Update 23 April
You know how something good sometimes doesn’t feel true until it’s actually in your hands? The government has begun to give out the promised lifelines in the past few days, making them a reality to millions of Australians.
My husband’s small business was one of those. You blink a few stunned blinks when you realise there is no loan repayment required, no long forms required to justify it. It’s simply a gift from your government because they’re looking out for you. Pretty incredible.
We’ve heard the umbrella numbers, but today ScoMo started to break it down:
- An extra 5000 staff have been employed to help the ATO and Services Australia ramp up their processing rate to 50,000 and 40,000 claims a day respectively.
- 587,686 JobSeeker applications have been processed – that’s more in one month than is usually achieved in a year.
- 456,000 applications for superannuation withdrawals have been processed by the ATO, and will be paid out over the next 5 days.
- 177,000 businesses received a cash flow boost totalling $3 billion so far, to help them meet costs and keep their staff.
- 900,000 businesses registered for JobKeeper, with 275,000 applications received in the first three days it opened.
Just take a moment to stop and appreciate what it means to live in Australia right now.
How do these supports compare to other countries? Too complicated to try and work that out because of the huge variety, but the TMF Group website on government support schemes for COVID-19 gives really clear outlines for countries across the globe, if you’re interested.
Saving Virgin Australia
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann confirmed that the government would like to see two viable airlines in Australia, but that throwing money at Virgin was not necessarily the solution. The company was not super healthy before the pandemic. The aim in the current administration process is for the parties involved to work on solutions that refocus the performing parts of the airline.
In the meantime, the airline employees are supported through the JobKeeper program, and some call centre staff have been redeployed to help process claims for Services Australia.
It’s happening little by little. Restrictions are starting to relax in tiny increments.
- BIG ONE: School changes. New South Wales children will be starting to return to school as Term 2 starts next week. They will begin one day a week with the aim of being back full time again by the start of Term 3. In South Australia the chief medical officer has written to parents and schools encouraging them to send their children to school. Western Australia contines to give parents the choice. The ACT has designated schools where children will be supervised if for any reason they can’t learn at home.
- Bondi Beach will reopen next week. Perhaps this community has learned their lesson?
- Fish and agricultural exports will begin again as 15 freighting airlines help mend supply chains to the world, saving export businesses and saving jobs. Usually these goods are in the bellies of the airlines you and I travel on, but of course, we’re not travelling anymore, are we? To give you an idea of the need – 560 businesses registered their interest for these services.
While we’ve had 75 deaths from COVID-19, and mourn each of those lives, this figure is nothing like the experience of countries with similar economies, populations and facilities as ours.
The latest WHO report gives these numbers:
UK – 17,337
USA – 37,602
China – 4,642
Spain – 21,282
Italy – 24,648
France – 20,736
Australia – 75
Hope Over Fear
It’s Queensland time to shine.
Sewage Has its Uses
While the pending tracer app is a hot topic, today ScoMo reminded us that this is just one tool in the larger plan to squash the virus.
Back in the CSIRO labs, the University of Queensland has been working on a different type of tracing that could be highly effective too – testing sewage for the virus. Already they’ve found that wastewater from the sewage plants near COVID-19- infected people revealed RNA fragments of the virus. Testing wastewater more broadly could uncover community hotspots of the virus. It’s hoped that eventually these tests will even be able to determine the number of people infected.
But just in case you’re freaking out about this – they’ve given assurance that drinking water is very well protected from the virus.
QLD’s Manufacturers are World Class
Among Queensland’s achievements, the coronavirus challenges have seen distillers making sanitiser, plastics manufacturers fabricating PPE and the sector partnering effectively with others to support supply chains. The World Economic Forum has awarded Queensland manufacturers with recognition as an advanced hub in improving the world’s business sector.
Your Tip for Today
COVID-19 has been around for what feels like forever right now, so most of us know the ins and outs of it. Or do we?
- Can regularly rinsing your nose with saline help prevent infection?
- How effective are thermal scanners in detecting people infected with the virus?
- Can spraying alcohol all over you body kill the new coronavirus?
- Are hand dryers effective in killing the virus?
- Can the virus be transmitted through mosquito bites?
For the answers to these questions, scroll to the end, andfind more mythbusters here.
What About You?
I’d love to hear your stories.
- Have you had a lifeline thrown to you?
- What restrictions do you want most to be lifted?
- How’s your knowledge on the coronavirus?
I’m keen to see your comments below
- No. Sometimes this helps relief for the common cold, but it doesn’t prevent respiratory infection.
- Sort of. They are effective in detecting people with a fever, but not those who are not yet showing symptoms.
- No. In fact these substances can be harmful to your mucous membranes.
- No. Cleaning your hands with an alcohol-based rub or soap and water is what does the trick. Drying hands well is good practice too.
- No. It’s a respiratory disease.
Prime Minister Press Release – 23 April
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann interview on Channel 10 – 21 April
Federal Minister Greg Hunt interview (Bondi Beach) – 22 April
NSW govt – NSW schools return – 21 April
South Australia education advice
ACT education advice
Minister for Infrastructure press release (exports) – 23 April
WHO Situation Report – 22 April
UQ – waste water surveillance – 16 April
QLD Govt – QLD Declared Advanced Manufacturing Hub – 19 April