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As NSW coronavirus restrictions ease further, here’s what has changed from today



Today brings a raft of eased NSW coronavirus restrictions right in time for school holidays, but the winter break is going to look a little different this year.

From today, indoor venues including pubs, cafes and restaurants, as well as functions, can hold any number of people, as long as they remain seated and stick to one person per four square metres.

Weddings can have up to 20 guests, excluding the couple getting married.

A maximum of 10,000 fans are allowed to fill stadiums for sporting or cultural events from today, while community sport can resume for kids and adults alike.

But some things are staying the same: the 20-guest limit on household and outdoor gatherings remains in place, which means nightclubs and music festivals are still off the cards.

What can I do this winter break?

Winter break begins in NSW from this weekend until July 19, meaning about a million students in the state will have two weeks worth of free time to fill.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb and Luna Park will reopen this week, while the Blue Mountain’s Scenic World will also open its gates.

Ice-skating rinks across the state have reopened, along with museums, galleries, libraries and some cinemas — but are all subject to the four-square-metre rule.

If you’re eyeing off an alpine holiday in the state’s snowy region, be warned: although the 2020 season has gone ahead, slashed capacity resulted in mountain passes and accommodation mostly selling out.

Where can I travel?

Although international travel is still off the cards, NSW people are free to visit Queensland, Victoria and the ACT these school holidays — however, there are a few catches.

Although she has refused to shut the Victoria-NSW border, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian commanded people not to travel to Melbourne at all and encouraged NSW accommodation vendors to bar Melburnians.

From July 10, Queensland will welcome travellers from every state except Victoria, whose citizens will need to quarantine for 14 days before they can visit the sunshine state.

Everyone else will need to sign a form swearing they haven’t been to Victoria in the past two weeks and Health Minister Steven Miles warned that “strict penalties will apply for people who lie to us about any travel to Victoria”.

Travel to South Australia is not permitted for NSW or Victorian people, after the SA Government scrapped plans to fully reopen their borders by July 20.

The NT said they plan to open their borders on July 17, but people who live in Melbourne “hotspots” will have to self-isolate for 14 days at their own cost upon arrival.

Tasmania’s borders are still shut to interstate travellers.



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Endometriosis pain almost ended Monique Murphy’s career, but a diagnosis changed all of that


Paralympic swimmer Monique Murphy spent years battling an insidious enemy within her own body that consumed her with crippling pain and made her question her sanity.

And she’s determined to ensure other women — athletes in particular — don’t have to engage in the same agonising fight against endometriosis.

“I think it is common that people think you get cramps, you get pain and bleeding, you’ll be okay,” the 26-year-old said.

“And if it’s a recurring theme, it’s not okay. We need to change that way of thinking. We’re not doing our female athletes any good right now.”

Six years ago, Murphy fell from a fifth-floor balcony at a university party — the result of a suspected spiked drink.

A woman lifts weights at a gym on a machine, while wearing a black singlet. Her right leg is amputated below the knee.
Monique Murphy has worked hard to reach her goals as a paralympian.(Supplied: Monique Murphy)

She spent a week in an induced coma after suffering multiple injuries including a broken jaw, collarbone and ribs.

Her right leg was amputated below the knee.

But the worst pain she encountered in the aftermath came from her then-undiagnosed endometriosis — an incurable disease where tissue similar to what normally lines the uterus grows in other parts of the body.

“And all the doctors at that time were telling me that was completely normal and my body had been through trauma, and it was just recovering and it was going to be an up-and-down journey.”

But as QENDO (Endometriosis Association in Queensland) states, “period pain that stops you from doing your normal daily activities and cannot be managed with simple over-the-counter pain medication is not normal. It is not a part of being a woman”.

Medals valued over everything

It took Murphy five years to receive her diagnosis, and she was one of the lucky ones.

A woman lies on a hospital bed holding a white teddy.
Six years ago, Murphy’s right leg was amputated below the knee.(Supplied: Monique Murphy)

One in 10 women have endometriosis and face an average of seven to 10 years looking for a diagnosis because of a lack of knowledge and research around women’s health, as well as the normalising of symptoms by patients and doctors.

According to Murphy, who ascended to the Australian Paralympic swimming team soon after her accident, this is exacerbated in an elite sporting environment where the vast majority of coaches are men.

And she says women’s health issues — particularly anything related to periods — are often downplayed or ignored.

“[In] that high-performance environment, we are told time and time again that it’s the medals that count and we’re here to win medals.”

Despite experiencing serious symptoms at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, Murphy still managed to win a silver medal in the 400m freestyle S10.

But the condition was taking its toll and it flared up again at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships.

“I swam very, very poorly. I had this nerve pain or what felt like nerve pain all the way through my left leg, all the way down to my toes. In one race it got so bad that I had to stop kicking, because I felt like I was getting paralysed,” she said.

“We were trying acupuncture, the doctors were giving me Buscopan, and it was all an approach to just get you through the race. It was like, ‘oh, you’ve just gotten sick before a competition, we’ll just get you through the next 24 hours’.

Women’s health not prioritised in many sports

Murphy’s experiences are not unique, and highlight some broader flaws within the sporting environment, particularly Sports Science Sports Medicine (SSSM) structures.

SSSM practitioners include sport and exercise physicians, physiotherapists, dieticians, strength and conditioning coaches, psychologists, data analysts and more.

Kate Mahony is a physiotherapist and the Head of Performance Health at the NSW Institute of Sport.

She recently completed a Churchill Fellowship looking at best practice SSSM care of the female athlete around the world and found it lags behind the support available to male athletes, from the grassroots through to the elite level.

“I think sometimes there’s not much thought put behind what different resources might these athletes need to make sure they are at their best,” she said.

“And sometimes it’s as simple as putting aside some funding for the female program to refer external to get help from a pelvic floor physiotherapist, or to go and see a specialist like an endocrinologist for menstrual dysfunction.

