Coronavirus updates LIVE: Victoria enters lockdown weekend, New South Wales and Queensland borders restricted, Australia’s death toll reaches 266


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Security guards hired for hotel quarantine in an attempt at social inclusion

A senior Department of Jobs official has been removed from their role as evidence mounts that the decision to use private security guards at Melbourne’s quarantine hotels was partly driven by a well-meaning attempt to provide jobs under “social inclusion” policies.

A leaked email from another public servant, the department’s deputy secretary for inclusion, also paints a picture of how rushed the implementation was, describing “heroic efforts” over a weekend in late March as bureaucrats became “expert in the delivery of hotel concierge services”.

Rydges on Swanston, one of the worst sites of quarantine hotel infection.

Rydges on Swanston, one of the worst sites of quarantine hotel infection.Credit:Getty Images

The revelations will increase pressure on the Andrews government over whether it put too much emphasis on finding jobs for marginalised Victorians without ensuring that those guarding hotel guests were trained in infection control and supervised by authorised officers.

Click here to read the full story.

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Air India Express COVID-19 repatriation plane crashes in Kerala

New Delhi: At least 16 people were killed and dozens injured when an Air India Express passenger plane overshot the runway and broke into two after landing in the southern city of Calicut in heavy rain on Friday, officials said.

The Boeing-737 flight from Dubai was flying home Indians who had been stranded overseas due to the coronavirus pandemic. There were 190 passengers and crew on board, the civil aviation ministry said in a statement. Among them were 10 infants.

A passenger is treated after an Air India Express flight skidded off the runway while landing.

A passenger is treated after an Air India Express flight skidded off the runway while landing.Credit:AP

Television footage showed rescue workers moving around the wreckage in pouring rain.

The aircraft lay split into at least two chunks after the plane’s fuselage sheared apart as it fell into a valley below, authorities said.

“Unfortunately, 16 people have lost their lives. I offer my condolences to their next of kin and pray for speedy recovery of the injured,” Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said in a tweet.

Friday’s crash is the worst passenger aircraft accident in the country since 2010, when an Air India Express flight, also from Dubai, overshot the runway and slid down a hill while landing in the southern Indian city of Mangalore, killing 158 people.

Reuters

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Opinion: Get on top of the outbreaks and numbers will start to drop rapidly

Why isn’t the Health Department releasing its COVID-19 modelling? That was a question from the media gallery at Thursday’s daily press conference.

Allen Cheng, Deputy Chief Health Officer, explained that models always had uncertainty, and the outcomes of any given model could give a false impression of certainty.

We have also heard Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton talking about different modelling exercises, and alluding to a range of values for the effective reproductive number.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton on Friday.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton on Friday.Credit:Justin McManus

Models are built, and refined, so they best fit the existing case data.

The challenge here is that our parameters have been constantly changing along with the changing epidemiology of this outbreak, with different levels of restriction, the mandating of masks, and compliance with these Chief Health Officer orders.

Catherine Bennett is chair in epidemiology at Deakin University.

Click here to read the full story.

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Economy to rely on households and government for years: RBA

Household and government spending will have to drive the national economy for years, with the Reserve Bank warning of a long and bumpy recovery from a recession so severe it will crimp the number of Australians moving in together and having children.

Releasing downgraded forecasts that economists say show the economy will not be strong enough to withstand an interest rate rise until at least 2023, the bank said even before the stage four lockdown of Melbourne there were signs of deterioration in the outlook.

The RBA has responded to the pandemic by cutting official interest rates to a record low 0.25 per cent, extending a line of credit to banks to help support small and medium-sized businesses and buying more than $50 billion in government debt in a bid to protect the economy.

Click here to read the full story.

Security guards hired for hotel quarantine in an attempt at social inclusion

A senior Department of Jobs official has been removed from their role as evidence mounts that the decision to use private security guards at Melbourne’s quarantine hotels was partly driven by a well-meaning attempt to provide jobs under “social inclusion” policies.

A leaked email from another public servant, the department’s deputy secretary for inclusion, also paints a picture of how rushed the implementation was, describing “heroic efforts” over a weekend in late March as bureaucrats became “expert in the delivery of hotel concierge services”.

Rydges on Swanston, one of the worst sites of quarantine hotel infection.

Rydges on Swanston, one of the worst sites of quarantine hotel infection.Credit:Getty Images

The revelations will increase pressure on the Andrews government over whether it put too much emphasis on finding jobs for marginalised Victorians without ensuring that those guarding hotel guests were trained in infection control and supervised by authorised officers.

Click here to read the full story.

Good morning all!

G’day everyone! It’s Roy Ward here and I’ll be handling business today for our COVID-19 live blog.

It’s been a sobering week in Victoria as greater Melbourne entered stage four lockdown and regional Victoria hit stage three.

So today’s new case numbers will get some attention as we look to see whether they are starting to noticeably drop due to weeks of mask wearing and the stricter lockdown.

Around the rest of the country we continue to see how robust the virus is as New South Wales is still dealing with a handful of new cases each day while returning travellers seem to be providing most of the cases in other states.

We have a big day of developments to come, please take care of yourself and each other.

As always please don’t hesitate to leave a comment on the blog or shoot me a tweet at @rpjward on Twitter.

Thanks again and enjoy the day to come.

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