It’s not just hump day; we’re also halfway through the parliamentary sitting. At this stage, there’s a week break and then it’s back into it, but you have to wonder whether any of the east coast MPs will risk going home, given how quickly Covid is changing the landscape. Although, it doesn’t seem like anyone is missing the deputy prime minister, who has been in lockdown in Armidale, and apparently, unable to zoom in for the sitting (he has answered no questions in QT and offered no contributions to debate).
After a record number of cases (for this outbreak) yesterday, NSW is braced for more bad news. Yesterday CHO Dr Kerry Chant, Gladys Berejiklian and Brad Hazzard all made points about people not complying with the lockdown, which led to increased transmission in the community. Seven weeks in and there is still a large number of people in each daily update who have been in the community during their infectious period. But the NSW government is not looking at paying people to stay home and is telling people to apply for the disaster payments. Instead, it is all about vaccinations. Vaccinations are very, very important but, given the stress the community is under, so is bringing transmission down. Today’s update will be with you around 11.
There was better news for Melbourne yesterday, despite the 20 cases reported. All were linked to known cases and, while 15 people were in the community during their infectious period, it’s hoped Melbourne’s almost instant lockdown will stop the spread. It’s looking unlikely that the lockdown will lift on Thursday as first planned though. Today’s numbers will give a better indication but, given authorities are still expecting cases, there’s a worry they haven’t found all those who may have contracted it. With some people not testing positive until after day seven from infection, authorities want to know they have everyone they need in home quarantine before opening further.
In Queensland, Cairns will learn if it comes out of its short sharp lockdown. Queensland still has 13,000 people in the south-east in home quarantine and has reinforced its border (added more police) after the NSW northern rivers lockdown.
All in all, the east coast appears to be in a holding pattern, with no one willing to take a breath until the nation reaches the Doherty Institute’s 80% (eligible) vaccination goal (there are still lockdowns anticipated at 70%).
We’ll bring you all those updates, plus everything else as it happens in parliament today. Mike Bowers is back (huzzah) and we have the whole Canberra team of Katharine Murphy, Sarah Martin, Daniel Hurst and Paul Karp on deck.
It’s been a three-coffee morning and no doubt will get worse. I’m already reaching for the chocolate.