Sunday, 28 November 2021

NSW Perrottet Government takes precautionary steps in response to SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Variant - immediate 14 day hotel quarantine for travellers from Omicron hotspots irrespective of vaccination status & 3 day isolation if entering Australia from elsewhere overseas



NSW Government takes precautionary steps in response to Omicron variant


Published: 27 Nov 2021 

 Released by: The Premier, Minister for Health and Medical Research


The NSW Government has taken precautionary steps in relation to quarantine arrangements for overseas arrivals following the introduction of additional national border security measures by the Australian Government.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the new measures would help keep people safe as we work through this latest development with COVID.

“Authorities around the world are still investigating the risk posed by this new variant,” Mr Perrottet said.

“As a result, the NSW Government will continue to put community safety first by taking these precautionary but important steps until more information becomes available.”

The new measures, which will take effect at midnight tonight, are:

  • In line with Commonwealth measures, all travellers arriving in NSW who have been in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini, Malawi, and the Seychelles during the 14 day period before their arrival in NSW must enter hotel quarantine for 14 days, irrespective of their vaccination status;
  • All travellers who have been in any other overseas country during the 14 day period before their arrival in NSW must travel directly to their place of residence or accommodation and isolate for 72 hours, pending further health advice;
  • All flight crew who have been overseas during the 14-day period before their arrival in NSW must travel directly to their place of residence or accommodation and isolate for 14 days or until their departure on another flight that leaves Australia, consistent with the current rules for unvaccinated flight crew;
  • Anyone who has already arrived in NSW who has been in any of the nine African countries within the previous 14 days must immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days, and call NSW Health on 1800 943 553;
  • All unvaccinated travellers from any overseas country will continue to enter hotel quarantine.

Minister for Health Brad Hazzard said no cases of the Omicron variant have been identified in NSW to date, but urged everyone to stay vigilant.

“I remind the community that vaccination, social distancing and hand hygiene remain our best defence against COVID,” Mr Hazzard said.

Public health advice on quarantine arrangements and isolation requirements will be provided as soon as new information emerges on the risk posed by the new variant and the extent of its international transmission.

People can get the latest information by visiting nsw.gov.au.


BACKGROUND


The Guardian UK, 27 November 2021:


B.1.1.529 has a very unusual constellation of mutations, which are worrying because they could help it evade the body’s immune response and make it more transmissible, scientists have said. Any new variant that is able to evade vaccines or spread faster than the now-dominant Delta variant may pose a significant threat as the world emerges from the pandemic.

Dr Susan Hopkins, the chief medical adviser to the UK Health Security Agency, said the R value, or effective reproduction number, of the B.1.1.529 variant in the South African province of Gauteng, where it was first found, was now 2 – a level of transmission not recorded since the beginning of the pandemic, before restrictions began to be imposed. For an R of anything above 1, an epidemic will grow exponentially.....


How does B.1.1.529 compare with other variants?


Senior scientists on Thursday evening described B.1.1.529 as the worst variant they had seen since the start of the pandemic. It has 32 mutations in the spike protein, the part of the virus that most vaccines use to prime the immune system against Covid. That is about double the number associated with the Delta variant. Mutations in the spike protein can affect the virus’s ability to infect cells and spread, but also make it harder for immune cells to attack the pathogen.


Global Climate Change Response 2021": Advice that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg & the rest of the Cabinet Ministers, are determined to ignore


 

Moody’s Investor Services, Research Announcement, 12 October 2021:


Moody's - Financial firms that take rapid, predictable pace to zero financed emissions will win the race



Singapore, October 12, 2021 --


  • Financial firms are under rising regulatory and commercial pressure to support the global sustainability drive

  • Those that take a rapid, well-communicated and measurable pace to net zero financed emissions will be able to preserve their credit quality


As the race to net zero emissions accelerates, banks, insurers and asset managers will need to ramp up climate risk assessments and set clear goals for reaching net zero in their financed emissions, says Moody's Investors Service in a new report. A delayed and disorderly carbon transition would pose the greatest risk to financial firms, while a rapid, well-communicated and measurable transition would keep risks lower.


"Financial firms will lend to and invest in green businesses and new technologies as the transformation to a low-carbon economy creates vast financing opportunities. At the same time, they will help fund the capital needs of corporate clients in carbon-intensive sectors who are aligning their business strategies with low-carbon business models," says Alka Anbarasu, a Moody's Senior Vice President.


