Coronavirus: 400 Australian citizens desperate to get out of Wuhan ‘ground zero’
Kaitlyn Offer and Steve Zemek
Tuesday, 28 January 2020 7:17 pm
The federal government is trying to deploy officials into the locked-down Chinese city of Wuhan where around 400 Australian citizens have registered for evacuation from the epicentre of the deadly coronavirus.
Australian embassy officials have met with Chinese authorities in Beijing about the options available for citizens in Wuhan.
“Right now, the Australian government, through our embassy, is looking to deploy, working with the Chinese government consular officials, into Hubei province, into Wuhan,” prime minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday.
Mr Morrison said the National Security Committee is meeting every few days to discuss the issue as more people arrive in Australia from China.
“We’re working closely with the states and territories and we’ll continue to do that to keep Australians safe,” he said.
“But I would encourage Australians to go about their business, to understand and listen to the advice that’s being received.”
Five people are being treated in Australian hospitals for the virus after returning from visiting the region, but Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said they were all in a stable condition.
NSW school children have been told to stay at home if they’ve returned from China within the past 14 days - the incubation period of the virus.
“We are asking parents who have holidayed with their children in China, if they have not been back for 14 days, support the community by holding back your children,” NSW health minister Brad Hazard said.
The direction from NSW is at odds with other states and federal governments which recommend students can return to school unless they’re a confirmed case of coronavirus, have been exposed to a confirmed case or have symptoms.
Some private schools around the country, however, have also told students to stay away if they’ve recently travelled to China.
Ten students of Brisbane’s Stuarthome School for girls are flying back from China and will spend two weeks in quarantine at the boarding school to manage any risk of them spreading the illness.
CORONAVIRUS SYDNEY AIRPORT
Five Australian citizens have contracted coronavirus after returning from China. Credit: AAP
But authorities warn there’s likely to be more cases and are working to trace any human contact the five confirmed patients have had, including people who were on the same flights from China to Australia.
In NSW, there are four confirmed cases including a 21-year-old University of NSW student who was diagnosed after flying back from the virus epicentre in Wuhan, China, and three men - aged 35, 43 and 53 - who are being treated at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital.
The UNSW student displayed no symptoms upon landing in Sydney on Thursday but 24 hours later began exhibiting flu-like symptoms.
In Victoria, a man in his 50s is being treated at Monash Medical Centre while four of his family members are under home isolation.
It’s now believed people who are infected could pass the illness to others the virus’ incubation period, which ranges from one-to-14 days.
Doctors had believed patients were only contagious when they started showing symptoms.
The tragedy of losing Kobe because he was trying to be the best dad
Yahoo Sports Dan Wetzel,Yahoo Sports
Kobe Bryant died being a father. This isn’t a surprise, because being a father had long ago become the most important thing in his life, even more than lifting the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA titles and earning international fame.
On the court, he was renowned for his focus, for his drive, for his competitiveness. He inspired people inside and outside of sports with his ability to work not just harder, but smarter, in an effort to maximize himself as a player.
It wasn’t any different in his personal existence, where the birth of four daughters through the years made his life, no matter how grand it became, a life that was bigger than just his own.
It’s that way with most fathers, at least the ones who realize how a change in perspective can be the greatest gift of life. Kobe’s realization may not have been broadcast on national television each week, but it can be more inspiring than even the greatest of his buzzer-beating shots.
Kobe Bryant died Sunday at age 41 in a helicopter accident. Eight others perished as well in the tragedy, including his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. They were headed to one of her basketball practices. The two shared both a love of the game and the spirit of competition, so her father labeled her “Mambacita.” From the Mamba himself, that’s high praise.
Taking a helicopter anywhere, let alone a youth basketball practice, might seem excessive, something right out of the rich and famous Hollywood playbook. It wasn’t. Not with Kobe. It was born out of his desire to be the best father he could.
