the tribute alongside an image of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, illuminated in the colours of the Lebanese flag.

‘Our prayers during these difficult hours are that God… protects brotherly Lebanon and the Lebanese to reduce their affliction and heal their wounds,’ he wrote.

Gulf countries including Qatar and the UAE maintain close ties with Beirut and have long provided financial aid and diplomatic assistance to mediate Lebanon’s political and sectarian divisions.

Bahrain’s foreign ministry urged its nationals in Lebanon to contact the ministry’s operations centre or Manama’s representative in Beirut, while Kuwait ordered its citizens to take extreme caution and stay indoors. 

It comes just days before a United Nations tribunal is set to rule on the assassination of the country’s former PM Rafik Hariri.

The house of his son, Saad Hariri, who also led the country, was damaged by the blast but he was confirmed safe.

Save the Children said in a statement that members of their team on the ground in the city have reported entire streets destroyed and children unaccounted for.

Despite the charity’s offices in the city being badly damaged, they have pledged that a rapid response team is ready to offer support.

Jad Sakr, Save the Children’s country director in Lebanon, said: ‘We are shocked and devastated by the explosion today.

‘The death toll may not be known for several days but we do know is that in a disaster like this, children may be hurt, shocked and separated from their parents.

‘Our child protection teams are ready to support the government’s efforts, which will almost certainly go on for several days to come.

‘It is vital that children and their families get access to the services they urgently need, including medical care and physical and emotional protection.’

He added: ‘The incident could not have occurred at a worst time and has hit communities who were already suffering from the impact of the Covid-19 crisis and the economic deterioration.

‘Beirut’s main port, now completely damaged, is vital for much of the food, grains and fuel that Lebanon imports, and families will immediately feel the shortage in basic needs as a result of this tragedy.’

Lebanese President Michel Aoun holds a High Defence Council meeting at the Baabda Palace following the blast

Lebanese President Michel Aoun holds a High Defence Council meeting at the Baabda Palace following the blast

A car if left flipped on its roof on a motorway as a result of the devastating impact of the explosion yesterday

A car if left flipped on its roof on a motorway as a result of the devastating impact of the explosion yesterday

A mobile phone image showing a general view of the harbor area with smoke billowing from an area of a large exoplosion, with damage and debris after a large explosion rocked the harbor area of Beirut

A mobile phone image showing a general view of the harbor area with smoke billowing from an area of a large exoplosion, with damage and debris after a large explosion rocked the harbor area of Beirut

People on the street in Beirue which is strewn with debris from damaged buildings following the explosion

People on the street in Beirue which is strewn with debris from damaged buildings following the explosion

The loud blast in Beirut's port area was felt across large parts of the city and some districts lost electricity

The loud blast in Beirut’s port area was felt across large parts of the city and some districts lost electricity

The health minister told Reuters there was a "very high number" of injured. Al Mayadeen TV said hundreds were wounded

The health minister told Reuters there was a ‘very high number’ of injured. Al Mayadeen TV said hundreds were wounded

Witnesses have reported bystanders injured by falling debris from buildings and shards of glass flying towards people after the shockwave smashed out windows

Witnesses have reported bystanders injured by falling debris from buildings and shards of glass flying towards people after the shockwave smashed out windows

A wounded man walks near the scene of an explosion in Beirut

A wounded man walks near the scene of an explosion in Beirut

A large explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut last night. The blast, which rattled entire buildings and broke glass, was felt in several parts of the city

A large explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut last night. The blast, which rattled entire buildings and broke glass, was felt in several parts of the city

Israel denies any involvement in Beirut port blast that comes amid rising tensions in between Lebanon and its neighbour

by WILL COLE for MailOnline 

Israel has denied having anything to do with the huge explosion in Beirut, adding that the country was ready to give humanitarian and medical assistance to Lebanon.

The huge explosion in port warehouses near the city centre as killed more than 100 people, injured over 4,000 and sent shockwaves that shattered windows, smashed masonry and shook the ground. 

Lebanon’s interior minister said initial information indicated highly explosive material, seized years ago, that had been stored at the port had blown up. Israel, which has fought several wars with Lebanon, denied any role.

‘Israel has approached Lebanon through international security and diplomatic channels and has offered the Lebanese government medical and humanitarian assistance,’ a written statement from Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said.  

The offer comes after two weeks of heightened tensions between the rival neighbours, which involved a series of border clashes between the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and Hezbollah on Israel’s northern frontier. 

Earlier this month, Israel accused Hezbollah of trying to send gunmen across the UN-demarcated Blue Line and said it held the Lebanese government responsible for what it termed an attempted ‘terrorist’ attack.

Lebanon's interior minister said initial information indicated highly explosive material, seized years ago, that had been stored at the port had blown up

Lebanon’s interior minister said initial information indicated highly explosive material, seized years ago, that had been stored at the port had blown up

 

There have been numerous similar border spats in recent years but the most recent full-scale conflict broke out between the two sides in 2006 after Hezbollah killed eight Israeli soldiers and kidnapped two, sparking the 34-day Israel-Lebanon war. 

