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Warnings for parts of Sydney after traces found in sewage


A raft of Sydney suburbs have been urged to get tested for coronavirus after traces of the deadly virus were found in sewage.

Fragments of the virus were detected at treatment plants at Liverpool, Warriewood and North Head, the NSW Health Department said on Sunday.

The Liverpool plant includes a catchment of about 180,000 people from suburbs including Bardia, Hinchinbrook, Hoxton Park, Abbotsbury, Ingleburn, Prestons, Holsworthy and Edmondson Park.

“NSW Health urges everyone living or working in these suburbs to monitor for symptoms and get tested and isolate immediately if they appear,” a statement warned.

The Warriewood plant services about 70,000 people from the northern beaches while the North Head facility takes in a catchment of 1.3 million people from Sydney, north of the Parramatta River from western Sydney to Manly.

These detections “likely reflect” known confirmed cases in these areas, the health department said.

But it urged anyone who lives or works in the area to watch for symptoms and get tested as well as isolate if they appear.

The detections come as New South Wales recorded a week without a new, locally acquired infection of the virus.

Three cases were recorded from overseas travellers in hotel quarantine in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday, according to the health department.

The results come from 11,344 tests taken in that period with people showing even mild symptoms urged to get a test.

“High testing rates are necessary to give confidence that no cases are going undetected in the community,” NSW Health’s Dr Christine Selvey said.

LIVERPOOL TREATMENT PLANT SUBURBS

Bardia, Hinchinbrook, Hoxton Park, Abbotsbury, Ingleburn, Prestons, Holsworthy, Edmondson Park, Austral, Cecil Park, Cecil Hills, Elizabeth Hills, Bonnyrigg Heights, Edensor Park, Green Valley, Pleasure Point, Casula, Hammondville, Liverpool, Moorebank, Wattle Grove, Miller, Cartwright, Lurnea, Warwick Farm, Chipping Norton, Voyager Point, Macquarie Links, Glenfield, Catherine Field, Gledswood Hills, Varroville, Leppington, West Hoxton, Horningsea Park, Middleton Grange, Len Waters Estate, Carnes Hill and Denham Court.



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Sydney Thunder hit Sixers for record BBL score as Alex Hales smashes whirlwind century



Englishman Alex Hales’s brutal century has inspired Sydney Thunder to a record BBL total and a 46-run win over ladder-leaders Sydney Sixers.

The Thunder posted 5-232 with Hales smacking eight sixes and nine fours in a stunning 110 from 56 balls at Adelaide Oval on Friday night.

The Sixers fell well short in reply, managing 5-186, but still hold a four-point buffer from second-placed Perth Scorchers.

The Thunder’s total surpassed the BBL’s previous highest innings — the Hobart Hurricanes’ 8-223 in January 2017.

And the victory, which includes a bonus point, lifts the Thunder from fifth to third spot, with two games remaining before the finals.

The Thunder (27 points) jump the Melbourne Stars (fourth, 24 points) and Adelaide Strikers (fifth, 24 points) while the Hobart Hurricanes (sixth, 23 points) remain in the finals hunt.

Opener Hales, who remains on the outer with England’s limited overs side after he failed a drug test in the lead up to the 2019 50-over World Cup, registered his maiden BBL ton from just 51 balls.

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“That is up there, for sure,” Hales said when asked if he’d ever hit the ball better.

“When you get in at this place, it’s such a good place to bat — great value for good shots, a fast outfield and smallish square boundaries.

Hales’s assault was supported by brisk cameos from captain Callum Ferguson (42 from 23 balls), Sam Billings (33 from 21) and Ben Cutting (33 from 14).

The Sixers’ daunting run chase started with a dash from openers James Vince and Josh Philippe, who took 40 runs from the initial four overs.

But Philippe (20 from 11 balls) was run out from the first ball of the fifth over, triggering a slide of 3-8 in 13 deliveries.