It began back in his playing days. Kobe and his wife, Vanessa, had a daughter, Tatiana, in 2003, followed by Gigi in 2006. They’ve had more since, Bianka in 2016 and Capri in 2019. Tatiana and Gigi, though, changed the way Kobe operated.
He and Vanessa set up in the Huntington Coast section of Huntington Beach — where Vanessa is from — rather than L.A. or Beverly Hills or anything on L.A.’s West Side. Because the Lakers play in downtown L.A. and train in El Segundo near the airport, those places might be more convenient for the job. Kobe wanted Huntington Beach. It felt like a family place.
“Great people there,” he often said.
Remembering Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna (Getty/AP Images)
The commute to games and/or practices could be brutal. It’s an hour each way if everything goes right. Two hours if it doesn’t. Rather than move closer to the city, he tried to find a way around it as frustrations grew at the time drain that driving was causing.
“Even on weekends … traffic got really bad,” Kobe said on Barstool Sports’ “The Corp” podcast in 2018. “And I miss a school play because I am sitting in traffic. And these things kept mounting. I had to figure out a way to still train and focus on the craft but still not compromise family time. So that’s when I started looking into helicopters.”
Billionaire Mark Cuban often says there is one thing his money can’t buy: time. Well, Kobe gave it a shot. By flying over the traffic, he found a way to embrace his duel passions: playing all-out for the Lakers while being the suburban dad of his dreams.
Suddenly he could get to the Lakers’ training facility in 15 minutes flat. He could perform his legendary workload and still act like a work-at-home dad.
“My routine was always the same,” Kobe said. “Weights early in the morning, kids to school, fly down, practice like crazy, do my extra work, media, everything I needed to do. Fly back, get back in carpool line and pick the kids up.”
Yes, that was Kobe Bryant in an Orange County elementary school pick-up line, just like another mother or father. He didn’t just do it. He loved it.
This is, he would say, fatherhood. Not the big stuff. Not the glamorous stuff. The day-to-day stuff. The real stuff. The conversations that just happen. The perspective that can only be gained. The trust and love that is just built. Organically.
He didn’t want to miss out on any of it just because he happened to be the best basketball player in the world. He wanted it all.
“My wife was like, ‘Listen, I can pick them up,’” Kobe said. “And [he said], ‘No, no, no. I want to do that.’”
Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna watch the first half of an NCAA college basketball game between Connecticut and Houston, Saturday, March 2, 2019, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, watch the first half of an NCAA college basketball game between Connecticut and Houston on March 2, 2019, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
If he could be with his daughters, he was going to be with his daughters.
“I have road trips and things like that where I don’t see the kids,” Kobe said. “So every time I get to see them and spend time with them, even if it’s 20 minutes in the car, I want that.”
Could they have driven to practice that was taking place north of L.A. on Sunday? Probably. It’s also probable that Kobe wanted to maximize his time Sunday with his wife and three other children. This was a hands-on dad. This is what the pride of his life had become.
Kobe still attended some Lakers games after he retired, but he wasn’t a constant presence. It wasn’t that he didn’t love being at the games. It’s that other things mattered more: family things, dad things, his kids’ things.
Basketball had given him so much, had given all the Bryants so much. After two decades, though, he wasn’t going to allow it to take anymore. When he’d go to the Staples Center and sit courtside, he was almost always accompanied by family.
His basketball priorities had morphed from dominating all comers to being a 40-something dad-coach on the youth basketball circuit, building up the confidence of young girls.
And so he got in that helicopter on Sunday. It had always been safe. It had always been effective. It had always been part of being a father.
And it stands to reason if there is one thing Kobe Bryant most wanted to be known for, and to inspire in others, it wasn’t how to be the best basketball player.
It was how to be the best dad.
Australia’s brave fire, police, ambulance and emergency services volunteers and workers, along with Defence Force personnel and reservists and overseas personnel, will be eligible to receive a medal in recognition of their service and sacrifice during the current bushfire season.