Hezbollah launched rockets at its southern neighbour and Israel returned fire, bombing Lebanese towns, villages and key infrastructure targets. 

The conflict ended inconclusively and the two sides are still, technically, at war. Lebanon is one of 31 UN member states that does not recognise Israel’s existence as a state.  

International aid in the form of emergency workers and medical personnel is already on its way to Lebanon. 

France says it is sending two planes with dozens of emergency workers, a mobile medical unit and 15 tons of aid. French President Emmanuel Macron’s office says the aid should allow for the treatment of some 500 victims.

French peacekeepers stationed in Lebanon, a former French protectorate, have been helping since the explosions, Macron’s office said.

Jordan says a military field hospital including all necessary personnel will be dispatched, according to the Royal Court. Egypt has opened a field hospital in Beirut to receive the wounded.

Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamacek says Lebanon has accepted an offer to send a team of 37 rescuers with sniffer dogs to Beirut. Denmark says it is ready to provide humanitarian assistance to Lebanon, and Greece says it is ready to help Lebanese authorities ‘with all means at its disposal.’ 

Prime Minister Hassan Diab, in a short televised speech, has appealed to all countries and friends of Lebanon to extend help to the small nation, saying: ‘We are witnessing a real catastrophe.’ He reiterated his pledge that those responsible for the massive explosion at Beirut’s port will pay the price, without commenting on the cause.

Diab’s speech came the morning after the blast killed at least 100 people and wounded thousands.

Smoke was still rising from the port Wednesday morning. Major downtown streets were littered with debris and damaged vehicles, and building facades were blown out.

Lebanese Red Cross official George Kettaneh said at least 100 people were killed and more than 4,000 were wounded, and said the toll could rise further. 

After yesterday’s explosion, Shi’ite Iran, the main backer of militant political party Hezbollah, also offered support, as did Tehran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia, a leading Sunni power. 

‘What we are witnessing is a huge catastrophe,’ the head of Lebanon’s Red Cross George Kettani told broadcaster Mayadeen. ‘There are victims and casualties everywhere.’

Hours after the blast, which struck shortly after 6 p.m. (1500 GMT), a fire still blazed in the port district, casting an orange glow across the night sky as helicopters hovered and ambulance sirens sounded across the capital.

A security source said victims were taken for treatment outside the city because Beirut hospitals were packed with wounded. Ambulances from the north and south of the country and the Bekaa valley to the east were called in to help.

The blast was so big that some residents in the city, where memories of heavy shelling during the 1975 to 1990 civil war live on, thought an earthquake had struck. Dazed, weeping and wounded people walked through streets searching for relatives.

‘I promise you that this catastrophe will not pass without accountability,’ Prime Minister Hassan Diab told the nation.

‘Those responsible will pay the price,’ he said in his televised address, adding that details about the ‘dangerous warehouse’ would be made public.

The interior minister told Al Jadeed TV that ammonium nitrate had been stored at the port since 2014.

The U.S. embassy in Beirut warned residents in the city about reports of toxic gases released by the blast, urging people to stay indoors and wear masks if available. 

Footage of the explosion shared by residents on social media showed a column of smoke rising from the port followed by an enormous blast, sending up a white cloud and a fireball into the sky. Those filming the incident from high buildings 2 km (one mile) from the port were thrown backwards by the shock.

It was not immediately clear what caused the initial blaze on Tuesday that set off the blast.

Lebanon’s health minister said more than 50 people had been killed and more than 2,750 injured. Lebanon’s Red Cross said hundreds of people had been taken to hospitals.

The governor of Beirut port told Sky News a team of firefighters, who were battling the initial blaze, had ‘disappeared’ after the explosion.

President Michel Aoun called for an emergency cabinet meeting on Wednesday and said a two-week state of emergency should be declared. He said it was ‘unacceptable’ that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate were stored for six years without safety measures.

The prime minister called for a day of mourning. 

The explosion occurred three days before a U.N.-backed court is due to deliver a verdict in the trial of four suspects from the Shi’ite Muslim group Hezbollah over a 2005 bombing which killed former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri and 21 others.

Hariri was killed by a huge truck bomb on the same waterfront, about 2 km (about one mile) from the port. 

Western countries including the United States, Britain and France also said they were ready to assist.

Images showed port buildings reduced to tangled masonry, devastating the main entry point to a country that relies on food imports to feed its population of more than 6 million.

It threatens a new humanitarian crisis in a nation that hosts hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and which is already grappling with economic meltdown under one of the world’s biggest debt burdens.

Residents said glass was broken in neighbourhoods on Beirut’s Mediterranean coast and inland suburbs several kms (miles) away. In Cyprus, a Mediterranean island 110 miles (180 km) across the sea from Beirut, residents heard the blast. One resident in Nicosia said his house and window shutters shook.

