Australia news live: Queensland hospital locked down amid Covid outbreak; WHO report criticised | Australia news
How is it only Wednesday? Also, how is it already Wednesday? The mysteries of the universe.
Either way, good morning to you, Matilda Boseley here to get you over that mid-week hump.
If you are waking up in Brisbane today you might be a bit nervous as we are expected to get at least a partial update on whether the hard lockdown will end before the Easter weekend.
The lockdown is scheduled to lift at 5pm on Thursday, but premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said health authorities were taking things “day by day”. She has previously indicated Wednesday’s numbers would give health authorities a better picture of the situation.
So no promises that we will have any definitive answers today but it’s definitely something to look out for.
Also in Queensland, the hospital identified as the source of the two coronavirus clusters has been locked down as a precaution. Queensland Health on Tuesday evening confirmed Princess Alexandra hospital would be locked down for the second time in a month:
This additional lockdown will enable PA Hospital to put in place processes to manage impacts associated with these linked cases.
On the international front, the Australian government has joined 13 other countries to express “shared concerns” about the World Health Organization’s report investigating the origins of the Covid-19 virus.
Overnight a team from the WHO presented a first-phase look the early day of the pandemic. But the organisation’s top boss, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has acknowledged that his investigators were not able to access all the data they needed while visiting Wuhan.
Australia has put out a joint statement on the report with Canada, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, South Korea, Slovenia, the UK, and the US:
Together, we support a transparent and independent analysis and evaluation, free from interference and undue influence, of the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this regard, we join in expressing shared concerns regarding the recent WHO-convened study in China…
We note the findings and recommendations, including the need for further studies of animals to find the means of introduction into humans, and urge momentum for expert-driven phase 2 studies. Going forward, there must now be a renewed commitment by WHO and all Member States to access, transparency, and timeliness.
It’s worth noting that Australia supporting this investigation to start with was one of the main factors leading to our increasingly tense relationship with China; including the country imposing trade tariffs on Australian barley and wine, warning Chinese students that they might be in danger of racist attacks going to school here, and a senior CCP official release a doctored image depicting an Australian soldier committing a war crime.
It’s worth keeping an eye out today to see if signing this letter will result in any diplomatic retaliation.
And with that, let’s get started.