Millions of dollars have been poured into revamping Mount Gambier’s Glenburnie Racecourse, however a local trainer believes “we’re worse off now than before they started”.
Sunday’s race meeting was transferred from the Glenburnie track two hours north to Bordertown
The Mount Gambier surface has undergone two multi-million-dollar upgrades in the past two decades
It used to be considered one of the best wet-weather tracks in Australia but now becomes regularly water-logged
Sunday’s scheduled meeting was transferred to Bordertown — a two-hour drive north — because of wet weather leading up to the event.
It was meant to be the first races welcoming spectators back to the track following COVID-19 restrictions.
Local officials said the Mount Gambier track was still “young” after a $3.3 million rebuild and the surface needed to be conserved for the long term.
But Michael O’Leary, who has been training in Mount Gambier for 40 years and is a winner of 1,500 races, including six Gold Cups, said not being able to race at Glenburnie significantly increased the time and effort it took to prepare the horses.
“We had to start earlier [Sunday] morning and [weren’t] finished until about seven, but if we were in Mount Gambier, we would be home by about 5:30pm,” he said.
Track’s troubled history
O’Leary said the issues started in 2001 when development on the track began to prevent water-logging; in 2018, more than $3 million was spent addressing drainage concerns.
After racing there in early December, a number of scheduled meetings were transferred to help the new track consolidate.
“They promised us lots of things last time and we never got them,” O’Leary said.
The trainer said he now had to travel around the state’s south-east to properly train his horses.
“You can’t consistently be doing that because it knocks the stuffing out of your horses.”
Time to grow
Thoroughbred Racing South Australia said its decision to transfer Sunday’s meeting was in the best interests of all parties.
Chief operating officer Vaughn Lynch said it was too risky to race on the Glenburnie track after the wet weather.
“We’re steadfast in our desire to put the safety of horse and rider at the forefront of our decisions, and it was decided that it was in the best interest of everyone to not risk racing on that track.”
He said the track just needed growing time.
“Nothing much will grow in the depths of winter down there in Mount Gambier … but once spring starts, we expect the track to really bounce back.
“We’ve got the basics of a good track and we just need it to grow and settle into itself.”
Mr Lynch said racing officials would visit the south-east in the coming days to develop a way forward.
“[We’ll] meet with the local clubs, the local trainers and try to work out a pathway forward that helps everyone,” he said.
“We’re working on it and we will get it right; this time next year, I’m confident that we’ll be able to race all winter in Mount Gambier.”
Professor Amin Soebandrio, the director of Jakarta’s Eijkman Institute of Microbiology, warned on Thursday the country’s caseload could double from about 35,000 to 65,000 infections in the next two weeks as testing rates ramped up.
The professor also suggested a rise from 2,000 to 3,000 new cases per day. The number of cases has now reached 36,406, the second-highest in south-east Asia, and the death toll rose by 48 on Friday to 2,048, the highest in the region.
The latest results reported 15,333 specimens tested from 7,476 people, an improvement on the laggard test results of the first few months of the coronavirus outbreak but well behind other countries in the region.
Indonesia is a nation of nearly 270 million people and has conducted just 1,696 tests per 1 million people, which ranks it 163rd out of 215 nations listed on the Worldometers.info website. Health official Achmad Yurianto defended the low testing rates per million people during his daily briefing.
“Indonesia consists of islands with waters between them that act as barriers. Therefore threats in places would be different and can’t be compared with countries with bigger land proportions. In numbers overall our percentage testing per million people is low. But if we look at places like Jakarta than the percentage shows we are doing higher testing,” he said.
The Dragons are the only team in the NRL not to win a game this season, and haven’t scored a try since the competition resumed two rounds ago, losing to cellar dwellers the New Zealand Warriors and Canterbury Bulldogs in consecutive weeks. The Dragons play the Sharks and Titans over the next fortnight.
