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The Loop: Queensland Drops PCR Testing Rule, Another National Cabinet Meeting, Betty White Turns 100, Egyptian Mummy Is ‘Digitally Unwrapped’

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Good evening!

It is wednesday 29 december. Here’s what’s happening today:

One thing to know now: Queensland will drop its PCR testing rule for travelers … on Saturday

Here is the truth:

  • People coming from places Queensland considered COVID hotspots – Canberrans, Victorians and New South Welsh, I’m watching you! – currently need to get a negative PCR test before crossing the border into the Sunshine State
  • It is a rule that has has suffered a lot of criticism interstate, with New South Wales Minister of Health Brad Hazzard saying it was putting unnecessary strain on the system to test his condition
  • The increased demand meant massive queues at test sites and longer processing times, which meant a lot travelers got stuck at the border while waiting for the results of their tests
  • Today, Queensland Chief Medical Officer of Health John Gerrard said the testing requirement will remain, but travelers will be able to use a rapid antigen test (the ones you can do at home) starting on New Year’s Day
  • Queensland goes Completely remove testing requirements for travelers once the condition reaches a 90 percent double dose vaccination rates for Queenslanders aged 16 and over – but that’s not expected to happen until mid-January.
Travelers will be able to use rapid antigen testing to meet Queensland testing requirements from January 1. (Flickr: Jernej Furman)

Another thing we heard a lot about today: the national cabinet

  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison called another national cabinet meeting for tomorrow
  • State and territory leaders were due to meet to discuss the COVID-19 situation next week but, given the recent spike in cases, the Prime Minister has decided to sneak into another virtual meeting ahead of the New Year.
  • At a press conference today, Mr Morrison said the purpose of the meeting would be agree on a national definition of “close contact” as good as which tests are used under which circumstances
  • These definitions are still crazy about Australia’s main health protection committee (AHPPC), but earlier today the PM gave a brief overview of what they’re likely to come out with
  • He says there should be seven day isolation requirements for close contact, corn casual contacts should only have to watch for symptoms of COVID-19 – and take a test if these symptoms appear
  • “It is important that we move on to a new definition of close contact that allows Australia to keep moving forward, so people can move on with their lives,” said Mr Morrison.
  • Of course, these are recommendations presented by the Chief Medical Officer of Australia, it will be up to the heads of state and territory to determine whether they adopt them.

News Australia is looking for

  • Betty Blanche: Do not panic ! The report that goes around how she’s going to be 100 years old on January 17th. Here’s what she told People Magazine: “I’m so lucky to be so healthy and feeling so good at this age… it’s amazing.” Here’s a squiz on its cover:

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  • The Batman: You might know Robert pattinson like Cedric or Edward, but now he’s Bruce Wayne AKA Batman. The trailer dropped for The Batman: The Bat and the Cat, with Zoe Kravitz, Andy Serkis and a cranky Pattinson haircut that just might herald the return of emo-side bangs:

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One more thing: researchers have ‘digitally unwrapped’ an ancient Egyptian mummy

The mummy of Pharaoh Amenhotep I has never been opened because it’s so perfectly packaged – and, technically, it still hasn’t been opened.

A facial mask of an ancient Egyptian mummy
This is what the mummy face mask looks like. (Supplied: S Saleem and Z Hawass)

But, thanks to the magic of three-dimensional computed tomography – otherwise known as computed tomography – we now know what the ancient Pharaoh looks like under all that wrapping.

Sahar Saleem – professor of radiology at the Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University – said the digital “peeling” of the layers meant researchers could study Amenhotep I in “unprecedented detail”.

A slumped skeleton in a larger sarcophagus.
This is what his skeleton looks like under all the bandages. (Provided: S. Saleem and Z Nuwass)

“We show that Amenhotep I was around 35 when he died,” he said.

“He was about 169 cm tall, was circumcised and had good teeth.

A computer generated image of a skull, with teeth in good condition.
And here’s a glimpse of his skull – with teeth that are apparently in great shape.

“In his wrappers he wore 30 amulets and a unique golden belt with gold beads.

“Amenhotep I appears to have physically resembled his father: he had a narrow chin, a small narrow nose, curly hair, and slightly protruding upper teeth.”

However, they found no injuries or disfigurements suggesting a cause of death.

Let’s leave it there

But don’t worry, pets!

We’ll be back with more news – and the rest – in the morning.

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ABC / son


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