Tony Abbott urges against coronavirus restrictions, argues ‘uncomfortable questions’ need to be asked

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has called for COVID-19 restrictions to be relaxed, arguing officials have become trapped in “crisis mode” and that governments need to consider “uncomfortable questions” about the number of deaths they are prepared to live with.

Speaking in London to the UK think tank Policy Exchange, Mr Abbott said the media had spread “virus hysteria” and people should be allowed to make their own decisions.

“From a health perspective, this pandemic has been serious. From an economic perspective, it’s been disastrous,” he said.

“But I suspect that it’s from an overall wellbeing perspective that it will turn out worst of all. Because this is what happens when for much more than a mere moment, we let fear of falling sick stop us from being fully alive.

“Now that each one of us has had six months to consider this pandemic, and to make our own judgements about it, surely it’s time to relax the rules so that individuals can take more personal responsibility and make more of their own decisions about the risks they’re prepared to run.”

Mr Abbott said in hindsight, there had not been enough attention paid to keeping coronavirus out of aged care facilities.


But he questioned a strategy that he argued had been adopted by most countries, of preserving “almost every life at almost any cost.”

“So far, with Sweden the most notable exception, governments have approached the pandemic like trauma doctors instead of thinking like health economists, trained to pose uncomfortable questions about a level of deaths we might have to live with,” he said.

“Even if mandatory shutdown [in Australia] really was all that avoided the initially predicted 150,000 deaths, that still works out at about $2 million per life saved.

Mr Abbott argued governments had shifted from trying to flatten the curve to achieving zero community transmission, a move he said had been justified by following the medical advice of “unaccountable experts.”

He also said some officials were trapped in “crisis mode” longer than they needed to be, because it boosted their public standing, and accused Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews of wanting to extend a “health dictatorship” by pushing for an extension of state of emergency powers.

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“Uncomfortable” Rory Atkins has departed Adelaide early

Adelaide General Manager of Football Adam Kelly has confirmed midfielder Rory Atkins has completely departed the club.

Atkins recently declared he would test his free agency at the end of the season, with a move to Gold Coast heavily linked.

Despite that, Kelly said the plan was for the 26-year-old to hang around the club for the rest of the 2020 season, but Atkins felt uncomfortable after revealing his decision to his teammates.

“Rory has completed his exit (meetings) with the club this week,” Kelly told SEN’s Dwayne’s World.

“We sat down with Rory in the lead-up to telling his teammates that he would be exploring his opportunities elsewhere and the intent was that he would stay around the program.

“He’s a really great character to have around and much loved by his teammates.

“We anticipated he might feel a little bit uncomfortable after telling his teammates and that ended up being the case.

“I think it was the very first team meeting that he sat in after informing everyone that he came in and said to me ‘I don’t think this is going to work’ and we said it is an uncomfortable situation when you have notified everyone that you’re moving on so he has now exited the club.”

While the Crows sit on the bottom of the ladder, Kelly says they’re not opposed to targeting mature-age players in the trade period.

“We do have a young list and we anticipate it getting younger, so if we can bring in some players with experience and help our development and growth and be part of that journey, we would entertain that,” he said.

However, Kelly ruled out Adelaide using their top draft picks in any trades.

“Our intent is to utilise our early-round draft picks. I know things can change in the trade period, but at this point we’re very much intent on utilising our first and second round draft picks,” he said.

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‘I have felt rather uncomfortable with it since the time of the Falklands’ – Sir Simon Rattle on ‘Rule, Britannia!’ – Channel 4 News

Tomorrow night sees the opening of the Proms concerts under the most challenging circumstances since the Second World War.

On Sunday night it will be the turn of the London Symphony Orchestra playing under its conductor Sir Simon Rattle.

Jon has been to speaking to him in the Orchestra’s current home – a former Parish Church from where all 70 of the musicians will perform their concert.

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Burnley banner: ‘It is time, perhaps, for an uncomfortable conversation’

BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Tony Livesey, a Burnley fan, explained the anger he felt seeing a ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ banner being flown over his team’s match against Manchester City at Etihad Stadium on Monday.

Burnley said that the banner “in no way represents” what the club stands for and that they will “work fully with the authorities to identify those responsible and take appropriate action”.

READ MORE: Burnley ‘ashamed and embarrassed’ by banner

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A majority of voters are uncomfortable attending large gatherings, dining out

WASHINGTON — Two-thirds of American voters say they would not feel comfortable flying on a plane or attending a large gathering due to continued worry about the spread of the coronavirus, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds. Half of all voters are also uneasy about dining at restaurants, and half of parents say they are uncomfortable sending their children back to school or daycare in August.

The vast majority of voters — more than eight in 10 — also say they wear a protective mask at least sometimes when they shop, go to work or interact with others outside their home. More than six in 10 say they always wear a mask in those situations.

The survey, which was conducted as many states eased some restrictions on businesses designed to blunt the virus’s spread, found that 66 percent of Americans say they are uncomfortable attending a public gathering or an event with a large group, with 43 percent saying they are “very” uncomfortable. Just 17 percent say they would be “very comfortable” at a large event.

That finding comes as most major American cities have seen mass outdoor demonstrations for racial justice, and also as GOP officials are scrambling to meet President Donald Trump’s desire for an in-person political convention with thousands of attendees.

The same share of voters, 66 percent, also say they would be uncomfortable flying on an airplane in light of the continued pandemic, with 44 percent saying they would be “very” uncomfortable.

As the hospitality and food service industry face some of the worst economic consequences of the outbreak, half of voters still express concern about dining out. Just 24 percent say they feel “very” comfortable eating at a restaurant, and a combined 54 percent are either somewhat uncomfortable (25 percent) or very uncomfortable (29 percent).

The data looks much the same when it comes to apprehension from parents about sending their children back to school or daycare in August. Just 25 percent of voters who have a child under 18 in the home say they are “very” comfortable sending their children back to school, while a combined 50 percent are either somewhat uncomfortable (20 percent) or very uncomfortable (30 percent).

While the president has resisted wearing a face mask in public — which CDC guidelines recommend in order to limit transmission of the coronavirus — voters overwhelmingly say they are wearing masks at least sometimes when they leave their homes.

A majority — 63 percent — say they always wear a mask when shopping, going to work or interacting with other people in public. Another 21 percent say they sometimes wear a mask. Seven percent say they wear a mask “rarely” and just eight percent say they never wear one.

But despite generally widespread mask-wearing, Republicans are more likely to follow Trump’s lead by expressing reluctance to donning protective masks.

Among the 15 percent of adults who say they rarely or never wear a mask, 83 percent plan to support Trump over Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential contest. Among those who say they always wear a mask in public, 66 percent choose Biden over Trump.

Worries about resuming regular public activities are also split along the same partisan lines. While 84 percent of Democrats and 71 percent of independents say they are somewhat or very uncomfortable attending a large gathering, just 44 percent of Republicans say the same.

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal live-caller phone poll was conducted May 28-June 2, 2020. The margin of error for 1000 interviews among registered voters is +/- 3.1 percentage points.

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