The National Emergency Medal will be awarded to eligible emergency responders who have given sustained or significant service during the 2019-20 bushfires.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said while his priority was to help people and communities rebuild and recover from the bushfire disaster, it was also important that recognition was given.
“Today as we reflect on what makes our country the best place in the world, we also honour those Australians who have battled this devastating fire season, many of whom will be on fire grounds today protecting our communities from danger,” the Prime Minister said.
“The response to the bushfire situation has been unprecedented with thousands of volunteer and paid responders working around the clock, day and night, week after week to protect property and save lives.
“Their courage has been extraordinary, and it’s a spirit which we must honour and celebrate this Australia Day and one which we will now formally recognise through the National Emergency Medal.
“We will continue to do whatever it takes to support fire affected communities right across Australia to help them rebuild, recover and become even stronger.”
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ben Morton said while the detailed criteria for the National Emergency Medal will be determined in the coming months after consultation once the current crisis has passed, it is important that we acknowledge the extraordinary efforts and the sacrifice of our emergency services volunteers and personnel.
“It is fitting we honour our emergency service personnel and volunteers for their selflessness, bravery, courage and sacrifice - Australia thanks you for your service,” Mr Morton said.
The Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), agreed to a recommendation from the Morrison Government that the 2019-20 bushfires be declared a nationally significant emergency for the purposes of the Medal.
The National Emergency Medal recognises service in response to a nationally‑significant emergency. Events must be declared by the Governor-General under the National Emergency Medal Regulations 2011, including specific criteria for the award.
At the conclusion of the ongoing response to the bushfires, the National Emergency Medal Committee will provide further advice, as required under the Regulations, to enable the formal declaration of the Medal for the 2019-20 bushfires including the specific criteria for eligibility.
The National Emergency Medal was established in 2011. More than 15,000 medals have been awarded to responders and volunteers to the 2009 Victoria bushfires that included Black Saturday and the Queensland floods that occurred over December to January 2010-2011, including Cyclone Yasi.
As Australians, we belong to an ancient land with a story that spans 60,000 years.
From the oldest continuing culture in the world, to our most modern chapter; all drawn on the sweat, struggle and courage of millions of ordinary citizens.
We are a people who prevail. Not through luck or chance or fortune, but by our efforts and our willingness to stand by each other. That’s why I’m so hopeful.
From the ancient to present day – we have attracted people from around the world to our shores to create our distinct and diverse culture.
Australia has had a difficult summer.
The horrific and unprecedented bushfires have claimed 33 lives – including nine brave firefighters – and destroyed over 2900 homes, with more than 10.4 million hectares burnt out.
It is an unprecedented environmental disaster, devastating ecosystems and wildlife, already suffering from prolonged drought, and exacerbated by our changing climate.
Such heartbreak defies words, and our love and thoughts are with every Australian impacted, especially those who have lost family and friends.
Yet in the worst of times, we can see the best in our country: the Australian volunteer spirit has shone this summer.
We’ve witnessed heroism, grace and generosity from Australians everywhere. A groundswell that this Australia Day calls us to reflect on our beautiful continent – and the unique way we look after each other when threats and challenges arise.
Our volunteering spirit recognises that being an Australian is about what you bring to the country.
We know that being Australian is about making a contribution, rather than taking one.
It’s about knowing that the rights and rewards of being an Australian are exceeded only by our individual responsibilities to our nation to make it even stronger.
So much of our nation’s character resides in the strength and vitality of thousands of local communities working together. A sum greater than its parts. In turn, these communities are dependent on the strength of the families and individuals who live alongside each other and support one another.
This unrelenting fire season, our volunteer fire services and emergency services volunteers have led the way. Their courage has been extraordinary, even as they grieved the loss of mates and colleagues.
On top of this, many have kept up the effort despite losing their own home or suffering property damage.
It’s a spirit which we must honour and celebrate this Australia Day.