McGregor, who is in his sixth full season as Dragons coach, is on a contract until 2021 on a deal worth around $750,000 a season, and would have received close to a $1m pay-out if the club decided to end his tenure.
“If they make the decision I’ll understand it,” McGregor said of his potential sacking following the loss to the Bulldogs on Monday night.
“I’ll be disappointed obviously but I understand the situation and there’s conversations around it every day which doesn’t help the team. If that decision is made, I’ll wear it. I’ve certainly got the backing of the players and the staff.
“I’m not scared [of being axed] if that’s the word you’re looking for. I’m an optimist, but I’m a realist and I know that our team aren’t playing well enough at the moment and I’m the coach of that. I’ve got confidence in my team. At the moment they’ve lost a bit in themselves I think so I accept the blame.”
Assistant coach Shane Flanagan is prohibited from taking on the head coaching role under the NRL’s strict rules surrounding his return from suspension, leaving premiership-winning club legend Dean Young as a potential interim coach if McGregor is axed in the coming weeks.
Young’s appointment is unlikely to extend beyond this year, but it will provide the Dragons time to find a long-term option for next season should they decide to part ways with McGregor.
Options include Sydney Roosters assistant Craig Fitzgibbon, Panthers assistants Trent Barrett and Cameron Ciraldo, former Newcastle coach Nathan Brown and England coach Shaun Wane. Whispers around Wayne Bennett returning to the club won’t go away, especially if the Dragons can offer him a three-year deal beyond his 2021 expiry at the Rabbitohs.
Bioinsider LLC (Bioinsider) will present the “Diagnostic Landscape for COVID-19” virtual meeting on Thursday, June 18, 2020.
The event, chaired by Dr. Karl V. Voelkerding, medical director of Genomics and Bioinformatics at ARUP Laboratories, will feature talks on molecular, serology, rapid testing, clinical considerations when testing, and properly handling the pandemic with the current testing capacity.
Attendees will have access to seven scientific talks, a closing panel discussion, two-speed networking sessions, and face-to-face breakout discussions.
The virtual event is the first in Bioinsider’s four-part “Together as One COVID-19” Series, with all net proceeds from the series going to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization.
“The Diagnostic Landscape for COVID-19 event will provide a platform for experts and decision-makers in the diagnostic field to share ideas, scientific findings, and shape the direction of future innovations and testing development around COVID-19,” said Bioinsider Founder and CEO Dr. Ngoc (Emily) Le.
Having an open platform such as this can speed up collaborations, address the current COVID-19 diagnostic testing need, and help us quickly get back to a new normal. With the influx in COVID-19 diagnostic tests, it is critical that we have the opportunity to examine and evaluate different testing methods and their performances.”
Event speakers include experts from:
The University of Utah,
The University of Maryland,
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Following speaker presentations, attendees may join one of six breakout discussions.
The event is available to both academic/non-profit and commercial attendees, $25 and $50 respectively. Face-to-face breakout sessions will be limited to 15 participants each and are available for an additional cost of $25.
Members of the scientific and medical communities are encouraged to register early, as speed networking and breakout sessions are available on a first-come, first-served basis. To register, visit www.bioinsidernetwork.com/registration.
Founded in 2020, Bioinsider LLC is a group of like-minded individuals dedicated to creating a quality-driven, unbiased virtual meeting platform for communication among the scientific community, policymakers, and business leaders.
The goal of these events is to create connections, enrich knowledge, foster collaborations, drive the success of research, and spark innovations. For more information, visit bioinsidernetwork.com.
About Dr. Ngoc ‘Emily’ Le, Founder and CEO, Bioinsider
Dr. Le received her Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and spent years working as a content conference producer and led the product development analytics group at Cambridge Healthtech Institute.
She has nine years of experience working with academic, healthcare, biopharma, and executive professionals in technical-scientific and business settings. She has diverse knowledge in diagnostics, drug development, commercial strategy, and various therapeutic areas, including immuno-oncology, and gene and cell therapies.
