Woolworths suspends orders from South Australia meatworks allowed to operate with Covid-infected staff

Abattoir had exemption from state government but supermarket giant halted orders for product after discussion with ACTU

Woolworths has suspended supplies from a South Australia meatworks that was given state government approval to operate while some staff were Covid positive.

Brad Banducci, chief executive of the supermarket giant, decided to halt taking product from the Teys Australia abattoir near Naracoorte after a telephone hook-up on Sunday with Michelle O’Neil, president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

Rapid antigen tests: Australian consumers miss out as government and big business snap up supplies

Pharmacy Guild says huge orders diverting supplies away from consumers as Greg Hunt labels claim federal government is requisitioning tests ‘a plain lie’

The shortage of rapid antigen tests for consumers is being exacerbated by state and federal governments and large corporates placing mammoth orders for the kits, causing stock to be diverted from online retailers and pharmacies.

Australia is in the middle of a huge Omicron wave after state and federal governments pivoted from a policy of Covid suppression to one of “living with the virus”, causing a surge in demand for rapid antigen testing kits.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

‘Squandered any gains we made’: Australian clinics overwhelmed by rising Covid cases

Hit by staff shortages and tens of thousands of new cases daily, GPs remain under-resourced despite ‘enormous pressure’

A general practitioner in Victoria responsible for triaging Covid-positive patients and referring them to appropriate health services has said Australia “must now have one of the worst Covid responses in the world” as clinics are overwhelmed.

The doctor, who cannot be named due to fear of repercussions from his employer, said: “Australia has utterly squandered any gains we made during the pandemic … We are now seeing the sort of mess and chaos here that we saw in the UK at the start of Covid.”

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

‘Extreme stress’: Australian businesses risk going under due to impact of Omicron

Industry bodies say they face a ‘triple blow’ of staff shortages, a supply chain crunch resulting in higher costs and a sharp drop in consumer activity

Some small businesses could be wiped out without immediate government help due to the Omicron outbreak, industry figures say, with hairdressers reporting up to 60% staff absenteeism.

The chief executive of the Australian Hairdressing Council, Sandy Chong, said seven of the 13 staff at her salon in the New South Wales city of Newcastle had recently tested positive for the virus, swelling sick leave payments at a time when wary clients were staying away.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

Mortgage values fall from nutty 2020 high but new homebuyers still taking a hit | Greg Jericho

Surge in mortgages during pandemic suggests house prices will continue to grow for first half of 2022 – at least

Imagine in November 2019 you looked into a crystal ball and foresaw a global pandemic about which we would still be grappling two years later. Would have you then thought it would be a good time to buy or sell a house?

You might have thought economic pandemonium and the shuttering of borders to overseas travellers would signal bad news for the housing market and thus it would be a good time to sell.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

Caring for Covid face masks: bag it between wears and bin it when you’re done

Face masks are now a fact of life. But even disposable masks require a few simple care steps to stay effective

Every time I leave the house, the refrain – phone, wallet, keys, mask – rattles around my brain while I search my bag for the essentials. Evidence that, despite how strange it felt to wear a mask way back in 2019, when we were worried about bushfire smoke inhalation, face masks have become firmly entrenched in our daily lives.

Masks are proven to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission, and help keep us safe at supermarkets and in between our table and the bathroom at restaurants, but they do need to be handled with specific care to remain effective.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

‘Magikkun’: the Korean buzzword that explains why dating apps are restricting pictures with masks

Daters in Korea are growing so tired of profile pictures, where half a face is hidden, they have coined a term for it – ‘mask fraud’

Name: Magikkun.

Age: New for the pandemic.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

Winter Olympics tickets will not be sold as China seeks to contain Covid

Tickets will instead by distributed to chosen groups amid first reported locally transmitted cases of Omicron

Tickets to the Beijing Winter Olympics will not be sold to the general public, but distributed to “targeted” groups, organisers have announced, in China’s latest attempt to control the spread of the highly-infectious Omicron Covid variant.

Beijing reported its first locally transmitted Omicron case over the weekend, piling renewed pressure on authorities in the run-up to the Games, which are due to start on 4 February and coincide with the lunar new year celebrations week, typically the biggest travel period of the year.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

China warns west against rapid interest rate rise

Xi Jinping says major economies need to be wary of ‘negative spillovers’ hitting global recovery

China has warned the US and Europe against a rapid rise in interest rates that would “slam on the brakes” of the global recovery from the pandemic.

Central banks should maintain the monetary stimulus or risk “serious economic consequences” from the spillover effects with developing markets bearing the brunt.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

Irish foreign minister orders inquiry into champagne party during lockdown

Photo shows department officials drinking Moët & Chandon in June 2020 while strict rules were in force

The Irish foreign minister, Simon Coveney, has ordered an inquiry into a champagne celebration involving officials in his department at the height of the first Covid lockdown.

A photo of the celebration in June 2020 showed about 20 officials drinking Moët & Chandon champagne, without wearing masks or social distancing.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

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