His teammate Daniel Hughes (one) was bowled second-ball by Cutting, who in the next over took a smart low catch in the outfield to remove the threatening Vince, whose 38 from 23 balls included seven fours.

The trio of wickets left the Sixers 3-62 in the seventh over and a successful chase was beyond them, despite the efforts of Moises Henriques (56 from 35 balls) and Jordan Silk (42 from 30).

The Thunder might have compiled the biggest BBL score, but they had some way to go when it comes to the record T20 tally.

The highest ever men’s T20 total was 3-278, when Afghanistan brutalised Ireland at Dehradun in 2019.

The biggest domestic T20 score came when Trinidad and Tobago Riders scored 2-267 against the Jamaica Tallawahs in Kingston during the 2019 Caribbean Premier League.

AAP/ABC



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Titans, Eels star Bryce Cartwright and anti-vax wife Shanelle split after move to Sydney


Former Gold Coast Titans player Bryce Cartwright and his anti-vaxxer wife Shanelle have split up after a tough year making headlines in 2020.

The 25-year-old signed a contract with the Parramatta Eels late last year for the 2021 season after relocating to NSW with his wife and their two children, Koa and Naia, for personal reasons.

While the reasons weren’t cited at the time, the pair no longer have any photos of each other on their Instagram accounts and aren’t following each other.

“I know he’s had some family dramas and he’s gone to Sydney to sort some stuff out … hopefully he is OK with his family,” Titans captain Kevin Proctor told The Daily Telegraph last September, admitting he was worried about his teammate.

That same month Cartwright told 9 News the couple had been sent vile threats from people on social media, involving their children, because of their stance on vaccinations.

“At some point it does take a toll,” he said.

“I speak to a counsellor every now and then just to clear my mind.”

RELATED: NRL anti-vaxxers told to shut up and get the flu shot

Cartwright’s agent Allan Gainey, of Pinnacle Sports Management, said they wouldn’t be commenting on the split because it was a “personal matter”.

“Look, the kid is in a good spot at the moment and I want to keep him in that spot,” he said.

“He doesn’t need any publicity surrounding his personal life.”

Gainey said anyone “going through a separation, possible separation or divorce” would not want it in the media.

“It’s a personal affair,” he said.

Cartwright took a drastic pay cut in order to get another opportunity in the NRL, agreeing to a minimum-wage contract after the Titans negotiated a release when the 25-year-old made plans to return to Sydney.

The Titans said they had concerns for the star’s welfare when they let him out of his contract, reportedly worth $450,000, following headlines in May when he was granted permission to play despite refusing a mandatory influenza vaccination under the NRL’s return-to-play regulations.

He was granted the special exemption on “medical grounds” by Queensland’s Chief Medical Officer Jeannette Young.

His high profile stance attracted plenty of support from Australian stars, including former Home And Away actor Isabel Lucas.

But many lashed out at the couple after Mrs Cartwright shared several Instagram posts from Taylor Winterstein – wife of former NRL star Frank Winterstein – comparing the plight of anti-vaccination advocates to Jews during the Holocaust.

In May, Mrs Cartwright posted an image of Holocaust victim Anne Frank with the caption: “The people who hid Anne Frank were breaking the law, the people who killed her were following it.”

Despite the backlash, Mrs Cartwright didn’t back down on her assertion, sharing more Holocaust posts later.

While those posts have been deleted, in August she shared another Holocaust meme seemingly related to the coronavirus pandemic.

RELATED: Taylor Winterstein defends Cartwright couple’s anti-vaccination stance

RELATED: Cartwright’s wife hits out again in vaccination storm

While Mrs Cartwright has removed any photos of her husband from her account, the only remaining picture of him is the one she posted in May detailing their anti-vaccination stance.

The couple maintained they were not “anti-vax” but pro-choice.

In a telling Instagram post on October 9 she shared a billboard sign that read, “Stop f***ing with people who make you feel average”.

