Vic records worst day of the pandemic

Vic records worst day of the pandemic

Hundreds of protesters who attended Wednesday’s protests in Melbourne are urged to get tested immediately after protester was sent to hospital with Covid-19.

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

Multiple NSW LGAs are waking up to eased restrictions this morning after emerging from lockdown overnight. It comes as NSW confirmed 1063 new Covid cases and six deaths on Thursday.

Tensions are still high in Victoria after hundreds of protesters flooded the streets of Melbourne yesterday during a third-day of anti-vaccination protests.

Victoria recorded its biggest day of the entire pandemic on Thursday, with 766 new infections and four deaths.

This live blog has wrapped up for the day. These were the main talking points from Thursday.

Protester in hospital with Covid-19

Hundreds of protesters who attended Wednesday’s protests in Melbourne are urged to get tested immediately after protester was sent to hospital with Covid-19.

Reports emerged on Thursday afternoon that a man who attended the protests — which saw hundreds of people crammed together at the Shrine of Remembrance — has since tested positive to Covid-19.

The man has been taken to hospital for treatment. ABC reporter Richard Willingham reported that the patient was not in ICU.

In a statement, a Department of Health spokesperson said: “We are urging protestors to get tested should they experience COVID-like symptoms, no matter how mild.”

The protests are part of an anti-vaccination movement that has taken to the streets for three straight day.

They are protesting mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for the construction industry.

Construction workers were joined by anti-vaxxers and professional protest organisers on Monday and Tuesday that saw hundreds of arrests and injuries to both protesters and police.

‘That’s my fault?’: Dan snaps at question

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews was adamant his government had done everything possible when he fired back at a reporter over at a question regarding state’s Covid vaccine supply.

Mr Andrews was asked why Victoria hadn’t been pushing for extra vaccine doses like NSW did when its outbreak was worsening.

The Premier hit back at the suggestion his state didn’t push for more vaccine supply, saying he didn’t think that was a “fair criticism”.

“We have a shortage of supply. And that is my fault, is it? Seriously,” Mr Andrews said.

“If I am to be criticised that the Commonwealth did not order it at the right time or get enough supply provided to me now, we can have the most robust exchange but let’s be very clear, I do not think it is there to blame the state government for the amount of vaccine we have got because vaccine is not ordered by us.

“I think you’re being critical of the state government. If you want to talk about supply, have a chat to Health Minister (Greg) Hunt or someone else in the federal government. They are the ones who do the ordering, pay for it, ship it in, distribute around the country.

“I do not think it is unreasonable for me to push back and say, no, I’m not going to stay here

and be criticised for supply because I am not responsible for supply. I am not.”

Australia records biggest vaccination week to date

More than two million vaccines were administered last week, according to Health Minister Greg Hunt.

The figure was a national record, but Mr Hunt wants to break it again this week. He urged Australians to book in if they haven’t already.

“Wherever you are in Australia, no matter what your team is, you can be part of one team, the Australian team, to be vaccinated this Grand Final weekend,” he said.

He took a veiled swipe at the Victorian Government telling reporters he “detects a pattern” of complaints on “difficult days”.

Cause of Victoria’s worst Covid day

Victorian health authorities have revealed household transmission is the main driver behind the state’s spike in Covid-19 cases.

Covid response commander Jeroen Weimar said 55 per cent of today’s 766 occurred within households where one member has been a known positive case.

“A number of times we have said when Covid comes into individual households, the attack rate is very high and the risk to other members of your family is very high,” Mr Weimar said.

“It is likely that everybody in the household will contract Covid at some point over that duration.”

The majority of todays cases, 468, were detected in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.

Mr Weimar put a call out to the Hume LGA that saw 264 of those cases, a 60 per cent increase in transmission in the last four days.

Mr Weimar said today’s figures were “challenging” but it should serve to redouble everyone’s focus on “doing everything we all can as a community to slow down the rate of community transmission over the days and weeks ahead.”

Premier Daniel Andrews warned the “numbers will go up” and the peak of the outbreak was still looming.

“They are going to go up but we can all of us, in the choices we make, limit the amount by which they go up,” he said.

“We’re not going to be able to drive these cases down to zero. That was the health advice. That was a reachable goal for a long time but then it spread so far and wide that it becomes impossible.”

Victoria announces new border rules for Sydney

Victorians who have been stuck in Sydney will finally be able to return home under new border rules announced on Thursday.

From September 30, Victorians who have been in extreme risk zones will be eligible to return to Victoria if they are fully vaccinated or have received a negative Covid test 72 hours prior.

“They will have to do 14 days of quarantine but that quarantine can be done at their home,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“If a person does not have a place to go to, that’s safe, we would try and make arrangements to support that person but it’s home quarantine.

“If you’re double vaccinated and you have got a negative test within three days of coming home, then that all begins on the 30th and those several thousand, we believe, Victorians that are in Sydney that are from Melbourne or Victoria, will be able to return home.”

Lockdown extended for NSW LGA as others are freed

Residents living in the Hilltops LGA, including Young, will see the lockdown extended for another week due to ongoing Covid transmission in the area.

Stay-at-home orders for this area will be extended for another seven days from September 24.

