Australian news live: weekly Covid cases spike nationwide as 'fourth wave' hits

Queensland saw a 61% increase in Covid-19 cases, as hospitalizations nearly doubled

Dr John Gerrard, Queensland's chief health officer, has stepped in to speak in Brisbane about the latest wave of Covid as the state has switched to a "yellow" warning.

He says a new wave is always expected:

This is always to be expected and we continue to see a wave of Covid-19 in the coming months and even longer. That's why we designed the traffic light system so that Queenslanders can't when we enter a wave and just as importantly, when we live in a wave, so that they can change their behavior accordingly.

Gerrard turns to data:

The number of active cases continues to increase significantly. There were 7,130 active cases reported this morning, up from 4,438 reported last Friday morning. An increase of 61%.

There were 199 hospital beds occupied by Covid-19 sufferers yesterday, both public and private, an increase of 97% from the hospital bed occupancy data reported a week ago.

'Disgusting humans': Plibersek on Medibank hackers

The Minister of Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek, was at the ABC Afternoon Briefing.

It is not often that governments attribute cyber attacks, which is why Plibersek said the government had chosen to go public on this occasion.

What we do know is that these cyber attacks are becoming more common, more frequent and in this case – especially the case of Medibank – quite disastrous for the people involved.

We want to do everything within this government power both to arrest those responsible, hold them accountable, but also to work with companies that store large amounts of people's data to ensure that they keep it safe.

On the criminals implicated in the Medibank breach, releasing the most private health data, the minister said:

They are disgusting humans. People who make a living by invading other people's privacy and causing them trouble like this, are just rebellious humans.

If you're talking about big criminal syndicates, we shouldn't be surprised. Many of these big criminal corporations have cyber hacking on the one hand, human trafficking on the other and they are downright evil humans.

Russia tends to be unhelpful because of Australia's stance on the Ukraine war: ASPI

Hanson said that the act of attribution is a political decision. However, he said:

Russia is a country we have almost zero relations with, because they invaded Ukraine and we supply weapons to the opposite party. It makes it politically easier to make attributions.

Jane Norman of ABC asked:

Do you think support for Ukraine in this conflict has sparked attacks by Russian cybercriminals?


One of the interesting things about the campaign in Ukraine is that Russia has not taken a broader approach to try and destroy chaos in the global cyber domain. I don't think there's a correlation, but it's clear the willingness to do anything about it is becoming less and less likely because we're in that war situation.

Chances of Russia handing over cybercriminals 'almost zero': ASPI

AFP would not name the hackers other than identifying that they were from Russia at the news conference. Hanson said the government would likely go that route later.

Yeah, looks like they'll do it after doing some more investigation and maybe getting a few more things done. They may come out to name the group and potentially put pressure on Russia to do something about it; whether the Russians will do anything, I doubt they will.

However, Hanson is skeptical about the possibility of Moscow actually handing over cybercriminals for trial in Australia.

I think the reality is almost zero [chance], unfortunately.

Especially for the people involved, the customers who had the leaked data, I think the real tragedy here is that they won't get justice because these people seem to be mostly based in Russia.

We heard the commissioner say that there are affiliates and other countries, and there is potential to do something there, and Australia has offensive cyber capabilities that can be used against offshore cybercriminals.

So there's the potential to carry out operations against the group to interfere with their operations, but in terms of seeing them go to jail or appear before a court, I think that's highly unlikely.

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