“Just being able to pull the right people into the system to make sure our athletes do have the right people around them to help them be as healthy as they can.”

Many of the SSSM practitioners within women’s sports are only employed for several hours a week, not giving them enough time to adequately treat athletes, and they’re often getting paid less, pro rata, than those fulfilling the same positions in men’s teams.

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It means some women’s sides employ early-career clinicians willing to make those sacrifices to gain experience, using it as a stepping stone to the better resourced and funded men’s programs.

Even in Olympic and Paralympic sports where SSSM services are distributed more equally amongst the men and women, there are still shortfalls.

Dr Rachel Harris is the chief medical officer for Paralympics Australia and Water Polo Australia and has been leading the Australian Institute of Sport’s female athlete performance and health project, specifically looking at menstrual health and hormonal contraception.

“There has been less focus on some of the female athlete health resources that you can get,” Dr Harris said.

“So we haven’t ever done anything like [menstrual] cycle tracking, for example, in female athletes. And that’s something that we’re trying to bring in with our project, we need to start putting more of a focus onto those things.

“We need to increase the amount of research that we’re doing into female athlete health … for the betterment of both performance and health for all of our athletes.”

Would leadership and education make the difference?

Last year, Murphy finally found a doctor who confirmed she had endometriosis, but she still had to get a formal diagnosis, which is only achieved by a laparoscopy.

She found it confronting to discuss the surgery with her all-male coaching staff, but after it was complete, a huge mental burden was lifted.

A young swimmer wearing a cap and bathers sits poolside, as she hugs both legs. The right leg is amputated below the knee.
Monique Murphy has spoken out about her struggle with endometriosis at the height of her swimming career.(Supplied: Monique Murphy)

“It wasn’t in my head, it was something in there, there was something that was wrong. And it’s not because I’m not strong enough, and it’s not because I don’t have the ability to put things aside and race hard when it counts,” she said.

“There was something that my body was doing that wasn’t right that needed to be addressed and that’s OK.”

After returning from her surgery, she was frustrated by a lack of support from her mentors and, knowing there would be more operations in her future to manage the condition, she decided to move to Brisbane to train under a female coach.

Just 9 per cent of accredited coaches on the Australian 2016 Rio Olympics team were women, and the SSSM system is also dominated by men.

Dr Harris wants to see that gender imbalance addressed, whilst also educating the men within sporting structures.

“It’s difficult for the communication to go from those female athletes to those male coaches. Female athletes find it more challenging to discuss menstruation or incontinence or breast pain with a male practitioner, so there are certainly things that we need to look at,” she said.

“How do we help facilitate the communication and the conversation between our athletes, our coaches, our practitioners to normalise the things that females go through all the time?”

Murphy agrees it is crucial for young girls in particular to feel comfortable opening up about their health, so they’re not lost to sport when they reach puberty.

“I know I was mortified when my dad told my coach that I’d gotten my period, and I didn’t really want to go back to the pool for a while. So [we need to] really open up that discussion and make it something that we don’t have to be ashamed of,” Murphy said.

A woman is wearing blue swimmers and doing freestyle in a pool. She is amputated below the right knee.
After returning from her surgery, Monique Murphy was frustrated by a lack of support from her mentors.(Supplied: Monique Murphy)

Kate Mahony wants to see participants brought up to speed too.

“The athletes often aren’t aware that some of these conditions they suffer are actually really normal, as in, they exist at a high level in the female athletic population,” she said.

Murphy is concerned that endometriosis may be more prevalent amongst athletes.

She knows of six athletes in her friendship circle that have the condition and has counselled many teammates who’ve experienced similar symptoms.

But she wants coaches to take more accountability, so she has teamed up with Olympic swimmer Madeline Groves and QENDO to design a training program which they hope to deliver to sporting organisations.

“If we turned up [to training] with a runny nose or a cold and we weren’t well, your coach would say you need to see a doctor. They would acknowledge it for what it was. And I would like to see that in the same way with female health,” Murphy said.

“If a swimmer comes to training or any athlete, and they’ve got cramps or pain or any kind of symptom, your coach needs to go, ‘alright, this has been an issue for the past few months, you need to see a doctor for your period, because painful periods are not normal’.

“I think if we can do that we’ll see athletes staying with the sport a lot longer. Because it’s not something they’ve got to suffer through and it’s not something they have to be embarrassed about, and we could see careers flourish a lot more than they have.”



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100 days of coronavirus in Australia: How an unexpected pandemic changed the world forever


31 December

As the world prepares to welcome a new decade, China informs the World Health Organization of a cluster of mysterious pneumonia cases linked to a fish market in the city of Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province.

A day earlier, a doctor in Wuhan had raised the alarm of a viral outbreak that he said appeared similar to SARS in a group chat with medical school classmates, who he urged to wear protective clothing.

Disinfection work at Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market.

Disinfection work at Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market.

Getty

Four days later, he was forced by Chinese authorities to sign a letter stating he had made “false comments” and “disturbed the social order”. He was also told to shut up, or face arrest.

7 January

A new type of coronavirus – or nCoV for short – is formally identified by Chinese authorities.

11 January

A 61-year-old man in Wuhan dies after contracting coronavirus, marking the first fatality of the disease which will eventually claim the lives of more than 238,000.

13 January

In an early sign of things to come, a woman travelling to Thailand from Wuhan becomes the first person diagnosed with coronavirus outside of China.

23 January

Sydney Airport starts screening passengers arriving from Wuhan. By this point, more than 500 coronavirus cases have been confirmed, the vast majority in Wuhan.

More than 2,500 people have died from coronavirus in China.

Hospitals in China’s Hubei province were soon overwhelmed.

Getty

24 January

A team at the University of Queensland begins work on a coronavirus vaccine, which they say could be available worldwide in six months.

