Hundreds of Aussies finally set to return

By | October 22, 2020

As reported by the NT News, Qantas flight QF110 will travel direct from London to Darwin, landing just before midday, where passengers will be ushered through the airport to Howard Springs’ quarantine facility.

The eight flights will bring home thousands of Australians in total, who have been stranded in Europe, India and South Africa through the coronavirus pandemic.

On the first flight, there will be around 170 passengers on board, including eight babies born overseas.

One of the scheduled passengers, new mum Madeline Curtis, told RN Breakfast she and her young family were awaiting the results of a last-minute COVID test before hopping on the plane.

After trying to come home for “a couple of months”, she said they were feeling “super excited” to be heading back.

Pending a negative test result, Ms Curtis will be travelling with her husband Noam and their six-month-old son, Benji.

Speaking on air yesterday, Ms Curtis explained she was 38 weeks pregnant when the Australian Government told citizens overseas in March that they should return to the country.

“Then by the time the borders opened again, for Australia, we actually couldn’t get a passport for Benji because he didn’t have a birth certificate because of the lockdown over here,” she said.

“There weren’t any registered births (in the UK) for quite a few months.”

She added that booking flights back to Australia had been “a nightmare,” going on to reveal the exorbitant cost.

“We were looking at economy class flights for at least $ 5,000 (per person).”

Under the government’s charter flight scheme, passengers are required to pay for their own flight, but will be able to apply for Government grants and loans to help cover costs.

Follow the latest coronavirus news in our live updates below.

Live Updates

The first of eight repatriation flights travelling direct from London will touch down in Darwin this morning – carrying hundreds of Aussies finally returning home.

As reported by the NT News, Qantas flight QF110 will travel direct from Heathrow, landing just before noon, where passengers will be taken to Howard Springs’ quarantine facility for isolation.

The eight flights will bring home thousands of Australians who have been stranded in Europe, India and South Africa through the coronavirus pandemic.

Around 170 passengers are currently on board the first flight, including eight babies born overseas who have never set foot on Australian soil.

One of the scheduled passengers, and a mother of one of the eight newborns, said she was “super excited” to be coming home after trying for “a couple of months”.

Madeline Curtis told ABC’s RN Breakfast on Thursday she and her young family were awaiting the results of a last-minute COVID test before hopping on the plane.

Ms Curtis explained she was 38 weeks pregnant when the Australian Government told citizens overseas in March that they should return to the country.

“Then by the time the borders opened again, for Australia, we actually couldn’t get a passport for Benji because he didn’t have a birth certificate because of the lockdown over here,” she said.

“There weren’t any registered births (in the UK) for quite a few months.”

She added that booking flights back to Australia had been “a nightmare”.

“We were looking at economy class flights for at least $ 5,000 (per person).”

Passengers are required to pay for their own flight, but will be able to apply for Government grants and loans to help cover costs.

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Portuguese soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo may miss Juventus’ Champions League clash against Barcelona next week after returning a second positive coronavirus test, according to reports.

The 35-year-old initially tested positive for Covid-19 on 13 October and was forced to withdraw from Portugal’s squad during the international break.

Returning to Italy for his quarantine period, he was forced to miss out Juventus’ last two matches.

Now, he has tested positive yet again, according to Spanish outlet Marca.

A report from Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manha, however, reports Ronaldo’s test – while positive – gave a very low viral load, meaning his team hasn’t given up hope completely of him featuring in the upcoming game.

The publication writes that the club will ask for permission to test him 48 hours before the match on October 28. The European football body will decide whether or not to allow the request.

The Department of Health and Human Services says it expects more coronavirus cases to be detected in a growing cluster in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.

Five new cases recorded on Thursday were connected to the outbreak, which has already resulted in more than 500 people across five suburbs, two schools and an entire social housing block being told to self-isolate.

So far, 16 active cases across six households were detected.

It comes after a primary school student attended school for two days while infected with COVID-19 this week.

In an update on Thursday, the DHHS provided an update on the situation, revealing it was expecting more cases to emerge in the coming days.

The area is on high alert after it was revealed a boy attended East Preston Islamic College on Monday and Tuesday while he was supposed to be quarantining.

Seventy-three of the student’s close contacts, 400 of their contacts and 120 public housing residents were in self-isolation on Thursday.

In a flashback to the beginning of the pandemic for Aussies – people in Germany have reportedly started “hamstering” toilet paper again, Reuters reports.

It comes as coronavirus cases in the country spiked in the last few weeks.

Sales of toilet paper soared by 89.9 per cent over the past week compared to pre-crisis levels.

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Disinfectant sales are up 72.5 per cent, and soap is up 62.3 per cent.

“Hamster purchases are starting again,” the country’s statistics office said in a statement on Twitter.

“Hamstering” is a German phrase for panic-buying or hoarding.

It comes as the head of Germany’s disease control centre said the country is facing a “very serious” rise in coronavirus cases, after the country earlier reported a record 11,287 new infections.

Thursday’s rise in cases far exceeded the previous record of 7,830 recorded last Friday, and was a steep jump from the 7,595 cases reported on Wednesday.

Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch institute, blamed private gatherings, especially among young people, for the rise,” AFP reports.

“The more people gather in private circles, the more the numbers will increase and the further the virus will spread,” he said, noting that “the young are currently the most exposed to this virus”.

