HomeAustralia Covid news live: NSW, Victoria, Qld roadmap, freedoms, lockdown restrictions and...

Australia Covid news live: NSW, Victoria, Qld roadmap, freedoms, lockdown restrictions and cases

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall has unveiled his state’s long-awaited reopening plan, with hopes it can enjoy “as normal a Christmas as possible”.

Welcome to Tuesday’s live coverage of Australia’s Covid-19 situation.

Victoria recorded 1510 Covid cases and four deaths on Tuesday.

It comes after Premier Daniel Andrews announced major changes on Sunday to the state’s roadmap once new vaccination milestones are reached.

NSW recorded 282 Covid cases and one death, though authorities are still bracing for a rise in infections due to the state’s eased restrictions.

Queensland recorded two new locally acquired cases on Tuesday, with one case in particular, an unvaccinated teen, sparking concern for authorities.

The live blog has wrapped up for the day. Read on for today’s top headlines.

SA unveils reopening plan

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall has unveiled South Australia’s long-awaited reopening plan, with hopes the state can enjoy “as normal a Christmas as possible”.

“From November 23, we will be removing our border restrictions for those people who are double vaccinated to come into South Australia,” Mr Marshall told reporters.

“From November 23, we will be reducing the time that international arrivals need to be in quarantine from 14 days down to seven, and on November 23 we will also be increasing the cap for home gatherings from 20 to 30, but other arrangements will need to stay in place for the foreseeable future.”

Once the state reaches 90 per cent of South Australians aged 12 and over fully vaccinated, authorities will remove the quarantine arrangement for overseas arrivals and “the vast majority of the other restrictions in South Australia”.

Mr Marshall said he was hopeful that milestone could be achieved by Christmas.

“So, the race is on in South Australia. We need as many people to get vaccinated as quickly as possible, so we can enjoy as normal a Christmas as possible during this pandemic,” he added.

“Again, I want to thank all South Australians for their extraordinary efforts over the last 19 months, we are the envy of the world but as we know we cannot keep the Delta variant out forever.”

‘Covid is coming’: Qld on high alert

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has offered another dark warning for residents after two new locally acquired Covid cases were detected in the state.

The most concerning case is a 17-year-old unvaccinated boy who was a close contact of a person who travelled to Queensland from NSW.

“Today’s cases show Queensland is not immune to the pandemic. We have contained dozens of outbreaks but as NSW, Victoria, the ACT and New Zealand have discovered it takes one case to cause a massive health crisis,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“Because of the time it takes between doses, Queenslanders have just five days to get their first dose so that they can be fully vaccinated in time for Christmas when families can once again be reunited with loved ones.

“I want 70 per cent fully vaccinated by November 19. On November 19 Anyone from an interstate hotspot will be able to travel into Queensland provided they arrive by air, fully vaccinated and produce a negative taste, those people will be required to complete 14 days home quarantine.

“Make no mistake Covid is coming.”

Two new local cases in Qld

Queensland has recorded two new locally acquired cases in the past 24 hours.

Of those cases, one is an unvaccinated 17-year-old from the Gold Coast who presented to the Gold Coast University Hospital with a headache before being diagnosed with the virus.

He is understood to be a close contact of someone who travelled from NSW, with investigations underway into how that person crossed the border into Queensland.

The second case is a woman in her 30s from Melbourne. The case was detected in home quarantine and is considered low risk to the community.

A truck driver from Gympie has also contracted the virus, though he tested positive in NSW and has been included in their figures.

The truck driver travelled to Bundaberg while infectious.

Big issue with plan to lockout unvaxxed

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has repeatedly said residents who choose not to be vaccinated will be banned from non-essential activities “well into 2022”.

The plan to keep unvaccinated Victorians essentially in lockdown will remain even after the state passes the 90 per cent double vaccination goal.

“Whether it’s a bookshop, a shoe shop, a pub, cafe, a restaurant, the MCG, the list goes on and on. You will not be able to participate like a fully vaccinated person because you’re not a fully vaccinated person,” Mr Andrews said.

However, one expert has warned these strict rules could actually do more harm than good.

