Medical fund members able to beat means test

Offering an extended pre-payment plan … Medibank.THE government’s health fund, Medibank Private, is offering members an extended pre-payment plan to beat the new means test, saving their members millions of dollars otherwise payable to the taxman.
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Medibank, Australia’s biggest fund, is offering members the choice of paying their premiums up to 18 months ahead by July 1, to avoid additional costs. These can amount to $1500 or more for a member as a result of the withdrawal of the rebate worth up to 40 per cent of premium costs.

Medibank said it could not give a figure on how many had signed up to pay their premiums in advance.

Its closest rival, Bupa, which is offering prepayment for a maximum of a year, said its latest figures show 14,000 members have prepaid their premiums and that figure was likely to accelerate in the run-up to July 1.

From that day singles earning more than $84,000 and couples more than $168,000 get a reduced rebate which phases out completely for those on $130,000 and $260,000 respectively.

The government says the prepayment rush will not affect its planned savings of $2.8 billion over four years.

A spokesman for the Health Minister, Tanya Plibersek, said the current pause before imposing the means test provided the required window to inform taxpayers about the changes. ”Pre-payment of fees will not affect the forecast budget savings,” he said.

Asked whether the government had factored in the impact of prepayments on revenue, the spokesman said ”variables are factored in”.

While better-off people might be seeking to avoid extra costs, low-income Australians are finding it increasingly harder to afford healthcare, new official figures show.

Carol Bennett, the chief executive of Consumer Health Forum, said it was alarming that the number of people unable to afford the care they needed was rising. ”This is showing that inequity in healthcare is growing,” she said.

The reform council of the Council of Australian Governments says that the proportion of people who delayed or did not see a general practitioner because of cost has risen from 6.4 per cent in 2009 to 8.7 per cent in 2010-11.

The figures were even higher in NSW, up from 10.1 per cent to 15.4 per cent.

A significantly higher proportion of people, 26 per cent, delay seeing or do not see a dentist because of costs, while 15 per cent have the same difficulties seeing medical specialists.

Follow the National Times on Twitter: @NationalTimesAU

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

School out of touch on contact ban for students, parents say

Children at Mount Martha Primary School flout a new rule banning contact between pupils.A MORNINGTON Peninsula primary school’s snap ban on pupils hugging or giving each other high-fives has attracted disbelief from parents, who yesterday called the move ”outrageous” and ”unbelievable”.
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Parents at Mount Martha Primary School claim they were informed of the new rule, which extended a ban on contact sports to a ban on any physical contact at all between students, only when children arrived home from school on Wednesday.

They say the rule was first announced to pupils over the public address system, and students were left to tell their parents.

A group of year 6 students were so disgusted by the new rule that they staged a sit-down protest on the school oval at lunch on Wednesday before they were moved to the school gym and given a dressing down, parents say.

One parent, Tracey, said her son was winded on the playground on Wednesday and, when his friend tried to console him by putting his arm around his shoulder, the friend was told his actions were against the rules.

The friend then had to walk around with the teacher on playground duty for the rest of lunch as punishment, Tracey told radio 3AW.

”I’m just a bit outraged that it has come to this. There must be other ways,” Tracey said.

Another parent, John, said his children were told they could not high-five each other.

”I have a couple of children and they have been told that if they high-five one another that’s instant detention, and if they do it three times they will be expelled,” John said.

”I mean, what are they actually trying to teach?”

One child was reportedly told that if students wanted to high-five, it would have to be an ”air high-five”.

Principal Judy Beckworth said it was ”not actually a policy, it’s a practice that we’ve adopted in the short term as a no-contact games week”.

She said the new practice was introduced after students suffered a number of injuries on the playground in recent weeks, and the new no-touching rule would last one week.

”In response to an increased number of recent student injuries, including a broken collarbone, wrists and concussion, we decided to have a ‘no contact games week’ at our school,” Ms Beckworth said.

”We are very serious about student safety and that’s why we decided to do this.”

Ms Beckworth said when the children were told of the new rule, some of them asked about high-fiving to clarify the rule.

”We spoke about it being contact, but of course that’s something that children really would find that would be acceptable, and I will be talking to my staff about that, chatting with them about trying to get the message across,” Ms Beckworth said.