“The team hopes to develop a vaccine over the next six months, which may be used to help contain this outbreak,” Professor Paul Young, the head of the university’s School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, said.

“The vaccine would be distributed to first responders, helping to contain the virus from spreading around the world.”

25 January

Australia records its first confirmed case of coronavirus. The man in his 60s was visiting Victoria from Wuhan.

“Australia has world-class health systems with processes for the identification and treatment of cases, including isolation facilities in each state and territory. These processes have been activated,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

Shortly after, three more cases are confirmed in New South Wales, while the travel advice for Hubei province is raised to “do not travel”.

28 January

Days after diagnosing Australia’s first case of coronavirus, scientists at Melbourne’s Doherty Institute become the first in the world to grow the virus outside of China.

The breakthrough is a crucial first step towards scientists developing better diagnostic tests, treatments and a vaccine for the virus.

30 January

WHO declares the novel coronavirus as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. So far, more than 170 people have died of the disease in China and the number of international cases is growing.

There are nine confirmed cases in Australia. 

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization.

Tedros Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization.

AAP

Addressing the media, WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus said the designation was not due to what was happening in China, but more worryingly, what was happening in other countries.

He also said there was “no reason” for flight suspensions, border closures and quarantine for apparently healthy travellers. 

1 February 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces a travel ban on international arrivals travelling from or transiting through China, unless they are Australian citizens, permanent residents or their immediate family.

Those that are allowed into Australia from China, where 250 people have died of the virus, are told to self-isolate for two weeks.

Qantas announces it will suspend its direct services to mainland China. 

2 February

A 44-year-old man becomes the first person to die of coronavirus outside China, after flying into the Philippines from Wuhan.

3 February

More than 200 Australians are evacuated from Wuhan on a Qantas flight before being taken to Christmas Island, an Australian territory approximately 350 kilometres from the Indonesian coast, for a 14-day quarantine period.

In the weeks before, Australians in Wuhan issued increasingly desperate pleas for help after a lockdown in the city prevented them from travelling home.

Among them were 100 Australian school students

“We desperately need help from the government,” mother-of-two Australian citizen Ying Wang told SBS News from Wuhan. “We’ve been stuck at home for about a week, today is day six and we are running out of food.”

4 February

Japan confirms two Australians are among 10 passengers that tested positive for coronavirus on a cruise ship quarantined in the port of Yokohama.

The Diamond Princess is the first of several cruise ships to suffer an outbreak of coronavirus on board. A total of 223 Australians are among the 2,666 guests and 1,045 crew on board.

Australians on the ship will end up being evacuated to a quarantine site near Darwin. It will be another month before they are allowed to return home after completing a 14-day isolation period

7 February

Li Wenliang, the 34-year-old ophthalmologist who tried to warn the world about the virus before being threatened with arrest by Chinese authorities, dies of COVID-19 in a Wuhan hospital, sparking an outpouring of grief on social network site Weibo.

Dr Li Wenliang, the whistleblowing doctor in Wuhan who first warned of the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Dr Li Wenliang, the whistleblowing doctor in Wuhan who first warned of the outbreak of the coronavirus.

New York Times

He is described as a “hero willing to speak the truth” and the hashtag #IWantFreedomOfSpeech trends on Chinese social media.

More than a month later, on 20 March, the Chinese Communist Party would posthumously exonerate Dr Wenliang and issue a “solemn apology” to his family. 

9 February

The global death toll surpasses that of the 2003 SARS epidemic with more than 803 fatalities. Close to 37,000 infections are recorded. 

People wear protective masks and suits at Beijing Railway Station.

People wear protective masks and suits at Beijing Railway Station.

Getty

11 February 

More than a month after the virus was first identified, it finally has an official name. The WHO labels the disease COVID-19, explaining that “co” stands for corona, “vi” for virus, and “d” for disease, plus “19” for the year it was discovered. 

19 February

Iran announces its first COVID-19 cases after two virus-related deaths in the religious city of Qom. This was the first acknowledgment of an outbreak in the country.

Iranian army soldiers walk through a temporary hospital in Tehran, Iran.

Iranian army soldiers walk through a temporary hospital in Tehran, Iran.

AP

Before long, the number of deaths in the country would skyrocket to more than 6,000, making it one of the worst outbreaks in the world.

A month later, on 19 March, Iran’s health ministry announced that one person was dying of the virus every 10 minutes

21 February

Italy confirms a cluster of 15 COVID-19 cases in the Lombardy region and two in the neighbouring region of Veneto, where an elderly man in the city of Padua would become the first Italian person to die from the virus. 

None of the infected had travelled to China, marking the first known instance of local transmission in the country.

26 February

COVID-19 has now spread to every continent except Antarctica.

29 February

In Washington, a man in his 50s becomes the first person to die of coronavirus in the United States. The state is the first of several to declare a state of emergency.

Just over two months later, the country’s death toll will have reached 66,000 – the highest of any country in the world.

1 March

A 78-year-old passenger of the Diamond Princess cruise ship dies at Perth’s Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, becoming Australia’s first COVID-19 fatality.

The man was later identified as retired travel tour operator James Kwan. His 79-year-old wife, Theresa, was also treated for the virus.

4 March

A view of shelves at a supermarket in Brisbane.

A view of shelves at a supermarket in Brisbane.

Sipa USA Florent Rols / SOPA Images/Sipa

Woolworths introduces a four-packet per person limit on toilet paper after a rush of panic buying left supermarket shelves bare. Within a week, the limit would be reduced to two packs and one pack at Coles.

A North Sydney aged care nurse tests positive for coronavirus. It marks the beginning of an outbreak at the Dorothy Henderson Lodge, which will eventually be connected with six deaths.

9 March

Italy, now the clear epicentre of the virus in Europe with more than 9,000 confirmed cases, announces a nation-wide lockdown of its 60 million residents.