Lessons from history: Some of the worst industrial accidents from the last two decades

Tianjin, China – Container storage explosion

On August 12, 2015, a series of explosions killed approximately 173 people and injured hundreds of others at a container storage station in the city’s port.

Responders to initial reports of a fire at the site were not able to bring the blaze under control because, unknown to the firefighters, vast amounts of sodium cyanide and other chemicals which react with water were being stored at the site. 

There were two initial explosions within 30 seconds of each other at the facility, the second of which was far larger because it was the result of 800 tonnes of ammonium nitrate exploding.

Fires at the site, which released tonnes of harmful substances into the air, were left uncontrolled due to the sheer scale of the explosion.

Of the 173 fatalities, 104 were firefighters.

On August 12, 2015, a series of explosions killed approximately 173 people and injured hundreds of others at a container storage station in the city's port

On August 12, 2015, a series of explosions killed approximately 173 people and injured hundreds of others at a container storage station in the city’s port

 

 

Gazipur, Bangladesh – A boiler explosion

During a restart of equipment on July 3, 2017, following a 10-day shutdown for Eid, Multifabs Limited confirmed that there garments factory boiler exploded, collapsing a section of its multi-story factory in the district of Gazipur on the outskirts of Dhaka.

Worringly, the company was quoted as saying some 50 people were inside the building while the six-year-old boiler was having maintenance work done to it.

Over the next 24 hours, rescuers found seven bodies in rubble, and three other victims died in hospital. The death toll would remained at 10.

‘I heard a big bang when I was having tea outside,’ factory driver Hafiz Mostafa said, as dozens thronged the factory site and firefighters moved rubble in search of missing persons. ‘I saw windows, doors, glasses, machinery and a section of the wall of the building go flying.’ 

‘The boiler was running well,’ Mahiuddin Faruqui, Multifab’s chairman told Reuters at the time. ‘After servicing when workers were trying to restart it, it went off.’ 

 

Cyprus navy base – Munitions dump blast

In one of the worst defence industry disasters this century, 13 people, including the head of the Cypriot navy, a navy base commander and six firefighters were killed by a blast at a munitions dump which knocked out the island’s biggest power station.

Firefighters were called to the Evangelos Florakis navy base on the south coast of the island on 11 July, 2011, to tackle a blaze at the dump, which burned for about an hour before causing the explosion.

The blast almost levelled the nearby Vassilikos power plant, which produces nearly 60 percent of the island’s energy, damaged buildings in nearby villages and rained metal on a motorway. All the victims were Cypriots.

The country’s defense minister and army chief quit hours after the explosion at the dump, which held confiscated Iranian armaments. A government spokesman ruled out sabotage.

The blast wounded 62 people, shredded the outer walls of two multi-storey buildings and shook olive groves and farming villages for miles around the base.

‘My tractor jumped about half a meter in the air,’ said farmer Nicos Aspros, who was tilling his field at the time of the blast. ‘There isn’t a house in the community which hasn’t been damaged.’ 

Firefighters were called to the Evangelos Florakis navy base on the south coast of the island on 11 July, 2011, to tackle a blaze at the dump, which burned for about an hour before causing the explosion

Firefighters were called to the Evangelos Florakis navy base on the south coast of the island on 11 July, 2011, to tackle a blaze at the dump, which burned for about an hour before causing the explosion

 

Lagos, Nigeria – Armoury explosion

The armoury explosion was the result of an accidental detonation of a large stock of military high explosives at a storage facility in the Nigerian capital on 27 January 2002.

The fires created by the debris from this explosion burnt down a large section of Northern Lagos, and created a panic that spread to other areas.

Also thrown up by the blast were thousands of as yet unexploded military munitions, which fell in a rain of exploding shells, grenades and bullets casting further destruction across most of the northern section of the city.

As people fled the flames, many stumbled into a concealed Ejigbo canal and drowned. 

The explosion and its aftermath are believed to have killed at least 1,100 people and displaced over 20,000, with many thousands injured or homeless.

The government of Nigeria launched an enquiry, which blamed the for failing to properly maintain the base, or to decommission it when instructed to do so in 2001.

 

Enschede, Netherlands – Fireworks disaster

The city of Enschede was built up around the SE Fireworks depot, the only one in the Netherlands to be located in a residential area.

On 13 May, 2000, firefighters were tackling a small fire at the warehouse when the explosion ripped through the building sending debris and fireworks into the air.

Unaware of the oncoming disaster, locals had been watching the firefighters tackle the blaze – and at least one was filming the fire – when the factory exploded.

The first explosion had a strength of 800kg TNT equivalence. However the majority of the damage was caused by the last explosion which had a strength within the range of 4000–5000kg TNT equivalent.

A total of 400 homes were destroyed and 1500 buildings damaged. The blasts killed 23 people including four firefighters, and injured nearly 1,000 people. 

