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Portugal and Britain are in talks to try and secure an air corridor for tourists that would allow British visitors to avoid a COVID-19 quarantine upon returning home, two Portuguese sources familiar with the situation said.
Portugal’s tourism-dependent economy has been hard hit by the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns at home and abroad, and authorities are trying to save at least part of the crucial summer season.
Britain, the main source of tourism for Portugal, will introduce a quarantine for travellers arriving from abroad from June 8, including returning Britons. Travellers will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
In 2019, more than 16 million foreign tourists visited Portugal, almost 20 per cent of them from Britain.
One source said the talks were still in an initial phase.
Another said the government sought the air corridor both for Portuguese tourists visiting Britain and vice versa, and was hoping that Portugal’s relatively low coronavirus tally compared to countries like Spain or Britain would benefit tourism.
Portugal’s death toll of 1330 and total cases at 30,788 are just a fraction of neighbouring Spain’s nearly 27,000 dead and over 235,000 infected.
Approached for a comment, the foreign ministry told Reuters that Portugal had requested additional information after the British quarantine decision. Although it would not confirm nor deny any specific talks on a corridor, said it was optimistic about finding an acceptable solution.
“Given the relevant reciprocal interests, the foreign ministry is confident that it will be possible to agree a solution that meets these interests, especially concerning the coming summer season,” it said.
The tourism sector accounts for nearly 15 per cent of Portugal’s gross domestic product and was one of the main drivers of its recovery from the 2010-14 economic and debt crisis.
The AHP hotel association has said over 90 per cent of Portuguese hotels remain closed after a lockdown imposed in March.
Up to half a million short-term casual workers in industries worst-hit by the pandemic could access JobKeeper if the federal government expanded the scheme to include workers employed at their workplace for fewer than 12 months.
As the government faces calls to widen its wage subsidy program, research suggests the young and poor – “those least able to cope” – will experience the most pronounced financial hit due to the pandemic.
The analysis from Melbourne University’s Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey suggests 28 per cent of the nation’s workforce, or about 3.5 million workers, worked in industries where businesses were forced to close, like hospitality, aviation and the arts, or those that experienced steep declines in turnover, including the real estate, apparel and automotive sectors.
Of these workers, about 500,000 are casuals who have not worked for the same business for more than 12 months, meaning they are ineligible for the $1500 fortnightly payment.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has imposed a “deadline” of Thursday on the Queensland Labor government to lift border restrictions in the state or face a constitutional challenge to the closures in the High Court.
Businessman and former politician Clive Palmer lodged documents in the High Court on Monday to challenge Western Australia’s border restrictions on constitutional grounds, while Senator Hanson is supporting a similar challenge to Queensland’s border controls.
Senator Hanson said she intended to present the case to Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and it was “full steam ahead”.
She said she had given the Labor leader a deadline of Thursday to respond to a request to revoke the border ban before proceeding to the High Court.
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The university staff union’s plan for a national framework for campus-by-campus wage negotiations has been derailed just days before it was due to go to a ballot of all members.
At least 17 universities including the University of NSW, the University of Sydney, RMIT, University of Melbourne and University, Deakin, Curtin, the Australian Catholic University and Central Queensland University have rejected the plan which included a proposal for wage cuts of up to 15 per cent.
National Tertiary Education Union national president Dr Alison Barnes said the union was appalled that university vice chancellors had combined to derail the national jobs protection framework which was designed to save 12,000 jobs.
Two staff members at an aged care facility in Melbourne’s inner-east have tested positive to COVID-19 a week after an initial case caused the home to be locked down.
A staff member at Lynden Aged Care in Camberwell tested positive on May 19.
The facility has since been following strict health protocols and two further staff tested positive on Tuesday.
The additional cases are not close contacts of the first case and another round of testing is being completed to determine whether the virus has spread to others in the facility.
Close contacts of the worker diagnosed on Tuesday have been placed into quarantine, and the source of transmission for all three cases is being investigated.
The Victorian Health Department is managing the cleaning of the facility and restricting transfers and new admissions.
Far from dampen Queensland’s 2032 Olympics bid, the coronavirus crisis can work in its favour as well as acting as driver of recovery for the state, the Australian Olympic Committee says.
AOC chief executive Matt Carroll says Queensland already has the edge on less advanced bids from Indonesia, India, Germany, Spain and, jointly, North and South Korea. “Queensland is ahead of the game. They can move very quickly,” Carroll said. “They’re already well down the track of master planning for the Games.
“The state government already has given the green light to pursue it. The other cities are talking about it, but they haven’t started their candidatures. Whether they do after this crisis, the IOC can make a decision by 2022. They’re no longer bound to (make a decision) seven years before a Games.”
After moving into the world of groceries during the pandemic, McDonald’s will now sell drive-thru hand sanitiser from Wednesday.
On the other side of the counter, employees are being subjected to temperature scans to check whether they have a fever as part of anti-coronavirus measures.
Fast food chains are rolling out temperature checks with infrared thermometers, which have become common in some countries but have raised union concerns about staff privacy and the tests’ effectiveness.
The company has said that 100 per cent of the profits from sales of hand sanitiser will go directly to their charity arm, Ronald McDonald House.
“We’re privileged to be able to play an active role in supporting Ronald McDonald House charities. It’s an incredible charity that plays a vital role in keeping families close during their times of need,” said McDonald’s marketing director Jo Feeney.
“The hand sanitiser is available for our customers to pick-up contact-free through our drive-thrus or when they come into our restaurants.”
Barbara Ryan, Ronald McDonald House CEO, said all donations were critical in “helping us to continue to make an impact on the lives of seriously ill children and their families when they need it most.”
Attempts by Dominic Cummings to justify the trips he made during lockdown while infectious have failed to quell anger within the government, triggering the resignation of a junior minister over the affair.
Douglas Ross, Under Secretary of State for Scotland, tendered his resignation on Tuesday morning, saying in a letter he accepted Cummings took actions “he felt were the best interests of his family. However, these were decisions many others felt were not available to them”.
“I have constituents who didn’t get to say goodbye to loved ones, families who could not mourn together, people who didn’t visit sick relatives because they followed the guidance of the government. I cannot in good faith tell them they were all wrong and one senior adviser to the government was right.”
Nearly two dozen Tory MPs have publicly demanded Cummings stand down and Durham police have pledged to investigate his movements in the region.