Australia news live updates: federal government says Assange case has ‘dragged on for too long’; at least 55 Covid deaths across nation

Virus fight continues as funding extended

The PM agrees a $760m spend, AAP report.

Anthony Albanese has signed off on an extra $760 million to help the states and territories deal with COVID-19.
Federal pandemic-related funding arrangements were set to expire in September but will be extended by three months, the prime minister says.
“(The pandemic) clearly isn’t over yet and it would be very brave to suggest you can make that projection,” he told reporters after chairing Friday’s national cabinet meeting with state and territory leaders.
Mr Albanese said there were about 3000 Australians in hospital as a result of the virus, which was why the federal government committed to extending support until December 31.
More than 60 additional COVID-related deaths were reported on Saturday.
Meanwhile, a new study points to ongoing brain fog and memory loss in long COVID-19 patients.
The ADAPT study, which follows patients diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection and is carried out by Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital, found about 20 per cent of people with long COVID suffered cerebral impairment for at least 12 months without improvement.
Long COVID is categorised as people suffering from symptoms like brain fog, fatigue and shortness of breath a month or more after contracting the virus.
Elsewhere, Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley says changes to the state’s COVID-19 rules will come into effect next weekend.
Positive cases will be allowed to drive members of their household to work or classes and masks will be scrapped at airports.
Three-dose vaccination mandates for workers will stay in vulnerable settings like aged care but be lifted in other sectors like education, food distribution and quarantine accommodation.
Rules requiring others to work from home if not double-dosed will also be scrapped, although workplaces can still set their own vaccination policies.
Visitor caps at care facilities will be removed, with residents able to see as many people as they want as long as they return a negative rapid antigen test that day.

Adam Bandt criticises PM Albanese for a “hairy-chested approach to climate”, saying the Greens are open to backing Labor’s emissions plan but want more than 43% cuts

“We don’t want to be obstructive but we’ve got a mandate to push the government” #auspol

— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) June 18, 2022

VIC hospitalisations down 19 today to 419.
◾️25 are in ICU (+1)
◾️️8 are on a ventilator (+️1)

️29 deaths today, total at ️3708.

In the past week:

— CovidBaseAU 🦠📊🇦🇺 (@covidbaseau) June 18, 2022

Thank you Ben. Reminds me of the time I dressed up as a member of a Ringo Starr cover band. Anyway. Onwards, to the news!

Updated at 23.08 EDT

With that joyous chorus, I am going to hand over to my inestimable colleague Nino Bucci. Today on the blog, it’s just the Two of Us

Odd punctuation. But the very happiest of birthdays Sir Paul…

And still rocking… Thursday night in New York.

“Naaaahhh, nah, nah, nah-nah-nah-naaahhh!”

Ever sang “Hey Jude” with 60,000 of your closest friends?

Me neither…until tonight.

What a blessing to see the legend himself, Paul McCartney, tonight at MetLife.

Sir Paul will be 80 years old on Saturday.

— Ryan Field (@RyanFieldABC) June 17, 2022

Updated at 23.03 EDT

Nino Bucci

Nino Bucci

Western Australia records one Covid death

Here’s the Western Australia Covid update from WA Health:

WA Health is reporting a total of 4,052 new cases to 8pm last night. There are currently 32,666 active cases in Western Australia.

Please note this report from here on will be for reporting period to 6pm, aligning to other jurisdictions.

To 6pm last night, there were 277 people with Covid-19 in hospital, 13 in ICU.

Sadly, today’s report includes one death – a woman in her 40s – dating back to 6 June which was reported to WA Health yesterday.

Updated at 22.57 EDT

I’m betting they won’t make it to Wednesday…

$35 to start a herb garden and I’ll never buy herbs like a chump again. Wowee.

These bad boys are gonna be dead in a week aren’t they

— Paul Karp (@Paul_Karp) June 18, 2022

Steph. Gilmore. Shredding.

Seven-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore won the Surf City El Salvador Pro
Seven-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore won the Surf City El Salvador Pro Photograph: Pat Nolan/World Surf League/Getty Images
Gilmore is now in third place in the world rankings with three events to go
Gilmore is now in third place in the world rankings with three events to go Photograph: Pat Nolan/World Surf League/Getty Images