Former deputy chief medical officer, Professor Nick Coatsworth, said barring unvaccinated people from freedoms into next year could actually cement their beliefs around vaccines.

“To suggest that for an entire year when your vaccination rates are likely to be above 90 per cent that there are things you would exclude people from participating in for that period of time is likely to rust people on to their opposition to vaccines,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

“If you wanted to encourage people to believe that the government was against you if you didn’t get the vaccine, this is exactly how you would be have.”

Professor Coatsworth told the publication there was a balance that needed to be struck when using vaccine passports.

Under NSW’s roadmap, unvaccinated residents will be allowed to enjoy the same freedoms as vaccinated people from December 1, when the state is expected to have passed its 90 per cent double dose vaccination goal.

NT to scrap quarantine for fully vaxxed

Northern Territory is the latest region to reveal when it will be scrapping quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner said vaccinated travellers will be allowed to enter the NT without quarantining from on or around January 18.

“I’m not guaranteeing January 18, we’ve allowed a caveat there, so it’s a minimum of 28 days, as we work through the pilot process, but we’re aiming for 18 January no quarantine,” he said.

Mr Gunner said a strict Covid testing regime would be brought in.

It comes after yesterday’s announcement that fully vaccinated travellers from hotspot areas would be able to quarantine at home for 14 days from November 23.

New pandemic laws will have ‘broader focus’

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has addressed the new pandemic laws being introduced into parliament today, saying the legislation will provide a “broader focus” to allow the state to move forward through the pandemic.

“They also set us up having led to many different things across the journey for whatever that next pandemic might look like, whenever that might be into the future,” he said.

“It is appropriate that you do what you say. We said there would be pandemic specific laws, that is exactly what we have introduced into parliament. They are based on some other models in other parts of the country and world but they go further, in many ways. In terms of scrutiny, oversight, transparency.”

Under the new laws, the Premier would be able to declare a pandemic, with those declarations able to be renewed for up to three months at a time with “no outer limit on the total duration of the declaration”.

The health Minister would be given the “broad power” to make pandemic orders where necessary to protect public health.

The bill states all public health advice must be made public and tabled in parliament and a committee of public health and human rights experts would review any new public health orders.

Health Minister Martin Foley said the new laws have been modelled on both the New Zealand and New South Wales equivalent legislation.

He said “pandemic directions” will replace current public health directions and will including things like how booster shots should be managed and how to manage isolation and quarantine for Covid infected people.

“We have learned over the course of the past 21 months that these powers impact on all sorts of aspects of our community and our wellbeing and our economy and our mental health and business and community,” Mr Foley said.

“It will be the intention of this bill to make sure that all of those … are heard … and are viewed and tabled in parliament.”

Surprise change in NSW’s Covid outbreak

The centre of NSW’s Covid-19 outbreak has appeared to have finally moved away from Sydney, with the majority of Monday’s cases reported outside of the city.

Of yesterday’s 294 Covid cases, 56 per cent – or 166 – were diagnosed outside of Sydney.

The majority were detected in the Hunter New England region, with 59 of yesterday’s cases diagnosed in the area.

There has also been a rise in infections in the Snowy Mountains and Riverina area, with the region recorded 46 cases yesterday.

It comes amid concerns that lower vaccination rates in regional NSW could put residents at risk when Greater Sydney residents are able to travel regionally.

Regional travel was originally set to be allowed when NSW hit 80 per cent double dose vaccinations, but was pushed back to November 1 to allow the regions more time to increase vaccination rates.

Law would give Premier new pandemic powers

A new law being introduced to the Victorian parliament today would give the Premier the power to declare pandemics and have public health orders enforced.

The new law is being proposed as a replacement to Victoria’s controversial state of emergency powers, which have previously been branded by the opposition as a “power grab”.

Under the new laws, the Premier would be able to declare a pandemic, with those declarations able to be renewed for up to three months at a time with “no outer limit on the total duration of the declaration”.

The health Minister would be given the “broad power” to make pandemic orders where necessary to protect public health. Under the current law, this power sits with the chief health officer.

The bill states all public health advice must be made public and tabled in parliament and a committee of public health and human rights experts would review any new public health orders.

