Australia news LIVE: Sydney braces for COVID-19 case surge as city’s lockdown continues; Darwin enters snap lockdown

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Key posts

  • Barnaby Joyce maintains his re-election was a surprise
  • ‘Hard to say’ if lockdown too late: AMA’s NSW President
  • Today’s headlines at a glance
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Barnaby Joyce maintains his re-election was a surprise

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is also doing the breakfast television rounds this morning.

He is on Seven’s Sunrise and is being reminded that a week ago he claimed there wouldn’t be a leadership spill. He later toppled Michael McCormack in a leadership ballot called by Queensland Senator Matt Canavan.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce during question time.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“In all seriousness, you don’t know [what’s going to happen] until you’re in the room,” Joyce said. “There’s always [leadership] discussions. But you don’t have discussions on televisions. You have discussions with your colleagues.

“I was never going to call a spill. And I didn’t stop it. It was up to them.”

The comments come after Joyce rewarded his backers by promoting them to cabinet.

Senator Bridget McKenzie returns to cabinet 18 months after quitting due to the sports rorts scandal and is now responsible for regional education and communications. Federal NSW MP Andrew Gee joins the outer ministry, replacing former veteran affairs minister Darren Chester.

‘Hard to say’ if lockdown too late: AMA’s NSW President

The President of the Australian Medical Association’s NSW branch, Dr Danielle McMullen, was speaking on the Today show just moments ago.

She was grilled about whether parts of Sydney should have gone into lockdown sooner. Here’s the exchange:

Sydney’s CBD in lockdown over the weekend.Credit:Renee Nowytarger

Journalist: Was the lockdown too late?

Dr McMullen: It’s hard to say. NSW was trying very hard to minimise restrictions as much as they could, but when it became clear that couldn’t be done to keep ahead of this outbreak, I think they’ve done what was needed to keep us all safe.

Journalist: [There are] new restrictions in WA, Queensland, the Northern Territory. They’re going early with restrictions. Did Sydney get it wrong?

Dr McMullen: I don’t think so. I think the Delta variant has surprised everyone at this stage at really how rapidly it can spread. I do think that NSW … did its best in its contact-tracing measures. Would a day or so perhaps have been a bit better? Perhaps. But it’s 24 hours either way.

Journalist: So you’re pretty much happy with how this has played out and the decisions that have been made over the past few days?

Dr McMullen: Yes. We wanted a lockdown about a day earlier than they made it. All in all, that’s pretty close.

Today’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for your company. It’s Monday, June 28. I’m Broede Carmody.

It’s set to be a busy day today with the country on high alert over fears of a possible national COVID-19 outbreak and Sydney bracing for more cases. Here’s what you need to know before we jump into our rolling coverage:

  • NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned COVID-19 case numbers are likely to rise in coming days. Yesterday, the state recorded 30 new cases – the highest daily number in months – bringing the Bondi cluster to 112. Less than half of those 30 new cases were in isolation prior to testing positive.
  • Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews returns to work this morning, almost 16 weeks after he seriously injured his back at a holiday house. Last night, the Premier and his wife revealed he was “going blue” while waiting for paramedics and he thought he would die.
  • Darwin is waking up to day two of its 48 hour snap lockdown after a fly-in, fly-out gold miner potentially exposed hundreds of people to the virus. The lockdown was triggered after five cases were linked to the Central Australian gold mine (two people at the mine site, one having travelled home to the NT city of Palmerston via Darwin, another to Queensland and the fifth tto NSW).
  • Queenslanders holidaying interstate have been told to return home or possibly face 14 days in quarantine. It comes after Brisbane recorded three cases of COVID-19 in the community yesterday, with a Virgin Australia cabin crew member travelling between Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and the Cold Coast while potentially infectious.
  • And in WA, a positive case linked to Sydney has led to stage one restrictions being introduced in the Perth and Peel regions. Authorities believe a Perth woman was infectious in the community for at least three days after visiting a known Sydney hotspot.
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