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Falls Creek and Mt Hotham close lifts as Victorian snow industry is dealt a chilling COVID-19 blow

By Mikaela Ortolan and Rhiannon Tuffield, Friday July 10, 2020 - 17:10 EST

 ABC image
Mt Buller ski resort will stay open, but the news is not so good for Mt Hotham and Falls Creek, where ski lifts will close for at least the month of July. - ABC 

Victoria's coronavirus crisis has brought the state's $800 million snow season to its knees, dealing yet another staggering blow to the tourism industry.

Ski lifts at Mt Hotham and Falls Creek will not operate until at least August as a result of Melbourne's six-week shutdown and a block on interstate travellers.

It comes after a horror economic period for Victoria's north-east, plagued by the summer bushfires and ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

Mount Hotham Chamber of Commerce president Steve Belli said it was a massive blow.

"It's certainly going to be one for the history books," he said.

"Everyone's still reeling from the news and a lot of people have lost their jobs over it."

In a statement Mt Buller confirmed it would continue lift operations ensuring access to the ski area and lessons.

Resorts only one week into season

The owner of Mt Hotham and Falls Creek Vail Resorts made the decision in line with the current stay at home directions for Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.

All reservations for lift tickets, ski and ride lessons and rental booking will be cancelled and fully refunded.

It comes just a month after the this year despite the pandemic.

The resorts, which , were already operating under strict social distancing and had a limit on visitor numbers.

Vail Resorts chief executive Pete Brulisauer said his decision was not easy.

"We know our employees, guests and the communities where we operate have already endured so much hardship this year," he said.

"However, we are focused first and foremost on health and safety, following local health guidelines and doing our part to support efforts across Victoria."

Mount Buller resort chief executive Mark Bennetts said his resort would maintain a rigorous safety protocol in order to stay open.

"This year has been incredibly tough on our community," Mr Bennetts said.

"But we remain committed and determined in the face of this latest challenge to support the local people and those in our region who rely on tourism," he said.

People living in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire must follow the changed restrictions and stay home. 

Those with bookings will be eligible for refunds and changes.

Economy reeling from pandemic

The Mount Hotham Chamber hopes to rally businesses together to see what else can be offered this season based on the resorts staying open and possible lift opening later in the season.

But Mr Belli said the financial damage would be irreparable.

"On top of the bushfires and the restrictions we had in place to start with this has just topped it all off unfortunately," he said. 

"When you miss out on school holidays that's a pretty big blow to most operators because it's the busiest time of the season."

Strange that Mt Buller remains open which is closer to Melbourne.

Australia approves 'wonder drug' Remdesivir as the first COVID-19 treatment to be used on severe cases of the deadly illness

The US-made drug - the only one globally to get approval to treat COVID-19 since the pandemic began - has been given provisional approval to use in hospitalised patients with severe coronavirus.


dexamethasone is widely available and is being used plus it is cheap compared to remdesivir (if you can get it)

Just looked it up: 16 June 2020 News release 

The World Health Organization (WHO) welcomes the initial clinical trial results from the United Kingdom (UK) that show dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, can be lifesaving for patients who are critically ill with COVID-19. For patients on ventilators, the treatment was shown to reduce mortality by about one third, and for patients requiring only oxygen, mortality was cut by about one fifth, according to preliminary findings shared with WHO.

The benefit was only seen in patients seriously ill with COVID-19, and was not observed in patients with milder disease. 

“This is the first treatment to be shown to reduce mortality in patients with COVID-19 requiring oxygen or ventilator support,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “This is great news and I congratulate the Government of the UK, the University of Oxford, and the many hospitals and patients in the UK who have contributed to this lifesaving scientific breakthrough.”

Dexamethasone is a steroid that has been used since the 1960s to reduce inflammation in a range of conditions, including inflammatory disorders and certain cancers. It has been listed on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines since 1977 in multiple formulations, and is currently off-patent and affordably available in most countries.

The researchers shared initial insights about the results of the trial with WHO, and we are looking forward to the full data analysis in the coming days. WHO will coordinate a meta-analysis to increase our overall understanding of this intervention. WHO clinical guidance will be updated to reflect how and when the drug should be used in COVID-19.

Australia is to slash international flights into the country by HALF and some residents will be forced to fork out for their own hotel quarantine


The number of flights into Australia will be reduced by half, the Scott Morrison said today. 


“The reality is Perth and WA are the envy of the world for those West Australians that have been stuck overseas for whatever reason, the desire to come home is now obviously stronger than ever.”