On Christmas Day she posted a photo with her kids saying, “Merry Christmas all, love from me and my babies”, while Cartwright also posted a solo shot with the kids for Christmas.

Some of Mrs Cartwright’s Instagram posts have been censored because of misinformation warnings.

In a July post, she wrote, “It’s just a vaccine. Just a vaccine that holds no one responsible if you’re injured by it. Just a vaccine that hasn’t undergone the rigorous testing it needs to. Just a vaccine that isn’t vegan, isn’t certified halal, isn’t organic but is still apparently a one size fits all. How is the same vaccine for a fully grown man suitable for a new born child? Will this vaccine undergo a double blind placebo? (the GOLD STANDARD for any pharmaceutical product).”

While COVID-19 vaccine trials have moved forward considerably since then, even at the time they were undergoing rigorous testing.

Claims they are unsafe have been repeatedly refuted and are backed by scientific evidence and countless studies.



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Sydney startup to help vaccine hopeful Novavax roll out jab


The company, which was founded in 2014 and has just 22 staff, will assist Novavax in providing data to the Australian regulator ahead of approval, as well as helping plan for delivery and rollout of doses across the country.

Biocelect chief executive Karl Herz, a local pharmaceuticals industry veteran who has more than two decades of experience with companies including Sigma Pharmaceuticals, Sanofi and GSK, said his company was “extremely pleased” to be chosen to work with Novavax.

“As we await the data from Novavax’s phase III clinical trials, we are very hopeful the Novavax vaccine candidate will be approved by regulatory authorities and play a significant role in protecting the Australian and New Zealand populations against COVID-19,” Mr Herz said.

Over the past 12 months vaccine industry experts have argued smaller firms like Biocelect have specialised knowledge that will be critical to the vaccine rollout.

Novavax executive vice president John Trizzino said the company had reached an “important milestone” in gaining a provisional determination from the TGA and was glad to be able to work with Biocelect. The two firms have previously worked together on other Novavax research projects.

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“Novavax is committed to advancing NVX-CoV2373 through the development and regulatory process quickly and we appreciate Biocelect’s support on our behalf,” he said.

Novavax has never brought a vaccine to market in its 33-year history but Australian experts have said early data suggests the firm’s COVID-19 product could play a significant role in the nation’s pandemic strategy.

Doses of the vaccine are expected to be available in the second half of 2021, should phase III trials be successful. Novavax has a range of global production hubs and it is not yet known where doses for Australia and New Zealand will be produced.



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Sydney suburbs on virus alert


Sydney’s south-west is on high alert after virus fragments were found in sewage at a Glenfield treatment plant.

“While this could reflect known returned travellers in the area, everyone living or working in Airds, Ambarvale, Appin, Bardia, Blair Athol, Blairmount, Bow Bowing, Bradbury, Campbelltown, Casula, Claymore, Currans Hill, Eagle Vale, Englorie Park, Eschol Park, Gilead, Glen Alpine, Glenfield, Gregory Hills, Holsworthy, Ingleburn, Kearns, Kentlyn, Leumeah, Long Point, Macquarie Fields, Macquarie Links, Menangle Park, Minto, Raby, Rosemeadow, Ruse, St Andrews, St Helens Park, Varroville and Woodbine should monitor for symptoms and get tested and isolate immediately if they appear,” NSW Health said in a statement.

The department urged residents of those areas to remain “extra vigilant”.





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Teenager’s body found at Sydney swimming hole


The body of a teenage boy has been found after he went missing from a Sydney swimming hole.

A desperate search was underway for hours for the 15-year-old, who disappeared while swimming with friends at the The Basin at Kentlyn, near Campbelltown, about 2.30pm on Wednesday.

His body was recovered just after 5pm.

A spokeswoman for NSW Ambulance said the boy had jumped off a cliff into the water but did not emerge.

