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Commonwealth working ‘hand in glove’ with Australian state in lockdown



COVID-19 cases in Australia’s Victoria have fallen on first day of lockdown, but the state is calling on commonwealth assistance.

Victoria’s Acting Premier James Merlino welcomes Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison comments that the “Commonwealth will be working hand in glove” with Victorian authorities.

“I want to thank him (Morrison) for that.”

Mr. Merlino added that “there is additional assistance we require”.

Victoria’s Acting Premier James Merlino.

“I want to welcome the PM’s comments that the Commonwealth will be working hand in glove with Victorian authorities. I want to thank him for that and to that end, there is some additional assistance that we require and I’ve contacted the PM this morning,” Mr Merlino said.

“We will be putting a formal request through for additional ADF staffs and the request will be for around 160 ADF staff,”

He said.

The acting premier said this will be in place at least the next fortnight to “assist our authorised offices in door knocking.

“Doorknocking positive cases, doorknocking primary close contacts, if we have those additional ADF staff pairing up with authorised officers we are effectively doubling our capacity to do that really important work over the next few weeks.”

Australia’s second-biggest state, Victoria enters its first day of a seven-day snap lockdown to curb the spread of the highly infectious Indian variant.

The state recorded four new cases over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases to 30 with over 47,000 Covid-19 swab tests processed.

The acting Premier said the state’s team of contact tracer’s are “moving faster than they ever have, within 24 hours.”

What about support for ‘devastated businesses’

“We are doing our work in terms of what assistance we will provide to the business community and we will have something to say in the coming days,” Mr Merlino said on Thursday.

The acting Premier noted on Friday that the government’s immediate priority was dealing with the cases, but now attention had turned to financial support.

“We are doing our work in terms of what assistance we will provide to the business community and we will have something to say in the coming days,” Mr Merlino said.

He said it was too early to say what the package would include in relation to casual workers.

“We also understand that, you know, it’s quite tough at the moment. There is no JobKeeper anymore. So the Treasurer Tim Pallas is engaging with Josh Frydenberg at a Federal level, so there is engagement between the state and Federal Government in terms of what support the Federal Government might provide.”

Of the industries ordered to shut down include gyms, hairdressers, retailers (not including click and collect).

1 million covid-19 vaccines administered in Australia’s second most populous state

“That is a great milestone and we have to keep going,” Merlino says.

Victoria is on track to be fully vaccinated by the end of the year.

“I hope we are on track for the end of the year. We can do it,” Professor Sutton, Chief Health Officer at Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria says.

Sutton defended the work of contract tracers online.

The Australian federal government has also come under intense scrutiny for failing to deliver on vaccine rollout targets.

The country has delivered at least the first dose of a Covid vaccine to just 13 per cent of the population.

Countries including the UK and the US have now administered the first dose to over half of their citizens and residents.


Four dead in Russian military plane crash



Four people have been killed after a Russian military plane suffered an engine malfunction

The plane reportedly crashed in the city of Ryazan, which is located southeast of Moscow.

It’s believed five others are also injured. However, it is unclear how many were on board.

The Ilyushin IL-76 military cargo plane is a long-range aircraft, which can reportedly carry over 100 troops.

An Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft, which is similar to the one involved in the incident.

Local authorities say the plane suffered a malfunction while on a training flight.

Russia’s Defence Minister is yet to give any further details on the crash, or about the victims.

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Double election defeat for UK Conservatives



British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives have suffered defeat in two parliamentary by-elections

UK Conservatives have lost two crucial seats in England, which could spark concerns about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s future.

The centrist Liberal Democrat party won the seats of Tiverton and Honiton.

The seats are in a Conservative part of south-west England, where a majority of 24,000 has been overturned.

The Liberal Democrats say it is their biggest ever majority turn around at a parliamentary by election.

“Tonight, the people of Tiverton and Honiton have spoken for Britain. They’ve sent a loud and clear message: It’s time for Boris Johnson to go, and go now.”

winning candidate Richard Foord

The losses have renewed calls for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign after a police investigation into gatherings at his Downing Street offices.

Johnson recently survived a vote of no-confidence, which secured his term as Prime Minister for another 12 months.

It also follows the Conservatives winning a landslide majority in three decades during the last national election.

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Protestors disrupt Chinese ambassador’s speech in Sydney



Protesters are causing disruptions during an address by China’s Ambassador to Australia

Xiao Qian is in Sydney, where is he speaking about how to improve ties between the two countries.

One protester described Mr Xiao as a “representative of a dictatorship” and accused the Chinese Government of committing genocide against Uyghur Muslims.

Others were heard shouting “Free Tibet”, and another was asked to leave the venue prior to the event because he was dressed in a military costume.

The speech was widely seen as an attempt to ease relations between the two countries.

China has put trade sanctions on Australia, while a recent encounter took place between a Chinese fighter jet and an Australian maritime aircraft over the South China Sea.

Security guards reportedly ushered the protesters.

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