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Sydney bushfire causes evacuations, halts Big Brother production


An out of control bushfire caused evacuations on Sydney’s northern beaches on Saturday – and forced production crews to flee the Big Brother house.

The fire at North Head, near Manly, started as a hazard reduction burn before turning into an emergency when flames were blown past containment lines.

The blaze sent smoke billowing across Sydney Harbour, leaving a haze hanging over the city.

NSW Fire and Rescue said about 200 people were forced to evacuate from locations close to the fire in the national park, including the historic Quarantine Station.

That included the 50-strong production team from Big Brother – including host Sonia Kruger – which is working on the 2021 edition of the reality show.

“Due to the impact of a prescribed hazard reduction burn at North Head, the Big Brother crew onsite were safely evacuated,” a spokesperson for production company Endemol Shine Australia said.

“Filming is yet to commence and production will resume when it is safe to do so.”

Text messages sent to staff show filming was meant to begin on Saturday, when contestants were expected to arrive on site.

On Sunday the Rural Fire Service said the fire was “pretty much contained” after a night of backburning and rain.

It had burned through about 10ha of the national park by the time it was brought under control.



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Fever halts Alexander Zverev, Rafael Nadal eases through, women’s favourite Simona Halep beaten at French Open


Alexander Zverev revealed he played with fever and breathing difficulties following his loss to Italian Jannik Sinner at the French Open.

Sixth seed Zverev was seen coughing on court and admitted he “should not have played” after a 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-3 defeat by teenager Sinner.

“I am completely sick after the match with Cecchinato in the night [session], Zverev said.

“Yeah, what can I say? I’m completely sick. I can’t really breathe, as you can hear by my voice. I had fever, you know … I’m not in the best physical state, I would say.

“I think that had a little bit of an effect on the match today.

The French Tennis Federation (FFT), which runs the clay-court grand slam, told Reuters that Zverev last tested for COVID-19 on September 29 and the test returned a negative result the following day.

Elsewhere, twelve-time champion Rafa Nadal raced into another quarter-final with a 6-1 6-1 6-2 victory over American qualifier Sebastian Korda.

Rafael Nadal looks up and the sky and clenches both fists
Rafael Nadal breezed past the man that named his cat after him.(AP: Michel Euler)

Korda, who named his cat after the Spanish champion and asked for an autograph at the net after the result, said that despite the one-sided nature of the result, he was still pleased to have played his idol on the big stage.

“Ever since I was a kid, I mean, I was in love with him and everything about him,” Korda said.

US Open champion Dominic Thiem survived a scare as he edged out French wildcard Hugo Gaston 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 6-3.

The Austrian said that he was “lucky” to have made it through after another stirring performance from Gaston put the sport’s newest grand slam champion under enormous pressure.

“He’s got such a big touch in his hand, his drop shots are from another planet. I must have sprinted 400 times to the net,” said Thiem, who is on course to collide with 12-time champion Nadal in the semi-finals.

“If he continues like this he’s gonna be a huge player and give this stadium a lot of joy. I’m lucky I made it through today.”

Halep falls to Polish teen as seeds tumble in women’s draw

Simona Halep scratches her head and looks to the ground
Simona Halep’s 17-match winning run came to a crashing halt.(AP: Michel Euler)

Top seed Simona Halep and fifth seed Kiki Bertens suffered shock fourth-round defeats at the French Open on Sunday.

Halep, a heavy favourite to lift a second title at Roland Garros, was stunned 6-1 6-2 by Polish teenager Iga Swiatek, who moved into a grand slam quarter-final for the first time.

Swiatek, the only teenager who reached the fourth round, avenged a crushing defeat by Halep at the same stage last year.

The Romanian won that match 6-1, 6-0, in just 45 minutes but was never in this contest as she lost the first set in just 26 minutes and never recovered, her career-best 17-match winning streak coming to a juddering halt.

“I felt I was playing perfectly,” Swiatek said.

That result was good news for Ash Barty, who will retain the world number one spot until the end of the year at least, despite not setting foot on a court in anger since the sport resumed after the coronavirus break.

Swiatek will next face Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan who secured a hard-fought 6-4 6-4 win over Dutchwoman Bertens.

Losses for Halep and Bertens mean there are only four seeded players remaining in the women’s singles draw — Elina Svitolina, Sofia Kenin, Petra Kvitova and Ons Jabeur.

ABC/wires



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Coronavirus update: Tourists on the move as European nations open borders, China halts salmon imports over COVID-19 outbreak fears


European nations have eased border controls after three months of lockdown, with German tourists heading for Mallorca and French bargain-hunters streaming into Belgium to buy cheap cigarettes.

Meanwhile China has halted imports from European salmon suppliers amid fears they might be linked to a coronavirus outbreak at a Beijing market.

This story will be regularly updated throughout Tuesday and was last updated at 4am.

Tuesday’s key moments:

Europe starts to reopen borders

A German tourist sunbathes on the beach of Palma de Mallorca.
Hundreds of German sunseekers have become the first tourists to visit Spain.(AP: Joan Mateu)

European nations eased border controls on Monday as coronavirus cases declined after three months of lockdown, with German tourists heading for Mallorca and French bargain-hunters streaming into Belgium to buy cheap cigarettes.

Greek airports allowed more international flights as the country sought to salvage its summer season, while German tourists flocking to neighbouring Denmark caused an eight kilometre queue and Italians popped into France to buy lottery scratch cards.

Spain is initially allowing in 1,500 holidaymakers from Germany as the Madrid government works out how to handle mass tourism before opening up more fully in the coming weeks.

Hundreds of German sunseekers, the first tourists to visit Spain since borders were closed in March, also arrived on the island of Mallorca on Monday.