The up-tick has led to international arrivals to Perth Airport being capped at 525 people a week. New South Wales – which bears the brunt of most returning Australians – recently imposed a similar cap of 450 people a day.

Health Minister Roger Cook said the limit, expected to be in place by next week, would help control the number of Australians in Perth quarantine, with 245 due to arrive on two international flights on Tuesday alone.

In contrast, 450 overseas residents returned to Perth in the space of a week in late May, according to the Australia Border Force.

Returning travellers will soon have to pay for their own 14-day hotel quarantine, valued at $2500, with WA spending upwards of $15 million so far accommodating more than 6000 repatriated Australians in Perth hotels.

Authorities are also seeking to stem the flow of interstate travellers flying into WA.

Exemption categories to cross the border will be tightened up to reduce those allowed into the state.

Currently restrictions only allow for essential workers, government officials, and fly-in, fly-out workers to enter WA. There are also two wide-reaching categories being 'compassionate grounds' and 'those otherwise seeking exemption approval’.

In the first six days of July, 45 interstate flights arrived in Perth, 13 from coronavirus hotspot Melbourne.

Qantas and Virgin declined to comment on how many passengers were on the flights, citing commercial confidence.

From midnight Wednesday, Melburnians will be placed back into a six-week lockdown due to a surge in cases, which is expected to impact flights out of the capital city.

WA Police were unable to provide figures on how many people had entered WA through the interstate border since it closed.

To the end of May, it was nearly 21,000, while more than 18,000 West Australians have returned home from overseas to the end of June.

Around 137 of the state’s 621 positive coronavirus cases have been detected in hotel quarantine.

There are currently around 1100 people completing their 14-day hotel quarantine across five Perth hotels.

Hope other states escape the levels of community transmission seen in Victoria, but as borders and businesses open up around the country, I fear it may happen elsewhere.

I didn't realize there were still people going on cruises, two seem to have returned to Perth and are two new cases! 

The Health Department has reported four coronavirus cases this morning — two of which are new and have presented in travellers who recently returned from overseas and are currently in hotel quarantine.

The remaining two are historical cases that emerged after testing. Both are linked to cruise ship travel.


There are currently 21 active COVID-19 cases in WA, all of whom are in hotel quarantine.

To date, 604 people have recovered from the virus in the State.

Yesterday, 429 West Australians presented to COVID-19 clinics, with 410 assessed and 407 swabbed.

It comes as Victoria records 216 new cases today, bringing the number of active cases in the State to 1249.

Among the new cases are 30 that have been linked to outbreaks, while a further 186 are being investigated.

There are currently 49 people with COVID-19 in Victorian hospitals.

One patient, a man in his 90s, died overnight, bringing Victoria’s COVID-19 death toll to 23.

The total number of cases recorded in Victoria since the pandemic began is 3560.

It amazing and disgusts me that people can be so ---- stupid going on cruises and huddling at pubs and such in this dangerous time ---- if they are so addicted to booze them buy it and dink it at home --

Just this minute came in from physio therapy Plan B and we were talking about the same topic besides snails in the garden;  we found it hard to fathom anyone would want to go on a cruise, not to mention putting others at risk, the grand kiddies and the health workers in hospital.

I just read up on snails in the garden and it said, place small containers of beer near eaten plants, the snails love it, and I suppose they stagger home to hide under the plants to sleep it off. 



Tried that some years back Hola, our snails didn't go near it!  I think they were wise to it, a lot of people get them to drown in the beer. Or they didn't like the VB & James Boag my husband was drinking as I don't drink beer I cannot be held responsible!  LOL

What I have been doing is saving the coffee pods and then cutting them out into a basin, then scatter the dried coffee over the garden where I wish to get rid of snails, it doesn't kill them but it makes them either walk next door or sit on the wall ready for a size 10 boot.



Just reading an email from the US friend;  

they have friends that waited in line to have the virus test  [Carona]  they gave up and went home, so didn't have the test.  However, they were notified that they tested positive!  LOL

Just goes to show how poorly the US is run.

So many of the numbers are exaggerated?, as long as they have your name they can put you down as positive?, we will never know what the true numbers are.


Sorry Celia but I do not believe your friend's friends story. People make stuff up to downplay the true situation. In the US in particular Trump supporters will downplay and misrepresent the truth for political reasons. Such stories also further the agenda of conspiracy theorists who like to sow doubt by posing health and other authorities as an enemy bent on manipulating and hoodwinking the people. 