Across the G-20, financial firms hold $22 trillion in loans and investments subject to carbon transition risk. Green lending and investments will bring major commercial opportunities to financial firms, but the credit impact of carbon transition will begin to hit home in the second half of this decade when scrutiny of their interim climate goals is likely to intensify.


"A scenario in which concerted action to achieve carbon transition is delayed beyond the end of this decade by uncoordinated government and regulatory policies poses the greatest threat of losses for the financial industry. It risks triggering sudden, large-scale and drastic action in later years by governments, firms, and regulators to limit climate change, hurting the quality of loans and invested assets," says Sean Marion, a Moody's Managing Director. [my yellow highlighting]


Financial firms adopting a rapid but predictable shift towards climate-friendly finance will best preserve their credit quality. In this scenario, financial firms integrate climate risk considerations into their strategic decisions, business processes, governance structures and risk management frameworks, while setting out clear goals for reaching net zero in their financed emissions.


Subscribers can access the report "Financial institutions - Decarbonizing finance: Financial firms need to rise to the challenge of supporting carbon transition" at: http://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1298854


Saturday, 27 November 2021

Friday, 26 November 2021

La Niña's arrival in the tropical Pacific may herald high flow river levels on the NSW coast during December 2021



Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM):


Climate outlook overview, 18 November 2021:


  • December to February rainfall is likely to be above median for the eastern half of the eastern States, with highest chances along eastern Queensland.

  • There is an increased chance of unusually high rainfall (in the top 20% of historical records) for December to February for parts of the eastern States (1.5 to 2.5 times the usual chance).

  • December to February maximum temperatures are likely to be above median for much of northern and western Australia, as well as parts of the south-east. Below median daytime temperatures are likely for eastern NSW.

  • Minimum temperatures for December to February are likely to be warmer than median for most of Australia, with southern WA and western SA having roughly equal chances of warmer or cooler than median nights.

  • The developing La Niña conditions in the Pacific Ocean, and the La Niña (SAM) phase are likely influencing the above median rainfall outlooks.


 Climate Driver Update, 23 November 2021:


La Niña established in the tropical Pacific


La Niña has become established in the tropical Pacific. The Bureau's ENSO Outlook has been raised to LA NIÑA. Climate models suggest this La Niña will be short-lived, persisting until the late southern hemisphere summer or early autumn 2022. La Niña events increase the chance of above average rainfall across much of northern and eastern Australia during summer.


Several indicators of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) now show clear La Niña patterns. Sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific are close to La Niña thresholds, with climate model outlooks expecting them to cool further. In the atmosphere, cloud and wind patterns are typical of La Niña, indicating the atmosphere is now responding to, and reinforcing, the changes observed in the ocean.


The negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is approaching its end, with oceanic index values in the neutral range. However, cloud and wind patterns across the eastern Indian Ocean suggest some IOD influence remains. All models indicate the IOD will remain neutral for the coming months, consistent with its typical seasonal cycle. A negative IOD increases the chances of above-average spring rainfall for much of southern and eastern Australia.


The Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO) is currently over the Maritime Continent region at weak to moderate strength. The MJO is forecast to progress eastwards across the Maritime Continent and into the western Pacific over the coming fortnight, increasing the chances of above average rainfall across northern Australia and the Maritime Continent, to Australia's north.


The Southern Annular Mode (SAM) has generally been positive for several weeks. It is forecast to remain at positive levels to the end of the year. A positive SAM during summer typically brings wetter weather to eastern parts of Australia, but drier than average conditions for western Tasmania.


Climate change continues to influence Australian and global climate. Australia's climate has warmed by around 1.44 °C for the 1910–2019 period. Rainfall across northern Australia during its wet season (October–April) has increased since the late 1990s. In recent decades there has been a trend towards a greater proportion of rainfall from high intensity short duration rainfall events, especially across northern Australia.




Has Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison lost the confidence of his parliamentary party and its coalition partner?



Since late October 2021 the issue of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's leadership, personal integrity and the quality of his decision making has quickly moved past the rumour mongering, onto the international stage and into both Houses of the Australian Parliament. 


The voting public were also beginning to show their disapproval.


The Conversation, 15 November 2021:


52% (up two) were dissatisfied with Scott Morrison’s performance, and 44% (down two) were satisfied, for a net approval of -8, down four points. This continues Morrison’s slump from his pandemic highs. Six months ago, Morrison’s net approval in Newspoll was +20, and last November his net approval was +36.