Cars and trucks queue on highway E45 after Denmark reopened its borders to Germany.
German tourists flocking to neighbouring Denmark caused an eight kilometre queue.(Scanpix via AP)

The Schengen area of 22 EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland operates control-free crossings. But for three months they have been mostly closed.

Officials hope lifting internal border controls will allow a gradual reopening to other countries from July and revive a tourism industry that flatlined during the lockdown.

The sector makes up almost 10 per cent of the EU economy and even more in Mediterranean countries.

Stores reopen in England after lockdown

People, some wearing masks, others not, queue outside London stores.
Londoners have flocked to the city’s retail stores upon their reopening – here a large queue forms outside Nike’s flagship store in central London.(AP: Matt Dunham)

Long queues of shoppers snaked outside some stores in England from early on Monday morning as non-essential shops reopened their doors after 83 days of lockdown.

Department stores, clothing retailers, electrical outlets and bookshops have been closed since March 23 when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a lockdown to limit the spread of coronavirus.

While outdoor markets and car showrooms reopened on June 1, Monday is the big return to business for retailers, who are desperate to get the tills ringing again.

The reopening only applies to England, with stores in Scotland and Wales waiting for guidance from their own administrations on when they can resume trading. Non-essential stores in Northern Ireland reopened on Friday.

Getting shoppers spending again is key to Britain’s recovery after official data on Friday showed the economy shrank by a quarter throughout March and April.

The British Retail Consortium believes the lockdown has cost non-food stores 1.8 billion pounds ($3.3 billion) a week in lost revenues.

FDA revokes use of hydroxychloroquine amid fears of causing health problems

The US Food and Drug Administration is revoking its emergency authorisation for malaria drugs promoted by President Donald Trump for treating COVID-19 amid growing evidence they don’t work and could cause deadly side effects.

The agency said Monday that the drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are unlikely to be effective in treating COVID-19.

Citing reports of heart complications, the FDA said the drugs pose a greater risk to patients than any potential benefits.

The decades-old drugs, also prescribed for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, can cause heart rhythm problems, severely low blood pressure and muscle or nerve damage.

The move means that shipments of the drugs obtained by the US Government will no longer be distributed to state and local health authorities.

The drugs are still available for alternate uses, so US doctors could still prescribe them for COVID-19 — a practice known as off-label prescribing.

On Thursday, a National Institutes of Health expert panel revised its guidelines to specifically recommend against the drug’s use except in formal studies.

Mr Trump aggressively pushed the drug beginning in the first weeks of the outbreak and stunned medical professionals when he revealed he took the drug pre-emptively against infection.

China halts salmon imports over suspected outbreak link

A number of people in white protective gear usher two people in plain clothes and masks to a fenced area
The virus was discovered on chopping boards used for imported salmon at Beijing’s Xinfadi market.(AP: Andy Wong)

China has halted imports from European salmon suppliers amid fears they might be linked to a coronavirus outbreak at a Beijing market, although experts say the fish itself is unlikely to carry the disease.

State-run newspapers reported the virus was discovered on chopping boards used for imported salmon at Beijing’s Xinfadi market, the source of a cluster of infections that has sparked fears of a second wave of the pandemic in China.

The reports prompted major supermarkets in Beijing to remove salmon from their shelves.

Genetic traces of the virus from the Beijing market outbreak suggested it could have come from Europe.

Keith Neal, an emeritus professor of the epidemiology of infectious diseases at Britain’s University of Nottingham, said any link to salmon was likely the result of cross contamination.

Professor Neal said finding a link to Europe was not surprising, given the global spread of the virus.

“China gave the world this virus and it was always very likely to give it back to them. Finding a strain prevalent in Europe probably reflects people returning to China after travelling to Europe,” he said.

The Food Safety Authority in Norway, the world’s largest salmon exporter, said there was no evidence fish could be infected.

The World Health Organization has since indicated the origins of the infections are not certain.

Singapore to remove most coronavirus restrictions on Friday

Men walk along a balcony where a row of jeans are being dried in the sun
Singapore’s high infection rate has been driven by mass outbreaks in dormitories for migrant workers.(Reuters: Edgar Su)

Singapore will allow small gatherings and the reopening of restaurants and shops from June 19, a major easing of the city-state’s coronavirus restrictions.

Social gatherings of up to five people will be permitted from Friday, when the majority of activities resume after more than two months of restrictions, dubbed “circuit breaker” measures. Social distancing requirements will remain in place.

Singapore has one of the highest infection tallies in Asia, with more than 40,000 cases, because of mass outbreaks in dormitories for its migrant workers. Singapore reopened schools and some businesses earlier this month.

The Government said on Monday incidence of cases in migrant worker dormitories had declined and there were no new large clusters emerging.

Cases outside the dormitories also remained stable despite the increase in workplace activities.

Shopping centres, gyms, parks and beaches are on the list to reopen, but religious congregations, bars, theatres and large-scale events will not yet be allowed to resume activities.

The Government also said working from home must remain the default for all businesses where feasible.

ABC/wires



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Coronavirus Australia live updates: Trump halts funding to WHO over virus response – The Australian


  1. Coronavirus Australia live updates: Trump halts funding to WHO over virus response  The Australian
  2. Coronavirus investigation into Ruby Princess will stretch around the world | ABC News  ABC News (Australia)
  3. This could be the end of the line for cruise ships  The Conversation AU
  4. Coronavirus Australia live updates: NSW Health officials warn about mild symptoms  NEWS.com.au
  5. Australia coronavirus live news: NSW premier orders special inquiry into Ruby Princess debacle – latest updates  The Guardian
  6. View Full coverage on Google News



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