Australia news live: WA and ACT reduce official Covid reinfection period as nation records 13 deaths from virus | Australia news

Kim J. Clark

Key events:

Police questioning three people after man’s body found near Brisbane train station

Three people are being questioned about the suspicious death of a man whose body was found near a train station in inner Brisbane, AAP reports.

The man’s body was found at the Valley Metro food court above the Fortitude Valley train station about 4am on Monday.

Queensland police are questioning three people about the death and have cordoned off the area as they investigate.

“There may be some interruption to rail services,” police told AAP in a statement.

95% of all Australia’s Covid cases have occurred since the New Year, according to the Medical Journal of Australia.

The authors say while the pandemic has largely faded from the news and public perception since borders opened late in 2021, “this perception doesn’t match reality”.

Tory Shepherd

Australia and Fiji will work together to re-engage Kiribati in Pacific Islands Forum, Pat Conroy says

Natasha mentioned below that Kiribati has withdrawn from the Pacific Islands Forum. The forum (known as the PIF) is a critical meeting for the region. This year climate change and China’s role in the region are sure to dominate the schedule.

Kiribati, the tiny island country, is disproportionately affected by climate change, while 1News in New Zealand reports that Beijing is suspected to be behind Kiribati’s decision. Kiribati president, Taneti Maamau, said the decision was “not taken lightly” but was taken because a range of concerns had not been addressed, including that the Micronesian leaders’ candidate for secretary general was passed over in favour of a Polynesian candidate.

Pacific minister, Pat Conroy, will go to Suva today for the PIF, and said Australia will work with Fiji to convince Kiribati to re-engage in the process:

Pacific unity is incredibly vital. We’re very committed to Pacific unity, it’s very important … it’s a powerful voice for our region, it’s the central architecture for our region.

Conroy also said it was “not true” that Solomon Islands had blocked visas for Australian aid workers, after the Australian newspaper reported it had closed the door on Australians while opening another for Beijing. The five workers’ visa applications were complicated, he said, and had just been delayed.

AMA vice president says cutting longer telehealth consults will hamper rollout of antiviral treatments to older Australians

Chris Moy, the vice president of the Australian Medical Association, has supported the government expanding availability of antiviral Covid-19 medications, but is critical of the fact that it comes at a time when the government is cutting longer telehealth consultations.

Gov ⬆️COVID ANTIVIRAL eligibility✅. But same time hampering rollout by cutting longer ☎️ consults: Getting bad advice re REALITY of complexity of antiviral prescribing, which is working through complex contraindications/interactions to pick safe one, & how patient will get it❌

— AMA VICE PRESIDENT (@ama_vice) July 10, 2022

Minister needs to spend time with GP who actually has to prescribe antivirals and see reality of how complex it is and how long it takes, mostly for older vulnerable patients where video consults are a fantasy

— AMA VICE PRESIDENT (@ama_vice) July 10, 2022

Flood-affected NSW residents begin to return to their homes

After last week’s devastating floods in NSW the majority of victims are returning back to their homes.

The AAP reports that about 4,500 residents remained under evacuation orders on Sunday evening, down from about 37,000 the previous night.

The SES have indicated that most jobs at the moment have been animal rescues (including miniature horses), medical assistance and resupplying isolated communities.

In the 24 hours to Sunday evening, the State Emergency Service had responded to 355 calls for help and performed 13 rescues.

Aboriginal flag to permanently replace NSW flag on Sydney Harbour Bridge

The Aboriginal flag is set to replace the NSW flag as the government abandons plans to install a third flagpole.

The state premier, Dominic Perrottet, said flying the Aboriginal flag alongside the Australian and NSW state flags was an important gesture towards closing the gap, but the measure attracted questions after he revealed a third flagpole came with a $25m price tag.

I am incredibly proud to announce that the Aboriginal Flag will now permanently fly on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Such a fitting way to end NAIDOC Week 2022, the Aboriginal Flag will stand forever next to the Australian Flag on one of our nation’s most iconic structures.

— Ben Franklin (@BenFranklinNats) July 10, 2022

Emissions target will not be raised from election commitment, Pat Conroy says

Climate change is set to be a focus of the forum. Asked if he would consider raising climate targets, Conroy stated the “election commitment is what we’ll implement”, but reiterated that the government’s “renewed and increased action of climate change has been welcomed”.

He said Vanuatu’s push to bring climate justice before the UN’s international court of justice was an important initiative to reduce major emitters into the future.

He said that Australia’s stance on climate refugees would need to be considered in the future, potentially in the same way that New Zealand is looking at specific measures to allow climate refugees into their country.

‘Strong desire’ to see regional approach to China restored in Pacific, says Conroy

Conroy has said the central architecture of the Pacific needs strengthening.

Asked whether the conditions China is asking of Australia are reasonable, Conroy says there is a “strong desire” to see a regional approach reinstated rather than than individual countries making decisions.

He has also said that reports that Solomon Islands has blocked Australian aid workers are“not true”, and that it is a matter of a delay in processing the visas.

In light of the withdrawal of Kiribati from the forum, Conroy said “unity is important”, and they are working hard to not lose the country’s participation.

Pat Conroy on Pacific’s key message: security must come from within

Pat Conroy, the minister for international development and the Pacific, is on ABC Radio discussing the upcoming Pacific Islands Forum.

Conroy says that “key message” he’s hearing from Australia’s Pacific neighbours, and which he supports, is that Pacific security should come from within the region.

He said Pacific nations need to look to within the region to meet their security needs, and only look to neighbours when they aren’t met.

Good morning

It’s Monday and more Australians will be able to access Covid-19 treatments from today as another wave of cases continues to drive up hospitalisation.

People over 70 who test positive will be able to access antivirals on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. These treatments, if taken soon after symptoms appear, can prevent Covid from developing into severe disease. Those over 30 will be able to get a fourth Covid-19 vaccine from today, with people over 50 recommended to get the extra dose.

The Pacific Islands Forum is due to begin this week in Suva, with the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, due to attend later in the week.

The forum, which is the key diplomatic body in the Pacific, has been dealt a devastating blow on the eve of its first in-person meeting since the pandemic, as Kiribati announced it would be withdrawing.

After last week’s devastating floods in NSW, many residents are now returning to their homes. As of last night, 4,500 people remained under evacuation orders, down from approximately 37,000 the previous night.

I’m Natasha May and feel free to reach out if there’s something you think needs to be on the blog – on Twitter @natasha__may or email [email protected].

Let’s get into it.

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