One week prior to the explosion, SE had been audited. The company was judged to have met all official safety regulations while the legally imported fireworks had been inspected by Dutch authorities and deemed safe.

 Dutch firefighters continued to work in harsh conditions, and with the help of German firefighters from a town a short distance over the border, the blaze was put out by the end of the day. 

On 13 May, 2000, firefighters were tackling a small fire at the warehouse when the explosion ripped through the building sending debris and fireworks into the air

On 13 May, 2000, firefighters were tackling a small fire at the warehouse when the explosion ripped through the building sending debris and fireworks into the air

 



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The rise of police power due to COVID-19


The COVID-19 pandemic has designed function for the law enforcement power even additional difficult and perilous than right before, writes Chris Hannay.

COVID-19 HAS Set the planet in a condition of instability. Many organisations are operating on unfamiliar terrain and have no blueprint on how to take care of the situation and its outcomes.

Police ought to react to and support in the national epidemic by introducing new insurance policies and by-guidelines that are evolving constantly as policymakers obtain enter from immunologists and virologists about how to cope with this world wide pandemic.

No matter whether the law enforcement work out those powers and steps during the pandemic is of the highest significance because these intense ways will have an outcome on the name of the police. No matter if or not law enforcement can correctly react to this disaster is dependent not only on legislators or the Government but also on neighborhood belief and the public sees the officers as a legitimate bearer of ability.

In response to the COVID-19 unexpected emergency, the police have two roles to complete:

  1. Training expanded powers associated to the reaction to general public wellbeing.
  2. &#13

  3. Lowering the motion of folks into the prison justice system and detention centres as section of the response to public overall health.
  4. &#13

Increased police powers

New laws and the proclamation of a point out of unexpected emergency have placed major constraints on our civil rights and have presented increase to incredible police powers.

In an effort to end the COVID-19 growth, governing administration entities have doubled the policing actions to put into action the present legislation as properly as the new health care tips.

Additional surveillance should really also arrive with extra police powers. The practical government will also be certain that this sort of powers are reviewed on a regular basis and supervised, which include by way of an autonomous supervisory physique.

Lowers people’s movement

The police have an critical job in the migration of offenders into the legal justice method. This is significantly significant in light-weight of the reality that courts across the region are closing and new court docket instances have been postponed just before even further detect. Gaols are possibly at potential or filling up.

Law enforcement cells and prisons are at the most harmful areas, but in an unexpected emergency like COVID-19, they are remarkably dangerous as prisoners are continue to in the vicinity of others. This will make the law enforcement cells and prison procedure the ideal atmosphere for the ailment. For directors, the repercussions of an accident in law enforcement custody will be devastating.

Law enforcement can adjust their tactics on a non permanent basis by staying absent from arresting and charging persons for reduced-stage crimes. In fact, exactly where the crime does not cause damage to a citizen, the police may concern an warn or warning and the police can delay the execution of arrest warrants for a period of time of at minimum six months.

Upholding human rights deemed non-essential by police

Powers relating to infectious persons

The recent law enforcement powers with regard to perhaps risky men and women will remain in position all over the dissemination command period.

Management to steer or remove an personal to a screening and evaluation website.

The safety officer can guide or transfer persons to a posture acceptable for screening and evaluation of their state of wellness. In order to exercise this energy and authority, the general public health and fitness officer have to have practical explanations to suspect that they are remarkably contagious.

Energy to maintain a person at a area for testing and analysis.

The security officer shall have the energy to keep persons at the analysis and checking site for 24 hrs. The superintendent may well extend this duration to a further 24 hrs. In actuality, the police can follow the advice of a well being treatment officer by keeping a particular person at an evaluation and checking website for up to 48 several hours.

Electricity to impose a quarantine.

Where by an unique has a described case of COVID-19 or the findings of these exams are incomplete, a wellbeing treatment officer can enforce a quarantine time period of 14 days, which might be extended for a further more 14 times. The constable has the authority to impose the rule by withdrawing the man or woman and keeping the unique in a quarantine position.

Nowadays, even a lot more than at any time, metropolis officers ought to make sure that equal treatments are adopted by the law enforcement and the public. It is the obligation of the entire law enforcement force to make sure the public’s safety, with the assistance of interactive powers.

It is getting to be of substantial significance for police officers to notify their officers the way they interact with the community in these troubled times will both make up or injury have faith in in law enforcement.

This is an incentive for the law enforcement to draw on existing authority and restore the eroded trustworthiness of the most vulnerable groups. Group leaders ought to describe the value of equivalent justice to their possess departments to remind stakeholders of how to do that by advertising consistency, delivering men and women with a vote or involvement, fostering accountability and providing them a voice.

https://www.youtube.com/look at?v=9dhNcLvNQY8

Chris Hannay is a leading prison lawyer on the Gold Coastline and in Brisbane and a Director at Hannay Legal professionals.

