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The X Factor:Grace Davies kicks off Sunday night show

By Lisa Mcloughlin For Mailonline
Published: 14:44 EST, 5 November 2017 | Updated: 18:02 EST, 5 Nov..

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By Lisa Mcloughlin For Mailonline

Published: 14:44 EST, 5 November 2017 | Updated: 18:02 EST, 5 November 2017

The Boys and Group categories went head-to-head on Saturday night's instalment of the X Factor.

But now it was the Girls and Overs turn to showcase their vocal talent as they continued this week's theme Viva Latino on Sunday with hopeful Kevin Davy White stealing the show with his rendition of Santana ft. Rob Thomas' 1999 hit Smooth.

Leaving all four judges on their feet, the Frenchman couldn't contain his happiness as the crowd raised the roof with their booming cheers following his performance – which included him playing the electric guitar.

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Stealing the show: Hopeful Kevin Davy White stole the show with his rendition of Santana ft. Rob Thomas' 1999 hit Smooth

Stealing the show: Hopeful Kevin Davy White stole the show with his rendition of Santana ft. Rob Thomas' 1999 hit Smooth

Left speechless, Sharon exclaimed over the roaring cheers: 'You are a class act. Oh my Lord, you took this whole thing into a while new direction… unbelievably cool. Took my breath away.

While Louis added: 'It was smooth, it was cool. For me you are the real deal, a class act and probably the act.'

Despite wowing the judges, Simon couldn't help but jeer his mentor Nicole, insisting: 'I remember someone on my right being a bit sulky when they got this category.

Before continuing: 'I just loved every moment of it it was authentic and you Kevin as a person, there's something really kind about you, something really good, this show needs people like you.

'For me this was your best performance of the entire competition.'

Standing ovation: The performance left all four judges - Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne, Nicole Scherzinger and Simon Cowell - on their feetStanding ovation: The performance left all four judges - Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne, Nicole Scherzinger and Simon Cowell - on their feet

Standing ovation: The performance left all four judges – Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne, Nicole Scherzinger and Simon Cowell – on their feet

Electric: The Frenchman couldn't contain his happiness as the crowd raised the roof with their booming cheers following his performance - which included him playing the electric guitarElectric: The Frenchman couldn't contain his happiness as the crowd raised the roof with their booming cheers following his performance - which included him playing the electric guitar

Electric: The Frenchman couldn't contain his happiness as the crowd raised the roof with their booming cheers following his performance – which included him playing the electric guitar

Speechless: Left speechless, Sharon exclaimed over the roaring cheers: 'You are a class act. Oh my Lord, you took this whole thing into a while new direction... unbelievably cool. Took my breath awaySpeechless: Left speechless, Sharon exclaimed over the roaring cheers: 'You are a class act. Oh my Lord, you took this whole thing into a while new direction... unbelievably cool. Took my breath away

Speechless: Left speechless, Sharon exclaimed over the roaring cheers: 'You are a class act. Oh my Lord, you took this whole thing into a while new direction… unbelievably cool. Took my breath away

Kicking off the show was last week's prize fright champion Grace Davies, who wowed the crowd with British artist Anne-Marie's Ciao Adios.

Showcasing her dance moves, the blonde – who admitted she wanted 'to have fun on the stage' – got the crowd on their feet with the uptempo number.

Despite leaving mentor Sharon Osbourne on her feet, the Blackburn's cover didn't completely satisfy judges Nicole Scherzinger, Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh.

Nicole shared: 'Wow Grace, what a great way to open the show today. Fart, I didn't know I was first, I love that song.

