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Trump’s life in the White House revealed

Trump and Steve Bannon used to be so close they'd have dinner nearly every evening, according t..

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  • Trump and Steve Bannon used to be so close they'd have dinner nearly every evening, according to book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House
  • If the two former friends weren't dining at 6:30 pm, Trump would retire to the residence, where he allegedly ate cheeseburgers from bed
  • Sometimes he would be watching three television screens while ranting about the media in phone calls to friends
  • Author Michael Wolff claims that Trump added a lock to his bedroom door in the early days of the administration and screamed at housekeeping staff
  • Trump unloaded on Bannon Wednesday, though, after the former White House strategist dissed his son and son-in-law in the book

By Francesca Chambers, White House Correspondent For Dailymail.com

Published: 17:49 EST, 3 January 2018 | Updated: 05:21 EST, 4 January 2018

President Donald Trump and former chief strategist Steve Bannon used to be so close they'd have dinner nearly every evening, an explosive new book about Trump's first year in office reveals.

If the two former friends weren't dining at 6:30 pm, Trump would retire to the residence, where he allegedly ate cheeseburgers from bed, sometimes watching three television screens while ranting about the media in phone calls to friends.

Author Michael Wolff claims that Trump added a lock to his bedroom door in the early days of the administration to the chagrin of Secret Service and screamed at housekeeping staff who tidied up after him.

Author Michael Wolff claims that President Donald Trump would retire to the residence to eat cheeseburgers from bed, sometimes watching three televisions as he ranted about the media in phone calls to friends

Author Michael Wolff claims that President Donald Trump would retire to the residence to eat cheeseburgers from bed, sometimes watching three televisions as he ranted about the media in phone calls to friends

'If my shirt is on the floor, it’s because I want it on the floor,' Trump allegedly said.

Wolff writes in 'Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House' that Trump told staff not to touch anything – especially not his toothbrush – as he's notoriously afraid of being poisoned.

He would even strip his own bed and let housekeeping know when he wanted his sheets washed, Wolff says in a set of unsourced claims.

Trump 'eats McDonald's because he fears being poisoned'

President Donald Trump's taste for McDonald's goes deeper than a liking for cheap meat, he prefers it because he fears being poisoned, according to an explosive new book about his first year in office.

Michael Wolff writes one of the reasons the president prefers fast food is that no one knows he is coming to the establishment, and the food is, presumably, safely premade.

In his first days at the White House, a paranoid president gave a very specific order that the housekeeping staff touch nothing in his room, 'especially not his toothbrush.'

An excerpt of Wolff's book ran on Wednesday in New York Magazine as other tidbits began to leak elsewhere in news publications that obtained advance copies.

Wolff writes that Trump was often the source of the embarrassing information that was later printed about him, complaining day and night on the phone to people he should not have trusted.

'He was a river of grievances, which recipients of his calls promptly spread to the ever-attentive media,' Wolff's excerpt says.

In one call, on Feb. 6, Trump complained about New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman – 'a nut job- columnist Gail Collins – 'a moron' – and CNN chief Jeff Zucker, who he said was 'made by Trump.'

Trump also complained about a Time magazine cover that branded Steve Bannon the shadow president.

'How much influence do you think Steve Bannon has over me?' Trump allegedly said. 'Zero! Zero!'

The president berated his son-in-law Jared Kushner in the same vein during the 26-minute call, the acquaintance of Trump supposedly told Wolff.