The Duomo gothic cathedral in Milan

The Duomo gothic cathedral in Milan is deserted.

Getty

Among them are many Australian nationals who tell SBS News they don’t know when they will be able to return home.

“We’re in a really confused state … I’m not too sure what’s going to happen in the future,” 27-year-old student Melis Aktas said from her apartment in Bergamo.

11 March

WHO declares COVID-19 a pandemic as the world reaches 118,000 confirmed cases and 4,291 deaths across 114 different countries.

It is the first time a pandemic has been sparked by a coronavirus.

12 March

The Australian government announces $17.6 billion in economic measures to keep Australians in jobs during the crisis.

Among the measures, a one-off $750 stimulus payment to pensioners and people on welfare support, totalling almost $4.8 billion.

“Australia is not immune to the global coronavirus challenge but we have already taken steps to prepare for this looming international economic crisis,” Mr Morrison said.

As of the afternoon, 139 cases have been confirmed in Australia, including actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita. The pair announce they tested positive while on the Gold Coast for a film via Instagram

13 March

All “non-essential, organised gatherings” of 500 people or should be cancelled from Monday, Mr Morrison says.

The announcement is made on Friday and the prime minister infamously says he would still be attending a rugby league match between the Cronulla Sharks and the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Saturday night.

“The fact that I would still be going on Saturday speaks not just to my passion for my beloved [Cronulla] Sharks, it might be the last game I get to go to for a long time,” he says.

Just hours later, a statement says he will no longer attend the game.

The same day, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is admitted to a Queensland hospital after contracting the virus.

16 March

There are now officially more cases of COVID-19 outside of mainland China than inside. Italy, which records 368 deaths in one day, Iran, Spain, and the United States have emerged as the new epicentres. Spain enforces a near nation-wide lockdown. 

In Australia, a fifth person dies from the virus and a day after Mr Morrison announces that all overseas arrivals to Australia will be forced to self-isolate for 14 days, effectively putting an end to tourism.

18 March

Australia declares a human biosecurity emergency, giving Health Minister Greg Hunt more powers to manage the outbreak in Australia. This is the first time these powers in the Biosecurity Act, introduced in 2015, have been used.

The first move made under the declaration is to ban international cruise ships from entering Australian ports.

Non-essential gatherings of 100 people or more are also banned and Australians are told not to travel overseas and travel advice for the entire world is lifted to level 4 – “do not travel”.

“This is a once-in-a-100-year-type event,” Mr Morrison says. “Do not go overseas. That is a very clear instruction.”

19 March

Qantas and Jetstar announce they will be suspending all international flights, while China reports no new locally transmitted cases for the first time since the pandemic began.

Australia's borders will remain closed for some time.

Australia’s borders will remain closed for some time.

AAP

Several independent schools plan to close despite the Australian government’s order to remain open after a number of cases are identified in students. 

In anticipation of school closures in the public sector, concerns are raised over the challenges new migrant families will face learning at home

Over in the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson says he will close schools in the coming days as their COVID-19 death toll hit 100.

20 March

All non-permanent residents and non-citizens are now barred from entering Australia; the borders are sealed shut.

Tasmania also implements a mandated 14-day quarantine period for non-essential workers travelling from the mainland. Premier Peter Gutwein says they are the “toughest border measures in the country”. 

Three people test positive for coronavirus in connection with the Ruby Princess cruise ship, a day after almost 2,700 passengers disembarked in Sydney.

21 March

Some of New South Wales’ most iconic beaches, including Bondi, are closed after thousands of people are pictured flouting social distancing advice to remain 1.5 metres from other people and stay home other than for essential activities.

Crowds defying social distancing rules at Bondi.

Crowds defying social distancing rules at Bondi.

AAP

Health Minister Greg Hunt slams the behaviour of the beachgoers. “If you are breaking those rules, you are not only putting yourself but the rest of Australia at risk,” he says.

22 March

In a drastic ramping up of measures to stem the outbreak, Mr Morrison announces that all non-essential services, including pubs, clubs, and gyms, would be closed as the number of cases in Australia hits 1,315.

Hours before the national announcement, Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory broke ranks and announced they would be shutting down non-essential services and that school holidays would be brought forward to allow schools to close.

“This is not something that we do lightly, but it’s clear that if we don’t take this step, more Victorians will contract coronavirus, our hospitals will be overwhelmed and more Victorians will die,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said.

23 March

New York City becomes the epicentre of the outbreak in the United States with 21,000 confirmed cases, while New Zealand announces it will enter a near complete lockdown within 48 hours

In Victoria, schools are closed and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian encourages parents to keep their children home from school.

A line at a Centrelink office last month.

Queues stretched outside Centrelink office in scenes reminiscent of the Great Depression.

AAP

Australians are confronted with Depression-era scenes of long lines outside Centrelink. The MyGov website crashes after thousands of newly-unemployed Australians try to register to claim JobSeeker benefits crashes

24 March

The Tokyo Olympics are postponed until 2021, the first such delay in the Games’ 124-year modern history.

A second round of stimulus measures passes the Australian Parliament, allowing people “in financial distress” to access up to $20,000 of their super in two installments.

It also includes a $550 “coronavirus supplement” to be paid to welfare recipients on top of their usual payments. This effectively doubles the Newstart payment, which was renamed JobSeeker on 20 March.

25 March

India institutes a nationwide “total lockdown”, affecting its 1.3 billion residents. More than one-third of the global population is now under some form of lockdown according to AFP.

27 March

The United States now has more coronavirus cases than any other country in the world, surpassing China (81,782) and Italy (80,589) at 82,404 cases.

A Samaritan's Purse crew works on building an emergency field hospital equipped with a respiratory unit in New York's Central Park across from the Mount Sinai Hospital, Sunday, March 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

A temporary hospital is set up in New York’s Central Park.