Police were told he was one of four teenagers who had entered the water, but only three resurfaced.

Police divers along with Fire and Rescue and paramedics rushed to the scene about 2.30pm after witnesses raised the alarm.

A police helicopter also circled above the water to aid divers.

A report is being prepared for the coroner.



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Gladys Berejiklian slams Sydney rule


New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has lashed out at the Victorian Government saying state border restrictions should have been dropped “quite a while back”.

In a daily press conference where the NSW government confirmed six new local cases of COVID-19, Ms Berejiklian said Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews had not made contact with her about potential areas of Sydney being able to travel to the southern state in the coming days.

The new cases in NSW are linked to a man who was identified as a positive case on Saturday, however the state’s government is urging for an increase in daily testing rates to ensure there are no further outbreaks.

Ms Berejiklian said the border closures between Victoria and Sydney are against Commonwealth health advice, which on Sunday confirmed there were no COVID-19 hot spots in Australia.

“He‘s not been in touch with me at all but I also say that (border opening) should have occurred quite a while back because we don’t have a hot spot in New South Wales,” Ms Berejiklian said of her Victorian counterpart.

“We are, of course, dealing with a result of an outbreak from a month ago, but I think everybody would agree closing a border of such significance is a really big deal and I stress that we waited until Victoria had in excess of — I think it was 180 cases they had the day after we announced the border closure.”

Victoria and all other states and territories closed borders to Greater Sydney following the northern beaches cluster outbreak which occurred just before Christmas.

“I can‘t understand why the border was closed in the first place and why the attitude of certain governments is what it is,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“There isn’t anywhere in Australia that’s currently being designated as a hotspot.

“So why shouldn’t people be able to return home? And why shouldn’t Australians be able to move around freely?”

On Saturday, Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed travel restrictions to Brisbane would be dropped and parts of Greater Sydney would be permitted to enter the state in the next “couple of days”.

Selected local government areas in Sydney’s west are expected to still have travel restrictions in place while local case numbers are being reported.

“There will be a significant shift in the next couple of days,” Mr Andrews said.

“These are not easy decisions … [but] I’m not about to cherry pick and only follow the advice that’s convenient from a political point of view.”

The Victorian government has not confirmed if the six newly acquired cases in Sydney would change its timeline in easing border restrictions.

People from greater Sydney are not allowed to enter Victoria without an exemption or permitted worker permit.

Those trying to enter via land border will be turned away, but those trying to cross the border via land or sea will face a fine of up to $4957.

If Mr Andrews follows through on his suggestion of easing border restrictions to Sydney, the city would likely become an orange zone, which would require all those crossing the border to apply for a permit and be tested within the first three days of arrival.



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‘Some time off’ from opening to Greater Sydney


Travellers from Greater Sydney looking to come to South Australia will need to wait a little while longer before authorities downgrade border restrictions.

Despite Victoria relaxing its borders to 25 local government areas as of 6pm on Monday, SA Premier Steven Marshall said the state was not yet in a position to do the same.

He told reporters it was still “some time off” before border restrictions would ease, with authorities waiting to see 14 days of no community transmission before making any changes.

“We’ll continue to look at the results coming out of NSW,” Mr Marshall said on Monday.

“We don’t want to do anything that will put us in jeopardy in SA.

“We’ve done really well with the coronavirus and that’s why we’re about to enjoy (events) over the next few months … we know by having these events, it creates more jobs in SA.

“That’s crucial at this time.”

It was previously announced that borders could open to Greater Sydney on January 25 but was subject to the state recording no community transmission.

Mr Marshall was unable to say if the state’s 14 day tally would restart after six locally acquired cases were recorded on Sunday.

“Our health epidemiologists will be looking very closely at yesterday’s six cases and seeing whether or not we’ll be restarting the clock.

“We’ve previously said if there were no new cases of community transmission we could be opening up to Sydney as soon as the January 25. We have to look at those cases.”