I would usually doubt this too, but in this case no.  It is only in a small city not a big place, I think some folks just like me cannot stand in line waiting for hours;  I would have walked home too had it been me!

I shall see what my friend says today perhaps they have approached the Health Authorities and told them. That would put a shocked look on their faces!  LOL

From what I have seen and heard we cannot compare the US and Oz, we are far more organized.


I am not disputing your last sentence comparing US and Oz, nor the fact that they went home before being tested. I am disputing the fact that they were given a test result without being tested. I don't think that could possibly happen. Is your friend a Trump supporter?

Sadly yes!

You mean they are in denial?

I have seen bits of my emails get ignored and took it as denial in some instances.  They also only believe Fox News!

I think they are possibly spreading false news for political reasons. It fits with Trump's agenda to downplay the make out that the count of positive results can't be trusted and thus the situation isn't as bad as it seems.

  “friends that waited in line to have the virus test  [Carona]  they gave up and went home, so didn't have the test.  However, they were notified that they tested positive”


The fact that these people were notified means the place they went to were taking personal details. It’s quite obvious to me a mistake was made by someone at the testing facility. No big mystery and why create a fuss?

Why brow beat someone for information they received from another source? Someone turned up for a covid-19 fed up with waiting…had previously given their details to a staff member…mistake occurred. End of story!!!

Hi Celia, ask you friend how much it costs to get tested for insured and uninsured people.

OK Toot;  but I am not going to lose any sleep over this!  LOL

Just curious Celia, if I wasn't insured and knew I was going to get a huge bill,, I wouldn't be going for a test, that's for sure.

Millions of Americans already struggle to pay their medical bills, including 30 million uninsuredTrusted Source and 44 million underinsured (those with high out-of-pocket costs and deductibles).

At least she got a response Celia, accurate or not.

Long delays in getting test results hobble coronavirus response

Some testing sites are struggling to provide results in five to seven days. Others are taking even longer.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the United States has been plagued by testing problems. Coronavirus tests must be covered by insurance under the Cares Act, and free tests are available at the federal, state and local level. As demand has surged, it has created backlogs and choke points at almost every step of the testing chain.

“It’s not shortages of any one thing. It’s now spot shortages of all of them,” said Scott Becker, chief executive of the Association of Public Health Laboratories. “Clinical labs need more swabs, chemical reagents, viral transport media, test kits, machines to process the tests, staffing to run the machines.”

Compounding the problem are logistical delays: collecting and transporting the rising number of samples and returning the results to people and health agencies so they can start contact tracing.

Long wait times for results — up to 14 days — have discouraged many from getting tested.

Making comparisons is interesting, a good 18 years ago another US friend was taking the same medication for Thyroid issues as I take;   she was charged back then $100 US dollars for the same amount of tablets as I take;  the cost for mine was nowhere near that cost.  

Today the full price an Australian pays for six months supply is $28.67.

It was a very bad situation as she said although she was told to take the tablet daily she could not afford to, so she spread the medication out to make it last longer; I just thank my lucky stars I don't live in the USA and have felt that every day for the last 30 years.

I honestly don't think the average person in the Australian street appreciates how much Medicare helps their budget.




But that is the whole point why did they get a response RnR?

If they didn't have a test and walked away there should not have been a report back to them.



Who knows Celia. What state are they from?

Just guessing, maybe no-shows after registration are automatically designated positive as an "err on the side of caution" response.

I say "after registration" because if they didn't get their names and contact details recorded no-one would ever know they'd been there.

However, whole USA testing regime sounds rather chaotic after the post I put above, so I repeat who knows.

Strange days indeed LOL. See one of my favourite songs at ...


To anwer your question where are they from RnR Iowa, Des Moines.

She says herself the testing is not managed well.



Interesting to read about the chaos in managing testing in the USA RnR, this could be why the numbers are so high, it is spreading while people are waiting for results, mistakes could be made under pressure, and people not able to get treatment early enough results in more deaths, thats if they can even afford the treatment. 

I said from the early onset of this pandemic how are they going to test and get results fast enough for thousands of peeople.

The Queen DIDN'T order the governor-general to dismiss Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam - and she didn't even know about it until after he was sacked, bombshell letters reveal The Queen DIDN'T order the Governor-General to dismiss Gough Whitlam

Letters between Governor-General Sir John Kerr and Buckingham Palace reveal he didn't forewarn The Queen of the dismissal of Gough Whitlam on November 11, 1975, to protect her from a constitutional crisis. A key letter to the Queen's private secretary Martin Charteris after the sacking, released today for the first time, makes it clear there was no forewarning. 'I should say I decided to take the step I took without informing the palace in advance because, under the Constitution, the responsibility is mine, and I was of the opinion it was better for Her Majesty not to know in advance, though it is of course my duty to tell her immediately,' he wrote.

