Australia news live: WA and ACT reduce official Covid reinfection period as nation records 13 deaths from virus | Australia news

National Covid-19 update

Here are the latest coronavirus numbers from around Australia today, as the country records at least 13 deaths from Covid-19:

ACT

  • Deaths: 2
  • Cases: 1,143
  • In hospital: 136 (with 5 people in ICU)

NSW

  • Deaths: 8
  • Cases: 7,586
  • In hospital: 2,002 (with 63 people in ICU)

Northern Territory

  • Deaths: 0
  • Cases: 323
  • In hospital: 25 (with 1 people in ICU)

Queensland

  • Deaths: 0
  • Cases: 4,804
  • In hospital: 782 (with 10 people in ICU)

South Australia

  • Deaths: 1
  • Cases: 3,300
  • In hospital: 284 (with 9 people in ICU)

Tasmania

  • Deaths: 0
  • Cases: 1,439
  • In hospital: 28 (with 4 people in ICU)

Victoria

  • Deaths: 0
  • Cases: 8,689
  • In hospital: 717 (with 30 people in ICU)

Western Australia

  • Deaths: 2
  • Cases: 4,882
  • In hospital: 282 (with 9 people in ICU)

Key events:

Sopoaga says Australia needs to accelerate its climate action to gain the trust of Pacific Island leaders.

Whilst the commitment announced by the new government of Australia is encouraging, I think in order to get and gain the trusts of the Pacific island leaders on the commitment and actions of Australia, [Australia] needs to do more.

He also expresses disappointment Kiribati has decided to withdraw from the Pacific Islands Forum.

I’m on record in suggesting that as early as last year, at the beginning of last year, this matter has to be properly handled by the Pacific island leaders. And it is very sad to hear that one of our founding members of the Pacific island forum is leaving us as a family. We don’t have this often in the Pacific. We need to reach out and find ways to bring all the family members together. Do not allow others to divide us and these influencers to rule over us.

We are 14 members of the United Nations, 16 including Australia and New Zealand, and I certainly hope the leaders …. restore the collectivity amongst Pacific island countries.

Former Tuvalu PM Sopoaga: good to hear Australia’s climate commitment after years of ‘dragging its feet’

Former prime minister of Tuvalu and climate campaigner Enele Sopoaga is appearing on the ABC’s Afternoon Briefing as the Pacific Islands Forum gets under way.

Sopoaga says it is positive Australia’s new government is committed to climate action but for the past several years the nation has “dragged its feet”.

I think right now the key word would be urgency [on climate action]; the need for urgent actions to be done. Actions that are meaningful and concrete. And that would provide the long-term security for the survival of Pacific island peoples and communities.

This is the continuing message that we have been calling out. We, the Pacific island leaders and peoples … I’m very pleased that the leaders, after almost three years because of Covid, have finally come together in Suva, Fiji, to talk and continue to collaborate more on how we can achieve these urgent actions of addressing climate change.

I think we need to see much more ambitious actions from the new elected government of Australia. So it is a positive to hear that the Albanese government is really committing to step up Australia’s actions on climate change. This is quite promising and encouraging. But we know that Australia over the past several years have dragged its feet, sidetracked its targets from meeting its emission reductions target and
especially continued a coal-based economy … we know that.

Queensland remains firm on Covid reinfection period

The Queensland government hasn’t reduced the Covid reinfection period from 12 weeks to 28 days as the ACT and Western Australia have announced today.

Instead, the premier is urging eligible Queenslanders to get their booster in response to rising case numbers.

I wanted to write a quick note to everyone on COVID.

I know it’s on everybody’s mind at the moment, and of course we’re all seeing the rising numbers.

— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) July 11, 2022

Now we’ve been given the green light for those fourth boosters, I’m really urging people over 50 to get their fourth shot this week.

— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) July 11, 2022

Catcalling in Canberra

The ACT Government has released a deeply disturbing list of registered Canberran cat names including, among others, “Catrick Swayze”, “Romi Princess Sass Sooky La La Hissy Pants” and “Chorizo”.

As a dog person, it disgusts me.

The results are in – Charlie is CBR’s most popular cat name.

Since new cat registration legislation came into effect on 1 July more than 5500 cats have been registered.

We’ve put together a list of the most popular names along with our favourites 🔗👉 https://t.co/kbbglKmFlT pic.twitter.com/AnX2ILMCro

— ACT Government (@actgovernment) July 11, 2022

Read the top ten cat names here.

Rock fisher dies in Wollongong

A rock fisher has died after being swept away at Wollongong Harbour this afternoon.

NSW Police said about 12.50pm, emergency services were called to Belmore Basin following reports a man had been swept off the rocks.

They said another man in a small boat went to his aid before a constable jumped in to assist.

The 73-year-old man was brought back to shore, but he was unable to be revived and died at the scene.

Police have started an investigation and a report will be prepared for the coroner.

WA reduces Covid reinfection period

Western Australia has also reduced the reinfection period from Covid-19 down to 28 days in line with a recommendation from the AHPPC late last week.

In a statement, the WA government confirmed Western Australians who had recovered from Covid-19 would need to test again from 12 weeks down to 28 days after recovery if experiencing symptoms:

With increasing cases of new Covid-19 variants spreading in the community, the chance of reinfection is now more likely.

