As it happened: Ballarat back in lockdown; curfews lift in Sydney’s LGAs of concern

As it happened: Ballarat back in lockdown; curfews lift in Sydney’s LGAs of concern

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8.53pm on Sep 15, 2021

The day in review By Cassandra MorganGood evening, and thank you for joining us for live coverage of the day’s events. In case you are just tuning in, here’s what you missed:

NSW recorded 1259 new local coronavirus cases and 12 deaths, as Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced 80 per cent of people aged 16 and over in the state have now received their first vaccine dose. The state’s hospital report card for April to June this year revealed emergency departments were overloaded with a record number of seriously ill patients leading up to the Delta outbreak. The NSW government confirmed that it is trialling a home quarantine progam with Paralympic athletes, and the curfew for the 12 local government areas of concern in Sydney’s west and south west has officially been omitted from the public health order.NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant at Wednesday’s COVID-19 briefing. Credit:Janie Barrett

Victoria recorded 423 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths. One of the deaths was a man in his 70s from the Wyndham area, while the second was 46-year-old Whittlesea man Martin “Marty” Blight. The Australian Services Union, of which he was a member, first announced his death on Tuesday afternoon. Authorities announced the regional city of Ballarat would go back into lockdown for a week, while restrictions in Shepparton would ease from midnight on Wednesday. Premier Daniel Andrews said the state should reach its target of 70 per cent of people having received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Thursday. Meanwhile, the Victorian Ombudsman has launched an investigation into the state’s travel permit system.Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton. Credit:Justin McManus

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton had a stern warning for anyone planning to take part in anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne this weekend, saying more than 2000 police will be patrolling the CBD, and public transport will be halted for six hours to stop people from attending. He said anyone who did attend would be hit with a $5500 fine.Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, following West Australia’s lead, announced people aged 60 and over in her state would be allowed to have a Pfizer COVID-19 jab from this weekend. The state recorded no new locally acquired cases of COVID-19.The ACT recorded 13 new COVID-19 cases, five of which were in quarantine throughout their entire infectious period. The territory’s Chief Minister Andrew Barr said it would on Wednesday reach the milestone of 75 per cent of the population aged over 12 having received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.Credit:Matt Dennien

Northern Territory recorded one new case, a 31-year-old woman who arrived on a repatriation flight from Dubai on September 1.Meantime, Tasmania remains COVID-free with no new cases of the virus. Western Australia and South Australia also reported no new cases.This is Cassandra Morgan signing off for the blog. Thanks again for joining us, and be sure to check back in tomorrow morning for more live coverage with Josh Dye.

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7.36pm on Sep 15, 2021

Another childcare centre among new Victorian exposure sites By Cassandra MorganVictorian health authorities have identified a number of new COVID-19 exposure sites, including another tier-1 site at a childcare centre.

Kool Kidz Childcare at Ravenhall in Melbourne’s west was declared a tier-1 or close contact exposure site across three days; between 8am and 4.30pm on Tuesday, September 7, Wednesday, September 8, and Thursday, September 9.

Anyone who attended the centre during those timeframes has to immediately get tested for COVID-19 and quarantine for 14 days from the exposure, regardless of whether they receive a negative test result.

The remainder of the new exposure sites are tier 2, although authorities warned some people who attended Gloria Jean’s Coffees at Broadmeadows Shopping Centre in Melbourne’s north, and 7-Eleven at Flemington, in inner Melbourne, would be declared tier-1 contacts.

Both were declared tier-2 sites over several days, as was an apartment complex at 436-442 Huntingdale Road in Mount Waverley.

A full list of Victorian exposure sites can be found here.

7.16pm on Sep 15, 2021

COVID-19 detected in wastewater on Victoria’s Surf CoastBy Cassandra MorganVictorian health authorities have flagged COVID-19 wastewater detections on the state’s Surf Coast.

The Chief Health Officer’s update, issued on Wednesday evening, said coronavirus had been detected in wastewater at Fairhaven and Aireys Inlet.

The period of interest was Tuesday, September 7 to Monday, September 13.

The update also warned there had been repeated wastewater detections in the regional city of Ballarat dating back to August 30, some of which were expected.

