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Australian Open 2021: Crowds Capped at 30,000 Per Day

Victorian Sports Minister Martin Pakula has said that the state’s Chief Health Officer has approved crowds of up to 30,000 to attend the Australian Open next month.

Minister for Sport Martin Pakula stated today that the event’s COVID-safe design would allow a regular crowd limit of 30,000 for the first eight days of the competition and 25,000 per day from the beginning of the quarter-finals, nearly half the expected attendance in recent years.

The crowd’s capability for this year’s game will be around half the total of what has been allowed in previous years at Melbourne Park.

Mr Pakula said, “that means on Rod Laver Arena, as we get to the end of the tournament, we will have a great environment, not that different to the atmosphere we have seen in all the opens in years past.”

He said an overall of 390,000 people would visit throughout the event at Melbourne Park.

Mr Pakula said, “It will not be the similar as the last few years, but it will be the most important international event with masses that the globe has seen for many, many months.”

“That is a testament to the work Victorians have done to get our COVID-19 numbers to zero.”

Over the past fortnight, approx 1,000 officials and Australian Open players have undertaken hotel quarantine as per rule.

Craig Tiley, Tennis Australia chief executive, said that “we hope AO event would give a sign to the whole world that Melbourne was sport and entertainment capital of the world.”

Mr Tiley said that approximately 99.9 per cent of the Australian Open players and staff were excited to be out of quarantine. And they appreciated the government’s efforts to protect the community from the coronavirus.

He said this morning, now 72 people affiliated with the tournament are still in quarantine, and 22 are players.

“But we have come out of the chaos with a great success,” said Mr Tiley.

Emirates suspended all UK flights to Australia, New hurdle in returning home for Australians

The United Arab Emirates has verified it is canceling all its flights or travelling between Australia and the United Kingdom indefinitely, after banning air travel with the United Arab Emirates by the UK government.

This report is not good news for 4500 Australians presently stranded in the UK seeking to secure a flight back home.
The UK government declared the ban on all direct passenger flights from the United Arab Emirates early Friday morning.

From midnight tonight, AEDT, Rwanda, Burundi, and the United Arab Emirates (Dubai and Abu Dhabi), will be included in the UK’s red list of coronavirus hotspots globally.

It is confirmed earlier that no passengers from red list nations are permitted to enter into the United Kingdom, rather than Irish or British citizens and permanent residents. And residents who return from overseas have to undergo 10 days of self-isolation at home.

Furthermore, every flight from and to Dubai and Abu Dhabi have been cancelled and banned.
On the Emirates’ official website, it confirmed that cancelling all passenger services between all their UK points – Birmingham, Glasgow, London and Manchester, and Dubai.

The airline has said that flights between the UK and Australian destinations will be suspended until the next notice.
Emirates said that a spokesperson said we would continue to operate flights between Dubai, Australia, and other places in its network.

The suspension of flights is part of a UK approach to stop the entry of a deadly and infectious new South African strain. Presently, approximately 40,000 Australians are stranded overseas and trying to return to Australia, with approx 4500 of those in the UK.

According to the UK government website, three new countries were added to the UK’s red list as the new South African variant is supposed to have reached there.

Australia Extends Travel Bubble With NZ; Flights Held For 72 Hours

The Australian Government has extended the pause on quarantine-free flights from New Zealand for the next three days following the declaration of more community COVID-19 cases.

This means citizens of New Zealanders travelling into Australia will have to isolate/quarantine for two weeks. People who already entered Australia after January 15 have to go through the COVID-19 test and isolate. When a Kiwi woman infected with the highly contagious South African variant of COVID-19 visited about 30 New Zealand locations before testing positive after that, the green-zone travel arrangement was paused.

According to the health ministry, two people have tested COVID-19 positive for the South African variant. All cases are connected to the same isolation facility in Auckland, the largest city of New Zealand. New Zealand’s new viruses were rated the best performing in a list of almost 100 nations based on their coronavirus containment. The earlier 72-hour suspension was about to end at 2:00 pm Thursday.