'For me, I would have loved to have see you enjoy it more… you sounded amazing'

Smooth: While Louis added: 'It was smooth, it was cool. For me you are the real deal, a class act and probably the act' Smooth: While Louis added: 'It was smooth, it was cool. For me you are the real deal, a class act and probably the act' 

Smooth: While Louis added: 'It was smooth, it was cool. For me you are the real deal, a class act and probably the act'

Getting the party started: Kicking off the show was last week's prize fright champion Grace Davies, who wowed the crowd with British artist Anne-Marie's Ciao AdiosGetting the party started: Kicking off the show was last week's prize fright champion Grace Davies, who wowed the crowd with British artist Anne-Marie's Ciao Adios

Getting the party started: Kicking off the show was last week's prize fright champion Grace Davies, who wowed the crowd with British artist Anne-Marie's Ciao Adios

Hitting the right notes: Showcasing her dance moves, the blonde - who admitted she wanted 'to have fun on the stage' - got the crowd on their feet with the uptempo number.Hitting the right notes: Showcasing her dance moves, the blonde - who admitted she wanted 'to have fun on the stage' - got the crowd on their feet with the uptempo number.

Hitting the right notes: Showcasing her dance moves, the blonde – who admitted she wanted 'to have fun on the stage' – got the crowd on their feet with the uptempo number.

Satisfaction: Despite leaving mentor Sharon Osbourne on her feet, the Blackburn's cover didn't completely satisfy judges Nicole Scherzinger, Simon Cowell and Louis WalshSatisfaction: Despite leaving mentor Sharon Osbourne on her feet, the Blackburn's cover didn't completely satisfy judges Nicole Scherzinger, Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh

Satisfaction: Despite leaving mentor Sharon Osbourne on her feet, the Blackburn's cover didn't completely satisfy judges Nicole Scherzinger, Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh

While Simon first commented on her performance the previous week, he added that it wasn't her at 'her best' but was happy to see her versatility.

'I wanted to say how much I loved your performance,' he began. 'This is not you at your best, I think you showed you had fun. I still think you're going to be here next week but it was nice to see that side of you.'

However, Louis gushed: 'I love it. It's the sign of a true artist… for me it was perfect.'

As her mentor Sharon added: 'You sailed through it, you're always at ease. It makes us at ease… I thoroughly enjoyed your personality and it was fun.'

Versatility: While Simon first commented on her performance the previous week, he added that it wasn't her at 'her best' but was happy to see her versatilityVersatility: While Simon first commented on her performance the previous week, he added that it wasn't her at 'her best' but was happy to see her versatility

Versatility: While Simon first commented on her performance the previous week, he added that it wasn't her at 'her best' but was happy to see her versatility

Wow: Next up for the Overs was Tracy Leanne Jefford with Jennifer Lopez's Ain't Your MamaWow: Next up for the Overs was Tracy Leanne Jefford with Jennifer Lopez's Ain't Your Mama

Wow: Next up for the Overs was Tracy Leanne Jefford with Jennifer Lopez's Ain't Your Mama

Next up for the Overs was Tracy Leanne Jefford with Jennifer Lopez's Ain't Your Mama.

Looking sensational, the mother-of-two – who was visited by her two children -donned a strapless jumpsuit with gold button detail and front leg slits as she belted out the pop hit.

Impressing the judges, Sharon gushed: 'Tracy Leanne, I love your sassy-ness, I love your spirit. You bring so much to the stage everytime. I love the song choice.'

While Louis added: 'You are living the dream and everytime I meet you back behind the stage you can't believe your here… it worked for me.'

Chic: Looking sensational, the mother-of-two - who was visited by her two children -donned a strapless jumpsuit with gold button detail and front leg slits as she belted out the pop hitChic: Looking sensational, the mother-of-two - who was visited by her two children -donned a strapless jumpsuit with gold button detail and front leg slits as she belted out the pop hit

Chic: Looking sensational, the mother-of-two – who was visited by her two children -donned a strapless jumpsuit with gold button detail and front leg slits as she belted out the pop hit

Sass: Impressing the judges, Sharon gushed: 'Tracy Leanne, I love your sassy-ness, I love your spirit. You bring so much to the stage everytime. I love the song choice'Sass: Impressing the judges, Sharon gushed: 'Tracy Leanne, I love your sassy-ness, I love your spirit. You bring so much to the stage everytime. I love the song choice'

Sass: Impressing the judges, Sharon gushed: 'Tracy Leanne, I love your sassy-ness, I love your spirit. You bring so much to the stage everytime. I love the song choice'

Respect: Before Simon added: 'I have a lot of respect and admiration for you. Without going into too much to know what you've gone through... you come out here and that's why I use the word respect. 'You had presence tonight, this has gone way better than I thought for you'Respect: Before Simon added: 'I have a lot of respect and admiration for you. Without going into too much to know what you've gone through... you come out here and that's why I use the word respect. 'You had presence tonight, this has gone way better than I thought for you'

Respect: Before Simon added: 'I have a lot of respect and admiration for you. Without going into too much to know what you've gone through… you come out here and that's why I use the word respect. 'You had presence tonight, this has gone way better than I thought for you'

Before Simon added: 'I have a lot of respect and admiration for you. Without going into too much to know what you've gone through… you come out here and that's why I use the word respect.

