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Woman jailed for blackmailing parents of dying baby girl

Published: (Updated: ) in 🇦🇺🦘Australian News🇦🇺🦘 by .

A woman who blackmailed the Melbourne parents of a dying baby girl has been jailed for at least two years.

Aussie stocks jump on opening a day after $160 billion bloodbath

Published: in 🇦🇺🦘Australian News🇦🇺🦘 by .

The ASX 200 has lifted sharply upon opening in what investors are predicting will be a rollercoaster day on the local bourse.

Aldi introduces purchase restrictions to stop panic buying

Published: in 🇦🇺🦘Australian News🇦🇺🦘 by .

Discount supermarket Aldi has become the latest grocer to introduce purchase restrictions in an effort to quell the number of shoppers panic buying.

Tasmania Declares Public Health Emergency

Published: in 🇦🇺🦘Australian News🇦🇺🦘 by .

Audio of this morning’s media conference with Premier Peter Gutwein (0.00), Health Minister Sarah Courtney (2.45), Acting Director Public Health Scott McEwen (5.45) then questions. A public health emergency has been declared in Tasmania. This provides special powers for the Director of Public Health to deal with issues arising from coronavirus. “This is not a […]

The post Tasmania Declares Public Health Emergency appeared first on Tasmanian Times.

Qantas slashing international flights by 90 per cent

Published: in 🇦🇺🦘Australian News🇦🇺🦘 by .

The airline said it will also look at slashing domestic travel up to 60 per cent, grounding around 150 Qantas and Jetstar aircraft.

Coronavirus: Qantas Grounds 90% Of International Flights As Demand Drops

Published: (Updated: ) in 🇦🇺🦘Australian News🇦🇺🦘 by .

Qantas grounds most international flights. (Photo by May James/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Qantas announced it would cut its international capacity by around 90% until at least the end of May as travel demand to Australia plunges because of new restrictions on arrivals related to the coronavirus.

The changes mean the grounding of 150 aircraft, up from plans to ground 38 announced last week. This includes 60% of the airline’s domestic flights. 

We have a huge amount of calls coming in to our call centre and messages via social media.

To make sure we can get back to everyone, we’re responding to those travelling within the next 72 hours first.

If you have booked via a travel agent, please contact them directly

— Qantas (@Qantas) March 16, 2020

You can cancel, change and credit your flight via ‘Manage My Booking’ on

For the latest travel updates, please see here:

Thank you for your ongoing patience.

— Qantas (@Qantas) March 16, 2020

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday said all international arrivals, including its own citizens, would need to self-isolate for 14 days, in a move that significantly dented demand for travel.  Those international visitors caught not self-isolated could cop a fine of up to $50k, depending on what state they’re in. 

At least 378 people in Australia have tested positive while five people have died after contracting COVID-19, one in WA, three in NSW and one in Queensland.

The virus has killed more than 4,000 people worldwide and continues to spread at a rapid pace.

Qantas said it would have a significant labour surplus across its operations as a result and the impact was likely to be felt across its workforce of 30,000 people.

“The Qantas Group is working to manage this impact as much as possible, including through the use of paid and unpaid leave,” the airline said in a statement.

“This will be in addition to the measures already announced, including three months of no pay for the CEO and chairman, significant pay cuts for group executive management and board members and cancelling of all annual bonuses and an off-market buyback,” it said.


The route-by-route impact will be announced in the coming days, the airline said, noting that it was grounding almost all of its widebody fleet.

Air New Zealand will cut long-haul capacity by 85%. 

This is a developing story.

Reporting by Jamie Freed of Reuters contributed to this report. 

Coronavirus Doesn’t Stop Home And Away Filming, Ada Nicodemou Feeling ‘Anxious And Scared’

Published: (Updated: ) in 🇦🇺🦘Australian News🇦🇺🦘 by .

Home and Away has continued filming amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Australia’s popular television show, Home and Away, has continued its filming schedule amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

On Tuesday one of its longest standing cast members, Ada Nicodemou, opened up to fans about feeling “anxious and scared” about COVID-19, while she prepared for another day of shooting on set. 


“Hey everyone, just in my dressing room at work,” the 42-year-old said in a video shared on her Instagram story.

“I really don’t know why I’m videoing, I’m just feeling quite anxious and scared. I hope everyone out there is staying safe. Just be kind everyone, we’ll get through it.”

Home and Away star Ada Nicodemou in her work dressing room on Tuesday.

The actress then admitted, she was “just feeling really flat today”, before ending her message with, “stay safe”. 

