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Coronavirus updates LIVE: Donald Trump in quarantine after adviser tests positive to COVID-19; Victoria records seven cases as Australian death toll jumps to 890

Do you think regional Victorians should still be required to wear masks?

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has just finished announcing the first stage of a trans-Tasman travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand. Here are the basics:

  • New Zealanders who have not been in a hotspot area for 14 days will be allowed to travel to NSW and the Northern Territory from October 16.
  • A hotspot area is defined as a place which has had three days with fewer than three cases.
  • The arrangement is not currently reciprocal (New Zealanders can come here but Australians can not go there), but it is Australia’s intention for it to become a two-way arrangement when this is allowed by New Zealand.
  • Any state or territory which agrees to the hotspot definition for reopening its borders could be included in the bubble. South Australia is likely to be the next state included, Mr McCormack said.
  • There is a possibility the bubble could be extended to other Pacific nations. Currently, they will be able to enter Australia by spending 14 days in New Zealand.

This is Mary Ward signing off the blog. Pallavi Singhal will be continuing our live coverage through to the evening.

It is possible that other Pacific nations could join Australia and New Zealand’s trans-Tasman travel bubble, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has said.

“I know Foreign Minister Marise Payne is working with many of our Pacific island friends at the moment,” Mr McCormack said, adding that those from the Pacific Islands could go to New Zealand, stay in a non-hotspot area for a fortnight, and then fly to Australia.

“They can avail themselves of this opportunity, they can come and pick fruit, shear our sheep, fall in love,” he said, referencing a comment he made last month encouraging people to take up agricultural work.

The Deputy Prime Minister said it was “very much in Prime Minister [Jacinda] Ardern’s court” as to when Australians would be able to visit New Zealand as part of the bubble arrangement.

“We want to make sure that there is two-way travel … [but] I will leave to those negotiations between the two prime ministers,” he said.

Mr McCormack said Alan Joyce and Paul Scarr, the chief executive officers of airlines Qantas and Virgin respectively were “very, very pleased” with the bubble arrangements.

“I know they want to see planes back in the air across the Tasman, because planes in the air means jobs on the ground.”

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has said any state or territory which agrees to the Commonwealth’s hotspot definition will be allowed to enter a trans-Tasman travel bubble with New Zealand.

The first step of the arrangement will see New Zealanders able to fly to NSW and the Northern Territory, provided they have not been in a “hotspot” area, defined as a place which has seen three days of less than three cases.

After the Prime Minister yesterday flagged South Australia would be among the first to take part in the program, Mr McCormack said the southern state “stands ready to participate” when they agree to the hotspot definition.

“I have spoken to Stephen Marshall in the last half hour, they will probably certainly be the next cab off the ranks,” he said.

Mr McCormack said the arrangement – which lets New Zealanders enter the country without hotel quarantine – would free up space in NSW’s overseas arrivals program, allowing the state to take 325 more returning Australians into hotel quarantine.

New Zealanders will be able to travel to NSW and the Northern Territory from October 16, after a trans-Tasman travel bubble arrangement was finalised, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said on Friday.

The arrangement will allow New Zealanders who have not been in an area which has recorded more than three cases across three days to travel to the two Australian locations, in what Mr McCormack described as the “first stage” of the arrangement.

“I have just gotten off the phone with [Northern Territory] Chief Minister [Michael] Gunner who says the fish are biting and the beers are cold and he wants to see as many of his New Zealand cousins and friends as possible,” Mr McCormack said.

“And I know that NSW is certainly going to welcome this announcement.”

The Deputy Prime Minister said he hoped the arrangement would later be extended to all Australian states and territories.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Adelaide radio that South Australia and NSW would be first in line for New Zealand arrivals.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack is due to announce a travel bubble arrangement with New Zealand.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has said Queensland’s requirement of 28 days without community transmission to reopen its borders is “bordering on ridiculous”.

“We’ve got a better chance of getting into Quebec than we have of getting into Queensland at the rate things are going,” the Treasurer told reporters in Sydney this afternoon.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet.Credit:Kate Geraghty

“Annastacia Palaszczuk has to focus less on politics and more on doing what’s right for our country.”

The Treasurer was speaking at the announcement of $20 million in funding jointly provided by the NSW Government and City of Sydney Council to boost Sydney’s CBD economy.

COVID-19 may have created a generation of non-swimmers who will never be safe around the water.

Enrolments at swimming schools across Australia in September – a peak time for lessons – dropped 25 per cent compared with last year, according to an analysis of enrolments at 125 swimming facilities by Royal Life Saving Society Australia.

Ahaan Kumar, 5, has continued with swimming lessons, apart from a gap during lockdown.

Ahaan Kumar, 5, has continued with swimming lessons, apart from a gap during lockdown. Credit:Peter Rae

It found the drops were greatest in NSW. This included a 40 per cent fall in children aged seven to nine, and a 51 per cent plunge in children aged 10 to 12, taking lessons. The data did not include Victoria where all swimming lessons had stopped.

Without additional lessons, these children were unlikely to ever reach national benchmarks that recommend every 12-year-old Australian should be able to swim 50 metres, float for two minutes and know how to respond to an emergency, Royal Life Saving’s chief executive Justin Scarr said.

Hope Hicks, one of President Donald Trump’s closest aides, has tested positive for coronavirus, people familiar with the matter say.

President Trump said he and first lady Melania Trump were awaiting their own test results after spending substantial time with Ms Hicks this week, Bloomberg reports.

Trump aide Hope Hicks has tested positive to COVID-19.

Trump aide Hope Hicks has tested positive to COVID-19.Credit:AP

“Whether we quarantine or whether we have it, I don’t know,” President Trump said during a call-in interview with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity. “I just went for a test and we’ll see what happens.”

Ms Hicks travelled with the President aboard Air Force One to and from the presidential debate on Tuesday.

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