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Patient care threatened by ambulance ramping rise at Perth hospitals, paramedics claim


Emergency services are warning authorities about a concerning increase in ambulance ramping in the Perth metropolitan area, with concerns patient care is being compromised.

The practice known as “ramping” occurs when hospital emergency departments are at full capacity, forcing patients to remain in the care of paramedics while they wait for a bed.

Patients are often lined up in hospital waiting areas or corridors.

St John Ambulance WA medical director Paul Bailey said while ambulance and emergency department activity slowed during the initial COVID period, ramping rates were now three times higher than five years ago.

“Both walk-in and ambulance activity dropped into our emergency department so their capacity to accept patients improved, but in the last few weeks really things have pretty much gone back to normal, and we’re now seeing ramping at troubling levels again,” he told Radio 6PR.

Mr Bailey said there had been 1,700 hours of ambulance ramping last month, compared to 500 hours for the same period in 2015.

St John Ambulance says ramping has increased significantly in recent weeks.(ABC News: Natasha Harradine)

He believed part of the problem was that hospitals had reconfigured their way of dealing with patients due to COVID-19 risks.

“To give you an idea of that, last week and the week before we had a period of time in Perth when we only had two spare ambulances unallocated to patients in the whole metro area, and I’m really worried that’s going to lead us into a bad place,” he said.

Mr Bailey said delaying care for urgent cases could have detrimental consequences.

“We know that patients who have delayed commencement of their care in the emergency department do worse than patients who go straight through, so their length of stay increases, their complication rate increases … those first couple of hours you spend in an ED makes a really big difference,” he said.

‘It’s simply not true’: Health Minister

While emergency services were concerned the situation could worsen, the WA Health Minister Roger Cook said he was not worried.

WA Health Minister Roger Cook looks contemplative as he stands listening to Mark McGowan speak.
Roger Cook says the concerns raised are overstated.(ABC News: James Carmody)

“Our ambulance handover rates at the moment are about 21 minutes, a slight improvement on the 22 minutes from last year.

“Our EDs are working well and as I said our ambulance handover rates are doing better than ever, so it’s simply not true to say ambulance ramping is out of control and obviously someone’s not looking at the same numbers we are,” Mr Cook said.



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Sunshine Coast COVID-19 test waiting times increasing as anxiety continues to rise


The waiting time for COVID-19 testing on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is growing longer, with people regularly waiting more than an hour to get to the front of the line.

Queensland Health has three COVID-19 clinics operating in the region, as well as another 20 locations where patients can receive a nasopharangeal swab.

At the Caloundra drive-through clinic on Monday people were waiting for as long as two hours to get tested.

The State Emergency Service was on hand to direct traffic.

Staff advised people to head to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital or go to Nambour in an effort to reduce the waiting time.

A spokeswoman for Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service said there was “increased demand” for the tests, and asked for understanding.

“We thank everyone who takes the time to get tested,” she said.

Drivers and passengers are given directions as they attempt to receive a test for the coronavirus at a Sunshine Coast clinic.(ABC Sunshine Coast: Amy Sheehan)

Cases low, but fear on the rise

As of Monday afternoon, the Sunshine Coast, Noosa and Gympie – all covered by the same health service – shared a single active case of coronavirus.

Another 21 people are in “self-quarantine”.

The Gold Coast has just one active case, but more than 560 people are in self-quarantine.

Under the Chief Health Officer’s guidelines, anyone crossing the border from New South Wales must be tested for COVID-19 and go into quarantine if they have symptoms, have been overseas or in a designated hotspot, or have had contact with a confirmed case.

Queensland reported one new case on Monday and no new cases on Tuesday.

Gold Coast Public Health chairman Roger Halliwell said concern across south-east Queensland was growing as residents watched the number of cases grow in other states.

“There’s anxiety — it’s increasing as we see what’s happening in Victoria and to a lesser extent in NSW,” he said.

Longer wait for results likely

Dr Halliwell said most COVID-19 test results came back within 48 hours, with patients being informed of a negative result via SMS.

But he said it could take longer for the results to come back as testing increased.

“I’m sure [the wait for results] is increasing it because the advice to people with respiratory symptoms is go home, stay at home until you get your result,” he said.

“Incidentally, we’re seeing the delay in those being processed starting to creep in.

The Queensland Health spokeswoman said regardless of the wait times, those needing tests had done a great job.

“Queenslanders in the main have been outstanding throughout this pandemic,” she said.



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Scotland’s results day: Pass rates rise as pupils find out grades


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Media captionA Linwood High School pupil is congratulated by his mum after receiving his results

Scottish school pupils have been getting their exam results, with the pass rate increasing from last year.

The results were based on a combination of teacher estimates and national moderation after exams were cancelled due to coronavirus.

The pass rate for National 5 was 81.1%, while the Higher pass rate was 78.9% and the Advanced Higher rate was 84.9%.

In 2019, the National 5 pass rate was 78.2%, the Higher pass rate was 74.8% and the Advanced Higher rate was 79.4%.