Popular soap Home and Away films its internal scenes in Sydney’s Eveleigh. HuffPost Australia has confirmation that a case of COVID-19 was recently “in the building”. The show’s external scenes are shot at Palm Beach in NSW.

HuffPost Australia has contacted Channel Seven for comment. 

Several television shows in the US and UK have already been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. 

Two NBC late night shows — “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers” — are suspending production amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The shows will not come back until at least March 30, The New York Times and Variety first reported.

Production on both BBC dramas Line of Duty and Peaky Blinders has been halted as a precautionary measure, as the UK deals with the rising number of cases of COVID-19.

Meanwhile in Australia, Channel Nine entertainment reporter Richard Wilkins and Indigenous singer Thelma Plum have tested positive for coronavirus. Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson also contracted COVID-19 while Down Under. 

Man Kept Apart From Wife By Quarantine Honours 67th Anniversary By Her Window

Published: (Updated: ) in 🇦🇺🦘Australian News🇦🇺🦘 by .

A man adjusting to life during the coronavirus pandemic found a heartwarming way to celebrate his wedding anniversary. 

For the first time in their marriage, Connecticut man Bob and his wife Nancy Shellard of Vernon were forced to spend their March 14 anniversary apart. Under normal circumstances, Bob visits Nancy at her nursing home daily. But such visitations are restricted now across the state through at least April because of the escalating COVID-19 outbreak. 

On Saturday, however, Bob turned up outside his wife’s facility with balloons and a placard that read, “I’ve loved you 67 years and still do. Happy Anniversary.”

Due to coronavirus precaution, Bob Shellard isn’t allowed to visit his wife in her Connecticut nursing home. So he stood outside her window and held up a sign that said “I’ve loved you 67 years and still do. Happy Anniversary.”

— NBC New York (@NBCNewYork) March 16, 2020

Nancy responded to her husband’s gesture by waving and blowing kisses from her second-story window. 

“It makes me feel bad because I want her down with me, and I know she can’t be,” Bob told New England Cable News, an NBC affiliate. “I wouldn’t want anybody else. I don’t think she could put up with anybody else besides me.”

Daughter Laura echoed those sentiments, telling the network that she and her three siblings see their parents as “an inspiration.” 

“I can only hope that I have half as much as what they have shared over the years,” she said. 

At least 378 people in Australia have tested positive while five people have died after contracting COVID-19, one in WA, three in NSW and one in Queensland.

The virus has killed more than 4,000 people worldwide and continues to spread at a rapid pace.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont on Monday stepped up his state’s response to the coronavirus, joining New York and New Jersey in closing restaurants and movie theaters and limiting public gatherings to fewer than 50 people.

Limits on nonessential nursing home visits were put in place last week. Many of the more than 6,500 people who have died of the coronavirus worldwide have been older than 60 and had underlying medical conditions. 

Driver dies in fiery truck crash in Sydney’s north

Published: in 🇦🇺🦘Australian News🇦🇺🦘 by .

A body has been found inside a truck that rolled and caught alight on the M1 at Mount Kuring Gai, in Sydney’s north, early this morning.

‘Cheer’ Cast ‘Heartbroken’ Daytona Championship Cancelled Due To Coronavirus

Published: (Updated: ) in 🇦🇺🦘Australian News🇦🇺🦘 by .

Hug ― or, better yet, elbow bump ― a cheerleader in your life, because all official camps, competitions and championship events in the US have been cancelled for the next two months over coronavirus concerns. 

Yes, that means thousands of collegiate cheerleaders, including the cast of Netflix’s hit docuseries “Cheer” from Navarro College, won’t be mat-talking their way to Daytona Beach, Florida, in the coming weeks to compete in this year’s NCA & NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship. 

At least 378 people in Australia have tested positive while five people have died after contracting COVID-19, one in WA, three in NSW and one in Queensland.

The virus has killed more than 4,000 people worldwide and continues to spread at a rapid pace.

Varsity Spirit, the organisation that oversees a handful of major cheerleading championships, announced on Sunday that it had decided “to not proceed as planned with scheduled events for at least the next eight weeks of the 2020 competition season.”

“We are actively exploring all options, including rescheduling events, extending the competition season, and hosting virtual competitions, to continue to provide a competition experience for the thousands of athletes who have worked so hard this year to compete,” the statement reads. 

Gabi Butler in Netflix's

As the reason for its move, Varsity Spirit cited the recent recommendation of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that events with 50 or more people be postponed or canceled for now. 

This will be the first time in 40 years that the NCA & NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship, which was supposed to take place April 8 to 12, will not be held in the beachside Florida city, according to a Varsity Spirit representative. Cheerleading Worlds 2020 will also not proceed as planned. 