Acting Chief Medical Officer, Professor Michael Kidd, told the suspension order will guard Australians while the New Zealand COVID-19 situation can be confirmed.

Professor Kidd said the Government was prepared to keep citizens of Australia safe from COVID-19 while flagged attention around an additional group.

He said, “We have also been recommended a small number of people who were in the Pullman Hotel and undergoing through hotel quarantine; at the same time as these other coronavirus cases had since moved to Australia on ‘green zone’ flights before we introduced the pause on Monday afternoon.”

“Health authorities are following all these people in the state where they reached.”

Mr Kidd has requested travellers who stayed at the Auckland Pullman from January 9 to 14 before landing in Australia to get the COVID-19 test and self-isolate.
He has also asked who came from New Zealand and landed in Australia since January 9 needs to get tested and isolated. At the end of 2020, the bubble was formed, which permitted New Zealand citizens to travel to Australia’s specific states.

The Federal Government has regularly stated that it would like to see the arrangement become mutual and Australians permitted to travel New Zealand quarantine-free over the ditch.

Anyway, the extension clarifies that New Zealand’s flight to Australia will start on January 31, 2 pm on Sunday.

Pilot and Passenger Narrowly Escape in an Emergency Landing at Adelaide’s Parafield

A pilot and their passenger succeeded in avoiding a severe crash in Adelaide when the nose of their plane smashed into the tarmac.

The light twin-engine plane pilot performed an emergency landing at Parafield Airport at about 1.30 AM on Wednesday. A notification was reached just after midnight to Emergency services that one plane needed to land urgently and required assistance.

South Australia police stated in a comment that “The pilot told a defect with the nose wheel and could not verify it was locked down or not in preparing for landing.”

Police said, “Some lower altitude fly-bys verified the nose wheel could not be seen in the downward position.”

In diving into the tarmac, the pilot received a final strategy and arrived on two wheels. As the plane decelerated, the aircraft’s nose got sliding and crashed with the tarmac.

A tweet from a reporter stated, “Two pilots have stepped away from this crisis landing at Parafield Airport just after night. The plane was a practice aircraft for Bruce Hartwig flying school, & the organization says the nose wheel collapsed.”

Airport safety officers made the plane ready for the emergency landing. Further, the fire crews, an ambulance, and police also attended and witnessed the whole scene. Fortuitously, there were no reported injuries to the pilot or passenger, who were both able to leave the plane themselves. There were no fire, no fuel spill, and no accidents. A report will be made for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), and the aircraft will be examined for production or engineering problems.

Also, the Policemen, airport safety officers, paramedics, and firefighters, gathered at the emergency landing place and praised the pilot for great work. It was a brave approach to pull off an emergency landing at midnight.

Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine To Rollout in Australia, Approved By TGA

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has confirmed and provisionally approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for rollout in Australia.
Pfizer is the first vaccine that received approval from Australia’s regulatory.
The TGA said this vaccine met the “efficacy, quality and high safety standards needed for use in Australia.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, “We are more looking at the end of February than mid-February now due to the problems we have seen in the delivery or production for both Pfizer and AstraZeneca around the world.”
The Pfizer vaccine approval is on a provisional basis, which means it is valid for only two years.
Two Pfizer vaccine doses will be needed a minimum of 21 days apart. And the TGA provisional approved it for 16 years and older people.
Priority group’s Vaccination is expected to start at the end of February, at per week 80,000 doses, said Health Minister Greg Hunt.
Mr Hunt said Australia had enough doses, which is approx to 140 million, and it is one of the highest per-capita rates in the world.
The vaccine will be rolled out in five phases at approx 1000 or more vaccination administration sites in Australia.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Pfizer vaccine’s approval comes Monday morning, precisely after one year of the first case of COVID-19 was detected in Australia.
In a statement earlier, Mr Morrison said the TGA approval is an essential step in the battle against coronavirus.
On Monday, the prime minister said, “I greet the Pfizer vaccine’s approval by the TGA.”
“Australia’s citizens should take courage in the thorough and careful path taken by our world-class safety regulator, the TGA.
“Our preference has always been to keep citizens safe and protect livelihoods and lives.
Today’s permission is one more big step ahead for our society, especially in the security of our most vulnerable people.”
Australia’s vaccine rollout strategy is “on track” to be finished by October 2021, said Health Minister Greg Hunt.
“We know that the Swiss and the European Medicines Agency have previously made such an approval, yet Australia is amongst the earliest.”