'You had presence tonight, this has gone way better than I thought for you.'

However, her mentor Nicole appeared to well up with pride for her spectacular performance as she insisted she's an 'inspiration'.

'I'm so proud of you, you relate to so many women out there,' she said. 'You put your dreams aside for your children and we get to go on that journey with you.

Hopeful: Girls hopeful Rai- Elle Williams performed Sean Paul's Bailando which left both Sharon and Nicole on their feetHopeful: Girls hopeful Rai- Elle Williams performed Sean Paul's Bailando which left both Sharon and Nicole on their feet

Hopeful: Girls hopeful Rai- Elle Williams performed Sean Paul's Bailando which left both Sharon and Nicole on their feet

Thrilled: Speaking as she gave her a standing ovation, Poison hitmaker Nicole shared: 'Give it to us again, that's what this weekend is all about. That was so good, you made us work up a sweat watching you. You're a little star baby girl'Thrilled: Speaking as she gave her a standing ovation, Poison hitmaker Nicole shared: 'Give it to us again, that's what this weekend is all about. That was so good, you made us work up a sweat watching you. You're a little star baby girl'Thrilled: Speaking as she gave her a standing ovation, Poison hitmaker Nicole shared: 'Give it to us again, that's what this weekend is all about. That was so good, you made us work up a sweat watching you. You're a little star baby girl'Thrilled: Speaking as she gave her a standing ovation, Poison hitmaker Nicole shared: 'Give it to us again, that's what this weekend is all about. That was so good, you made us work up a sweat watching you. You're a little star baby girl'

Thrilled: Speaking as she gave her a standing ovation, Poison hitmaker Nicole shared: 'Give it to us again, that's what this weekend is all about. That was so good, you made us work up a sweat watching you. You're a little star baby girl'

Sunshine: And her mentor Sharon weighed in: 'What kind I say because they've all said it for me. You're a ray of sunshine'Sunshine: And her mentor Sharon weighed in: 'What kind I say because they've all said it for me. You're a ray of sunshine'

Sunshine: And her mentor Sharon weighed in: 'What kind I say because they've all said it for me. You're a ray of sunshine'

'Your such an inspiration to women out there and I'm so proud to have you on my team.'

Girls hopeful Rai- Elle Williams performed Sean Paul's Bailando which left both Sharon and Nicole on their feet.

Speaking as she gave her a standing ovation, Poison hitmaker Nicole shared: 'Give it to us again, that's what this weekend is all about. That was so good, you made us work up a sweat watching you. You're a little star baby girl'.

While music manager Louis added: 'Nobody gives more than you… you've got it all going on.'

Absent from last week's festivities, Simon said: 'I thought you were amazing last week and didn't get enough credit. You got this, this is music is in the charts… You've embraced it week after week… everything I love about you.

Happy: Meanwhile, teenager Hollie Tandy performed smash hit Despacito which tested her linguistic skillsHappy: Meanwhile, teenager Hollie Tandy performed smash hit Despacito which tested her linguistic skills

Happy: Meanwhile, teenager Hollie Tandy performed smash hit Despacito which tested her linguistic skills

'Love': Leaving Nicole stunned, the popstar commented: 'Are you sure you're from Yorkshire? Are you sure yo're not from Puerto Rico? That whole song was in Spanish. I love that song''Love': Leaving Nicole stunned, the popstar commented: 'Are you sure you're from Yorkshire? Are you sure yo're not from Puerto Rico? That whole song was in Spanish. I love that song''Love': Leaving Nicole stunned, the popstar commented: 'Are you sure you're from Yorkshire? Are you sure yo're not from Puerto Rico? That whole song was in Spanish. I love that song''Love': Leaving Nicole stunned, the popstar commented: 'Are you sure you're from Yorkshire? Are you sure yo're not from Puerto Rico? That whole song was in Spanish. I love that song'