Wolff writes that Trump was often the source of the embarrassing information that was later printed about him, complaining day and night on the phone to people he should not have trusted. Trump is seen here on the phone early on his administration in the Oval OfficeWolff writes that Trump was often the source of the embarrassing information that was later printed about him, complaining day and night on the phone to people he should not have trusted. Trump is seen here on the phone early on his administration in the Oval Office

Wolff writes that Trump was often the source of the embarrassing information that was later printed about him, complaining day and night on the phone to people he should not have trusted. Trump is seen here on the phone early on his administration in the Oval Office

President Donald Trump and former chief strategist Steve Bannon used to be so close they'd have dinner nearly evening, an explosive new book about Trump's first year in office reveals. Trump unloaded on Bannon today, though, after the former White House strategist dissed his son and son-in-law President Donald Trump and former chief strategist Steve Bannon used to be so close they'd have dinner nearly evening, an explosive new book about Trump's first year in office reveals. Trump unloaded on Bannon today, though, after the former White House strategist dissed his son and son-in-law 

President Donald Trump and former chief strategist Steve Bannon used to be so close they'd have dinner nearly evening, an explosive new book about Trump's first year in office reveals. Trump unloaded on Bannon today, though, after the former White House strategist dissed his son and son-in-law

Secrets of Trump's hair revealed – by Ivanka!

The color of the president's hair, described in the book as an orange-blond, is from Trump not leaving Just For Men in long enoughThe color of the president's hair, described in the book as an orange-blond, is from Trump not leaving Just For Men in long enough

The color of the president's hair, described in the book as an orange-blond, is from Trump not leaving Just For Men in long enough

Ivanka Trump has spilled the beans to her friends on how her father's unusual hairstyle came to be, author Michael Wolff's new book reveals.

'She often described the mechanics behind it to friends: an absolutely clean pate – a contained island after scalp-reduction surgery – surrounded by a furry circle of hair around the sides and front, from which all ends are drawn up to meet in the center and then swept back and security by a stiffening spray,' Wolff wrote.

The book also claims that the president, at age 71, is no longer a natural blond.

'The color, she would point out in comical effect, was from a product called Just for Men – the longer it was left on, the darker it got,' Wolff said.

Just for Men is usually used to hide gray hairs.

'Impatience resulted in Trump's orange-blond hair color,' the forthcoming book, entitled 'Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,' said.

After the excerpt ran, Trump issued an extraordinary statement bashing Bannon, who went on the record to Wolff.

Trump's White House press secretary sent out a statement of her own that called the book 'trashy tabloid fiction' full of 'false and misleading accounts' after the president's longtime consigliere was quoted trashing Donald Trump Jr. and claiming his father would have immediately been made aware of an infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russians.

Bannon claimed a Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer, supposedly to obtain unflattering information about Hillary Clinton, was 'treasonous' and 'unpatriotic,' prompting an unprecedented brushback of the former White House aide from the president.

'Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency,' Trump said in a statement provided by the White House that torches his former chief strategist. 'When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.'

Trump's press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, then told reporters that the president was 'furious' and 'disgusted' by Bannon's assault on the president's son and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who also attended the Trump Tower meeting.

The White House's full-scale attack on Bannon, who was once one of Trump's top advisers, was ripe with personal slights, exposing a dramatic rift between the president and the conservative provocateur who is also the Breitbart News executive chairman.

It followed Bannon's comments undercutting the president's eldest son and a suggestion that Donald Trump was involved in the 2016 meeting with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer that Bannon is now quoted as saying should have been reported to the FBI.

Ivanka and Jared Kushner have a Clinton-style pact that SHE will run for president

The president's elder daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner are said to have a pact that she will run for president if the opportunity arises, in a pact reminiscent of the Clintons

Wolff also writes that Trump believes that Kushner is a 'suck-up' and has griped that the couple shouldn't have moved to Washington.

In the chapter of the book that ran on Wednesday, Wolff says, among other things, of Jared and Ivanka that they took West Wing jobs, working for Ivanka's father, 'over the advice of almost everyone they knew.'

'It was a joint decision by the couple, and, in some sense, a joint job,' the excerpt states. 'Between themselves, the two had made an earnest deal: If sometime in the future the opportunity arose, she’d be the one to run for president.'

Wolff states, 'The first woman president, Ivanka entertained, would not be Hillary Clinton; it would be Ivanka Trump.'

The proposal, which was not directly sourced to anyone, elicited horror from foe Steve Bannon, who the author did interview.

'Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican Party,' Trump said. 'Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn't as easy as I make it look.'

Trump said Bannon 'doesn't represent my base, he's only in it for himself' and 'had very little to do' with his victory, but 'everything to do' with the loss of the Alabama Senate seat.

The cutting statement went on to say, 'Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was.'

Bannon backed losing candidate Roy Moore, who Trump ultimately campaigned for in the special election after claiming the Republican would have a tough time winning the general election and endorsing his primary opponent.

Sanders said Wednesday that the loss contributed to the falling out between the president, who last spoke to Bannon sometime in early December.

Accusing the president's son of treason is also not a way to 'curry favor' with Trump, she stated, calling the allegation 'ridiculous.'

'I think there are a number of factors that played in,' she told DailyMail.com. 'I would certainly think that going after the president's son and an absolutely outrageous and unprecedented way, is probably not the best way to curry favor with anybody.'

'Steve Bannon not only lost his job, he lost his mind': Trump rains fire and fury as ex-aide claims there is 'zero chance' Don Jr didn't introduce Russians to his father

President Donald Trump issued an extraordinary statement bashing former top advisor Steve Bannon after the president's longtime consigliere was quoted trashing Donald Trump Jr. and claiming his father would have immediately been made aware of an infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russians.

Bannon claimed a Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer, supposedly to obtain unflattering information about Hillary Clinton, was 'treasonous' and 'unpatriotic,' prompting an unprecedented brushback of the former White House aide from the president.

'Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency,' Trump said in a statement provided by the White House that torches his former chief strategist. 'When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.'

Steve Bannon, chairman of Breitbart News Network LLC, speaks during a campaign rally for Roy Moore, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from AlabamaSteve Bannon, chairman of Breitbart News Network LLC, speaks during a campaign rally for Roy Moore, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Alabama

Steve Bannon, chairman of Breitbart News Network LLC, speaks during a campaign rally for Roy Moore, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Alabama

Trump's press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, then told reporters that the president was 'furious' and 'disgusted' by Bannon's assault on the president's son and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who also attended the Trump Tower meeting.

And late on Wednesday evening, attorneys for Trump issued a cease and desist letter to Bannon threatening legal action.

Trump attorney Charles Harder said in a statement: 'This law firm represents President Donald J. Trump and Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.

'On behalf of our clients, legal notice was issued today to Stephen K. Bannon, that his actions of communicating with author Michael Wolff regarding an upcoming book give rise to numerous legal claims including defamation by libel and slander, and breach of his written confidentiality and non-disparagement agreement with our clients. Legal action is imminent.'

The cease and desist letter reads in part: 'You [Bannon] have breached the Agreement by, among other things, communicating with author Michael Wolff about Mr. Trump, his family members, and the Company [the campaign], disclosing Confidential Information to Mr. Wolff, and making disparaging statements and in some cases outright defamatory statements to Mr. Wolff about Mr. Trump, his family members.'

The White House's full-scale attack on Bannon, who was once one of Trump's top advisers, was ripe with personal slights, exposing a dramatic rift between the president and the conservative provocateur who is also the Breitbart News executive chairman.

It followed Bannon's comments undercutting the president's eldest son and a suggestion that Donald Trump was involved in the 2016 meeting with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer that Bannon is now quoted as saying should have been reported to the FBI.

'Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican Party,' Trump said. 'Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn't as easy as I make it look.'

Trump said Bannon 'doesn't represent my base, he's only in it for himself' and 'had very little to do' with his victory, but 'everything to do' with the loss of the Alabama Senate seat.

The cutting statement went on to say, 'Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was.'

Bannon backed losing candidate Roy Moore, who Trump ultimately campaigned for in the special election after claiming the Republican would have a tough time winning the general election and endorsing his primary opponent.

Sanders said Wednesday that the loss contributed to the falling out between the president, who last spoke to Bannon sometime in early December.