Questions On Margaret Court Nomination, Australia’s Shadow Health Minister Asked For Justice

Order of Australia is facing more controversy over the decision to award Margaret Court the nation’s highest honour. Today Chris Bowen, Australia’s Shadow Minister for Health, asks for her nomination and “justification”.
Mr. Bowen’s remarks come among a wave of reaction after it announced the tennis great would be seen in the list of 2021 Australia Day honours despite the dispute over her opinions on homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
Today, Mr. Bowen said, “Margaret Court has already announced tennis achievements. I believe we would welcome seeing justification for her promotion to the Order of Australia given her tennis achievements have already been recognised.”
He said, “I strongly support respecting people’s religious views, and freedom of religion, but I would invite Ms Court to reflect on the fact that the ways she has expressed the views have not always been respectful to other Australians. Her views have made anguish, and great hurt for many Australians and I trust giving mutual respect to people’s sexuality. Respecting their choice is an essential part of being a modern Australian.”
Chris Bowen is the newest in a series of politicians with high-ranking that have denied Ms Court’s naming.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said yesterday, “I do not think Ms Court has the opinion that hurt with the vast majority of people across Australia, that see people specifically, people of the LGTBI community, as equally deserving of respect, safety, and dignity.”
“I do not guess she shares those beliefs, and I do not think she should be honoured because of that. I would favour not to be offering oxygen to any of these views,” she said.
On the other side, Ms Court has replied to the criticism and said, she is unfazed and to receive the award would be “a great honour”.
Ms Court said, “Since so many years, I have had so much criticism, but it does not affect me.”
She said, “I call criticising people blessed because I pray for them and my nation.”

AOC rejected the Tokyo Olympic cancellation rumours, confirmed "Games are on"

The head of the Australian Olympic Committee, Matt Carroll, has confirmed the Tokyo Games is not cancelled; it will take place as expected this year and dismissed “unfounded rumours” that they are to be cancelled.
There have been the signs that the Tokyo Olympics will be postponed or cancelled after a news report claimed the Japanese Government agreed the Games are doomed.
For the preparation of games, Japan spent at least $USD25 million, with three-quarters of it coming from public money.
Matt Carroll said, “the Tokyo Games are on.”
“Tokyo Game will be a unique event, simpler, yet with a focus on the athletes and their competitions,” he said.
“This game is the biggest sporting event in the world. And of course, it is toughest to plan for it, but that is what the responsibility is about.”
A media report said the Japanese Government said the Games would have to be postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic, citing one unidentified source from the ruling coalition. So Mr Carroll was replying to that media report.
But, that report was rejected by Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga, who stated in Parliament on Friday that Japan was prepared to accomplish the Tokyo Olympics.
Japan’s PM Suga said he would work closely with the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo in order to be sure the Olympics Games would take place.
The deputy chief cabinet secretary of Japan Manabu Sakai told media there was no reality to the rumours.
Mr Carroll supports Japan to handle the logistical challenge of hosting the Games despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Carroll said, “If any country can handle a logistical challenge, it is Japan.”
He said, “maybe, the Games’ cultural and ceremonies aspects will not take place as last time. But decisions on spectators, international, and local, are yet to be made.”