About 138,000 students have been getting their results, with those who signed up for text or email alerts receiving their grades from 08:00 onwards, while certificates will arrive in the post during the day.

A total of 133,000 individual results were adjusted by the Scottish Qualifications Authority from the initial estimates of grades that were submitted by teachers – a quarter of the total.

Of these, 6.9% of the estimates were adjusted up, while 93.1% were adjusted down. Almost all (96%) were adjusted by a single grade.

If the results had purely been based on the estimates from teachers, pass rates at grades A-C would have increased by 10.4 percentage points for National 5, by 14 percentage points for Higher and by 13.4 percentage points for Advanced Higher.

Education Secretary John Swinney said this would have been a far higher annual change than had ever been seen before in Scottish exam results.

He added: “I know teachers and lecturers will always want the best for their pupils but I believe that teachers have acted professionally.”

Exams were cancelled across the UK as schools closed and the country went into lockdown in March.

Scottish school pupils traditionally find out their results earlier than those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who will receive their grades for A-levels on 13 August and GCSEs on 20 August.

Image caption

Holyrood Secondary pupil Dionne celebrates her results with her dad John

Pupils at Holyrood Secondary in Glasgow were among those to receive their grades on Tuesday morning.

Dionne told BBC Breakfast she had not known what to expect – but got “exactly what I was hoping for”.

“It means I’m going to university and I’m just so happy. I can’t believe it,” she said.

Her father John said he was “so proud” of his daughter.

“She’s done so much better than I could have ever done at school. It’s been such a time of uncertainty and it’s a massive wait over now.”

This year was the first time since 1888 that exams were cancelled in Scottish schools.

Pupils should have been sitting exams in National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher subjects in May and June. There are no formal exams for National 2, National 3 and National 4 qualifications.

What help is available to pupils?

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PA Media

Skills Development Scotland runs a free results helpline offering careers advice, information and guidance on 0808 100 8000.

It will be open from 0800 to 2000 on Tuesday and Wednesday, then 0900 to 1700 on Thursday and Friday. Information and advice is also available on the My World of Work website.

James Russell, from SDS, said this year was “unlike any other” and that it was understandable that young people and their families would be feeling more anxious than usual.

“Our advice and support is available and our message is if your results aren’t what you expected, don’t worry – you have lots of options,” he said.

The #NoWrongPath campaign is encouraging people to share their own stories on social media to highlight the different paths available to young people who may be feeling disheartened by their results.

The SQA’s candidate advice line will run from 0800 to 1800 on Tuesday, and from 0830 to 1700 on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The number is 0345 279 1000.

Support and advice is also available on the SQA website and on BBC Bitesize. Young people can also call Childline on 0800 1111 or get advice about exam results on its website.

As in the rest of the UK, the grades of pupils who were unable to sit exams have been worked out using estimates made by their teachers based on their performance over the school year.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) said it had sought to “uphold the integrity and credibility” of the system, but that its efforts had been focused on “ensuring fairness for all learners”.

Teachers were asked to place students within bands for each subject, and rank their pupils in order.

These assessments were then checked by the SQA, which said grades had been moderated “where appropriate” to “maintain national standards”.

This has been a results day like no other – with grades based on estimates by teachers rather than exams.

Pass rates are up in National 5s, Highers and Advanced Highers but they are still similar to the pass rates in previous years.

This is crucial – dramatic rises could have undermined the achievements of learners.

Around a quarter of teachers’ estimated grades were adjusted by the SQA – mostly downwards.

Some candidates or teachers will be disappointed by this but it highlights the importance of the appeals system.

Where a grade is adjusted down, appeals can be made but supporting evidence will be needed

This is crucial to the integrity of the system.

The exams body said it would look at each school’s previous history of estimating results and attainment.

This sparked fears from opposition politicians that some pupils from deprived communities could be marked down because of the previous performance of their school.

SQA chief executive and chief examiner Fiona Robertson has denied that a school’s previous record could put pupils at either an advantage or a disadvantage.

Where a pupil receives a lower grade than the one estimated by their teacher or lecturer, they will be able to use a free appeals process.


Have you received your results today? Share your experiences by emailing .

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist.



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Tory MP condemned for blaming BAME and Muslim people for rise in coronavirus cases | UK News


A Conservative MP has prompted widespread condemnation after saying the “vast majority” of those breaking lockdown rules are from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, while providing no evidence to support his claims.

Craig Whittaker suggested BAME people – particularly Muslims – were “not taking [the coronavirus pandemic] seriously enough”.

The comments were widely criticised, with Labour describing them as “disgraceful and overt racism” and calling for him to apologise.

The MP for the Calder Valley, one of the areas of northern England affected by newly imposed COVID-19 restrictions, made the comments during a call with LBC radio show host Ian Payne.

“What I have seen in my constituency is that we have… sections of the community that are just not taking the pandemic seriously,” he said.

