On Thursday night the chief health officer of Victoria, Professor Brett Sutton, gave an address to the Australian Public Health Conference, speaking about the frontline experience of Covid-19 in Victoria.
He presented alongside Professor Devi Sridhar, the Chair of Global Public Health and Edinburgh University Medical School.
Sutton spoke briefly about the importance of strong leadership in a pandemic, telling attendees; “I hope I played my role in that space”.
“I think the critical elements for me have been listening and learning… It is never a case of a single individual having the answers. It is never the case of a single individual being able to make those decisions in a vacuum I have had literally thousands of people in supporting my decision making, and I have been explicit in reaching out as broadly as I can for the critical voices, for the supportive voices, for the innovative ideas, and for all of the new and challenging perspectives that must be brought because we need to mobilise the very best of our team. And we need to regard the team as all of the Victoria, Australia and indeed the global public health community”.
Sutton also spoke about public health communication, and the need to tailor messages to different audiences throughout a pandemic. He said risk communication is critical and needs to be engaging to multiple different parts of the community; one message for all people is not good enough.
“I think they all need an honest and authentic voice,” Sutton said. “I think that needs to speak to the things that are working the things that are not working… the things we know, the things we don’t know, but also be motivating where fatigue is so real, where a crisis that would have been tough for a month has been going for nine months. It needs to take people on a journey that they can remain engaged with.”
Sutton’s leadership has been under question in recent weeks following his appearance at the hotel quarantine inquiry when he said he had no knowledge of the decision to use security guards in hotel quarantine. The Age revealed last week an email chain showing Sutton had authorised a response to the federal government in March which said Victoria would rely on private security at quarantine hotels.
Sutton has been asked by the inquiry to provide an affidavit answering questions raised by the newly-released emails.
Today also marks the second and final debate between US president Donald Trump and Democrat nominee Joe Biden. That will likely take up much of the air time today, after Trump released an unedited 60 Minutes interview ahead of its air-date. He walked out of that one.
And amid reports a Dutch hacker was able to log into his Twitter account by guessing his password as ‘maga2020!’
You can follow all the updates on our other live blog here.
Today is also the second and last day of final submissions from counsel assisting in the two-year-long aged care royal commission. AAP has this:
The inquiry was told on Thursday an estimated 50 elderly people were sexually assaulted in aged facilities per week in Australia.
Lawyers have submitted 124 recommendations, including mandatory staffing ratios and new laws to protect the rights of elderly people, which will be considered ahead of a final report due in February.
It is proposed from July 2022, residential care providers must have nurses and other personal care workers dedicate at least 215 minutes to the average resident per day.
Commissioner Lynelle Briggs said the federal government should, as part of approving services, ensure the boards of aged care providers have the right culture.
“We will need to see providers championing the reforms we propose,” she said.
“We need to nudge providers along to take their leadership responsibilities more seriously and make them accountable.”
Here is AAP’s report on today’s national cabinet meeting:
Prime minister Scott Morrison will push to increase the weekly cap of 6000 international arrivals when he chairs a national cabinet meeting on Friday.
More than 32,000 Australians remain overseas.
Morrison imposed the weekly incoming passenger cap to ease pressure on hotel quarantine.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne wants states and territories to steadily increase their quarantine capacities.
“We would hope that it does gradually increase through the states and territories as they are able to deal with quarantine,”Payne told ABC radio on Friday.
It also wants Victoria to restart its quarantine scheme after bringing a second wave of coronavirus under control, given Melbourne was Australia’s second-largest international entry point.
The federal government has organised a burst of repatriation flights for vulnerable Australians.
The first flight from London will arrive in Darwin on Friday before the 161 passengers are taken to Howard Springs.
Senator Payne said the government had eight chartered flights in planning.
An in-depth review of the state-by-state schemes will be examined by national cabinet.
Former health department boss Jane Halton began her review in July and wrapped up on September 30.
Halton has examined the way clinical, hotel and security staff were trained in infection prevention and control.
She also investigated evidence of community cases linked to international travellers in hotel quarantine.
As well, she looked at the management of suspected and confirmed cases, provision of support services, management of vulnerable people and cultural diversity, and making more capacity available.
Victoria’s head of contact tracing, Prof Euan Wallace, is on ABC RN Breakfast talking to Dr Norman Swan.
He says in that northern Melbourne outbreak, the contact tracing team has “put a ring around it” in terms of “making sure that we keep that fire break between cases and contacts on the rest of the community”.
He says the outbreak is mostly between and within households, and households that know each other. He indicates that again it seems as though households were mixing when that is against the rules.
Wallace is talking up the improvements on the contact tracing system, including there now being 12 metro and regional hubs for tracing that are more embedded in the local communities, and he said some of the commentary around the contact tracing team has been “unjust”.
at 9.50pm BST
Hello and welcome to Friday. Josh Taylor here on the liveblog for you until this afternoon.
There is a bit of anxiety in Victoria today as a potential outbreak from a school in the northern suburbs of Melbourne could put at risk the run of low case numbers in the state over the past week.
A healthcare worker is seen at a walk through Covid-19 testing site in Heidelberg West, Melbourne. Photograph: Erik Anderson/AAP
Premier Daniel Andrews has insisted everything is being thrown at it, with around 500 people who are close contacts or close contacts of close contacts currently isolating and awaiting test results. It’s a public holiday in Melbourne today for the AFL grand final which is not being held in Melbourne tomorrow, but we are expecting the usual daily press conference today.
Ahead of the announced easing restrictions on Sunday, Guardian Australia has learned the Victorian government is seeking out intelligence firms to identify workplaces at risk of breaching Covid-safe rules.
There is a national cabinet meeting today, where the focus will be on removing the restrictions and getting the economy restarted.
The first returned travellers on a Qantas flight subsidised by the government is currently on its way from Darwin.
In federal politics, outgoing minister for finance, Mathias Cormann, has been spruiking a green recovery as part of his pitch for the job of secretary general for the OECD.
The Australian embassy in Paris has accidentally revealed the email addresses of people looking to get home by failing to put them in a BCC field of an email, the third such incident in recent months.
There will likely be some more wash up from Senate estimates this week today, potentially around Australia Post and those watches, but until then, let’s get into it.
at 9.53pm BST