Ms Beckworth said the protesting year 6 students were removed from the oval because they had overstayed their allotted time.

She said parents would be told of the new rule in this week’s school newsletter.

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Chinese market in airport’s sights

SYDNEY Airport was ”stepping up its role” in the tourism space, its chief executive, Kerrie Mather, said, and there had already been two recent wins with the arrival of low-cost Asian airlines AirAsia X and Scoot.
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At a business lunch yesterday in Sydney, Ms Mather signalled closer co-operation with Tourism Australia and NSW Tourism. She said she had travelled to India as part of the NSW Tourism delegation, and hoped that direct flights to India from Sydney would eventuate. She had also just returned from China, which was a ”market with potential for us”.

Ms Mather said last year 640,000 passengers from China came through the airport, and this year China would move to second place, behind New Zealand, as the dominant nation for visitors through the airport.

She reiterated earlier comments that Sydney Airport Corporation welcomed the federal government identifying a future airport site for a second Sydney airport, and securing transportation corridors, but said the existing airport could deal with demand through 2045.

Last week the corporation issued legal proceedings against the Federal Minister for Transport, Anthony Albanese, after the government brought forward to next year a deadline for the airport to produce a draft masterplan.

Ms Mather said the airport was consulting about a new plan it announced last December, which will see a reconfiguration of the airport, including moving the jet base and air traffic control tower, and integrating domestic and international flights from the same terminals.

”We are halfway through that period of consultation, so we were on track delivering our master plan by 2014,” she said.

”It is important we incorporate [this vision] in the masterplan, so we need time to work through.

”So we have asked for the reasons why the masterplan has been bought forward.”

The airport had discussed with Qantas buying back its long-term leases for its jet base and terminal, which were not due to expire until 2019, considering that the Qantas sites took up 30 per cent of the airport’s footprint, she said.

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Calls to limit sugar in Aust soft drinks

Australian doctors want soft drink manufacturers to voluntarily limit the amount of sugar they put in drinks.

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The head of the professional body representing GPs says it’s time to acknowledge the existing federal government will never introduce a sugar tax so other practical ways of tackling obesity should be considered.

With a “damning” seven out of 10 Australian adults estimated to be either overweight or obese by 2025, Dr Bastian Seidel says its time for common sense solutions to the obesity epidemic.

“The issue of obesity and Australians being overweight doesn’t go away so we keep talking and talking about it and we actually don’t take any action,” said Dr Seidel, the head of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).

Having reached a “roadblock” on a sugar tax, Dr Seidel conceded for many medical professionals it probably “doesn’t make any sense” to keep arguing for it.

“It doesn’t seem like a sugar tax is not going to happen with he current government being in place,” Dr Seidel said.

“We need to have a look at what other countries are doing to achieve the same result,” he said.

The head of the RACGP has urged Australia’s policy makers to look to Singapore’s recent soft drinks deal as an example.

In August, seven drinks manufacturers, including Coca Cola, Pepsi Co and Nestle, agreed with the Singaporean government to a 12 per cent cap on sugar by 2020.The deal was struck as a way of curbing the incidence of diabetes.

“If you can do this in Singapore why can’t you do this in Australia. It’s in the industry interest, it’s in the politicians interest and it certainly would be in the interests of medical organisation such as the RACGP,” Dr Seidel told AAP.

“We should be open minded, we should be seeking dialogue with the big soda companies and make it work. It would be a common sense approach in the right direction and everybody wins” he said.

Australian GPs identify obesity as one of the detrimental health issues of the future.

The RACGP’s General Practice: Health of the Nation 2017 report found GPs identified obesity and complications from obesity as one of the most significant health problems Australia faces today and will continue to face in coming years as the incidence of obesity continues to rise.

At present two in three Australian adults and one in four school aged children are overweight or obese.

Based on the current trends, by 2025 70 per cent of Australians will be impacted by obesity, placing significant implications on society.

Dr Seidel says all Australians should speak to their GP about weight management.

“Early intervention by a GP plays a key role in an attempt to change the weight gain trajectory that patients with obesity often find themselves on,” Dr Seidel said.

The RACGP inaugural Walk Against Obesity will be held in Melbourne on Sunday to raise awareness of the issues associated with obesity ahead of World Obesity Day on Wednesday.