AAP

28 March

Australia records 473 new cases, the highest daily tally so far. The increase is substantially larger than previous days, with the week’s average sitting at 360 new cases every 24 hours. 

29 March

Australians share random acts of kindness happening during the coronavirus crisis on social media.

30 March

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces a third unprecedented $130 billion stimulus package in a bid to stem the wave of people being forced onto welfare as a result of the pandemic.

The $1,500-per-fortnight JobKeeper payment will be given to employers who have lost 30 per cent or more of their revenue to pass along to their employees so they can keep them on the books.

It’s the biggest economic announcement in Australia’s history. “Today, our government has made a decision … that no government has made before,” Mr Morrison said.

31 March

The state of New York becomes the new global epicentre with 75,795 cases, surpassing the province of Hubei, China, where the outbreak first began.

2 April

There are now more than one million confirmed COVID-19 cases across the world. On the same day, Spain reports a daily death toll of 950 people – the highest single-day toll of any country

5 April 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is admitted to hospital 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19. He’s discharged a week later after spending some time in intensive care. “The NHS has saved my life,” he says after being discharged.

7 April

Ninety-five per cent of America’s population is now under lockdown, according to Business Insider.

The federal government releases its coronavirus modelling, which shows promising early signs that Australia is flattening the curve. Mr Morrison says the growth rate of new cases is falling “well beyond our expectations”.

By this point, 5,795 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Australia and 46 have died.

8 April

WHO director-general Tedros Ghebreyesus defends the agency’s handling of the pandemic after US President Donald Trump says it is “China-centric” and threatens to cut funding.

The Senate passes the JobKeeper wage subsidy legislation – the largest economic package in Australia’s history. 

10 April

China ends its lockdown of Wuhan as several European countries prepare to ease restrictions. 

The United Kingdom reports its worst daily fatality rate for a second day in a row with 980 deaths.

12 April

Two hospitals in Tasmania’s north-west region are forced to close after a cluster of 49 cases are linked to the facilities.

“I am sorry we need to do this but at the end of the day we need to get on top of this,” Premier Peter Gutwein says. 

14 April

It’s revealed another aged care nurse in Sydney went to work at Anglicare’s Newmarch House facility while infected with COVID-19.

The facility will be investigated for potential infection control breaches following the deaths of 14 residents.

15 April

Donald Trump halts funding to the World Health Organization over its handling of the pandemic.

A Perth man becomes the first Australian to be jailed for repeatedly breaking COVID-19 quarantine to visit his girlfriend.

16 April

Global COVID-19 cases surpass two million, meaning infections around the world doubled in two weeks.

18 April

A 42-year-old man from the Philippines becomes the youngest person to die of coronavirus in Australia. He was a crew member on the virus-plagued Artania cruise ship, which was docked off the West Australian coast.

19 April

Queensland, South Australia, and the Northern Territory record zero new cases of coronavirus in 24 hours, while NSW reports only six cases, and Victoria just one. 

Foreign Minister Marise Payne calls for an independent review into the origins of the pandemic, citing the need for greater transparency. China sternly rejects the idea.

Islamic leaders urge Muslims across the world to pray at home during Ramadan, the holy fasting month that begins later that week.

23 April

The controversy-laden Ruby Princess cruise ship finally leaves Australia. By this date, the boat has been linked to 21 coronavirus deaths and at least 600 infections – about 10 per cent of Australia’s COVID-19 cases.

A 'Thank You Illawarra' sign hangs from the stern of the Ruby Princess cruise ship as it departs Port Kembla.

A ‘Thank You Illawarra’ sign hangs from the stern of the Ruby Princess cruise ship as it departs Port Kembla.

AAP

24 April

In a bizarre press conference, US President Donald Trump tells medical authorities to look into whether injecting disinfectant into COVID-19 sufferers and exposing them to “very powerful light” could cure them.

In Australia, COVID-19 testing is ramped up to include “anyone with flu-like symptoms”. Premier Berejiklian announces students in NSW will return to school for one day a week from 11 May.

25 April

At dawn, thousands of Australians gather on their driveways to pay their respects on Anzac Day after public services and marches were cancelled due to social distancing restrictions.

Jim Crockett and Suzanne, residents at a retirement village are seen outside their home at dawn on Anzac Day in Perth.

Jim Crockett and Suzanne, residents at a retirement village are seen outside their home at dawn on Anzac Day in Perth.

AAP

26 April

The government launches its mobile coronavirus tracing app, COVIDSafe, amid some privacy concerns. 

Based on Singapore’s TraceTogether software, the app tracks your movements and informs you if you have come into contact with someone who also has the app and has tested positive to COVID-19.

On its first day, almost two million people download the app. The government says 40 per cent of the population, or approximately 10 million people, need to get the app for it to be successful.

27 April

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says they have “won the battle” against community-transmitted coronavirus after nearly five weeks at the maximum level four restrictions.

28 April

Premier Berejiklian announces social distancing restrictions will be eased in NSW, allowing two adults to visit a household for social purposes.

Days earlier, a number of other states also announced some low-level restrictions would be eased. 

In Queensland, people are now allowed to travel up to 50 kilometres from their home, West Australians are allowed to gather in groups of 10, and parks and outdoor recreational areas are opened in the Northern Territory. 

30 April

The Australian Capital Territory becomes the first jurisdiction in the country to be free of coronavirus after the state’s 106 cases recover. 

It’s coronavirus-free status was short-lived however, with another case confirmed the next week. 

1 May

“Australians deserve an early mark for the work that they’ve done,” Mr Morrison says as he announces that the national cabinet discussion on whether to start peeling back restrictions has been brought forward.

Only around 1,000 cases remain active across the country, he says. A total of 6,767 cases have been recorded in Australia. 

4 May

Australia’s COVID-19 death toll reaches 96 after another resident of the Newmarch House aged care facility dies.

