A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



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Iran coronavirus crisis — the new epicentre of the world? Australia waits to get a case, then blocks flights

Amazing. Sinbad reports on the situation in Iran. He is a commenter here who speaks the language. I can’t confirm this except to say that #Coronavirusupdates Iran looks like everything he is describing. Officially there are only 388 cases and 34 deaths. But on twitter, just like China, censorship and denial and so much more. Mass graves. Corrupt officials. Mass spraying of the streets. But if there is no attempt to stop it spreading (no lockdown like China has done) this will truly run wild. Those poor people. Germany closed flights in January, related to other problems in Iran. In the last week Iraq, Oman, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, UAE, Kuwait all closed borders with Iran. Australia, with lower medical standards imported a case from Iran today instead. – Jo

UPDATE: Finally, today the Australian government banned arrivals from Iran without a two week holiday stopover somewhere. That’s a lot better but should be mandatory proper quarantine. The government now has the arduous job of tracking the 40 people (or more) she may have infected and the people those victims may have infected (their families). Those 40+ people now have the stressful wait to find out if they got “lucky”. [...]

Coronavirus: Now they get it. WHO says 1% mortality.

Overnight, people woke up to the real threat and markets crashed appropriately. Unless we take massive action immediately, the exponential curve is about to lift off. And if we don’t act now then massive action is coming anyway in a month, along with major disruption, pandemonium, and worse.

There are now 5,300 cases outside China. If it doubles every 5 days (as it just has) then 40 days from now 5 million people will be infected.

What does massive action look like? A bit like this:

Japan closes all its schools til early April 5 million people in Hakkaido in Northern Japan are told to stay home South Korea is preparing to test 200,000 people UK schools and offices are warned they could close for up to two months EasyJet and British Airways canceled many flights to Italy Iran has cancelled Friday Prayers in Tehran Italy has quarantined 11 towns Switzerland cancelled the Geneva Car Show UAE Canceled the rest of their bike race.

In Japan some are in uproar — they’re the ones who don’t understand how 226 infections becomes a national hospital crisis in weeks. Japan (like most nations) is theoretically only 19 [...]

Who rules Britain? Activist Judges. Paris is the excuse to let the deep state run amok. Get out now.

The non-binding unenforceable Paris agreement was always a theatre show on the international stage, where most countries promise to do nothing, and the rest make promises they don’t keep. But it’s an excuse for the domestic Deep State to do whatever they want.

The zero carbon goal by 2050 was also a Grand Theater Promise. But here the two symbolic acts of nothingness met like anti-matter and threaten to blow up an economy.

Climate campaigners win Heathrow expansion case

By Tom Espiner, BBC

Controversial plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport have been thrown into doubt after a court ruling.

The government’s decision to allow the expansion was unlawful because it did not take climate commitments into account, the Court of Appeal said. Heathrow said it would challenge the decision, but the government said it would not appeal.

The judges said that in future, a third runway could go ahead, as long as it fits with the UK’s climate policy.

Since when were Judges appointed to decide if an elected government stuck to its policies? Isn’t that what the voters are supposed to do?

Fears Heathrow eco-bombshell could pose a threat [...]

Reckless Greed: Our Universities driving coronavirus to Thailand and Australia. Israel has banned flights to Thailand. Are we next?

Trainwreck in process

Watch this interview. Write to your MP. Send letters to the Editor. Stop the flights at least for a few weeks.

80% of Australians think closing the border was right so why is Scott Morrison undoing that?

Join these dots. Our universities took a huge bet on Chinese students that is falling apart. They’ve creamed the profits, but taken no insurance and stand to lose billions if they can’t get students to Australia — An extraordinary 65,000 of whom got caught in China by the quarantine. In China, travel agents are marketing 14 day holiday stopovers in Thailand to students, who are then flying on to Australia to get around the ban. But this is not quarantine. Thailand is open to China, and considered so risky that Israel has already banned flights from Thailand. What’s next? Australia imports the virus, tens of thousands may die, and all so the ivory tower smug academics can make their profits, while weak politicians sell out the nations citizens — especially the senior, longest serving ones?

How long before Israel bans Australian planes? We could be one the highest value clean nations in the world, waiting out our first winter [...]

Coronavirus: Australia, the island that could keep the virus out, is slowing the virus by flying it in?

Something does not add up

So the virus is on its way. Even though Australia has no known community transmission we are choosing to slow down the spread by actively importing it even though we are surrounded by a moat, and are pretty much self-sustaining. We have thousands of high risk people and the disease that’s coming is largely unknown — today there are reports a Japanese case of a woman medical experts had thought had recovered who tests positive again. Is this a biphasic disease like anthrax? That’ll be fun.

Winter is twelve weeks away for Australians, and we know the coronavirus potentially threatens to overwhelm our medical systems and could be a GDP-type hit on national economies. It’s highly infectious, and between 5 – 17% of current cases outside China require hospitalization, and probably 1 -3% will need intensive care. Inviting the virus to start spreading now will mean it will peak during winter — the worst possible time in Australia.

Australia is one of the easiest countries to protect from this scourge, yet we are obediently following policies of northern hemisphere nations in a different situation. Hmm?

As I keep saying, it’s easier to import a deadly [...]

Thursday Open Thread