Rain threatens to slow down McLaughlin

The threat of rain at Bathurst looks like being the only thing that can slow down Supercars series champion Scott McLaughlin.

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A maiden Bathurst title appears McLaughlin’s to lose after the Ford gun claimed pole in an astonishing two minutes, 03.83 seconds – the fastest Supercars lap ever seen at Mount Panorama.

He became the first to crack the 2min:04sec barrier on the mountain after shattering the record mark he had set barely 24 hours earlier in Friday’s practice.

The New Zealander was reduced to tears when he realised the enormity of his achievement.

But he quickly regained his composure after wet weather was predicted for Sunday’s 161-lap classic.

“It looks like there will be a fair bit of rain tomorrow so it will be completely different to today,” McLaughlin said after topping the 26-strong field.

“We start on pole but we have 26 spots to lose.

“We will worry about that when we get there, work out a plan – but I am pretty confident.”

No wonder.

McLaughlin’s qualifying effort has been described as the new “Lap of the Gods”, first coined when fellow flying Kiwi Greg Murphy shattered the lap record back in 2003.

“I dreamed of doing this since I was a kid,” McLaughlin said of his record.

“We’ve still got plenty of work ahead of us tomorrow, but what an incredible day.”

Sunday will be even better if he can address his Achilles heel – his starts.

Besides Bathurst’s infamous ever changing weather, McLaughlin’s other concern for Sunday is his lacklustre race start reaction time from the front row of the grid.

He has had plenty of practice from the pointy end – for the 18th straight race he will start from the front row on Sunday.

And he claimed a Supercars record 14th pole for the season on Saturday.

Not surprisingly McLaughlin backed himself to address the sole chink in his armour despite lining up against Holden’s fast starting David Reynolds on the front row on Sunday.

“I am getting better, I think,” he said.

“Last round at Sandown was better, and on our test day I did about a billion starts.

“Davey and (third fastest) Mark Winterbottom are very strong and I am not as amazing as them at it but I am getting more consistent.”

Co-driver predicted Bathurst lap record

No one saw it coming – except for one man.

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Supercars series leader Scott McLaughlin has revealed co-driver Alex Premat accurately predicted his qualifying time before setting an astonishing lap record to claim pole for Sunday’s Bathurst 1000.

Not that McLaughlin believed him at the time.

Then again, few would have.

Ford’s McLaughlin left the Bathurst faithful in shock and himself in tears of joy when he clocked two minutes, 03.83 seconds – the fastest Supercars lap ever seen on the infamous Mount Panorama street circuit.

He became the first to crack the 2min 04sec barrier on the mountain after shattering the record mark he had set barely 24 hours earlier in Friday’s practice.

Everyone from Supercars great Mark Skaife to the drunk bloke who did a trackside haka for New Zealand driver McLaughlin could scarcely believe the time.

Except maybe Premat.

“It’s funny. Alex got out of the car after practice (on Saturday) and he told me there’s a 2min03.8sec in it – I thought he was joking at the time,” McLaughlin said.

“I never thought we could do it.”

Then Holden cult hero David Reynolds threw down the gauntlet at Saturday’s top 10 qualifying.

Reynolds appeared in the box seat for pole with an impressive 2:04.27 with just McLaughlin’s flying lap left in the qualifying session.

“Davey did a pretty awesome lap and I was like ‘you bastard, I better have a crack here’,” McLaughlin said.

“I am buzzing. It is something I will never forget – it is pretty special.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

McLaughlin, 24, went on to claim another Supercars record – a 14th pole for the season.

But McLaughlin baulked at his mind blowing qualifying time being considered the new “Lap of the Gods”.

McLaughlin’s hero, fellow Kiwi Greg Murphy, earned the tag back in 2003 with a record breaking qualifying effort that stunned the Bathurst faithful.

Murphy may be a four-time King of the Mountain but he will always be remembered for that lap.

His milestone still endears the Supercars faithful despite being left behind after six time Bathurst champ Craig Lowndes first eclipsed it in 2010 on a resurfaced Mount Panorama.

McLaughlin may have done his best to ensure it becomes a distant memory after his scorching qualifying effort.

But McLaughlin still looked back on Murphy’s 2003 heroics fondly.