Chief medical officer Brendan Murphy says 4.25 million Australians have signed up for COVIDSafe in the week since it launched.

Jacinda Ardern says she’ll join Australia’s national cabinet meeting to discuss allowing travel between the two countries. 

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. 

The federal government’s coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe is available for download from your phone’s app store.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.





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Google Maps, City Mapper finds Australian habits have changed


Big Brother may not be watching us, but Google Maps is.

Google has tracked the mobile phone location of millions of Aussies to see how social distancing has changed their movements.

What the technology giant has discovered in its report is heartening, but also a little scary.

Movement at public transport stations is down a staggering 58 per cent compared to typical levels.

Visits to places such as restaurants, shopping centres and cinemas have fallen by nearly half, coming in at 45 per cent.

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In just three weeks, since the ban of all non-essential gatherings of 500 people, Australians have changed their behaviour drastically.

Major cities all across Australia have become veritable ghost towns.

The activity report, using data from February to March 29, shows shopping for essential items at supermarkets, food warehouses, farmers markets, specialty food shops, drug stores and pharmacies is down by 19 per cent, with Aussies trying to reduce their visits.

Residential movement — or people staying at home — was up by 13 per cent, the only area in society that saw an increase.

Experts said that if just 10 per cent of Aussies don’t follow the new restrictions, then the lockdown won’t work.

It comes as the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Australia now stands at 5540, at the time of writing.

Google said it had collected the data “to help you and public health officials understand responses to social distancing guidance related to COVID-19.”

Popular travel app City Mapper has also released a report, which found Sydney and Melbourne were at just 13 per cent of their normal activity.

It’s a trend not unique to Australia. Across the world, cities are grinding to a halt.

Cities in full lockdown such as Rome have dropped to as low as 4 per cent mobility.

Barcelona is the most affected city in the world, with City Mapper finding the Spanish city is functioning at just 2 per cent capacity compared to normal.

While cities appear to be at a standstill all over the world, Asia is emerging largely unaffected.

Places such as Singapore have managed to control the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining movement about 44 per cent of normal levels.



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Coronavirus Australia live news: visa rules changed to help secure food supply – latest update | Australia news











More visa changes announced

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Urgent support for frontline domestic violence services










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New Covid-19 cases in Darwin










Good morning, Melissa Davey joining you for another Saturday to bring you all of the Covid-19 updates for Australia throughout the day. If I miss anything, let me know at melissa.davey@theguardian.com or over at Twitter.

Let’s recap the last 24 hours or so by starting with some good news. Australia’s chief health officer, Brendan Murphy, said he was “quietly pleased” with the numbers of new cases of Covid-19 slowing, with the rate of the number of new confirmed cases in single digits. However, community transmissions have been growing. There are now 300 community transmission cases in Sydney, 60 in Melbourne and 30 in Brisbane. Australia is now in the “suppression” phase of containing the virus, the prime minister said on Friday.

In other updates:

  • Last night, New South Wales Health confirmed that to date, there have been 342 confirmed cases of Covid-19 diagnosed in NSW related to Ruby Princess cruise ship passengers. Defending their handling of the debacle, NSW Health said “Transmission of Covid-19 amongst these passengers could not have been prevented by NSW Health staff. No cases of Covid-19 were identified on board the ship before it docked. The vast majority of these passengers reported they did not develop symptoms until after leaving the Ruby Princess.”
  • Australia’s death toll for Covid-19 is now 28, after WA premier Mark McGowan said on Friday afternoon that a passenger from the Artania cruise ship, in his 60s, had died.
  • My colleague, federal political reporter Daniel Hurst, wrote a handy explainer about what the government’s free childcare package in response to the virus means for you. Meanwhile, sociologist Eva Cox asks whether the announcement is too good to be true.
  • Calls are growing for governments to support the evacuation of Aboriginal elders from remote and regional communities as Covid-19 spreads, indigenous affairs editor, Lorena Allam, reports.
  • Australia exceeded 5,300 confirmed cases on Friday.
  • After seemingly endless back and forth about whether Australia’s modelling on coronavirus will be made public, the prime minister said this information will be released by the government next week after more work, and review by the national cabinet. It is a complex data-set to release.

Thanks for joining me this morning, and I hope everyone is coping okay with isolation, checking in on their neighbours, and managing to get out for fresh air and maybe even a cheeky kebab without copping a fine.

DC Cardwell 🎶
(@dccardwell)

Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan and his sign language interpreter try to hold it together and still make it clear it IS legal to go for a run and have a #kebab at the same time. #coronavirus #covid19 #running #kebab #abcaustralia pic.twitter.com/pv7SvqMFHi


April 3, 2020

Updated





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How an encounter with Brooke Satchwell changed my life


Journalist Shannon Molloy is the first to admit that “I was a very naive teenager”. But in 2000, during his first year at an all-boys Catholic college in the regional Queensland town of Yeppoon, he was very quickly made aware of just how the world worked for a closeted 14-year-old who preferred fashion shows to footy.

A perfect storm of violent bullying, lacking leadership from school teachers and his disastrous crush on a boy named Tom all led to Molloy nearly taking his own life.

But eventually the support of family and friends, and his love for journalism, helped him forge a path forward.

In this exclusive extract from his memoir, Fourteen, the now 34-year-old Molloy recounts how an emotional encounter at a local festival with Neighbours star Brooke Satchwell not only kicked off his reporting career, but also gave him the courage to come out for the first time.

The Youth Festival’s final night had a big drawcard. As well as the battle of the bands performances, there was going to be an appearance by Neighbours actress Brooke Satchwell, a rising star whose poster regularly appeared in teenage magazines. I had one of them on my bedroom wall.