Members of the Navarro College cheer team, which has won 14 national championships under the leadership of coach Monica Aldama, turned to social media to express their disappointment over the news. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by La’Darius Marshall (@ladarius_marshall17) on Mar 15, 2020 at 9:18pm PDT

Breakout star La’Darius Marshall, who’d returned to the small Texas college for his final year on the team, said the cancellation means “the end” of his cheerleading career.

“This isn’t goodbye Navarro 2020 it’s see you later,” he wrote on Instagram. “Daytona you will be missed and greatly appreciated. I love everyone … of my teammates and all the love we shared. The end of my cheerleading career has come a bit early. For everyone who supported me all this way I want to say thank you and I love you. I’m heartbroken for my team and coaches. Long live the bright light we all shared together and the countless fullouts we have done to get ready for this competition.”

He concluded: “I never got to say goodbye to my brothers and sisters but I know we all love each other dearly. To the rest of the world I love you guys and thank you for being our #1 supporters. We love you FIOFMU.”

Aldama wrote, “My heart is breaking!!!! I love you forever!!!!” in the comments section under his post. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Gabi Butler (@gabibutler1617) on Mar 16, 2020 at 10:44am PDT

Gabi Butler, who was also featured in the Netflix series, likewise shared her sadness about the cancellation.

“I’m gonna miss looking up to you and saying ‘I’ve got you,’” she wrote. “I’m gonna miss walking into practice and hugging every single one of you… I’m gonna miss the love from this beautiful team 💔 I love you guys with all my heart… FIOFMU FOREVER.”

Other team members had heartfelt words as well:

I know we’re all heartbroken about Daytona being cancelled, but I’m proud of how much hard work we all put in and the progress we made. All of the things we learned and accomplished this year will never be forgotten.

— Lexxx (@Lexi_Brumback) March 16, 2020

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Allie Ross (@alross3) on Mar 15, 2020 at 8:55pm PDT

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Shannon Woolsey (@shannonmaay) on Mar 15, 2020 at 9:21pm PDT

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Dillon Brandt (@dillonbrandt) on Mar 15, 2020 at 8:50pm PDT

While Netflix has yet to confirm that a second season of the series was underway, Aldama had hinted that more “Cheer” might be coming.

“We love the film crew like part of our family,” she told HuffPost in a BUILD interview in January, adding that her cheer team was hard at work preparing for this year’s championships. “We would always welcome them back. We don’t know what’s going on right now, but we’ll see.”

‘Try Getting It Yourselves,’ Trump Tells Governors About Medical Equipment Amid Coronavirus

Published: (Updated: ) in 🇦🇺🦘Australian News🇦🇺🦘 by .

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump told governors on a call Monday that states should work on acquiring much-needed medical equipment, such as ventilators or respirators, on their own. 

“Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves,” the president told the governors during a conference call, first reported The New York Times, which obtained a recording of the call. (CNN later confirmed the report.)

At least 378 people in Australia have tested positive while five people have died after contracting COVID-19, one in WA, three in NSW and one in Queensland.

The virus has killed more than 4,000 people worldwide and continues to spread at a rapid pace.

“We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Point of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself,”  he said.

Ventilators, in particular, are necessary to treat more severe cases of COVID-19, an infection that affects the respiratory system. Health experts have expressed concern that there may not be enough ventilators in hospitals across the U.S. to meet the need if there is a significant increase in severe cases, as there have been in China and Italy.   


“If one state doesn’t get the resources and materials they need, the entire nation continues to be at risk,” New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) told the Times.

A White House spokesperson told HuffPost that Trump’s remarks were not meant as an “either/or” and that the president was saying states should get materials as well. 

Trump explained further during a press briefing on Monday.  

“If they can get them faster by getting them on their own, in other words, go through a supply chain that they may have, because … during normal times, the governors buy a lot of things not necessarily through federal government,” Trump said. 

“It’s always going to be faster if they can get them directly, if they need them, and I’ve given them authorisation to order directly,” Trump told reporters. 

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the US have grown rapidly over the past month, with roughly 4,000 cases and more than 60 dead nationwide.

On Friday, 57 members of Congress wrote to Trump, urging him to use his powers under the Defense Production Act to mass-produce medical supplies urgently needed to address the pandemic, including face masks, respirators and ventilators.  

Keep up with the latest updates on the coronavirus at our live blog.

First volunteers get coronavirus vaccine test shots

Published: in 🇦🇺🦘Australian News🇦🇺🦘 by .

The first people to roll up their sleeves for an experimental vaccine to fight the new coronavirus say they were inspired to help as they watched the pandemic sweep across the globe.

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