Australia news LIVE: NSW COVID-19 cases continue to grow as state ramps up vaccination measures; sharp increase in infections in Victoria

We have made our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic free for all readers. Please consider supporting our journalism with a subscription.

Key posts

  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
  • 1 of 1

Where is Victoria’s lockdown exit plan?

Top-level Victorian government officials are increasingly frustrated with the speed at which the state’s public health team is developing a plan out of lockdown, as experts call for more measures to control the spread of COVID-19.

As Victoria battles a growing wave of COVID-19 infections concentrated in Melbourne’s north and western suburbs, NSW is preparing to emerge from its lockdown in mid-October, despite having a larger number of new cases.

Premier Daniel Andrews (centre), Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton (left) and COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar this month.Credit:Getty

The release on Thursday of NSW’s exit plan, which would allow gatherings and involve retail and hospitality “cautiously” reopening to the fully vaccinated, has put pressure on Victoria to look ahead.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton’s team was commissioned last month to produce a Victorian lockdown exit plan. Some government figures expected the work to have been completed by now, allowing the government to create positive incentives for Victorians to get vaccinated.

Instead, Victorians have been told only about a minor easing of restrictions at the 70 per cent first-dose milestone, which will include an extension of the travel limit to 10 kilometres and an increase in exercise time to three hours. There has been no indication of what freedoms will be permitted when 70 and 80 per cent of the population is double-vaccinated.

Read more about the situation in Victoria here.

Experts express concern about NSW’s path out of lockdown

Public health experts have expressed concern about NSW’s road map to reopening its economy, which they say appears to have been driven by industry rather than consideration of the state’s stretched hospital system.

Yesterday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that fully vaccinated people in NSW would be able to visit gyms, pubs and households – subject to capacity limits – once the state reaches 70 per cent full vaccination. Larger gatherings, in stadiums and theatres, will also be permitted subject to capacity limits for the double-dosed.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a suite of restrictions would ease once NSW hit 70 per cent full vaccination.Credit:James Brickwood

Grattan Institute health economist and former health bureaucrat Stephen Duckett said, even though the plan was subject to the significant caveat that local areas could be placed under tighter restrictions if cases rise, “one person’s freedom is another person’s going to hospital”.

“It is an extremely risky strategy which guarantees an increase in the number of cases and the number of hospitalisations. The question is how NSW Health will cope in this environment,” he said.

More on NSW’s reopening plan here.

Hundreds leave Afghanistan on first major commercial flight

Some 200 foreigners left Afghanistan on a commercial flight out of Kabul on Thursday, the first such large-scale departure since US and other forces completed their frantic withdrawal more than a week ago.

The Qatar Airways flight to Doha marked a breakthrough in the bumpy co-ordination between the US and Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers. A days-long standoff over charter planes at another airport has left dozens of passengers stranded.

Passengers board a Qatar Airways plane at Kabul airport on Thursday.Credit:AP

A senior US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorised to talk to the media, provided the number of Westerners on the Qatar flight and said two senior Taliban officials helped facilitate the departure – the new foreign minister and deputy prime minister.

Read the full story here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for your company.

It’s Friday, September 10. I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day.

Here’s everything you need to know before we get started.

  • NSW’s path out of lockdown is now clear. Hospitality, retail, gyms and hair and beauty salons will reopen for the fully vaccinated on the Monday after the state reaches its 70 per cent double-dose vaccination target. Parts of regional NSW without active cases will reopen from tomorrow night, but stay-at-home orders will return if there are cases in the community. Some public health experts have expressed concerns over NSW’s road map, arguing it appears to be “developed by business for business” and guarantees an increase in case numbers. Yesterday, the state recorded 1405 new coronavirus infections.
  • Regional Victorians who don’t live in Shepparton in the state’s north are waking up to eased coronavirus restrictions this morning. Restaurants and cafes can reopen with density limits for seated service and the five reasons for leaving home no longer apply. However, people are still subject to mandatory mask-wearing indoors and outside and gyms are still closed. Victoria recorded 324 new, locally acquired cases of COVID-19.
  • The ACT recorded 15 new cases yesterday, five of whom were in quarantine for their entire infectious period. There are nine coronavirus patients hospitalised in the nation’s capital. Of those, two are in intensive care. Chief Minister Andrew Barr says we can expect him to outline a “gradual and safe” reopening plan on Tuesday.
  • Brisbane is on alert after a COVID-positive NSW truck driver was infectious in south-east Queensland for two days. The driver spent time at a Westfield shopping centre. It’s the fourth truck driver to cause concerns in the Sunshine State over the past fortnight. Queensland recorded one new case of coronavirus yesterday, although authorities aren’t concerned about that infection because it was a close contact who was isolating while infectious.
  • WA Premier Mark McGowan has handed down the country’s biggest-ever state budget surplus. The mining state recorded a $5.6 billion windfall for the 2020-21 financial year, beating the previous record held by NSW (a $4.7 billion surplus in 2016).
  • And in overseas news, New Zealand recorded 13 local cases of COVID-19 in Auckland yesterday. The country’s biggest city remains in lockdown.
  • 1 of 1

Most Viewed in National

Source: Read Full Article