Members of his own backbench have gone from muttering their discontent from behind closed doors, to actively backgrounding against him and, onto openly defying him inside and outside of the Parliament. 


7am Podcast, 19 November 2021: 


The federal Coalition government holds office by the barest of margins - just one seat. Now, a popular and high profile Liberal incumbent has announced he won’t be recontesting his electorate, throwing the party’s election preparations into jeopardy. Today, Paul Bongiorno on why the Liberal MP abandoning Scott Morrison thinks Anthony Albanese might be a better Prime Minister for the country. 


John Alexander Liberal MP for Bennelong had recently announced he is not standing at the 2022 federal election. He is understood to be tired of partisan politics where winning is everything but good policy in the national interest runs a poor last. Unnamed parliamentary colleagues are saying that privately Alexander is scathing of the leadership of the government of Scott Morrison, Josh Frydenberg and Barnaby Joyce, believing they put the government’s self-interest above everything. 


Full audio here.


On 21 November 2021 @KafkaVoltaire released this summary of a 'backgrounding' he received from two sitting LNP MPs:










On 22 November, the first day sitting day of the short period before Parliament goes into recess until 2022 saw the Prime Minister publicly caught out knowingly misleading the House and, in the Senate members of his government were openly threatening him with political mayhem when five Coalition senators crossed the floor to vote for a bill banning mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations. 

By 23 November the news cycle was beginning to put his feet to the fire....


There is now speculation that Scott Morrison might be forced to change his preferred election date to March 2022 in order to block fellow Liberal and Minister for Defence Peter Dutton's ambitions to become prime minister.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Northern NSW starved of timely relevant COVD-19 information by Perrottet Government

 


Byron Bay local government area
IMAGE: .idcommunity 



Byron Bay local government area covers 566.6 sq kms with an est. resident population of 35,773 men, women and children and a population density of 63.13 person per sq km.

 


As of 14 November 2021 only 78.7% of the population 16 years of age and older were fully vaccinated. On 21 November the fully vaccinated rate had risen to 80.9%.


On 17 November 2021in NSW postcode 2481 NSW Health recorded a confirmed COVID-19 case in the Byron Bay local government area. The source of the individual’s infection is listed as “Overseas”. Presumably that person entered Northern NSW sometime on the afternoon of 16 November 2021.


On the same date another confirmed case for NSW postcode 2483 in the Byron Bay local government area was recorded and the source of that individual’s infection was listed as “interstate”


On 19 November 2021 in NSW postcode 2481 NSW Health recorded a confirmed COVID-19 case in the Byron Bay local government area.


Then again on 22 November 2021 in NSW postcode 2483 NSW Health recorded a confirmed COVID-19 case in the Byron Bay local government area.


The source of individual infection cannot be determined for 19 & 22 November 2021 confirmed cases because NSW Health has discontinued daily source of infection database updates as of 19 November 2021. At the same time it was announced the daily location of confirmed cases database was also being discontinued.


A Northern NSW Local Health District media release on 24 November revealed a confirmed COVID-19 case recorded for 23 November 2021 which is referred to as “a household contact of an existing case”.


News of the Byron Bay "Aquarius" backpackers hostel lockdown did not become public knowledge until Wednesday 24 November 2021, when the state MLA for Ballina released the information on social media.


Given that NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has previously stated that he not NSW Health will control release of COVID-19 information, one can only assume it is at his direction that rural & regional NSW is being staved of information concerning infection spread within districts, cities, towns and villages.


ABC News, 25 November 2021:


A backpacker hostel in Byron Bay on the NSW north coast has been placed into a snap seven-day lockdown after a positive COVID case and 84 close contacts were identified.


Police confirmed they were "assisting NSW Health at a hostel on Lawson Street in Byron Bay" and have referred any further inquiries to NSW Health.


The ABC has contacted NSW Health but officials there have yet to provide any further information about the operation underway at the backpackers.


News of the positive case came as thousands of school students descended on the north coast for the traditional schoolies celebrations.


Ms Smith says food and health support is being provided to the dozens of guests who are now in lockdown at the backpackers.


Ms Smith posted at statement about the situation to her verified Facebook page on Wednesday night.


"I'm closely monitoring a situation in Byron Bay where a positive COVID-19 case and 84 close contacts have been identified at Aquarius Backpackers in Byron Bay," her statement read.


"Police are monitoring compliance 24/7 over the next seven days.


"My thoughts are with everyone in that situation as it will be a tough time and I will keep checking to make sure that people are getting the support they need."