However, of particular interest were “strong and unexpected” detections in the suburbs of Delacombe, Sebastopol South, and Bonshaw.

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The period of interest for those detections was Sunday, September 12 to Tuesday, September 14.

“The detections could be the result of a person in the area who has recovered from COVID-19 but is still shedding the virus, or they could be an undiscovered new case,” the Chief Health Officer’s update said.

“Anyone who lives, works or has visited those areas is urged to watch for the mildest of COVID-19 symptoms and get tested as soon as possible if symptoms develop.”

In case you missed it, we reported earlier that Ballarat will be placed into a week-long lockdown at 11.59pm on Wednesday.

Premier Daniel Andrews said on Wednesday afternoon Ballarat was of concern due to multiple wastewater detections in the region that were not accounted for by the four known cases in the city.

6.50pm on Sep 15, 2021

Assault survivors to speak at consent roundtableBy Natassia ChrysanthosSeveral of the country’s most influential education and human rights stakeholders will join a roundtable discussion about sex and consent education in schools, which is being led by activist Chanel Contos in a final bid to push for reform before the end of the year.

Chanel Contos said it was important to launch a final push for sex education reform before ACARA finalised the national curriculum.Credit:Liliana Zaharia

The online event on Thursday will gather the most high-profile group of government representatives, curriculum authorities and activists from a cross-section of jurisdictions to meet specifically about the issue since Ms Contos began her ‘Teach Us Consent’ campaign in February by publishing thousands of young people’s testimonies about sexual assault. It will be closed to the media.

Delegates will split into small groups where they will hear directly from a young person who has experienced sexual assault, but focus on the curriculum in their discussions.

Ms Contos said it would be the last opportunity to put her petition in front of national authority ACARA before the curriculum for the next five years was finalised and submitted to the nation’s various education ministers.

For more details, read the full story here. 

6.20pm on Sep 15, 2021

Major disruptions continue for regional Victorian train network as hundreds isolate By Cassandra MorganCoaches will continue to replace the majority of trains on Victoria’s regional V/Line network on Thursday and over the coming days, as hundreds of the operator’s front-line staff continue to isolate.

A total of seven V/Line drivers and operational staff have so far tested positive for COVID-19, forcing about 300 employees into isolation.

Hundreds of V/Line staff are in isolation after several employees tested positive for COVID-19. Credit:Justin McManus

V/Line is operating a limited number of peak morning services on the Ballarat, Bendigo, Gippsland, and Geelong lines, and the Seymour line is running to full service.

The Department of Transport said in a statement on Wednesday additional morning and afternoon peak services had been added to the Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong lines.

It said it and V/Line were working closely with the Health Department, and ”exercising an abundance of caution in the interest of our crews and passengers”.

“V/Line is doing everything they can to return trains to service as quickly and safely as possible and this has already allowed a number of peak services to resume,” the statement said.

“Passengers are urged to check the V/Line website and social media before travelling for the latest travel information.

“Replacing most trains with coaches will allow for services to continue to operate, giving passengers certainty and helping to contain the outbreak.”

5.55pm on Sep 15, 2021

Australia’s medical regulator accuses Craig Kelly of copyright breachBy Rachel ClunLawyers for Australia’s medical regulator have written to former Liberal MP Craig Kelly demanding the United Australia Party and Mr Kelly stop distributing misleading information on COVID-19 vaccines.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration lawyers also allege the United Australia Party leader breached copyright by taking select extracts from the regulator’s adverse event notifications database, which were then distributed to the public through text messages.

United Australia Party MP Craig Kelly has distributed misleading information on COVID-19 vaccines, the TGA says.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“Lawyers for the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) have written to United Australia Party leader, Mr Craig Kelly MP, alleging it has breached copyright and demanding that it stop distributing incomplete extracts of adverse event reports relating to COVID-19 vaccines which the TGA believes could be seriously misleading,” the medical regulator said in a statement.

Click here to read the full story. 

5.30pm on Sep 15, 2021

Listen: Why are Aussies investing in ETFs, and what are they? By Jessica IrvineRecord low interest rates are driving a radical shift in the way Australians save and invest their money.