'Love': Leaving Nicole stunned, the popstar commented: 'Are you sure you're from Yorkshire? Are you sure yo're not from Puerto Rico? That whole song was in Spanish. I love that song'

And her mentor Sharon weighed in: 'What kind I say because they've all said it for me. You're a ray of sunshine.'

Meanwhile, teenager Hollie Tandy performed smash hit Despacito which tested her linguistic skills.

Leaving Nicole stunned, the popstar commented: 'Are you sure you're from Yorkshire? Are you sure yo're not from Puerto Rico? That whole song was in Spanish. I love that song.'

While music mogul Simon left Hollie reeling as he began his comments 'I'm going to be honest' before praising for her song choice.

Having fun: While music mogul Simon left Hollie reeling as he began his comments 'I'm going to be honest' before praising for her song choiceHaving fun: While music mogul Simon left Hollie reeling as he began his comments 'I'm going to be honest' before praising for her song choice

Having fun: While music mogul Simon left Hollie reeling as he began his comments 'I'm going to be honest' before praising for her song choice

Best: 'Last week, I thought you were good not great,' he said. 'This song has done so much for you... This was one of the best tonight'Best: 'Last week, I thought you were good not great,' he said. 'This song has done so much for you... This was one of the best tonight'

Best: 'Last week, I thought you were good not great,' he said. 'This song has done so much for you… This was one of the best tonight'

'Last week, I thought you were good not great,' he said. 'This song has done so much for you… This was one of the best tonight'.

Wowing the judges with her energetic performance of Jennifer Lopez's Let's Get Loud, Alisah Bonaobra showed her feisty side in a sequin mini dress.

Nicole commented: 'You become this fierce beast, wild animal on the stage. You shut it down tonight, you're a little firecracker.' Louis was left stunned: 'Amazing energy tonight… it was fantastic'.

However, Simon wasn't completely impressed by her high-octane performance as he received boos for his commentary about wanting to find out who she wants to be as an artist.

All that glitters: Wowing the judges with her energetic performance of Jennifer Lopez's Let's Get Loud, Alisah Bonaobra showed her feisty side in a sequin mini dressAll that glitters: Wowing the judges with her energetic performance of Jennifer Lopez's Let's Get Loud, Alisah Bonaobra showed her feisty side in a sequin mini dress

All that glitters: Wowing the judges with her energetic performance of Jennifer Lopez's Let's Get Loud, Alisah Bonaobra showed her feisty side in a sequin mini dress

Firecracker: Nicole commented: 'You become this fierce beast, wild animal on the stage. You shut it down tonight, you're a little firecracker.' Louis was left stunned: 'Amazing energy tonight... it was fantastic'Firecracker: Nicole commented: 'You become this fierce beast, wild animal on the stage. You shut it down tonight, you're a little firecracker.' Louis was left stunned: 'Amazing energy tonight... it was fantastic'

Firecracker: Nicole commented: 'You become this fierce beast, wild animal on the stage. You shut it down tonight, you're a little firecracker.' Louis was left stunned: 'Amazing energy tonight… it was fantastic'

Criticism: However, Simon wasn't completely impressed by her high-octane performance as he received boos for his commentary about wanting to find out who she wants to be as an artistCriticism: However, Simon wasn't completely impressed by her high-octane performance as he received boos for his commentary about wanting to find out who she wants to be as an artist

Criticism: However, Simon wasn't completely impressed by her high-octane performance as he received boos for his commentary about wanting to find out who she wants to be as an artist

Closing the show, Matt Linnen performed Ricky Martin classic Livin’ La Vida Loca much to Sharon's delight as she explained: 'I'm so happy somebody covered that song this weekend. I think it worked really well.'

'It was a bit of a risk this week,' Louis added. 'It looked like Tom Hardy singing a Ricky Martin, you'll get the women's vote at home.'