"The Queen didn't know" just about sums up the great reveal.

LOL shambles!

Excuse my ignorance but still do not understand what Gough did that was so bad for him to be dismissed. I have never read up on it but I always thought he was doing okay.

So it is interesting that these things are coming out now, but what will come of it?

Don't deport our Australian grandchildren to Colombia

My name is Garry and I am starting this petition with my wife in order to protect our grandchildren. On the 23rd June 2020 our world was turned upside down when a Judge handed down the decision that our three grandchildren would be ripped from their small town home in Theodore, Central Queensland away from their mother and forced to return to Colombia to reside with their father who they have not seen since December 2018.

It has been a very long journey so bear with me while I attempt to summarise it.

Our daughter has three beautiful children, aged 10, 7 and 3 years old. All three children were born in Australia which is where both their parents were born and raised.  She met the father of her children in 2004 and they married in 2010. After the marriage we watched in horror as this man became more and more financially and emotionally controlling. Our daughter was discouraged from communicating with us and we were continually worried for her and our grandchildren's well-being.

The children's father has always traveled for work and as a family they would relocate with him. This meant many moves around Australia before going overseas.

In July 2018 they moved to Colombia for his latest job. They spent four and a half months there before he allowed my daughter to return to Australia with the children for medical treatment. Our daughter has a complex mental health history and it was decided that Australia was the best place for her to get appropriate treatment and have the support of his family. They even organised for the children to be enrolled in school and for a rental property.

In March 2019 when the father withdrew his support we were relieved to welcome our daughter and the children into our home in Theodore and we were able to give them the love, support and care they all needed. You can imagine our absolute horror when after finally having our daughter and grandchildren home and knowing they were safe, our daughter was served with proceedings under the Hague Convention accusing her of abducting the children.

This first went to court late last year and the Judge ruled in our daughter's favour agreeing that the children were at grave risk of psychological harm if returned to Colombia particularly as there is no way our daughter can return to Colombia. She has no supports there, does not speak the language and it would be detrimental to her mental health which incidentally would then be of no benefit for the children.

Their father appealed this decision and won the next hearing. The Judge openly agreed that the children's mental health risks were real but didn’t deem them ‘grave’ enough.

My wife and I have paid for all the legal proceedings and have helped support our daughter and the children while they get back on their feet. We are farmers and have really suffered with the drought and we do not have the resources to continue with another appeal. 

The two eldest children are adamant that they are not going back to Colombia and as for the youngest she has no idea that the man that her siblings talk to is actually her father.  The most time she has ever spent with him was the five months they were in Colombia. 

According to their father he will be taking the children back on the 14th of July 2020. We tried fighting this in the legal system and we just don't have the means to continue. Please help us to keep our grandchildren in Australia where they belong. They are Australians and deserve to grow up in this amazing country.

Garry and Mary-Anne


The 14th July 2020 is today!

Hasn't this bee left a bit late Incognito?


I only got it today, but remember we are one day ahead of the USA who runs so I don't know. Sometimes petitions run longer than expected.


REVEALED: New road rule change could see you slapped with a fine of more than $500

Queensland is set to pass a slew of new legislation this week that will give the state some of the toughest fines in the country as it cracks down on its horror road toll.

You see people parking in disabled car parks all the time who clearly do not have a disabled sticker on their cars. They are lazy, ignorant and careless (as in could not care less).

This is something WA needs to address, there are too many people that use the wrong bays. Question though, do other states have Senior Parking Bays next to the disabled pays?

We are getting quite a few over there now thank goodness.

I have never seen them but I live in a rural area, but great idea for seniors.

Teacher who was sacked after being accused of sexually harassing students wins $1MILLION in compensation after it emerged the claims were FAKE

Former Deer Park Secondary College teacher Milan Tomasevic was forced to leave the school in 2000 over 'serious misconduct', which included sexual harassment claims.


Well I do hope they were fake, very hard to prove these things when you have one victim and one perpretator.

We won't be dragged backwards': South Australia SHUTS its borders to NSW as Sydney pub coronavirus cluster threatens to send the state back into lockdown 

South Australia will no longer allow visitors from New South Wales and the ACT on July 20 as planned.


Cannot blame them either.


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