An electric buzz swept through town – a real-life celebrity was coming to Yeppoon! The moment the news filtered down to me, I ran straight away to the youth centre. Ever the ambitious wannabe reporter, I had zeroed in on an opportunity and was going to seize it. Yeppoon’s mayor had arranged for Brooke to come to Yeppoon, and pitched my idea: a local kid who wanted to be a journalist had asked to interview Brooke. To my amazement, her manager agreed.

I was completely beside myself. I began preparing in earnest, digging through stacks of old magazines and furiously flipping the glossy pages of each until I found one with her on it. I ran my finger over the text that accompanied red-carpet, studio and paparazzi photographs for key details, making notes in the reporter’s notebook Mum had bought me from the newsagent.

No amount of preparation could ease the tumultuous anticipation I felt on the night. Standing in the changing rooms of the local sports oval’s clubhouse, I struggled to remain upright.

My knees shook, my hands trembled, my mouth was dry and my tongue felt like a sheet of sandpaper. Brooke and I were half a metre apart, hemmed in by a group of excited onlookers. I nervously looked up at her, clutching my bulky tape recorder in one hand and a notebook and pen in the other. Brooke smiled softly and gave the slightest of encouraging nods.

“What’s it like playing Anne on Neighbours?”

It was a waste of a first question. I had a tiny window of time to get something interesting, and I wasn’t off to a flying start. But Brooke was gracious and generous. We ended up speaking for 15 minutes – five minutes over the agreed time.

She was happy to be interviewed by a 14-year-old, for a website she’d never heard of, for a story that very few people would probably ever read.

Just as I was nearing my final question, I suddenly noticed kids clamouring to get a glimpse of Brooke.

And that’s when I heard two awful words I’d heard so many times. “Poofter!” someone screamed, setting off a chain reaction from the mob. “Faggot!” another offered. It was like excited parrots, repeating each other in a bigoted chorus. Poofter! Faggot! Poof! Fag! Hey, fag! Look at this poofter!

Suddenly, my feet were firmly back on the ground. The lightness was replaced with heavy dread. My skin turned cold and my eyes began to well up.

I was mortified. In 10 short seconds, I’d been dragged from the naive feeling I was a serious writer spending time with a person who might even respect me a little, down to the more familiar sense of self-loathing. I was not accomplished. I was not talented. I was nothing. I was just a faggot and a poofter.

Brooke’s head turned towards the window and her smile disappeared. Her gaze lingered on those who were yelling. Their gleeful faces suddenly looked nervous, and they slinked – one by one – back into the darkness. Her eyes returned to mine. The kindness was still there, but so too was pity.

The interview was over. Brooke was ushered out the door and looked back at me, our eyes meeting for a final time. I wanted to crawl into a hole and not come out.

For much of the night, I watched the festivities on the stage from the very edge of the oval, leaning against a wire fence.

I didn’t feel much like celebrating. I was desperate to go home, but I couldn’t leave until things had wrapped. After a while, I began walking along the fence line towards the back of the stage. When I got there, I found Brooke sitting on a box that some of the sound equipment had come in. I was about to turn around and leave her in peace when she spotted me.

“Shannon!” she yelled. I smiled shyly and perched next to her on the box, listening to the band on stage. “Can I ask you something personal?” Brooke asked.

I nodded. She paused, trying to figure out the right way to frame the words. “Do you think you’re gay?”

“Probably,” I replied without even considering it, lowering my head and staring at the grass.

It was the most honest I had ever been with someone who had asked about my sexuality. I still don’t really know why I felt so comfortable being candid with Brooke, but there was something so warm about her.

I doubted she would tell anyone my secret. Who would care?

She shuffled closer and put her hand on my shoulder. I looked up at her as she flashed her big, charming smile at me. “Those kids,” she began. “You know that’s not going to happen forever, right? There will be a time when that doesn’t happen anymore.”

We sat there for almost an hour, talking about life in the city. It was a place of expressive freedom, she promised.

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People didn’t care about things like how you walked or how you talked. She knew a heap of gay people, she said, rattling off little facts about what they did for a living and the kinds of people they were. No one gave a sh*t about their sexuality. They were happy and successful.

“This isn’t the real world, this town. Not your real world anyway.”

I nodded half-heartedly, twirling a piece of grass between my fingers. On the stage behind us, I could hear a girl singing a cover of Kasey Chambers’s haunting ballad ‘The Captain’. She sounded just like Kasey.

She bellowed the poignant line about shaking off those who had put her down, and finding her place and discovering her destiny.

I wondered if I would find my place in the world, my destiny, where I could be happy and safe, where my gayness wasn’t the only thing that defined me.

Somewhere I could just be.

As though she was reading my mind, Brooke addressed my worries with an assurance that has stayed with me since. “You will find your place,” she said. “I promise.”

This is an edited extract from Fourteen by Shannon Molloy ($29.99, Simon & Schuster) which is available Wednesday.

READ MORE EXCLUSIVES FROM STELLAR.



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A year on from the Hayne royal commission, has anything changed?


Part of the spin in the press release was that by mid-2020 close to 90 per cent of the recommendations will have been implemented or have legislation before the Parliament.

This is a big suite of reforms, some more complex than others, so it is hard to understand why stakeholders have been given just 28 days to have their say.

It means some will go through with little scrutiny. Others will be targeted by the lobbyists and watered down before it is enshrined into law.

Whatever the case, much of the legislative agenda for 2020 will be dominated by royal commission recommendations, which is far from ideal.

The Australian Banking Association boss Anna Bligh got the ball rolling urging that consultation on the legislation needs to be “thorough and robust” to avoid “knee-jerk” responses that could create a “ripple effect across the entire economy”.

But the effectiveness of the recommendations will depend on the final legislation, the resourcing and the people involved.

Reputations were slayed, trust battered, some organisations collapsed, senior executives lost their jobs

For instance, as part of the package of proposed legislation Frydenberg released an exposure draft to establish a Financial Regulator Assessment Authority, which had been a recommendation of the final report. Hayne made the recommendation on the basis of the weak record the regulators had shown in regulating the sector.

