Australia news LIVE: Cameron Smith wins 2022 British Open; rising interest rates to cost taxpayers an extra $13m – Sydney Morning Herald

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Victoria’s acting chief health officer says the number of people in the state’s hospital with COVID-19 is unlikely to surpass a record set in January.
The number of people in hospital with COVID peaked at 1229 in January during the first wave of the Omicron strain of the virus.
However, Ben Cowie told ABC Melbourne on Monday afternoon he did not think there would be a repeat of those figures.
“I don’t think we’ll exceed it,” Cowie said.
He said there was significant pressure on the health system because of the latest variants, but despite modelling suggesting similar figures were possibly, the health official said he thought it was unlikely.
“Predictions are just that – they’re predictions,” he said.
He also emphasised that ordinary Victorians were able to help reduce the numbers of people in hospital with COVID and to ensure the situation was not as dire as January.
Qantas Airways has rearranged its flight schedule from London’s Heathrow Airport amid the hub’s move to cap passenger capacity and limit disruption, a spokesperson for the Australian carrier said on Monday.
Qantas has rearranged its flight schedule from London’s Heathrow Airport after the hub capped passenger capacity.Credit:Brent Lewin/Bloomberg
The airline delayed the departure of its London-Perth flight by three hours on Sunday and has brought forward the departure of its London-Singapore flight on Tuesday by nine hours, with other changes possible as Britain’s busiest airport looks to limit queues, baggage delays and cancellations through September.
Bringing forward the London-Singapore departure on Tuesday will result in an 11-hour layover in Singapore before the plane continues on to Sydney, during which time Qantas will provide accommodation for passengers.
“We’ve managed to negotiate a workaround that isn’t perfect but will get our customers to their destination,” the spokesperson said.
“We continue to work with Heathrow on improving this situation.”
Read more here.
Victoria’s virtual emergency department will boost its capacity by hundreds of appointments as the state government looks for ways to reduce the COVID-19 and flu burden on the hospitals.
Premier Daniel Andrews was at the Northern Hospital in Epping today to announce more elements of a $162 million package to reduce strain on the state’s hospital system.
The capacity of Victoria’s virtual emergency department will increase to 500 daily appointments, up from 300, allowing patients to attend a video consultation with a doctor or a nurse from their homes. People living in aged care facilities will now be able to access the program.
Around 30,000 patients have gone through Northern Health’s virtual emergency department since October 2020.
Clinical director of the Victorian Virtual Emergency Department Loren Sher said the program would soon be assisting GPs to get patients early access to COVID-19 antivirals to reduce “unnecessary attendances at hospitals”.
“The numbers are showing 80 per cent of patients who have COVID we were able to keep at home … so we’re getting ambulances back on the road as quickly as possible” she said.
Andrews said it was hoped the virtual ED could increase to see 700 patients by the end of the year.
A new rostering pattern for advanced life support paramedic crews will be trialled across metropolitan Melbourne, and Ambulance Victoria’s offload teams will be expanded to 14 major public hospitals to ensure patients are offloaded quickly and return ambulances to the road.
“The new rosters are about ensuring more flexibility in this system, enabling paramedics to be available at peak pressure points,” Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas said.
A new real-time data dashboard will be created to give paramedics and healthcare workers an overview of capacity in the state’s hospital system.
Deputy federal opposition leader Sussan Ley says the government’s plan for tackling the cost of living crisis is “not good enough”, after Treasurer Jim Chalmers warned the upcoming debt forecast would be “confronting”.
“When you listen to Jim Chalmers, what you hear is, it’s all too hard and that’s not good enough,” Ley said this afternoon.
Deputy opposition leader Sussan Ley says the government’s debt plan is ‘not good enough’.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen
“It’s not good enough for everyday Australians who know the cost pressures they are facing, small businesses that I have met here today, for those who are struggling with electricity prices, the cost of doing business, the cost of labour, the cost of food and wages, it is not good enough to hear Jim Chalmers simply say it’s all too hard. Where’s the Labor government’s plan?”
Chalmers, who will hand down the debt update on July 28, said earlier today: “The news in that statement will be, in many ways, confronting when it comes to our expectations of inflation.”
“When it comes to the impact of interest rate rises on growth, when it comes to what this spike in inflation means for real wages,” he said.
“If you think about the consequences of those rising interest rates on the budget, more than a billion dollars this year, more than $5 billion in the last year … these are not small amounts of money.
“The key task of every budget is to make sure that we are getting maximum bang for buck from taxpayers’ dollars, which are costing more and more to service because every additional dollar in the budget is a borrowed dollar.”
with AAP
There were 39,027 new COVID-19 cases and 27 deaths recorded nationally in the latest reporting period.
There are currently nearly 5,000 people in hospital and 154 people being treated for the virus in intensive care.
The latest figures come as Western Australia reached its millionth case.
South Australia also recorded a surge in cases, with 306 people in hospital with the virus – the first time the state has had more than 300 COVID-19 cases in hospital.
There were a total of 4053 new cases recorded in South Australia in the latest reporting period, with genome sampling indicating more than 65 per cent of the cases were the new BA4 and BA5 strains.
So far in the pandemic, Australia has recorded a total of more than 8.7 million cases and about 10,620 deaths.
with AAP
Doctors have questioned comments by NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet about the relative severity of COVID-19 and influenza, as the state leader pushes for isolation requirements to be reconsidered at the end of the BA.4 and BA.5 wave.
In an interview with 2GB earlier today, Perrottet remarked that “at the moment, the current strand of flu is more severe than the current strands of COVID”.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet speaking to the media earlier today. Credit:James Brickwood
However, with 113 influenza deaths in 2022 from 187,431 laboratory-confirmed cases nationally compared to 1383 deaths and 1,030,094 cases of COVID-19 this month, ANU infectious diseases expert Sanjaya Senanayake said it was clear the Omicron variant of COVID-19 still had a higher death rate.
“You can say COVID cases are being undercounted, but the same applies for flu,” he said.
Professor Vasi Naganathan, president of the Australian & New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine, said he also believed the evidence, including data abroad, indicated COVID-19 was a more severe infection than influenza in adults.
In the week ending July 9 there were 769 people with COVID-19 admitted to NSW hospitals, compared to 84 people admitted with influenza-like illness.
“We have experience from when we had a big influenza outbreak in 2017, and we are not seeing that in the hospitals,” Naganathan said.
Former Victorian Liberal premier Denis Napthine has resigned as chair of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), three months after he was appointed to a three-year term by the former Morrison government.
His resignation comes one month after the agency’s chief executive, Martin Hoffman, agreed to step down, clearing the way for Labor to overhaul the scheme and its top brass.
In February, Bill Shorten, then-opposition spokesman for the NDIS, called Napthine’s appointment a “disgrace”.
As the minister now responsible for the agency, Shorten today confirmed he had received Napthine’s resignation and thanked him for his service in a brief statement, referring to him as a “committed advocate for the NDIS”.
“I also wish to acknowledge his work in reaching an agreement with the Gillard Labor government to establish the National Disability Insurance Scheme in Victoria,” he said.
Board member Jim Minto will act as NDIA chair until a new chair is appointed.
WA Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson is due to provide a COVID-19 update shortly.
As mentioned earlier, WA reached 1 million total COVID-19 cases earlier this morning.
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