Mr Morrison said the new format would promote more regular and simplified communication between state and territory leaders.
“We want to streamline those endless meetings so we can bring it back to one focus: creating jobs out of the back of this crisis,” Mr Morrison said.
“We think that will ensure Australians get better government, more focused government, at a state and federal level.”
The PM said the new National Cabinet system will have a “job-making agenda” with a series of subcommittees focusing on certain areas.
“The National Cabinet will continue to work with a laser-like mission focus on creating jobs as we come out of the COVID crisis and we work into the years into the future,” he said.
“Important task forces will continue that previously worked to COAG in important national agenda issues.
“The final details of which ministerial groups are set in this area, as I said, the consolidation that takes place in the other areas, that will come in time. But we’ve agreed on the new structure.”
The National Cabinet will continue to meet fortnightly during the coronavirus response period and will meet monthly after that. But it will not necessarily be face-to-face, with the PM citing the success of tele-meetings so far.
“When these groups get together, there’s a lot of theatre, a lot of people in the room,” he said.
“That can, I think, restrict the genuine reform discussions that you have to have.
“Having the groups operate like a fair-dinkum cabinet has been really important.”
The National Cabinet is expected to meet in person twice a year.
Millions committed to hospitals
The National Cabinet also committed more funding to hospitals and healthcare workers.
Mr Morrison said it agreed to a multi-billion-dollar five-year national health reform agreement.
The Commonwealth will invest an estimated $131.4 billion for a “demand-driven public hospital funding model” aimed at improving health outcomes for Australians and ensuring the sustainability of health systems.
“All states and territories have now signed on to that agreement as of today,” Mr Morrison said.
“There is also, as part of our agreement, a funding guarantee to all states and territories to ensure no jurisdiction is left worse off as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and guarantees the Commonwealth’s funding contribution for public hospitals over the next five years.”
Restrictions have been tough but essential
While the pandemic has hurt many people and businesses economically, Mr Morrison said the government had been justified in imposing tough restrictions.
He said that the National Cabinet’s three-step plan to balance the health and economic impacts of the pandemic was working.
“The risk remains great, and always has been,” he said.
“Australia’s success can lead some to think that perhaps the risk was never there in the first place, but that is not true.
“We only need to look at countries as sophisticated as ours, as developed as ours, with health systems as strong as ours, who have death rates 100 times of what has occurred in Australia.
“So, we would be foolish to think that we were immune or that we are immune.”
With fewer than 500 active cases in Australia at the moment and only two people are on ventilators, and Mr Morrison said there was no expectation to get down to zero cases before things started reopening.
“Eradication? Elimination? These are not the goals that we have,” he said.
“If it’s achieved as a by-product, then well and good.
“But the fact that a case or a group of cases may present is not something that should restrict moving ahead and getting progress on implementing the three-step plan, and bringing Australia’s economy back to a COVID-safe environment in which jobs can be restored and livelihoods can be restored.”
State border closures aren’t up to the Federal Government
The Prime Minister said National Cabinet had a “very candid discussion” about border closures at today’s meeting.
He said National Cabinet never made the decision to implement state border closures, but interstate travel was not expected to be on the cards until July anyway.
“We don’t agree on everything. No-one does. It would be a bit weird if they did in a democracy,” Mr Morrison said.
“We have to bear in mind that in the vast majority of cases, the states and territories have worked very well with the Commonwealth on these issues and I remain optimistic common sense will prevail on the timetable National Cabinet has set out.”
Still unsure on face masks?
Professor Murphy said broadly, the advice had not changed and people do not have to wear a mask.
But there was no reason you cannot wear one, particularly if you need to travel on public transport.
“The [Australian Health Protection Principal Committee] has recognised in a public transport situation people may choose to wear masks when up close to other people,” he said.
“We recognise that is not an unreasonable thing to do.
“We are not recommending [masks] in the community because of low transmission but we warn that’s not a complete protection.”
Professor Murphy said as restrictions ease, it was crucial that Australians were still careful.