The Australian Government has sufficient vaccine doses to inoculate the population three times over, said Health Minister

Australians do not need to worry about COVID-19 vaccination because The Australian Government has doses of the vaccine to inoculate the adult population “three times over” when need to be.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the Australian Government had access to nearly 140 million doses of vaccine to cover 25 million.
Greg Hunt said Australia has the highest rate of doses per person globally.
Every person needs to get two COVID-19 vaccines, and children are not recommended to get the vaccine dose.
Mr Hunt said, “We take the advice from the panel of medical experts, and we respectfully never pre-empt any further purchases, given the commercial and highly competitive global nature of it.”
“Government is engaging with medical experts, and they are the ones that will suggest if they believe more is needed, more will be given.”
“The Australian government has sufficient doses of COVIID-19 vaccine to offer the overall population three times over,” he said.
Mr Hunt praised Australians’ response to the COVOID-19 pandemic as the society prepares to believe its greatest 24-hour loss of life from the vaccine, now tipped to be over 17,500 people.
Mr Hunt said, “On the newest advice that I have, over lives lost of 17,500 people around the globe today. This may be the greatest loss of life on any day, once the definitive numbers have been settled.”
He said, “To put it into view, the deaths today is equal to more than the population of Port Lincoln in South Australia and Yanchep in Western Australia, to Bairnsdale here in Victoria, or Kempsey in New South Wales, or Warwick in Queensland.”
Australia has marked six days out of seven today with no new community cases of the COVID-19 virus.

A dispute between Tennis Australia and Government on the AO hotel quarantine bill

The Victorian Government and Tennis Australia have come into a public discussion about who is footing the bill for the hotel quarantine program of the Australian Open.
Craig Tiley, CEO of Tennis Australia, told a news channel today that the price would surpass $40 million, so “absolutely” the government would be contributing.
The tennis boss could not verify how much of the government would chip in yet said it would be clear soon.
CEO of Tennis Australia said, “that is yet to be identified because we are in the middle of that. Possibly a week after or the end of next week, we will get to know exactly.”
Emergency services minister Lisa Neville firmly said the government does not fund the Australian Open hotel quarantine.
She said, “I want to get all clear about that Australian Open hotel quarantine is totally funded by Tennis Australia.”
“We are supporting the Australian Open event, but this is a way different to the Australian Open hotel quarantine program,” Lisa Neville said.
“There was no question as to who was funding and that Victorian taxpayers would not be contributing to the quarantine program,” said Ms Neville.
“The Australian Open event created roughly 12,500 jobs every year and brought in about $370 million to the Victorian economy annually, which is going to be down in the 2021 year because of the pandemic,” said Mr Tiley.
He said the crowd capacity would be 50 per cent if no outbreaks happen till February 8.
“Six cases connected to the AO were presently in medi-hotels after getting COVID-19 positive tests”, he said.
All tennis players and staff are in Melbourne for the Australian Open event. With the first lot’s arrival, The Australian Open site will be split into three zones, with contact tracing and COVID safe practices implemented during the competition.

US Government asks Australia to repeal proposed laws to make Facebook, Google pay for news

The U.S. government has asked Australia to dismiss introduced laws that would make it the prime nation in the globe to force Google and Facebook to pay for news sourced from local media outlets.
In a submission proposing the Australian administration to “reject” the plans, assistant U.S. trade representatives Karl Ehlers and Daniel Bahar recommended Australia instead “more research the businesses, and if relevant, generate a voluntary code.”
Following the law with huge political support and is currently before a Senate committee, Facebook and Google will be subject to mandatory payment agreement if a commercial arbitration on payments to Australian media cannot be touched.
After years of complaints from traditional media houses, the planned mandatory bargaining code comes, because many social media platforms took advantage of journalists’ fieldwork and hard work without paying a penny for it.
In December the legislation was introduced to Parliament.
Facebook and Google remain to discuss that media hubs are getting benefit from clicks and referrals through to their websites.
If the Federal Government does not back down, then Facebook will evacuate Australians’ ability to create and publish news reports to its platforms, Facebook has threatened. And now the U.S. Government has pressuring Australia to step back from its plans.
A letter with letterhead of the Executive Office of the President state, “The U.S. Government is bothered that an effort, by legislation, to manage the competitive positions of particular players … to the clear detriment of two U.S. firms, may result in adverse outcomes.”
Further, it said, such a move might “lift concerns for international trade obligations of Australia.”
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced that the Australian Government will not back down and “dedicated to continuing with a mandatory code” that would approach “the bargaining power imbalances with media companies and digital platforms.”

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