“That was the main thing that went through my mind when I saw the time (Murphy’s Lap of the Gods),” McLaughlin said.

“That day back then was a pretty special one not only as a fan but for New Zealand as a country.

“It was a day I will never forget – this is another.”

McLaughlin will have a maiden Bathurst title in his sights when the 161-lap Great Race starts at 11.10am on Sunday.

Bullets to juggle NBA clash with NBL hopes

The Brisbane Bullets will have one eye firmly focused on their NBL round two clash against the Cairns Taipans as they take the court in the US next weekend.

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The Bullets will back up their opening-round loss in Perth this weekend with an exhibition game against NBA side Phoenix on Saturday, as a part of the new partnership between the two leagues.

They will then return to Brisbane to host the Taipans on October 20 and will back that up with a tough schedule of games against Illawarra, New Zealand and Melbourne before the end of the month.

Thankfully, only the game against Illawarra, of the NBL contests, is away from Brisbane.

Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis said that a lot of planning has gone in to expected management of players over this tough period.

“I’m not going to play people into the ground,” he said. “It’s a 48-minute game and Kicks (Dan Kickert) isn’t going to see 48 minutes.

“We need to be smart with load management and we have to be smart with giving people opportunities.

“We have some young guys who deserve to go and get opportunities and learn from the experience as well.

“It’s a chance to continue to work and get better as a team.

“There are things we can work on in that game that can help us when coming back against Cairns.”

The Bullets players spent no time preparing for Phoenix during the lead-up to Saturday’s clash against the Wildcats. They pushed the reigning premiers for the first three-quarters, before losing by 10 points.

Lemanis said that the challenge the club faces is representing the NBL and themselves well, but returning back home in good enough shape to tackle the schedule that faces them.

But by the time they get back, teammate Mitchell Young will hopefully be a step closer to returning to action.

The 206cm forward is suffering from glandular fever, but was this week given the all-clear to begin cardio work. He won’t travel with his team to the US, but hopes to get the all clear to start training soon.

Buddy inspired Sambono to follow AFL dream

Adam Sambono was a couple of years away from playing organised football when a visit from Lance Franklin changed his life.

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Franklin was still at Hawthorn, around 2011 or ’12 when the indigenous star and several teammates visited the community of Nauiyu, or Daly River, about 220km south of Darwin.

The locals took their visitors hunting and Sambono talked to Franklin.

“I was really shocked, meeting a famous person,” Sambono told AAP

“I actually talked to him, asked him about the AFL and he told me a bit about what I could achieve in my future.

“He actually put that in my mind.”

When Sambono met Franklin, the extent of his football experience was local scratch matches.

In 2014, he went to Darwin to try his luck.

This season, Sambono starred for NT Thunder in the NEAFL and won the league’s rising star award.

That led to the 20-year-old’s invitation to the AFL draft combine last week at Etihad Stadium.

“It’s amazing I’m getting this opportunity,” he said.

If he is drafted next month, Sambono will be the first player from Nauiyu to make an AFL list.

Like Franklin, Sambono is indigenous, a forward who boasts impressive speed.

But that’s where the similarities end, with the 188cm Sambono only weighing 69kg.

Sambono laughs when asked about his slight build, saying he is well aware that if he joins an AFL club he will become well-acquainted with the weights room.

But he packs a good leap, finishing in the top 10 for the standing vertical jump at the draft combine.

Former North Melbourne player Matt Campbell is a mentor for Sambono, who admits to nerves about what is happening.

“It’s going to be a massive challenge for me – so different, full-on,” he said about the prospect of joining an AFL club.

But then he watches the AFL grand final and is reminded about why he is doing this.

Daniel Rioli, another Top End indigenous export, helped Richmond end their long premiership drought.

“Watching him in the grand final it’s something special, a Territory boy,” he said.

“A couple of years ago, he was in the same situation I’m in now and he was drafted. It’s something I look up to.

“I rate him as probably a role model for me.”

Kyrgios beats Zverev to reach China final

Nick Kyrgios has kept alive his hopes of qualifying for the ATP finals by beating Alexander Zverev to reach the final of the China Open in Beijing.

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The in-form Canberran prevailed 6-3 7-5 to set up a clash with world No.1 Rafael Nadal in Sunday’s decider.

