Teachers are warning that schools in New South Wales and Victoria are not yet ready to go back, raising concerns over poor ventilation, a lack of air filters, and no guidance on how to safely manage class sizes.
“We have situations where room capacity leaves eight to 10 students out in the cold, literally,” the senior vice-president of the NSW Teachers Federation, Amber Flohm, said.
Teachers had asked the government to audit classroom sizes three months ago but had been ignored, she said.
In NSW, teachers say the government’s policy to have schools open their windows for natural ventilation means some students have already been forced to learn in freezing conditions.
You can read the full report below:
Victorian radio presenter Raf Epstein (who is usually pretty on the money when it comes to Covid-19 numbers) is reporting that case numbers for the state will be similar to yesterday’s 2,297 infections.
This has not been independently confirmed by Guardian Australia, but we should find out one way on another when the state’s health department tweets out the numbers in the next hour or so.
Multiple media publications have reported this morning that travel between regional NSW and Sydney will be postponed by at least a week as vaccination rates lag outside of the city.
The ABC and Daily Telegraph have both reported that the decision was made during a NSW cabinet meeting yesterday.
Regional travel was meant to restart the Monday after the state hit 80% full vaccination for the 16 and overpopulation. But here’s the problem, it looks like the NSW could well hit 80% on Sunday, therefore starting its next stage of reopening on next Monday, just one week after the 70% “freedom day”.
And while Sydney may be forging ahead with vaccinations at a record pace, many regional towns are lagging, raising fears among mayors that the virus could soon be imported into regional hubs and run rampant.
For example, the LGA of Byron Bay only has a double-dose rate of 47.1%.
Looks like we might get confirmation of this change to the reopening plan when the premier steps up to speak today.
AMA report says public hospitals in crisis
The Australian Medical Association has issued a dire warning over the country public hospital capacity as wards brace for an influx of Covid-19 patients.
“Our hospitals are full – there simply aren’t enough hospital beds or enough doctors and nurses – and tragic stories of deaths, deterioration and delayed care are becoming increasingly commonplace,” says the report, entitled Public Hospitals: Cycle of Crisis.
The report reads:
Our hospitals are full – there simply aren’t enough hospital beds or enough doctors and nurses – and tragic stories of deaths, deterioration and delayed care are becoming increasingly commonplace.
The report was released on Friday and says a shortage of hospital beds, overcrowded emergency departments and longer waits for elective surgery are “risking the lives of all Australians”, reports AAP.
It warns of dire consequences if all governments fail to act and says the hospital crisis was in full swing long before Covid-19 arrived.
Hospital beds will increasingly be taken up by emergency admissions, doubling as a percentage of hospital beds by 2030-31, resulting in even longer waits for elective surgery such as cancer diagnostic procedures.
It says the funding arrangements underpinning the hospital system are not fit for purpose and fail to meet the demands of a growing and ageing population.
The way to break free from the cycles of crisis is to change the way hospitals are funded – moving beyond just the focus on activity and volume to a partnership based on community demand and timeliness of treatment.
AMA president Omar Khorshid said the report had been sent to the prime minister and every state and territory leader as its findings required immediate action.
Australians expect to receive treatment when they need it. They expect an ambulance to turn up when they call one, and they expect to be able to get into the hospital when they arrive.
At the moment, these expectations can’t be met and that is a symptom of a public hospital system in crisis.
Hello everyone, it’s Matilda Boseley here and we made it to Friday. Just a little bit to go, we can do it!
So first up, a big congratulations to everyone reading this from the Australian Captial Territory. They have woken up this morning to their first day of freedom after the territory’s two-month lockdown ended at midnight last night.
While there has been some criticism the easing of lockdown restrictions are too cautious – with retail not able to reopen to customers in-store until 29 October – ACT chief minister Andrew Barr defended the measures, saying it put public health first.
It ensures the safest activities are recommencing and the riskiest ones will wait until more of the population are fully vaccinated.
The latest figures show 98.8% of Canberrans aged over 12 have received one dose of the vaccine, while almost 75% are fully vaccinated.
It’s also an important date in Victoria with the vaccine mandate deadline kicking in for more than 1.25 million essential workers.
The Victorian government gave authorised workers a fortnight to get at least their first vaccination – or show proof of a booking within the next week – otherwise, they would be stood down.
The public health order covers retail workers, personal trainers, journalists, faith leaders, judges, police, lawyers, actors, professional sportspeople and many other professions.
It’s estimated that hundreds of thousands of workers were still yet to get the jab and Tim Piper, the Victorian head of the peak employer association Ai Group, said “V-Day” was creating huge issues and some businesses were contacting it to report workers were refusing to get vaccinated.
The workers have often been in their jobs many years, they may be key people in the business…
Skilled and experienced employees are at a premium and some businesses are at their wits’ end trying to decide what to do.
Premier Daniel Andrews said he made no apology for his government’s vaccine policies, however.
These mandates, these requirements, push people to do what needs to be done.
OK with all that fresh in our minds why don’t we get cracking with this Friday’s news.