Pandemic pushes prison escapee to surrender - nearly 30 years on

By Janine Graham
Wastewater, prison and Ballarat - all in the headlines. Oh, yes, and COVID-19, too.

Oh Ballarat ... lockdown No.8 is looming large for the good people of The Rat and it's safe to say, we feel for you.

A week of positive wastewater detections for COVID-19 was enough today for authorities to reimpose lockdown on the regional hub, just days after the last one was lifted.

And as Ballarat goes into seven days of enforced home life, Greater Shepparton emerges from its lockdown at midnight. One in, one out, very orderly Victoria.

Not so orderly was an exasperated business leader in the nation's capital. We were introduced to him yesterday, Canberra Airport managing director Stephen Byron.

Mr Byron is deeply unhappy about the uncertainty of exactly when the ACT's newly-extended lockdown will end.

"When do restrictions ease?" he asked. "Yesterday was supposed to be a plan for that. We got nothing."

"[ACT Chief Minister Andrew] Barr says we must wait for the nation to get to 80 per cent, but why, why, why do we need to wait for Western Australia and Queensland and other places we can't travel to?" he said. "It's the ACT's vaccination rate that matters."

Well, NSW's vaccination rate certainly mattered to Premier Gladys Berejiklian today. As the state cracked the widely uncared for 80 per cent first dose mark, the Premier quickly dangled the carrot of more freedoms when her state hits the 70 per double-dosed (without, of course, going into any sort of detail).

Yet those unspoken freedoms weren't enough to encourage one long-term prison escapee to stay out of jail.

Darko Desic, the Daily Telegraph reports, surrendered himself to authorities after almost 30 years living under the radar. He broke out of prison in 1992 and managed to get by doing cash jobs before the pandemic hit. Now he's been made homeless and reckons prison's a better option.

New Zealand is definitely off Mr Desic's travel plans for now, and it also might be scrubbed from yours, too.

A leaked poll in New Zealand suggests the trans-Tasman bubble isn't quite the hit PM Jacinda Ardern expected. It was "paused" eight weeks ago when case numbers climbed in Australia and, by rights, should kick back into gear this weekend.

Now, when are the next school holidays ....?

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