Asked to confirm that he was referring to the Muslim community, Mr Whittaker responded: “Of course.

“If you look at the areas where we’ve seen rises and cases, the vast majority – not by any stretch of the imagination all areas – it is the BAME communities that are not taking this seriously enough.

“I’ve been challenging our local leaders for… three weeks, asking what we are doing to target these areas to let people know that this is still a very serious problem. Until people take it seriously, we’re not going to get rid of this pandemic.”

He added: “It’s not just the Asian community, of course.

“We have areas of high multiple occupancy – when you have multiple families living in one household. That just doesn’t specifically have to be in the Asian community, but that is the largest proportion.

“Look at all the areas. You’ve got Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees. Bradford and Kirklees have two of the largest populations in West Yorkshire.”

Payne then sought to clarify the MP’s comments again, asking: “So we’re talking immigrant communities, are we?”

Mr Whittaker responded: “We are. Immigrant and Asian population.”

Critics suggested many of those areas of the UK with the highest rates of infection had predominantly white populations.

Others responded on social media by posting images of crowds of people, many apparently failing to adhere to social distancing guidelines, on beaches and outside pubs and bars.

Boris Johnson speaks at coronavirus news conference
Image:
Boris Johnson chose not to distance himself from Mr Whittaker’s comments during a Downing Street briefing

Boris Johnson opted not to distance himself from the remarks when asked if he agreed with Mr Whittaker during a Downing Street briefing.

“I think it’s up to all of us in government to make sure that the message is being heard loud and clear by everybody across the country, and to make sure that everybody is complying with the guidance,” he said.

Labour’s shadow women and equalities secretary, Marsha de Cordova, called on the prime minister to “take action” over the comments.

“Disgraceful and overt racism from this Tory MP blaming Black, Asian and minority ethnic people, the very people whose lives and livelihoods have been the worst hit by COVID-19,” she said.

“Boris Johnson must condemn this comment and take action.”

Shadow home secretary and Labour MP Nick Thomas-Symonds added: “This is incredibly poorly judged, divisive and hurtful from a Conservative MP.

“People from all communities have made extraordinary sacrifices in this crisis and the higher death rates in some communities have been heartbreaking. He should apologise without delay.”

The Muslim Council of Britain said the comments were a “shameless scapegoating of minorities”.

“It is utterly unacceptable and Mr Whittaker should apologise,” the group said in a statement.

“Mosques and Muslim institutions have gone above and beyond to ensure social distancing rules are observed and initiated unprecedented education campaigns to ensure they are upheld by families.

“It’s one thing to discuss health inequalities and challenges with intergenerational households and occupational hazards – and these factors being prevalent in certain groups.

“It’s quite another to make baseless allegations claiming certain groups aren’t taking the pandemic seriously, especially when these claims are contradicted by a local Director of Public Health.”

Mr Whittaker has been approached by Sky News for comment.

But he later told the Press Association: “We have come from a situation where the infection rate was very low and we have seen spikes in those areas, but not exclusively to those areas.”

Asked if he was right to state BAME people had not been taking the rules seriously enough, he replied: “What else could I say?

“The reality is, this pandemic has not gone away, we have seen spikes in these areas, something is happening.”





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Coronavirus: Rise in deaths for first time since mid-June


A testing vialImage copyright
Reuters

The number of weekly coronavirus-linked deaths in Northern Ireland has risen for the first time since mid June.

The virus was mentioned on the death certificates of seven people up to Friday, 24 July, according to Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra).

That is five more than the week before.

Using Nisra’s death certificate information-based measure, there have been 853 Covid-19 related deaths up to last Friday.

The Department of Health’s positive-test based figure for the same date was 556.

NISRA said there have been 448 deaths in hospital (52.5%).

Eighty of those people were normally resident in care homes – a figure unchanged since last week.

Taking that figure and the 349 who died in care homes, it means care home residents account for half of all Covid-19 related deaths.

Eight people have died in hospices (0.9%) and 49 at residential addresses or other locations (5.7%), both figures unchanged.

People aged 75 and over account for 80% of all Covid-19 related deaths.

‘Excess deaths’

The provisional number of all deaths between Friday 17 and Friday 24 July was 307 – 67 more than in the previous week and 42 more than the five-year average (265).

That five-year death rate is used to compare the number of weekly deaths that would normally be recorded at this time of year.

Nisra also recorded the number of “excess deaths” registered in the past 17 weeks as 1,040.

Its measure captures all deaths linked to coronavirus – those involving confirmed infections which feature in the health department’s daily figures, as well as the suspected cases in which coronavirus is mentioned on the death certificate.



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The Rise and Fall of J.Crew



J.Crew was the 1st massive retail chain to file personal bankruptcy in the wake of coronavirus lockdowns. But analysts say J.Crew’s battle began several years previously, as its credit card debt mounted and it dropped contact with its consumers. Illustration: Carter McCall/WSJ



Resource connection

Treasury stops pretending Australia’s fertility rate will rise


The Morrison Government’s hottest Economic Assertion signifies that it has now accepted Australia’s fertility is in decrease, writes Abul Rizvi.

