Australia news live: Covid-19 'code yellow' emergency at Cairns hospital; half-price airline tickets in bid to revive tourism

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Influx of Covid patients from PNG; $1.2bn tourism package announced; key crossbench senator warns PM Porter saga will become ‘albatross around his government’s neck’. Follow latest updates

1.30am GMT

You know what? I think that’s all I can take today (that and it’s time for me to go make a Guardian Australia TikTok), so I shall hand you over the delightful Calla Wahlquist to guide you through the afternoon.

1.28am GMT

Queensland health minister Yvette D’Ath has downplayed the Code Yellow alert at Cairns Hospital as they struggle to accommodate five covid-19 positive returned travllers.

The far north Queensland facility declared its first Code Yellow in more than 18 months on Wednesday after a small influx of infected people arrived from Papua New Guinea but, but D’Ath dismissed concerns said this simply allows authorities to move resources around to meet high demand.

The declaration of a Code Yellow is not something the community needs to be alarmed about.

In the last week, a number of metro north hospitals experienced brief periods on Code Yellow. Cairns hospital was placed on code yellow yesterday amid unprecedented demand.

Many of these cases can be more effectively managed in non-emergency settings…

Too often we are finding that people are turning to the local emergency department for medical care that could be provided by our excellent local general practitioners.

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