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The Victorian Government has confirmed that Little River residents will finally all have the same set of restrictions from 11:59pm tonight, after the town has been split into two sets of rules.

After a campaign by locals, from midnight, the border between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria will be adjusted to go around the Little River community instead of through it.

The whole town will be reclassified as regional Victoria.

It means residents who were previously on the “metropolitan” side of the border, under Melbourne’s lockdown rules, will be able to move into the same Step 3 restrictions as the rest of regional Victoria.

Little River is the only town on the metropolitan border which is divided by the boundary, which was drawn up based on Local Government Area (LGA) boundaries rather than postcodes. The LGA boundary ran along the river in town itself, splitting the town in two.

Residents may still need to apply for a work permit if their work is located in metro Melbourne, however.

Belgium’s Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes has been admitted to intensive care with coronavirus, officials revealed on Thursday.

The 45-year-old, who was caretaker prime minister during the first wave of the coronavirus, tested positive for COVID-19 last week and had been self-isolating, but her condition worsened and she was admitted to a Brussels hospital.

It comes as Belgium is experiencing one of the most severe second waves of the epidemic in the world.

Of Ms Wilmes’ hospitalisation, a spokesperson said: “She is conscious and she can communicate.”

Another source in her office said her condition was “stable”.

Prime Minister Alexander de Croo later wished her a “speedy recovery” on his Twitter account.

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“No one is immune from this dangerous virus. Together as one, we will beat Covid-19!” his tweet said.

The number of confirmed infections in Belgium has doubled in a month to 253,386, and there are 3274 patients in hospital.

There have been 10,539 deaths in the country of 11.5 million people.

The company has renewed partial lockdown which saw the closure pubs and restaurants.

WA Premier Mark McGowan has knocked back suggestions WA should repay NSW for the cost of hotel quarantine, taking a dig at his NSW counterpart over the Ruby Princess bungle in the process.

It comes as NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says she wants WA to “cough up” about $ 8 million, claiming her state has been “doing the heavy lifting” with hotel quarantine.

“We currently have two people arriving in the last 24 hours from NSW who are COVID-positive, who we’re looking after,” Mr McGowan responded to reporters on Thursday.

“Clearly, what the NSW government is doing is outside the national agreement that was reached at national cabinet.

“If I was unkind, I would say maybe we should send a bill to the NSW government for the Ruby Princess and all the trauma that caused other states.

“Or maybe we should send a bill to the NSW government for the billions upon billions of dollars we gave them in GST over the course of the last decade.

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“Or maybe this is just a diversion by the NSW government from the serious corruption that’s been exposed at senior levels there.”

WA recorded eight new cases of COVID-19 overnight, all of whom were returned travellers from overseas, including two NSW residents.

It brings WA’s total number of people in hotel quarantine to 1981.

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The 57-year-old BBC journalist responsible for one of the most iconic Princess Diana interviews of all time is “seriously unwell” with complications from coronavirus.

Martin Bashir, who rose to prominence across the world when Princess Diana told him in 1995 that there were “three people in her marriage” to Prince Charles – has requested privacy as he battles the deadly virus.

“Everyone at the BBC is wishing him a full recovery,” a spokeswoman from the organisation said.

“We’d ask that his privacy, and that of his family, is respected at this time.”

Along with his Princess Di chat, Mr Bashir is also known for interviews with Michael Jackson and the suspects in the murder case of Stephen Lawrence – a teenager who was killed a racially motivated attack in 1993.

He has worked as a BBC news correspondent from 1987 to 1992, before joining the BBC’s investigative program Panorama.

In 1995, his Diana interview on Panorama scored record numbers for the news program.

“There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded,” the late royal said in the sit down, which was watched by one of the largest-ever audiences for the BBC.

Victoria Police is investigating an alleged leak of a top secret document by a DHHS employee, the ABC reports.

The document – a draft of coronavirus restrictions – was leaked to a newspaper, and the DHHS reported the matter to police as it’s a reach of the Victoria Public Service (VPS) code of conduct.

“Victoria Police can confirm it has received a referral from a government department in relation to unauthorised access of information,” a police spokesman told the ABC.

A document featuring a draft of the Victorian Government’s roadmap out of lockdown was leaked to the Herald Sun in September, though it’s unclear whether this investigation is related to that leak.

In today’s release, the DHHS provided a list of the spots in Melbourne’s northern suburbs where you can get tested for COVID-19:

  • Broadmeadows Central Shopping Centre at north carpark, 1099-1169 Pascoe Vale Rd, Broadmeadows between 9am and 5pm
  • Coolaroo Respiratory Centre at 512 Barry St, Coolaroo between 9am and 5pm
  • Melbourne airport, Terminal 4 Level 2 (Mercer Dv exit off Tullamarine Fwy) between 9am and 5pm
  • Craigieburn Health Service, 274-304 Craigieburn Rd between 9am and 5pm
  • Highlands Hotel at 301 Grand Boulevard, Craigieburn between 9:30am and 4:30pm
  • Austin Hospital at 145 Studley Rd, Heidelberg between 8am and 8pm
  • Banyule Community Health at 21 Alamein Rd, Heidelberg West between 10am and 4pm
  • Banyule Community Health at 14-32 Civic Drive, Greensborough between 9am and 4pm
  • Northland Shopping Centre at Target carpark via Murray Rd, Preston between 9am and 5pm
  • CB Smith Reserve at 79 Jukes Rd, Fawkner between 9am and 4pm

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