The bill also includes the ability to apply pandemic orders to “classes of person” who can be identified by “their characteristics, attributes or circumstances”.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy branded the proposed law “a massive threat to Australian democracy”.

One MP who wished to remain anonymous told the ABC they were “very angry” that the government had waited until last night to brief them on laws that would give “huge sweeps of powers for the Premier”.

Liberal MP Tim Smith labelled the bill “terrifying” and accused Premier Daniel Andrews of a major power grab.

“Our liberties and freedoms have been under assault from this Labor government for 18 months. It must end,” he wrote on Twitter

“The Coalition will seek to amend the Victorian Constitution to stop Andrews’ terrifying power grab.

“This is an attempted coup on the people of Victoria by Daniel Andrews. It’s extreme legislation that will be opposed by every sinew the Liberal Party has in it.”

NSW records 282 cases and one death

NSW has recorded 282 locally acquired Covid-19 cases and one death in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.

Victoria records 1510 cases and four deaths

Victoria has recorded 1510 Covid-19 cases and four deaths in the 24 hours to midnight last night.

US to offer Covid jabs to five-year-olds

Children aged between five and 11 in the US could start receiving Covid vaccines within the first two weeks of November, a top infectious disease expert has said.

Chief medical adviser in the US, Dr Anthony Fauci, said it is likely young children will become eligible for the Covid vaccine within weeks, with the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) vaccine advisory group holding discussions on vaccines for children this week.

“You never want to get ahead of the FDA in their regulatory decisions, nor do you want to get ahead of the CDC and their advisers on what the recommended would be,” Fauci told ABC’s This Week Sunday program.

“But if you look at the data that’s been made public and announced by the company, the data looked good as to the efficacy and the safety.”

It comes after both Pfizer and the FDA released documents on Friday around the efficacy of a children’s dose of the Covid vaccine, with Pfizer finding the jab was 90.7 per cent effective against symptomatic disease in children aged five to 11.

Bad news for Queensland border opening

Queensland’s slow vaccination uptake could have major ramifications for the state, with concerns international travel to the region could be delayed for up to 12 months.

Currently, 60.7 per cent of Queenslanders over the age of 16 have had two vaccine doses, with 75.2 per cent having had one dose.

According to analysis by The Courier-Mail, if Queensland keeps going on its current trajectory only 77.47 per cent of residents over the age of 16 will be fully vaccinated by December 17, when the state is set to reopen.

This means the state will likely hit its 90 per cent vaccination target in January, a milestone that will allow international arrivals to avoid quarantine.

However, Flight Centre boss Graham Turner said lagging vaccination rates means the state could be forced to wait even longer before hitting that milestone.

“Queensland may not get to 90 per cent for six to 12 months,” he told The Courier-Mail.

“Airlines like Qantas are not going to fly into Queensland without certainty, so it could be six to 12 months before Qantas comes back in Queensland flying overseas.”

What experts got so wrong about Victoria

Modelling saw this coming for Victoria. Well, some of it. One part they got very wrong.

The Burnet Institute predicted Victoria’s spike in infections accurately in research published in September.

Researchers wrote that even without any easing of restrictions, daily cases (on a seven-day average scale) would be between 1400 and 2900 between 19-31 October.

They were right about that. On Monday, Victoria recorded 1461 new cases.

But the team at the Institute also predicted a corresponding peak in hospital and ICU admissions that has so far not materialised.

The research predicted there would be between 1200 and 2500 cases in hospital and between 260 and 550 cases in ICU at this time. They said there was “a moderate risk of exceeding health system capacity”.

But as of Monday, there were 802 people in hospital and 152 people in ICU.

Sports Minister Martin Pakula picked up on the discrepancy — largely credited to high vaccination rates — when speaking with Melbourne radio hosts on 3AW on Monday.

“I think the important thing to look at is, not so much the case numbers, but the hospitalisation and ICU numbers,” Mr Pakula said.

“The truth of the matter is while the case numbers are tracking pretty close to the Burnet (Institute) modelling, the numbers in hospital and the numbers in ICU are significantly lower than what was modelled and anticipated.

“Those numbers are tracking below the model and I think the indication has been very clear, this is the path we are on now.”

Read related topics:Adelaide


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