The exposure draft says the oversight body is designed to assess the effectiveness of the banking and insurance regulator APRA and the corporate regulator ASIC, and to undertake capability reviews when requested by the minister.

But at the end of the day its effectiveness will depend on the resources and board constitution.

Andy Schmulow, a senior law lecturer at Wollongong University who worked at APRA in 2013 and has been critical of the regulators, warned that the board needs to be insulated from capture to ensure it didn’t interfere with the decisions of the regulator. “It needs to protect itself against cognitive biases that may come from a too-dominant chair that serves too long; ensure that appointments are for fixed terms (to further insulate against capture); that appointees are not personally or materially conflicted; that they serve staggered terms to ensure continuity and corporate memory.”

Besides grappling with the raft of draft legislation just released, the government has called on stakeholders to give feedback on another Hayne recommendation, an industry-funded, forward-looking compensation scheme of last resort.

The scheme was designed to protect customers who had been ripped off but were unable to receive compensation because the financial advice business had collapsed.

But it is causing some angst among industry participants who are worried such a scheme will result in some of the smaller operators gaming the system by offering shoddy advice then closing their operation and leaving the industry to pick up the tab.

The industry has a lot on its plate as it recalibrates after a year of scrutiny from the royal commission. Reputations were slayed, trust battered, some organisations collapsed, senior executives lost their jobs and billions of dollars in compensation is now being repaid.

For years these once venerable institutions got away with ripping off millions of Australians through various means. At the heart of it was greed, hubris and weak regulation.

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The royal commission was badly needed but it never went far enough. It was too short, the terms of reference missed some key areas such as the role of auditors and the final recommendations didn’t go to the heart of some of the problems.

Those looking for massive structural change and heads on sticks would have been sorely disappointed.

Indeed a year on some optimists are still hopeful that after all the evidence heard during the royal commission of theft and illegal and unethical behaviour such as deliberately lying to the regulator, taking fees for no service and misleading the Financial Ombudsman Service, someone may be charged. It may be a long wait.

The question that needs to be asked is whether behaviours have changed. Are all the apologies empty or something more meaningful? Have institutional investors done enough to support the reforms given a lot of the problems were driven by targets and bonuses, which they generally support?

One of the biggest fallouts from the royal commission has been the financial advice industry. The banks have pulled out, grandfathered commissions have been banned and a code of ethics has been introduced.

But is it enough? The banks may have left financial advice and the associated conflicts of vertical integration but new players have stepped in to fill the space. Others such as IOOF with its chequered history have exploited the opportunities.

The new reality is a big increase in the number of licencees operating and fewer insurers offering financial advisers professional indemnity insurance, which is a ticking bomb.

It means the government – and the regulators – need to be on high alert to ensure the correct protections are in place for consumers. If not, it will be back to the drawing board.

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Instagram social media changed how we shop and share lives


Certain items were elevated to the must-have list this decade because they were shareable – that is, they photographed especially well or had a flair of whimsy that racked up the likes and comments.

Product designers and merchants have gotten wise to this dynamic and have responded in kind. They brought shoppers pool floats shaped like swans and floppy sun hats with cursive kiss-offs like “Do Not Disturb”. They served up eye-catching rainbow bagels, Unicorn Frappuccinos and latte art. They scored with kids’ games such as Pie Face that were perfect for video snippets.

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“Bride Tribe” tank tops. Mermaid toast. “Live Laugh Love” wall art. It is doubtful any of these things would even exist if not for Instagram.

In some cases, whole product categories have benefited from the photo-centric world that Instagram has created. The beauty business had several booming years this decade, powered by trends such as contouring and strobing that made women feel duck-face-ready. Sales of houseplants skyrocketed as Millennials outfitted their homes with fiddle-leaf figs that lent an artful flourish to photos.

Meanwhile, restaurateurs have adapted the lighting in their dining rooms to be conducive to photos, knowing diners’ pictures are among their most powerful marketing tools. Splashy lettering, loud wallpaper, neon signs – these have become the default aesthetic of eateries looking to nab a spot in Instagram feeds.

Restaurants are just one component of the so-called “experience economy”, a broader category of consumer spending that has been utterly upended by Instagram. The holiday-photo arms race has led to certain picturesque landmarks being choked by visitors and public lands being degraded.

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Perhaps Instagram’s most peculiar commercial influence has been its role in creating entirely new spending occasions, particularly around life milestones. Maternity photo shoots have become commonplace; so have birth and newborn photo shoots. Same for “Trash the dress” and home-buying photo shoots. Some of these rituals started becoming trendy before Instagram’s rise, but it is the app that has cemented them as an ordinary thing to drop hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on.

Relatedly, there now exists a weird species of consumer goods that no one needed before they revealed big news via a visual medium. Search Etsy for “pregnancy announcement props,” and you’ll find thousands of items: chalkboard-style signs, dummies and dog outfits emblazoned with baby announcements. You’ll find similar props to herald engagements, gender reveals and birthdays by photo.

All of this is before contemplating what an essential tool Instagram has become for brand advertising. So-called influencers – a class that includes both Hollywood actresses and suburban mums with fewer than 10,000 followers – have perfected the art of hawking everything from fashion, to protein drinks, to tampons, to credit-card rewards programs to their audiences in exchange for fees or free gear.

What Instagram did is change consumer culture. It turned shoppers into a performative swarm of shutterbugs presenting Clarendon-filtered (or maybe Juno-filtered?) versions of themselves and their surroundings to their followers. It changed not only how things are bought and sold, but why.

When period-piece movies are someday made about the 2010s, the aesthetics used to evoke this decade – all-white kitchens, neon-coloured foods, major sleeves – will be the ones that sparkled in Instagram’s on-screen world.

Real life never looked quite so glossy.

Bloomberg

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