For this reason, the window for potential reinfection of Covid-19 has been reduced from after 12 weeks to after four weeks … based on the latest expert advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.

This means that effective immediately, recovered Covid-19 cases will be required to test for Covid-19 after 28 days if experiencing symptoms, and follow the relevant advice if they test positive.

Understandably, this may have an impact on people and local businesses throughout the community, with more people expected to be isolating in the coming months.

PM describes Shinzo Abe as ‘good friend’ of Australia

Still in Canberra, the prime minister has left a condolence message following the assassination of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, describing him as a “significant global leader” and a “good friend” of Australia.

Leaving a condolence message in memory of former Japanese PM Abe Shinzo in Canberra. Mr Abe was a significant global leader and a good friend of Australia. He will be greatly missed. Australia sends our deepest sympathies to Mrs Abe, the family of Mr Abe, and the people of Japan. pic.twitter.com/xcwXfjoMoE

— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) July 11, 2022

Previously, Anthony Albanese confirmed official flags would fly at half mast in Australia on the day of Abe’s funeral, while monuments across the nation have been lit up in red and yellow in tribute to the former politician.

I was deeply moved by my visit to @JapanEmb_AUS with Prime Minister Albanese, to sign the book of condolence for former Prime Minister Abe.

In times of sorrow, we recognise the strength in Australia’s enduring friendship with Japan.

We mourn with the people of Japan. pic.twitter.com/zCc6t7Pi2u

— Senator Penny Wong (@SenatorWong) July 11, 2022

Covid reinfection period reduced in Canberra

In the ACT, chief health officer Dr Kerryn Coleman has announced the official reinfection period for people who have Covid will be reduced from 12 weeks to 28 days from 11.59 tonight.

She said it reflected “emerging evidence” people could become reinfected as early as 28 days after a previous infection:

Please do not ignore symptoms after this time. Wear a mask when you are in crowded indoor environments where it is difficult to physically distance from others, and wash and sanitise your hands regularly.

It comes as Coleman urged Canberrans to brace for an increase in Covid cases in coming weeks, projecting daily numbers of up to 3,000 infections per day in late July and early August:

Canberrans should take steps to help reduce the spread and lessen the impact of Covid-19. This new wave … combined with the ACT’s first influenza season in three years and increases in other respiratory illnesses, are already impacting our community and workplaces.

Coleman said the new wave was being driven by the rise of BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants, which were quickly becoming the dominant strains:

These subvariants are ‘escaping’ some of the immune defences we have developed to Covid-19, making them more transmissible. We are coming into a very challenging period and we need Canberrans to share the responsibility of minimising the impact within our community … it is now time that we all refocus our efforts.

Many thanks Natasha May, I’ll be with you for the rest of the evening.

With that much-needed dog content on a Monday afternoon, I hand you back over to Caitlin Cassidy.

‘Round of a-paws’ for SES after dog rescue

As the flood response moves to the recovery phase, the SES has indicated that animal rescues make up a big part of their work.

The emergency service has shared images of Savvy and Marley’s rescue, along with some excellent dog puns.

Cold front on the way for Australia’s south-east

If you’re in the south-east don’t put those hot water bottles away, a cold front is expected in the coming days.

The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted a “wintry mix” of snow, brisk winds and showers in the east.

A cold front will move across south-east and eastern Aus in the coming days bringing a wintry mix of showers, brisk winds and #snow to lower levels ❄️

Showers easing on Wed, but cold conditions continuing.

Latest forecasts and warnings: https://t.co/1cfWha14lD pic.twitter.com/HRVhSpHTbw

— Bureau of Meteorology, Australia (@BOM_au) July 11, 2022

Koala deaths investigated

Sixteen koalas have died at a Victorian tree plantation and investigators don’t know why, AAP reports.

Victoria’s conservation regulator launched an investigation after the bodies of 13 koalas were found at a plantation on 14 June. The regulator has said it was alerted to the deaths by the plantation’s operator.

The bodies of three more koalas have since been found in an unharvested area on the site, with various stages of decomposition ranging from an estimated two weeks to 12 months, it the regulator said today.

Adam Morton

What will Labor do about coalmine applications?

The Albanese government could face decisions on whether to approve up to 27 coalmining developments, based on applications lodged under national environment laws.

An analysis by the Sunrise Project, a climate activist group, found 13 greenfield coalmines and 14 extensions of existing mines had been referred to the federal government for assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.

Not all proposals are likely to come across the desk of the environment minister, Tanya Plibersek – some are paused, others still require approval from state authorities – but the analysis of fossil fuel proposals suggests it could be a significant issue in this term of parliament.

Victoria commits $13.7m to regional mental health program

The Victorian state government has committed $13.7m to improve regional mental health, with grants available to address service gaps in remote areas.

The minister for mental health, Gabrielle Williams, said the program would aim to attract and retain workers in state-funded mental health and alcohol and other drug (AOD) services across rural and regional Victoria.

Regional mental health workforce incentive grants will provide up to $20,000 with the aim of attracting metropolitan Melburnian, interstate and overseas workers to the regions, covering costs including accommodation, relocation, childcare, school fees and vehicle costs.

The program comes in response to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, which recommended addressing significant workforce gaps in regional and rural areas.

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