The headlines are focusing on the forecast for inhabitants progress charge forecast for 2020-21 staying the cheapest given that 1916-17 and net abroad migration being the cheapest since 1975-76. But the seriously significant extensive-time period growth from the Government’s Financial Assertion is that the Treasurer and his Department have stopped pretending Australia’s fertility charge will increase and now acknowledge it is slipping and will drop even more (see Chart 1 underneath).

The Governing administration may possibly also now abandon its studious avoidance of the population ageing situation reflected in its 2019 Finances and 10-12 months approach.

As I have mentioned in advance of, it was often really unlikely Australia’s fertility charge would increase to 1.9 toddlers per woman as forecast in the 2019 Budget. Treasury is now utilizing the protect of COVID-19 to prevent accountability for this.

Treasury is aware that Australia’s fertility amount is probable to tumble underneath 1.7 babies per female. In the future several years, this may possibly tumble down below 1.6 babies for every girl if higher prices of unemployment, small wages growth and poor coverage assistance for people seeking to have little ones keep on.

In truth, it is attainable Australia might fall into the “reduced fertility trap” along with lots of other created nations now in that entice.

The small fertility lure has three proportions:

  • Populace ageing involved with reduced fertility by itself minimizes the range of potential moms and retains fertility minimal
  • The best household measurement is joined to the smaller family sizing of preceding cohorts – the small children of the child boomers have increasingly adopted smaller family members – this is possible to proceed and
  • Fertility is the outcome of aspirations and anticipated money – as aspirations increase whilst the envisioned money of young cohorts falls, lower fertility is further reinforced. Governing administration plan supporting people is also pertinent to this.

All a few elements result in a downwards spiral in fertility.

Population ageing could be affecting Australia’s economic performance

The final result of persistently lower fertility is ideal highlighted in Japan, where by substantial initiatives to improve fertility have largely unsuccessful — Japan’s fertility level in 2018 was 1.42 babies for every girl and is described to have fallen more in 2019.

As a result of this and Japan’s lower charge of immigration, its median age is now an incredible 47 in comparison to Australia’s 37. The financial and budgetary implications of ageing in Japan have been significant.

That South Korea’s fertility fee achieved an unbelievable .92 toddlers for every lady in 2019, after remaining .98 infants for each woman in 2018, exhibits what can transpire if governments are unsuccessful to act properly on this critical challenge. This stage of fertility, mixed with its median age now becoming over 43, means South Korea faces an amazing amount of inhabitants ageing in advance of its overall populace goes into immediate drop — a charge of population drop that may possibly finally be even steeper than that of Japan.

The Morrison Government’s current conclusion to withdraw assist for childcare is an illustration of a federal government that is not shelling out focus to the lengthy-term affect of minimal fertility and inhabitants ageing.

The other component driving population ageing is the level and composition of web abroad migration.

The Government is now forecasting web overseas migration in 2020-21 will be close to 31,000. But even that may perhaps be optimistic as it relies on worldwide borders opening in January and a sizeable surge in abroad student arrivals. That is assumed to guidance universities struggling from a decline of profits from student fees and the Government denying them obtain to JobKeeper.

Praise and regret for the casual worker

If international borders do not re-open from January 2021, net overseas migration may possibly mirror the stage of persons motion in the three months to June 2020. In excess of the three months to June 2020, aggregate net movements were destructive 72,310. That features a internet maximize in returning Australian citizens.

Though not all of these actions would have impacted internet abroad migration for the reason that they did not fulfill the 12 months out of 16 months rule, the actions in later on months will have increasingly impacted net abroad migration as students full their reports and leave Australia if they are unable to secure a publish-review job and have restricted means of survival.

This adverse web movement pattern will probable carry on at the very least until finally intercontinental borders are re-opened as extra and more unemployed short-term entrants find they are unable to endure on charity.

In the longer-term, web abroad migration will get better but will not get to the incredible degrees forecast in the 2019 Spending plan. On my calculations, net abroad migration is unlikely to arrive at significantly earlier mentioned 175,000 for each annum. That is about 100,000 for every annum a lot less than forecast in the 2019 Budget.

Blended with declining fertility, that indicates Australia’s populace will age a great deal more speedily than the assumptions in the 2019 Funds would have shipped.

As the experience of Japan displays, that has prolonged-time period economic and funds expenses which recommend chat of “repaying federal government credit card debt” is just a fantasy, as is the Primary Minister’s aspiration of normal yearly true economic growth of 3.75 for each cent.

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Abul Rizvi is an Independent Australia columnist and a former Deputy Secretary of the Division of Immigration, at this time undertaking a PhD on Australia’s immigration guidelines. You can observe Abul on Twitter @RizviAbul.

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