Once again, Simon shared his distaste but this time for Matt's production of performing in a box which left Nicole red-faced.

Nicole hit back: 'Ladies, were you looking at the box? That's called being creative and being artistic and he's breaking through that box.'

Rounding up: Closing the show, Matt Linnen performed Ricky Martin classic Livin’ La Vida Loca much to Sharon's delight as she explained: 'I'm so happy somebody covered that song this weekend. I think it worked really well'Rounding up: Closing the show, Matt Linnen performed Ricky Martin classic Livin’ La Vida Loca much to Sharon's delight as she explained: 'I'm so happy somebody covered that song this weekend. I think it worked really well'

Rounding up: Closing the show, Matt Linnen performed Ricky Martin classic Livin’ La Vida Loca much to Sharon's delight as she explained: 'I'm so happy somebody covered that song this weekend. I think it worked really well'

Lookalike: 'It was a bit of a risk this week,' Louis added. 'It looked like Tom Hardy singing a Ricky Martin, you'll get the women's vote at home'Lookalike: 'It was a bit of a risk this week,' Louis added. 'It looked like Tom Hardy singing a Ricky Martin, you'll get the women's vote at home'

Lookalike: 'It was a bit of a risk this week,' Louis added. 'It looked like Tom Hardy singing a Ricky Martin, you'll get the women's vote at home'

Sunday night's show saw Rak-Su and overs' Kevin Davy White going head-to-head to win this week's prize – a studio session with hitmaker Savan Kotecha.

After performing their original track Dimelo, the four-piece chatted to show host Dermot O'Leary and were thrilled with their effort.

The shared: 'Even better the second time around, even Simon was clapping.'

Following their energetic performance, Frenchman Kevin sang his heart out again to Smooth which left his mentor Nicole Scherzinger dancing and singing along as he impressed with his guitar playing skills.

While Rak-Su's hit was riding high in the iTunes chart, it was Kevin who ended up winning over the public and earning the money-can't-buy prize.

Energy: Sunday night's show saw Rak-Su and overs' Kevin Davy White going head-to-head to win this week's prize - a studio session with hitmaker Savan KotechaEnergy: Sunday night's show saw Rak-Su and overs' Kevin Davy White going head-to-head to win this week's prize - a studio session with hitmaker Savan Kotecha

Energy: Sunday night's show saw Rak-Su and overs' Kevin Davy White going head-to-head to win this week's prize – a studio session with hitmaker Savan Kotecha

Sunday night's show comes after Simon was forced to bow out of the X Factor's first live shows last weekend after he fell down the stairs at his London mansion and suffered a concussion.

Although on the mend following his terrifying slip, the 58-year-old couldn't escape being the butt of numerous jokes on Saturday night's show as host Dermot O'Leary, 44, playfully teased him about his accident.

After introducing the judges to their seats and asking them about this week's Viva Latino theme, Dermot hilariously mocked Simon about his fall as he asked him to introduce his first act, Jack and Joel, to the stage.

What a tease: Simon Cowell, 58, couldn't escape being the butt of numerous jokes on Saturday night's show as host Dermot O'Leary, 44, playfully teased him about his accidentWhat a tease: Simon Cowell, 58, couldn't escape being the butt of numerous jokes on Saturday night's show as host Dermot O'Leary, 44, playfully teased him about his accident

What a tease: Simon Cowell, 58, couldn't escape being the butt of numerous jokes on Saturday night's show as host Dermot O'Leary, 44, playfully teased him about his accident

Introducing the music mogul, Dermot made a cheeky reference to noughties band and his recent slip in a quip: 'He's a big fan of music but for some reason recently he's really gone off Steps? Don't know why though'.

But Simon took it all in his stride as he replied smiling: 'I was waiting for that'.

Later chatting to the judge, Dermot teased Simon once-again as he shared: 'After the week he had, he's really just wishing that he lived in a bungalow.'