Behind every volunteer there is a story of service and dedication.
One NSW volunteer firey Alex Newcombe was in the thick of it just 12 weeks after a kidney transplant. His donor was none other than his wife Kate – a fellow firefighter in the same brigade.
Our volunteers have been joined by the Australian Defence Force, with almost 6500 men and women assisting our fire efforts. For the first time in our history, the Government has enacted a compulsory call-out of the ADF Reserve Brigades with about 3,000 Reservists.
One of those called-out was Lieutenant Kynan Lang from the 10th/27th Battalion. On the day the call came through to be part of Operation Bushfire Assist, Kynan was at home, shattered because he had just been told he’d lost his uncle and cousin in the Kangaroo Island fires.
Lieutenant Lang didn’t blink when he got the call. He packed his kit and joined the deployment to Kangaroo Island.
It’s what Australians all over have done all summer long, rallying behind each other with courage, sacrifice, generosity and resilience.
Like the more than 150 truckies who formed a convoy to bring supplies and smiles to Buchan and Omeo in East Gippsland.
Among them were cattle farmers, diesel mechanics, tree loppers and beekeepers.
They were dubbed an “army of angels”.
Also on the road was a group of Muslim men from Auburn, who loaded their ute with 30kg of sausages and drove six hours to cook a barbecue for the devastated community of Willawarrin in northern NSW.
And the Sydney to Casino XPT train made a special unscheduled stop one day in Rappville to deliver five-gallon drums of lollies for children.
Communities have also welcomed those in need with open arms.
Cricket ovals, showgrounds and community halls across Australia have become evacuation centres. Churches and RSL clubs are offering shelter and meals. The CWA, Lions, Rotary, and Apex Clubs are all lending a hand.
At the Queanbeyan Showgrounds, scores of people from the Snowy Mountains and the south coast are being supported. Donations have rolled in: prams and phone chargers, toys, DVDs and home-cooked meals. Teenagers have turned up with hot pies after their Saturday holiday jobs and the local pound offered shelter for pet dogs.
Australians, wherever they are, are putting up their hand and donating generously: millions of dollars have been raised for charities including the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul to provide food, fuel and cash.
Small businesses are pitching in too – using general stores as collection points, opening early to give victims clothes to wear, offering water or meals to fireys, and baristas donating their tips. We’ve seen many big businesses playing their part – Telstra, for example, paying the mobile phone bills of firefighters, and Qantas has been flying firefighters and equipment to fires for free. All the big businesses are contributing.
The children of this country are simply fantastic: running cake stalls, sending love and encouragement and shaking down their parents as well. One nine-year-old sent me her $10 holiday pocket money and asked if I could get it to the families who lost homes.
On a quiet street in Port Douglas, Queensland, two young boys set up a lemonade stand to raise money.
The local police intervened, but only insofar as to move them to a more “strategic” location – right next to a roadside breath-testing site.
After clearing their tests 50 drivers were served lemonade before the supply ran dry, with $380 raised. Our country’s kids are incredible, and it gives me such confidence about the future.
In Gippsland, the owners of an Indian restaurant have been cooking thousands of free meals of curry and rice for bushfire victims.
In Bega in NSW, a Sudanese refugee offered his own home to a family that was sheltering overnight in an underground car park to escape falling embers.
While back on Kangaroo Island, a pair of teenage cousins gathered frightened and injured koalas into their car, echoing efforts by wildlife rescue and rehabilitation charity WIRES and others who have come to the aid of fauna across the country.
Meanwhile, our business leaders, sportspeople and entertainers are doing what they do best: Andrew and Nicola Forrest, Celeste Barber, Paul Ramsay Foundation, Chris Hemsworth, Kylie, Ash Barty, Nick Kyrgios and The Wiggles among those who are fundraising or digging deep.
And as a Government we will do whatever it takes to support those communities and businesses hit by these fires. Right now we are providing immediate financial assistance to those that need it, while our $2 billion National Bushfire Recovery Fund will help communities to recover and rebuild.