Accusing the president's son of treason is also not a way to 'curry favor' with Trump, she stated, calling the allegation 'ridiculous.'

'I think there are a number of factors that played in,' she told DailyMail.com. 'I would certainly think that going after the president's son and an absolutely outrageous and unprecedented way, is probably not the best way to curry favor with anybody.'

After the press briefing former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whose wife Callista is U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, walked through a press work space on his way to a Fox News interview.

'Bannon has no contingent,' he told DailyMail.com and another reporter ripping into the former White House aide. 'There's a Trump wing of the Republican Party. There's not a Bannon wing.'

The White House had also rejected the notion that feud would weaken Trump's base.

'The base and the people that supported this president supported the president and supported his agenda, those things haven't changed,' Sanders said at her briefing. 'The president still exactly who he was yesterday as he was two years ago when he started out on the campaign trail.'

Trump's spokeswoman said, 'Look at all he's accomplished, I think they're pretty happy with where he is.'

President Trump had also sought to discredit Bannon, considered to have a played a key role in shaping his own victory.

'Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books,' the president said.

The blast came just hours after Bannon was revealed to have called the infamous June 2016 meeting between top Trump campaign officials and Russians 'treasonous.'

Further, Bannon expressed certainty that then-candidate Donald Trump would have been made aware of the meeting at the time – a claim that, if verified, could play into a collusion narrative being explored by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Trump said Bannon 'spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was'Trump said Bannon 'spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was'

Trump said Bannon 'spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was'

Bannon, who held a top role in the campaign, shares his disdain in Michael Wolff's forthcoming book, excerpts of which were published Wednesday, that other top officials went into the Trump Tower meeting blind instead of dispatching a legal team to vet information in a hand-off way and failing to alert authorities of a possible crime.

'Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad s***, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately,' Bannon mused.

He went after Donald Trump Jr. explicitly for participating, then expressed certainty about what happened next.

'The chance that Don Jr. did not walk these Jumos up to his father's office of the 26th floor is zero,' Bannon said, in an excerpt from 'Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.'

'The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor – with no lawyers. They didn't have any lawyers,' Bannon vented in excerpts in the book obtained by the Guardian.

The White House issued a separate statement from Sanders before her daily news conference trashing the expose.

'This book is filled with false and misleading accounts from individuals who have no access or influence with the White House,' Sanders said.

'Participating in a book that can only be described as trashy tabloid fiction exposes their sad desperate attempts at relevancy,' she added.

Stephanie Grisham, communications director for Melania Trump, responded to claims in the book that the first lady cried when Trump the election because she never expected him to win.

'The book is clearly going to be sold in the bargain fiction section. Mrs. Trump supported her husband's decision to run for President and in fact, encouraged him to do so. She was confident he would win and was very happy when he did,' Grisham said.

The book also claims the Trump have separate bedrooms in the White House.

NBC News reported Bannon's comment about the chance Donald Trump also met the Russians.

Sanders pointed to Trump's previous denials of collusion when it came up at her news conference.

Trump Jr. told the House Intelligence Committee during testimony that he did not tell his father about the meeting at the time it took place, the Washington Post reported in December.

He told Fox News host Sean Hannity after word of the meeting broke: 'In retrospect, I probably would have done things a little differently.'

He said he did not tell his father about the meeting because nothing came of it.

'It was just a nothing,' the president's son said. 'There was nothing to tell.'

Attending the meeting were Donald Trump Jr., Trump son in law and Bannon's White House rival Jared Kushner, and former campaign chair Paul Manafort, who has since been indicted on money laundering and conspiracy charges.

They met with Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya after an offer of potential dirt on Hillary Clinton got dangled to Trump Jr. via an email approach.

'They're going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV,' Bannon, a former Naval officer and Goldman Sachs employee who runs Breitbart News, said of the president's eldest son.