Joking: After introducing the judges to their seats and asking them about this week's Viva Latino theme, Dermot hilariously mocked Simon about his fall as he asked him to introduce his first act, Jack and Joel, to the stageJoking: After introducing the judges to their seats and asking them about this week's Viva Latino theme, Dermot hilariously mocked Simon about his fall as he asked him to introduce his first act, Jack and Joel, to the stage

Joking: After introducing the judges to their seats and asking them about this week's Viva Latino theme, Dermot hilariously mocked Simon about his fall as he asked him to introduce his first act, Jack and Joel, to the stage

Previous: Britain's Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon was ushered in as a replacement mentor last Sunday with the last-minute manoeuvre caming after Simon fell down the stairs and got a concussion - sparking 'panic' among contestantsPrevious: Britain's Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon was ushered in as a replacement mentor last Sunday with the last-minute manoeuvre caming after Simon fell down the stairs and got a concussion - sparking 'panic' among contestants

Previous: Britain's Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon was ushered in as a replacement mentor last Sunday with the last-minute manoeuvre caming after Simon fell down the stairs and got a concussion – sparking 'panic' among contestants

Unimpressed this time around, the father-of-one asked: 'Is there going to be a joke like this everytime?' To which Dermot playfully nodded.

Meanwhile, Cowell's return comes after he dramatically missed last weekend's debut live shows after falling down the stairs in his London mansion and suffering a concussion.

And on Friday the music mogul was pictured reprising his judging role while sporting a faded bruise on his neck as he gave his category, the Groups, some words of advice during rehearsals.

The star was stretchered out of his London mansion to hospital in a neck brace after the accident while going to get a cup of hot milk to help him fall asleep.

Back to full health: The star was stretchered out of his London mansion to hospital in a neck brace after the accident while going to get a cup of hot milk to help him fall asleep. He looked dazed as he arrived home that afternoon, looking slightly dishevelled in tracksuit bottoms and trainersBack to full health: The star was stretchered out of his London mansion to hospital in a neck brace after the accident while going to get a cup of hot milk to help him fall asleep. He looked dazed as he arrived home that afternoon, looking slightly dishevelled in tracksuit bottoms and trainers

Back to full health: The star was stretchered out of his London mansion to hospital in a neck brace after the accident while going to get a cup of hot milk to help him fall asleep. He looked dazed as he arrived home that afternoon, looking slightly dishevelled in tracksuit bottoms and trainers

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Australia

Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms

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The pilot of a seaplane that crashed into an Australian river, killing all on board, had been left confused and disorientated by leaking exhaust fumes, investigators have confirmed.

The Canadian pilot and five members of a British family died in the crash north of Sydney in December 2017.

All were found to have higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, a final report has found.

It recommended the mandatory fitting of gas detectors in all such planes.

British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his 48-year-old fiancée, magazine editor Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44. Mr Cousins was the chief executive of catering giant Compass.

The family had been on a sightseeing flight in the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver plane when it nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at Jerusalem Bay, about 50km (30 miles) from the city centre.

The final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) confirmed the findings of an interim report published in 2020.

It said pre-existing cracks in the exhaust collector ring were believed to have released exhaust gas into the engine bay. Holes left by missing bolts in a firewall then allowed the fumes to enter the cabin.

“As a result, the pilot would have almost certainly experienced effects such as confusion, visual disturbance and disorientation,” the report said.

“Consequently, it was likely that this significantly degraded the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”

The ATSB recommended the Civil Aviation Safety Authority consider mandating the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors in piston-engine aircraft that carry passengers.

It previously issued safety advisory notices to owners and operators of such aircraft that they install detectors “with an active warning” to pilots”. Operators and maintainers of planes were also advised to carry out detailed inspections of exhaust systems and firewalls.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55862128

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Australia

Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official

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Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official.

The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July.

Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy made the prediction after being asked about the coronavirus’ escalation in other nations.

Dr Murphy spearheaded Australia’s early action to close its borders last March.

“I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.

“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.

Citizens, permanent residents and those with exemptions are allowed to enter Australia if they complete a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Qantas – Australia’s national carrier – reopened bookings earlier this month, after saying it expected international travel to “begin to restart from July 2021.”

However, it added this depended on the Australian government’s deciding to reopen borders.

Australia’s tight restrictions

The country opened a travel bubble with neighbouring New Zealand late last year, but currently it only operates one-way with inbound flights to Australia.