The state’s Transition Committee with meet again on Tuesday to discuss the border arrangements.

It comes as Tasmania Premier Peter Gutwein announced the state downgraded its border measures with Greater Brisbane and Victoria.

The changes mean Victoria are now considered a “low risk” jurisdiction and travellers from the state no longer need to quarantine upon arrival.

For those looking to enter from Greater Brisbane, they are allowed to travel to the state but must quarantine for 14 days before being allowed out into the community.

Mr Gutwein said Greater Brisbane’s status was downgraded from “high risk” to ”medium risk” and was hopeful it would have a lower classification by the end of the week.

“Subject to the situation in Brisbane continuing its positive trend, we could classify Greater Brisbane as “low risk” meaning they can return to unrestricted travel,” he said.

“But we will keep that under observation and will consider that during the week.”

No changes were made to restrictions with Greater Sydney which is still classified as “medium risk”.

“We believe it’s a responsible and sensible approach,” Mr Gutwein said.

“We need to be confident there isn’t any cases within the community that haven’t been detected yet.”



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Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers play W-League after A-League to help drive interest


Double headers have long been debated by women’s sports fans, who lament the way female athletes are treated as a curtain raiser to men’s sport.

We have even seen a sport like cricket, where the staging of international and Big Bash double headers was once common, outgrow the concept, with the WBBL evolving to a standalone competition.

In football, the W-League and A-League regularly play double headers, but Saturday’s Sydney derby at the Olympic stadium is doing so with a slight twist.

Flipping conventional practice, the A-League game will kick off first (5pm AEDT), with the women following (7:40pm AEDT) at Sydney Olympic stadium

It is not the first time the code has trialled this model, but it is certainly not a regular occurrence.

And for Ante Juric, head coach of the Sydney FC women’s side, it will be the first time he has witnessed the flip, after four years at the helm of the sky blues.

Ante Juric claps his hands wearing a white shirt and dark blue trousers
Sydney FC coach Ante Juric is a fan of double-header fixtures.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

“I like double headers,” he told the ABC.

Another positive, is that the game will be played later in the day with much nicer conditions for football.

“From a coaching perspective, I’m happy we’re not playing at 3pm in the heat,” he said.

“It should be good from a TV coverage point of view too, playing in prime time we may get some different viewers on a Saturday night if people are home with their kids.”

The early afternoon kick-offs in the W-League have been contentious amongst fans, especially during the middle of the week.

Avid Wanderers fan Christina Trajceska, who has been a member of the Red and Black Bloc (RBB) since she was 14 years old, has not been a fan of early kick-offs.

Christina Trajceska stands with her arms outstretched, surrounded by people wearing red and black
Christina Trajceska has been a member of the RBB for almost a decade and would love to see the same level of support at a women’s game.(Supplied: Kevin Airs, FTBL)

“The early kick-offs kill the atmosphere, and it makes it almost impossible for any of the active support [like the RBB] to get to the women’s game,” she said.

“We all have working day jobs, some of us don’t get off early enough in the afternoon and so by the time we’re able to attend it’s already half-time or the 80th minute.

“Sometimes I just come home and watch the match on TV instead or I have to wait overnight for it to be replayed.”

One club, two teams mentality for supporter groups

Now 23, Trajeska is the executive assistant at The Ladies League — a fan-led platform on social media with a weekly football podcast.

On that platform she is vocal about her desire to see A-League ultras turn up to W-League matches on a regular basis, and offer the same passionate support to the women’s team.

“I enjoy the doubleheaders to an extent, and I think the only reason I have disliked them before is because of how early the women’s game has been on,” she said.

“But I think the double header this weekend, with the women’s game second, will be the best way to get the crowd’s attention and to show them there’s more football outside the A-League for their club.

“The Sydney crowd will already be there and there’s an appeal of staying to watch another game, rather than trying to find your car, or sitting and waiting for a train home.”