With money stashed in the bank earning only about 1 per cent – if you’re lucky – many are turning to the sharemarket, in hopes of higher returns. About a million Aussies dipped their toe into the sharemarket for the first time over the past year.

One of the ways they’re doing it is via Exchange Traded Funds, or ETFs, which have just celebrated 20 years in the Australian market.

They’re proving particularly popular among Millennials and those seeking instant diversification.

But what are the things you should look out for and how do they actually work?

Today on Please Explain, personal finance editor John Collett joins Jess Irvine to discuss.

You can listen to the podcast below.

5.03pm on Sep 15, 2021

COVID case detected in Lismore after lockdown lifted on SaturdayBy Sarah McPheeA case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in the Lismore area this afternoon, the Northern NSW Local Health District has announced.

“Investigations into the source of the case are continuing,” it said in a statement.

“Known contacts of the case are being contacted to get tested immediately and self-isolate.”

The person attended a school in Goonellabah on Monday, September 13. Health and education officials are working to advise parents and students and the school will be closed from tomorrow, Thursday, September 16.

Lismore was one of the regional NSW local government areas to come out of lockdown at 12.01am on Saturday.

It is also one of the LGAs in the border bubble with Queensland. Northern border residents have been able to cross into the Sunshine State for essential work and essential reasons since the bubble was reinstated at 1am on Monday.

Yass Valley Council LGA, in the NSW Southern Tablelands, was placed back under stay-at-home restrictions on Tuesday for two weeks after a positive case was confirmed in the area.

4.37pm on Sep 15, 2021

Curfew officially removed from NSW public health orderBy Sarah McPheeThe curfew for the 12 local government areas of concern in Sydney’s west and south west has officially been omitted from the public health order.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard at 1.27pm this afternoon signed off an amendment to the Public Health (COVID-19 Additional Restrictions for Delta Outbreak) Order (No 2) 2021, putting a line through the curfew from 9pm to 5am.

Parramatta is among the local government areas where the curfew has lifted. Credit:Wolter Peeters

An explanatory note states: “The object of this Order is to remove the curfew currently in place in areas of concern.”

A statement from Mr Hazzard’s office confirmed the curfew had lifted for the local government areas of Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta, Strathfield, and the Penrith suburbs of Caddens, Claremont Meadows, Colyton, Erskine Park, Kemps Creek, Kingswood, Mount Vernon, North St Marys, Orchard Hills, Oxley Park, St Clair and St Marys.

“This is a whole-of-government decision based on the advice of our health and police experts,” Mr Hazzard said in the statement.

“While the NSW community has achieved this fantastic milestone, it is critical that we do not let our guard down.

“We continue to ask the community to follow the stay-at-home rules, limit their movement and do all they can to keep everyone safe.

“High rates of testing are critical to detecting transmission and preventing further spread of COVID-19 in the community.”

According to the federal government vaccination figures released this afternoon, 80.07 per cent of the NSW population aged 16 and over has received one COVID-19 vaccine dose while 48.53 per cent are fully vaccinated.

4.07pm on Sep 15, 2021

‘Significant operation’: More than 2000 police to patrol CBD to stop Saturday’s demonstrationBy David EstcourtVictoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton says more than 2000 police will patrol Melbourne’s CBD on Saturday, making it one of the biggest operations in decades.

“This will be one of our largest operations we’ve conducted I think since the World Economic Forum many years ago,” he said.

“This is a significant operation … this is the biggest game in town for us to stop this occur.”

Protesters were sprayed with capsicum spray during Melbourne’s anti-lockdown rally in August. Credit:Justin McManus

In August, six police officers were hospitalised and more than 200 people were arrested during anti-lockdown protests that brought chaos to Melbourne’s CBD.

At the time, the Victorian government derided the protests as a “slap in the face”, with police claiming more than 4000 people turned up in contravention of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions.

Mr Patton said tracking protester movements could sometimes be challenging because organisers used encrypted messaging services to coordinate their movements.

“It’s made very difficult through encrypted applications used by the organisers,” he said.

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