We will continue to support all Australians in their time of need, and whatever it takes means just that.
Everybody has been touched by what has happened – and we have witnessed 25 million acts of bravery, generosity and kindness. That’s what we celebrate today: the good-hearted people that make us Australia.
Our willingness to generously support each other is a reflection of the gritty practicality that has always been part of our national character.
And that is what our national volunteer spirit serves: our communities, and the families and individuals they comprise.
No country is perfect and none have a perfect history. But we have goodwill and generosity, and strive to help each other out.
This is the greatness of Australia, and the strength of Australia – the way we treat and take care of each other.
It is why, when tragedy strikes, we can look to the horizon and emerge a stronger nation.
In the midst of our country’s struggles this is the character that we celebrate and honour today.
Happy Australia Day!
Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia.
With students returning to school next week, parents of children who have had contact with a confirmed case of novel Coronavirus are being urged to keep their children at home and monitor for symptoms.
NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant explained that any child who has been in contact with a person confirmed as having novel coronavirus must not attend school or childcare for 14 days after the last contact with the infected person.
“14 days represents the internationally recognised incubation period for the disease,” Dr Chant said.
“After this time the child is considered to be not be at risk of infection.”
Students who have travelled to Wuhan and Hubei during the school holidays can return to school but should be carefully monitored for symptoms of coronavirus infection.
“The most common symptom is a fever,” Dr Chant said.
“Other symptoms include, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath.”
Anyone who exhibits these symptoms should be isolated immediately from other people and seek medical attention as soon as possible.
If you develop a fever, a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath within 14 days of travel to Hubei or contact with a person with confirmed coronavirus, you should immediately isolate yourself from other people. Contact your GP or your emergency department or call the healthdirect helpline 1800 022 222 and seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard explained that NSW Health has processes in place to identify any close contacts of cases confirmed in Australia.
“Advice about not attending school would be provided to these close contacts,” he said.
There are currently four confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in NSW. All cases had travelled to Wuhan, China or had contact with a confirmed case in China.
Parents with concerns can contact their local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055 for advice or visit the dedicated NSW Health information page at https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus.aspx
NSW Department of Education has issued guidance to all NSW Schools, which included information to guide school staff in the event of a child becoming sick.
The NSW Government has today requested that children who have visited China in the past two weeks not attend school or childcare services until 14 days have lapsed from their date of departure from China.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said although the risk to children is very low, the NSW Government has taken this step as a precautionary measure.
“I’ve been advised that it’s not medically necessary, but the NSW Government has acted in line with community expectations to ensure the safest possible environment for our students,” Mr Hazzard said.
“The internationally recognised incubation period for the coronavirus is 14 days, so this is the logical timeframe to ask students to refrain from attending school. After this time, there is no risk.
“Advice about not attending school has already been provided to any close contacts of confirmed cases.”
The Commonwealth Department of Health has confirmed that all passengers disembarking from planes from China are being given comprehensive information about coronavirus in both English and Mandarin.
NSW Health has been contacting passengers who were on the same planes as confirmed cases to provide appropriate advice and has processes in place to identify any close contacts of cases confirmed in Australia.
Ms Mitchell said the Department of Education has issued guidance to schools and childcare services across NSW on protocols in the event of a child becoming sick.
“Although the risk remains very low for children, we believe it is the right thing to do to take this extra step and will continue to update the community with advice,” Ms Mitchell said.
There are currently four confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in NSW. All cases had travelled to Wuhan, China or had contact with a confirmed case in China.
Parents with concerns can contact their local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055 for advice or visit the dedicated NSW Health information page at:
Anyone who develops a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath within 14 days of travel to Hubei or contact with a person with confirmed coronavirus, should immediately isolate themselves from other people, contact their GP or local emergency department or call the healthdirect helpline 1800 022 222.