Juric believes the gap between the two games this weekend should only be about 30 minutes, which should help things roll straight from one match to the next.

But he added there needs to be better promotion of the W-League, beyond double headers.

“Obviously, having the game on straight after and people seeing the women get warmed-up and ready, we’re hoping people will decide to stay,” he said.

“However, I still think more promotion would help the game grow. I know it all takes money, but more promotion on TV and in the papers would really help.”

Sydney FC won the first Sydney derby of the season 3-0.
More marketing and promotion is needed for the W-League, some argue.(Sydney FC: Jaime Castaneda)

Build it and they will come

With the A-League and W-League’s move to ‘unbundle’ from the FFA, a boost in promotion has already been touted as a priority for the Australian Professional Leagues (APL).

Trajceska says there is proof that advertising works.

In the lead up to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, there was a lot of attention on the W-League, as players vied for positions in the Matildas squad.

It was around this time that Trajceska says she noticed more men turning up to W-League games.

“The W-League got a lot more hype that season,” she said.

“A lot of the international stars and overseas players really made it shine.

Mackenzie Hawkesby in the blue kit of Sydney FC is chased by Olivia Price in the red and horizontal black stripes of WSW
Derby matches thrive on active support.(Sydney FC: Jaime Castaneda)

With the next World Cup still a couple of years away, and so many of the Matildas now playing abroad, that level of promotion has dropped off.

Juric wants more investment placed in the promotion of up-and-coming Australian players, to keep reaching beyond the existing fan bubble.

“I know it all takes money, but if you’re going to get people to go to games you need to be seen,” he said.

“There’s been a little bit of negativity initially about having less Matildas, but there’s new superstars there to be promoted and found by the public.

“The quicker we do that, the quicker we build new stars up.”

Watch the Sydney FC vs Western Sydney Wanderers in the A-League live on ABC TV from 5:00pm AEST.

PP=Postponed



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Emirates suspends flights to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane amid caps


Emirates has suspended all flights to and from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane until further notice, leaving the travel plans of thousands of Australians stranded overseas up in the air.

The major airline announced the suspension on Friday night was “due to operational reasons”.

An estimated 37,000 Australians are still overseas and seeking assistance to get back into the country.

It’s understood the airline will continue operating twice weekly flights to and from Perth.

The Australian High Commission in the United Kingdom, where Emirates flights to Australia depart with stopovers in Dubai, said on Twitter: “We appreciate the disruption this will cause.”

RELATED: Labor says Government should have acted sooner

Emirates was one of the last international airlines flying Down Under after Qantas last year cancelled all international flights until March 2021.

On January 8, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced national cabinet had agreed to slash the number of international arrivals into New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia by half, starting “no later” than Friday, January 15 and lasting until February 15.

He said this was “to manage the flow of returning Australians and other travellers who have been potentially exposed to the new variants” of COVID-19, including the highly contagious strain behind Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor cluster.

“Current international passenger caps in Victoria and South Australia and arrangements in the Northern Territory are considered manageable and will remain in place,” Mr Morrison said.

The new caps will be around 1500 weekly for NSW, and 500 for Queensland and WA.

Chartered flights for vulnerable Australians will continue.

From January 22, the Government will require travellers to Australia to return a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to departure.

EMIRATES’ LAST FLIGHTS TO THREE AUSSIE CITIES

* Dubai to Brisbane EK430 on January 16

* Brisbane to Dubai EK431 on January 17

* Dubai to Sydney EK414 on January 18

* Sydney to Dubai EK415 on January 19

* Dubai to Melbourne EK408 on January 19

* Melbourne to Dubai EK409 on January 20

“Customers holding tickets with final destinations Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane will not be accepted for travel at their point of origin after the completion of the above flights,” Emirates said in a statement.

“Emirates regrets any inconvenience caused. Affected customers should contact their travel agent or Emirates contact centre for rebooking options.”



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