Kyrgios has won nine of his last 11 matches and dropped just one set en route to the final where he’ll look to repeat his quarter-final victory over Nadal in Cincinnati Open in August.

The 22-year-old’s victory moved him to 15th spot in the ATP Race To London with the top 10 players qualifying for the prestigious end of season event in November.

However, with Stan Wawrinka, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, who are all ranked above Kyrgios, ruled out due to injury, he can put himself in genuine contention for a maiden appearance in the London showpiece with a third career win over the Spanish great.

Zverev sealed his spot in London on Friday, but was on the back foot throughout as the world No.19 dominated the first set.

He then hurled down seven aces in the second to chalk up a third victory in four previous encounters with the 20-year-old German.

Nadal beat Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 6-3 4-6 6-1 in his semi-final to reach his ninth final of the year.

The 16-time grand slam winner won 13 consecutive points on his own serve and broke Dimitrov to seal the first set in 35 minutes.

Nadal led the second 3-1 but Dimitrov fought back to level at 4-4 before clinching the set.

Bulgarian Dimitrov’s eye-catching shots were not enough to overcome the 31-year-old, however, and Nadal broke serve three times in the deciding set.

Red Bull duo hoping for a quick start in Japan

Australian Ricciardo was fourth fastest ahead of 20-year-old Verstappen but the duo will start third and fourth due to the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas dropping five places for an unscheduled gearbox change.

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Championship leader Lewis Hamilton was on pole for Mercedes with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, 34 points behind the Briton with five races remaining, second on the grid.

“I think the start will dictate a lot,” Ricciardo told reporters.

“It’s pretty tricky to overtake here and I’ve set my car up a little bit more for the race. I took some downforce off overnight so on the straights it will either give me a better chance to attack or defend.”

Verstappen, the winner in Malaysia last weekend who was also about a second off Hamilton’s pace at Suzuka, said Red Bull were just not as strong this time.

“I think more corners are flat-out this year and a lot faster so it becomes more of a straight, so it’s a bit more painful for us,” said the 20-year-old Dutch driver.

“And also it’s not as warm as Malaysia so it just seems that we don’t have that advantage like we had (there).”

Both drivers had sounded a very different tone last weekend, and also in Singapore where they showed pace capable of matching the two teams ahead of them.

The talk heading into the Japanese Grand Prix was of a three-way fight for race wins, with Red Bull potentially acting as kingmakers in the Hamilton versus Vettel title fight.

The team’s motorsport consultant Helmut Marko even said the outfit now had the best chassis on the grid.

“We definitely felt like ours worked better in Malaysia” said Ricciardo, who scored the team’s first win this year in Azerbaijan in June.

“But they (Mercedes) have obviously found the step they needed to here.”

(Editing by Alan Baldwin)

India continues Aussie pain in soggy T20

Even a change of format hasn’t been able to stop Australia’s batting collapses, with India easily chasing down a reduced target in the rain-curtailed first T20 international.

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The visitors lost 7-69 in Ranchi as they limped to 8-118 before weather ended their innings with eight balls remaining.

After a delay of almost two hours, India were given six overs to chase 48 which they hunted down with three balls to spare.

Rohit Sharma made 11 off seven balls before Nathan Coulter-Nile found a way through his defences to claim the only wicket of the innings.

Indian skipper Virat Kohli (22 off 14) and opener Shikhar Dhawan (15 off 12) did the rest, cruising to 1-49 after smashing three boundaries each.

Australia will have to win Tuesday’s match in Guwahati to avoid another series loss, after a deflating 4-1 drubbing in the one-day internationals.

Aaron Finch picked up where he left off in the ODIs, top scoring with 42 from 30 balls.

“I thought after we got off to a pretty good start with the bat, obviously losing our way through the middle order again,” Finch said.

“But it was a very challenging wicket to start on in particular against the spin.

“The guys were formulating a plan quite nicely, we just seemed to keep losing wickets at the wrong time.”

He smashed five boundaries including a six before a crafty piece of bowling from left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav turned him inside out and clattered into the stumps.

Yadav (2-16 off four overs) had his second victim when Moises Henriques (eight) advanced down the wicket to a leg break which kept low, clean bowling him.