“If I can make one plea to everybody as we get back to normal life, just remember the simple principles, please keep practising the social distancing,” he said.
“Please get tested if you are unwell and stay home and practice the hygiene and distancing measures we talked about.”
With the great lockdown gradually easing, a lot of people are finding the transition back to “normal” life, whatever that looks like now, difficult.
Just remember – you are not alone in that. It’s a little overwhelming going from an environment you completely control, back into one with so many variables. Particularly if your brain chemistry already leaves you prone to experiencing increased anxiety.
But what you are feeling is valid. And completely normal.
AAP has had a look at some of those feelings:
Mental health professionals are now looking to the post-isolation stage, which could cause as much anxiety for many, just as going into lockdown did.
The Autism Awareness Australia chief executive officer, Nicole Rogerson, said while autism is different for everyone, there have been additional challenges to come with it during isolation.
For school-aged children, the lockdown and subsequent school closures were very challenging for children who either didn’t understand the change or who struggled with the indefinite nature of the timing of the lockdown.
Some children might have liked the reduced demands of school and social situations but many also found great anxiety with the change of routine.
Rogerson said for adults with autism, the social isolation was welcomed by some.
The shared anxiety of Covid uncertainties has been difficult for many. The return to work, with the ongoing threat of an invisible virus, is very stressful for individuals with autism.
The chief executive of national mental health charity SANE, Jack Heath, said as Australia went into lockdown their online forums spiked, with participant numbers doubling from 3,000 to 6,000 per week in March.
Heath said many of the problems were around existing mental health issues being amplified and it was important to meet these long-term needs after isolation.
As restrictions ease, Heath said it was understandable for people to be feeling anxious given how uncertain times are.
Heath’s advice is to reach out for help and take stock of any positives to have come from isolation.
Do a list – two, three, four or five things that were positive and take that with you moving forward.
The lead clinical advisor at Beyond Blue, Dr Grant Blashki, also expects many may find coming out of isolation overwhelming.
When Beyond Blue launched it’s coronavirus specific support service on 9 April, it received 6,300 emails and more than 180,000 visits to the website, Blashki said.
The kinds of issues presented were around isolation, pressure-cooker households with lots of kids, unemployment and stress about infection – things that will not simply go away as lockdown ends.
Blashki said as people begin to re-enter society, for anyone feeling anxious it is important to be gentle with yourself and set some ground rules when it comes to communication with others.
Re-engage in small steps, catch up with people who aren’t too full-on and in smaller groups – go out for a coffee, not to a party if it’s too much.
An American couple got engaged via a Zoom meeting earlier this month – even though they’ve never met in real life.
Katia Ameri found herself single and bored amid America’s coronavirus lockdown, so she decided to take matters into her own hands.
The 28-year-old entrepreneur from San Francisco, California, became a “bachelorette” on a three-hour virtual dating show that was hosted over Zoom, where 12 guys vied for her attention and affection.
She is no longer single, and has even since gotten engaged to one of the contestants – though they have yet to meet face-to-face.
On May 6, after three hours of flirting and playing games, Ms Ameri got “engaged” to Ronak “Ro” Trivedi – and it was all live-streamed on Zoom.
Ms Ameri was the first “Zoom Bachelorette” – a twist on “The Bachelorette” franchise for the quarantine times.
There were one-on-one dates, group dates, cocktail hours and fights between contestants as they tried to impress her.
During the three hours, in front of a series of Zoom backgrounds, the suitors did everything from making homemade pizza to exercising their wit.
On the first group date, some of the men were asked to show off their quarantine grooming skills, using scissors or razors depending on the length of their hair.
On a second group date, they displayed their culinary skills.
It was all live-streamed on Twitch, where hundreds of viewers, who paid in the form of charitable donations in exchange for access to the viewing link, watched the full event and commented in real-time.
After the three hours was over, Ms Ameri made her choice, and she picked CEO Ro.