That’s where we will leave the live blog for this evening.
In case you missed it, this is the big news of the day:
- The Northern Territory has been declared free of Covid-19 after the last confirmed patient recovered.
- Queensland declares it won’t be lectured by NSW on opening the hard border.
- South Australia is to move to stage 2 restrictions from June 5.
- Apple and Google released software to better integrate contact tracing with public-sector health apps, but no sign yet of whether it will be integrated into Covidsafe.
- Myer is to reopen its stores from Wednesday next week.
- The federal government is “urgently” consulting on potential changes to the Fair Work Act after a landmark court decision on casuals yesterday.
- The federal government has kept open a Centrelink outlet in Melbourne’s inner north after announcing it would be shut yesterday.
For the latest in coronavirus news overnight, please check our global live blog. Until tomorrow, stay safe.
South Australia police are bringing back static, random breath-testing after it was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Static RBT will begin tomorrow for the first time since March, but officers will now be provided personal protective equipment, and the cleaning regimes will be maintained.
There’s going to be an operation from tomorrow aimed at testing road users for drugs and alcohol in their system.
Mobile drug and alcohol testing continued during the pandemic.
The Australian Financial Review is reporting Myer will open the remainder of its 35 temporarily closed stores from Wednesday next week.
The stores include: Belconnen, Penrith, Castle Hill, Chatswood, Parramatta, Sydney City, Bondi, Shellharbour, Warringah, Macquarie, Roselands, Cairns, Brisbane City, Robina, Indooroopilly, Mt Gravatt, Pacific Fair, Ballarat, Bendigo, Doncaster, Eastland, Fountain Gate, Frankston, Geelong, Highpoint, Southland, Werribee, Chadstone, Northland, Melbourne, Knox City, Perth City, Adelaide City and stores in Hobart and Launceston.
If you have an iPhone, you may have noticed an update today that includes exposure notifications.
This is the long-awaited Google-Apple API that we expect could be integrated into the Covidsafe app and fix a lot of the issues with the iPhone version of the app.
You won’t be able to switch it on unless the government agrees to integrate the API into Covidsafe and agrees to all the privacy terms and conditions that come with that.
The app update issued last week did fix some of the problems that prevented people had closing the app and not recording Bluetooth handshakes, but this has had a side effect of causing more Bluetooth issues for other devices like fitness bands and wireless headphones.
That won’t happen if the API is integrated because on the operating system level the phone is better at coordinating Bluetooth beacons around the other Bluetooth communications going on.
I asked Apple and Google this morning whether there were plans to integrate the API into the Covidsafe app and they couldn’t say.
The ABC has reported the government is currently evaluating it.
It would fix a lot of the issues, and a change made by Apple, where you can now provide more info like phone numbers and upload keys to health providers for contact tracing, means it’s much closer to Covidsafe now than it used to be.
One major difference still between the two is that the Apple API works out who is a potential person who was exposed to coronavirus on the phone while Covidsafe currently uploads every key to the server and works it out that way.
Here’s Luke’s full report on the government’s backdown on the Abbotsford Centrelink closure:
After Luke Henriques-Gomes earlier reported that the landlord of the Abbotsford Centrelink property in Melbourne was blindsided by the government’s plans to shut down the office today, we can now report that the office will remain open for the next three months.
More on the crash here:
A car has ploughed into a shop at Greenacre in Sydney. There are reports 12 people have been injured:
I’m just going to return to the ACCC report on NBN speeds during the pandemic that Amy referred to earlier.
Many people believed that lots of people working from home would put a massive strain on the NBN, but the ACCC’s report shows all the doom and gloom projections have not come to pass.
The initial dip in March when the restrictions came into effect and everyone was forced home for two months can largely be blamed on retail service providers not buying enough bandwidth – or CVC – to meet the demand.
NBN Co then began offering much more bandwidth to retailers for free, and the problem fixed.
It should show NBN Co, at least, that this charge should be reviewed once the pandemic is over and it stops being free. If not just because, I imagine, a lot of people will continue to work from home now and into the future.
Another interesting bit of information is that for video streaming, 50Mbps is pretty good for two simultaneous Netflix HD streams with no issue.
Most connections have no issue whatsoever.
However, again the report notes that 95% of the underperforming NBN connections tested were on the controversial fibre-to-the-node technology.
It will be interesting to see if that improves as upgrades are rolled out over time.
The time has come for me to hand over the blog to the inimitable Josh Taylor for the next short while.
In news that will disappoint all you Paul Kelly and Nick Coatsworth fans out there, it appears the daily 3:15pm update from the deputy chief medical officer du jour is a thing of the past.
Coatsworth released a statement a short while ago announcing the government’s communications response “is entering a new phase”. In place of the daily update, it appears a new advertising campaign will start today and run over the next month.
The advertisements remind people to take three steps to help create a COVIDSafe community when away from home. They are to practise physical distancing, good hygiene and use the COVIDSafe app.
We are winning – but we have not yet won. We need everyone to stay focused on the things we need to do to protect ourselves and others as we find our ‘new normal’.
Do the three and stay Covid free.
Australia is handling the Covid-19 impact better than New Zealand, a group of business leaders has told Jacinda Ardern.
According to a report on Kiwi site Newshub, the NZ PM’s Business Advisory Council chair has written to Ardern warning “because of the way Australia is approaching the next two stages (of lockdown easing) it is likely to go well in front” of New Zealand on a wellbeing scale.
On that note, I will hand you over to the capable hands of Elias Visontay for the next little bit. Thank you for joining me today. I’ll be back with you tomorrow – so please, take care of you.
This is an interesting take from Christian Porter on the border issue:
Not long ago we called that competitive federalism – states have competed against each other for hosting sports events like a grand prix – now there will be a competition of who can make the best balanced decision to balance the health impact of changes to border closures with the economic uplift you can get to your retail tourism and hospitality sector.
This is winding back to the issue we discussed earlier – at the moment the most valuable thing for Australia is job growth, that is what the federal government is completely committed to.
So we’re looking at this federal court decision as to how it can impact our path out of the Covid-19 pandemic and job growth.
And we need to do so on an urgent and speedy basis, talk to employer groups and unions to understand the effect of the decision on job growth because no one benefits, the cost impact to business is such that businesses fail and jobs are lost.