Stand-in skipper David Warner made eight, while the injured Steve Smith ran the drinks and will return to Australia on Sunday.

Glenn Maxwell couldn’t play himself into form, struggling for his 17.

Maxwell pulled a long hop straight to mid-wicket off Yuzvendra Chahal who has claimed his wicket in all four of the Victorian’s innings on the tour.

Australia’s middle order again failed when they were needed, mimicking their efforts in the ODIs.

Travis Head (nine), Tim Paine (17) and Nathan Coulter-Nile (one) completed the sextet of Australians who were bowled.

“Especially after winning the toss and bowling first, that effort was required,” Kohli said.

“We don’t really understand the Duckword Lewis method. After getting them down to 118, we thought it would only be 40 or something. 48 was tricky,

Nate threatens US Gulf energy sites

Hurricane Nate is heading towards refineries, offshore oil platforms and other energy facilities in the central US Gulf Coast that largely were spared by Hurricane Harvey’s wrath nearly six weeks ago.

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The fast-moving storm has curtailed 92 per cent of daily oil production and 77 per cent of daily natural gas output in the US Gulf of Mexico, more than three times the amount affected by Harvey, which packed more of a punch when it hit the Texas coast.

Nate could become a Category 2 storm, the second weakest on a five-category scale used by meteorologists, with winds of up to 177km/h before landfall later on Saturday, the National Hurricane Centrr said.

Its track takes it closer to offshore production unlike Harvey, whose impact was greatest on refining centres.

Output shut in by Nate on Saturday amounted to 1.61 million barrels of oil per day and 2.48 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, according to the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

The Gulf of Mexico is home to about 17 per cent of daily US crude output and five per cent of daily natural gas output, according to US government estimates. Workers had been evacuated from 301 platforms and 13 rigs as of Saturday, the BSEE said.

Colby Goatley, a meteorologist at Weather Decision Technologies Inc, said his firm is helping about 10 drilling rig operators chart a course away from Nate, which is producing up to 9.1-metre waves near its centre, he said.

Nate is converging on refineries that remained in operation during Harvey, with Phillips 66’s Alliance plant, Valero Energy Corp’s Meraux facility, and PBF Energy’s Chalmette refinery closest to its current track. Chevron Corp’s Pascagoula, Miss., plant also is within the impact zone.

Harvey, which brought intense rains that flooded the Texas Gulf Coast, shut nearly a quarter of US refining capacity and a similar amount of Gulf of Mexico oil production. At least one of the Harvey-affected refineries is still working to resume full production.

US ports close ahead of Hurricane Nate

Major shipping ports across the central US Gulf Coast are closed to inbound and outbound traffic as Hurricane Nate intensifies and storm surges of up to 3.

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74 metres are expected.

The US Coast Guard on Saturday ordered port condition Zulu, a halt to all traffic, beginning at 8am local time for New Orleans; Gulfport and Pascagoula, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama; and Pensacola and Panama City, Florida.

New Orleans, which sits near the mouth of the Mississippi River, is an important transit point for energy, metals and agricultural commodities moving to overseas and domestic markets.

Nate is expected to strike the US coast on Saturday night as a Category 2 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, the National Hurricane Centre said on Saturday. At that intensity, it would have destructive winds of 154 to 177 km per hour.

Restrictions on New Orleans inbound and outbound traffic span the lower Mississippi River from the Huey P Long Bridge above Head of Passes to the Southwest Pass entrance at mile marker 20 below the head of passes, the Coast Guard said.

Gary LaGrange, executive director of trade group Ports Association of Louisiana, said he expected traffic restrictions to be lifted quickly once the fast-moving storm passes overnight.

“It’ll be short-lived based on the projected path and movement of the storm unless an unlikely event happens – such as two vessels colliding,” he said.

Vessels were still moving to secure berths at the ports on Saturday morning, he said.

The storm already has caused oil companies to evacuate workers at 66 production platforms and five rigs in the US Gulf of Mexico, according to the US government. As of Friday, operators had shut output equal to 1.24 million barrels per day of oil and 1.7 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas production in the US Gulf of Mexico due the storm, it said.

Phillips 66 also halted operations at its Alliance, Louisiana, oil refinery on Saturday. The refinery is south of New Orleans along the banks of the Mississippi River.