Australia has also discussed the option of travel bubbles with other low-risk places such as Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.

A vaccination scheme is due to begin in Australia in late February. Local authorities have resisted calls to speed up the process, giving more time for regulatory approvals.

Australia has so far reported 909 deaths and about 22,000 cases, far fewer than many nations. It reported zero locally transmitted infections on Monday.

Experts have attributed much of Australia’s success to its swift border lockdown – which affected travellers from China as early as February – and a hotel quarantine system for people entering the country.

Local outbreaks have been caused by hotel quarantine breaches, including a second wave in Melbourne. The city’s residents endured a stringent four-month lockdown last year to successfully suppress the virus.

Other outbreaks – including one in Sydney which has infected about 200 people – prompted internal border closures between states, and other restrictions around Christmas time.

The state of Victoria said on Monday it would again allow entry to Sydney residents outside of designated “hotspots”, following a decline in cases.

While the measures have been praised, many have also criticised them for separating families across state borders and damaging businesses.

Dr Murphy said overall Australia’s virus response had been “pretty good” but he believed the nation could have introduced face masks earlier and improved its protections in aged care homes.

In recent days, Australia has granted entry to about 1,200 tennis players, staff and officials for the Australian Open. The contingent – which has recorded at least nine infections – is under quarantine.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55699581

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Covid: Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown over single infection

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The Australian city of Brisbane has begun a snap three-day lockdown after a cleaner in its hotel quarantine system became infected with coronavirus.

Health officials said the cleaner had the highly transmissible UK variant and they were afraid it could spread.

Brisbane has seen very few cases of the virus beyond quarantined travellers since Australia’s first wave last year.

It is the first known instance of this variant entering the Australian community outside of hotel quarantine.

The lockdown is for five populous council areas in Queensland’s state capital.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the measure on Friday morning local time, about 16 hours after the woman tested positive.

Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown aimed to halt the virus as rapidly as possible, adding: “Doing three days now could avoid doing 30 days in the future.”

“I think everybody in Queensland… knows what we are seeing in the UK and other places around the world is high rates of infection from this particular strain,” she said.

“And we do not want to see that happening here in our great state.”

Australia has reported 28,500 coronavirus infections and 909 deaths since the pandemic began. By contrast, the US, which is the hardest-hit country, has recorded more than 21 million infections while nearly 362,000 people have died of the disease.The lockdown will begin at 18:00 on Friday (08:00 GMT) in the Brisbane city, Logan and the Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands local government areas.

Residents will only be allowed to leave home for certain reasons, such as buying essential items and seeking medical care.

For the first time, residents in those areas will also be required to wear masks outside of their homes.

Australia has faced sporadic outbreaks over the past year, with the most severe one in Melbourne triggering a lockdown for almost four months.

A pre-Christmas outbreak in Sydney caused fresh alarm, but aggressive testing and contact-tracing has kept infection numbers low. The city recorded four local cases on Friday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has pledged to start mass vaccinations in February instead of March as was planned.

Lockdown interrupts ‘near normal’ life in Brisbane

Simon Atkinson, BBC News in Brisbane

At 8:00 today I popped to the local supermarket for some bread, milk – and because it’s summer here – a mango. I was pretty much the only customer.

When I went past the same shop a couple of hours later it was a different story – 50 people standing in the drizzle – queuing to get inside as others emerged with bulging shopping bags. “Heaps busier than Christmas,” a cheery trolley attendant told me. “It’s off the scale”.

Despite the “don’t panic” messages from authorities, pictures on social media show it’s a pattern being repeated across the city.

While shutdowns are common around the world, the tough and sudden stay-at-home order for Brisbane has caught people on the hop here after months of near normality.

But while such a rapid, hard lockdown off the back of just a single case of Covid-19 will seem crazy in some parts of the world, I’ve not come across too many people complaining.

And I don’t think that’s just because Aussies love to follow a rule. This is the first time the UK variant of the virus has been detected in the community in Australia.

And nobody here wants Brisbane to go through what Melbourne suffered last year. Even if it means going without mangoes.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55582836

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