They're going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV

He laid out how the campaign should have handled such an approach. If any meeting happened, it should have been done 'in a Holiday Inn in Manchester, New Hampshire, with your lawyers who meet with these people'. That would allow information to get 'dump[ed] … down to Breitbart or something like that, or maybe some other more legitimate publication,' he said, referencing the Breitbart News site he runs.

'They're going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV,' Bannon said of the president's eldest son, who attended the Trump Tower meeting'They're going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV,' Bannon said of the president's eldest son, who attended the Trump Tower meeting

'They're going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV,' Bannon said of the president's eldest son, who attended the Trump Tower meeting

A picture taken on November 8, 2016 shows Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya speaking during an interview in MoscowA picture taken on November 8, 2016 shows Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya speaking during an interview in Moscow

A picture taken on November 8, 2016 shows Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya speaking during an interview in Moscow

Bannon took new shots at his rival Trump son in law Jared Kushner. He predicts special counsel Mueller will go after top officials on money laundering to get to President TrumpBannon took new shots at his rival Trump son in law Jared Kushner. He predicts special counsel Mueller will go after top officials on money laundering to get to President Trump

Bannon took new shots at his rival Trump son in law Jared Kushner. He predicts special counsel Mueller will go after top officials on money laundering to get to President Trump

White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon (R) listens to U.S. President Donald Trump at the beginning of a meeting with government cyber security experts in the Roosevelt Room at the White House January 31, 2017 in WashingtonWhite House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon (R) listens to U.S. President Donald Trump at the beginning of a meeting with government cyber security experts in the Roosevelt Room at the White House January 31, 2017 in Washington

White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon (R) listens to U.S. President Donald Trump at the beginning of a meeting with government cyber security experts in the Roosevelt Room at the White House January 31, 2017 in Washington

Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon speaks during the Asahi Shimbun interview on November 16, 2017 in Tokyo, JapanFormer White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon speaks during the Asahi Shimbun interview on November 16, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan

Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon speaks during the Asahi Shimbun interview on November 16, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan

'You never see it, you never know it, because you don't need to … But that's the brain trust that they had,' he said dismissively.

Trump named Bannon as chief executive of his campaign in August 2016, two months after the Trump Tower meeting with Russians occurred.

Bannon, who says he continues to advise President Trump, also issued predictions about the Mueller probe.

'You realize where this is going,' he said. 'This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose [senior prosecutor Andrew] Wessman first and he is a money-laundering guy. Their path to f***ing Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr. and Jared Kushner … It's as plain as a hair on your face,' he said.

According to the Guardian, Bannon insisted that he doesn't know Russians, won't be a witness in the related probes, won't hire a lawyer and won't end up on TV answering questions.

Trump Jr. has denied doing anything improper and says he got nothing of value out of the meeting. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to money laundering charges. Kushner's lawyers say he is cooperating with investigators.

The book also quotes a friend of President Trump confidant Tom Barrack as having told a friend: ''He's not only crazy, he's stupid.'

Hope Hicks dated married Corey Lewandowski and president told her: 'You're the best piece of tail he'll ever have'

White House Communications Director Hope Hicks had an on-again, off-again relationship with President Trump's first Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski, the Michael Wolff book alleges.

Wolff claims that Hicks was upset about the married Lewandowski's media coverage after he was dismissed from the campaign.

'Trump, who otherwise seemed to treat Hicks in a protective and even paternal way, looked up and said, "Why? You've already done enough for him. You're the best piece of tail he'll ever have," sending Hicks running from the room,' an excerpt said.

Hope Hicks (left) allegedly dated married Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski (center; Kellyanne Conway is right), according to the book, which said the now president called her the 'greatest piece of tail' Lewandowski would ever haveHope Hicks (left) allegedly dated married Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski (center; Kellyanne Conway is right), according to the book, which said the now president called her the 'greatest piece of tail' Lewandowski would ever have

Hope Hicks (left) allegedly dated married Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski (center; Kellyanne Conway is right), according to the book, which said the now president called her the 'greatest piece of tail' Lewandowski would ever have

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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 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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