“We need all people throughout NSW to continue to come forward for testing at the first sign of even mild symptoms,” NSW Health said.

“High vaccination rates are also essential to reduce the risk of transmission and protect the health and safety of the community.”

It is a different story for residents in the Glen Innes and Orange LGAs, with their lockdowns due to end at midnight tonight.

Though a number of restrictions will still remain in place.

NSW records 1063 cases and six deaths

NSW has recorded 1063 new locally acquired cases and six deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.

Of those who died, four people were not vaccinated. One person, a woman in her 90s, had received one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and one person, a woman in her 50s with significant underlying health conditions, had received two doses.

766 cases and four deaths in Victoria

Victoria has recorded an alarming spike in Covid-19 cases, marking the state’s worst day since the start of the pandemic.

The state recorded 766 new locally acquired infections and four deaths in the 24 hours to midnight last night.

Today’s figures overtake the previous record of 686 infections confirmed on August 4, 2020, when Victoria was battling it’s deadly second wave. At the time of the number being announced it topped 700 cases, but duplicate cases meant it was later revised down to 686.

‘Nurses, teachers’ plan to join protests

Frustrated police are fed-up, the construction union is vowing revenge and Melburnians have been united in disgust at the desecration yesterday of the hallowed Shrine of Remembrance.

Despite an increasingly heavy police presence, organisers of the protests have promised they won’t be scared away.

Melbourne is bracing for a fourth consecutive day of demonstrations today, with chat groups on the social media site Telegram confirming plans for more of the same on Thursday.

Individuals inside the online chat claiming to be nurses and teachers say they’ll join the group today and say they’re encouraging colleagues to do the same.

“Some of the nurses are going to turn up in scrubs,” one said.

It had been noted in the group that high-visibility workwear donned by protesters, including non-tradies, was becoming “vilified” and that a more “sophisticated” look is now needed.

“Everyone start turning up in suits, shirts/ties, dress shoes. Look smart, look sophisticated,” one said.

“So they can see how many different industries are standing up,” another added.

Throughout yesterday, the crowd spontaneously chanted “every day” in reference to their pledge to continue protesting until their demands are met.

Among them, a reversal of mandatory Covid vaccines for construction sector workers and an end to the two-week closure of the industry imposed by Premier Daniel Andrews on Monday night.

– Shannon Molloy

NSW’s ‘Freedom Day’ coming sooner than expected

Fully vaccinated NSW residents could be enjoying eased restrictions even sooner than expected, as vaccinations rates surge ahead across the state.

NSW is now expected to hit its 70 per cent double dose vaccination target by October 7, with industry groups being briefed for an October 11 official reopening date, according to The Australian.

These revised dates put the state on track to reopen two weeks earlier than originally expected, with October 25 initially earmarked for reopening.

A rise vaccination rates then saw this revised to October 18 and now October 11 is being touted as the new reopening date.

Under NSW’s roadmap to freedom, the lockdown will be lifted for fully vaccinated residents from the Monday after the vaccination target is hit.

Some of the eased restrictions will include:

• Having five fully vaccinated visitors in your home and being able to gather outdoors in groups of 20.

• The reopening of hospitality venues, retail stores, hairdressers, gyms and sporting facilities.

• The reopening on major outdoor recreation facilities, such as stadiums, racecourses, theme parks and zoos.

• Allowing up to 50 guests at weddings and funerals. Places of worship will also be allowed to reopen.

• Domestic travel, including trips to regional NSW, will be permitted.

Vaccine passport to be trialled in regional areas

A trail of NSW’s vaccine passport system is set to begin in regional areas of NSW in under two weeks.

Currently, in order to prove they have been vaccinated, residents must open the Medicare Express App to display their proof of double vaccination, or download a certificate to their Google or Apple digital wallet.

However, in preparation for NSW’s reopening, the government is working on being able to download proof of vaccination to the Services NSW app to make things easier when checking into a venue or business.

Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said trials for the vaccine passport would run for two weeks from October 6.

This means the system is unlikely to be running before the reaches its 70 per cent vaccination target, meaning residents will need to continue using other methods to show their proof of vaccination.

The regional areas where the system will be tested are yet to be chosen, with the government set to invite a small group of venues to participate.

“It’s going to be a closed pilot for between 100 and 500 people,” Mr Dominello said.

“We decided against Sydney because we don’t want to create the honey-pot effect.

“If you create one location in Sydney everyone will be drawn to it, whereas in the regions, they’re already quasi-opened up anyway.”

Multiple NSW LGAs come out of lockdown

Lockdown restrictions have eased for multiple NSW LGAs overnight after health authorities deemed these areas low risk.

The LGAs of Albury, Lismore, Gilgandra and Brewarrina were released from their stay-at-home orders at midnight.

No cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in these areas for 14 days.

“However, these LGAs will continue to operate under some restrictions to ensure community safety,” NSW Health said in a statement.

“We need all people throughout NSW to continue to come forward for testing at the first sign of even mild symptoms.

“High vaccination rates are also essential to reduce the risk of transmission and protect the health and safety of the community.”

Narromine LGA will also come out of lockdown from September 25, provided the area has no Covid cases or sewage detections before then.

Police backflip on protest decision

Victoria Police have scaled back an earlier request for a no-fly zone over Melbourne, which they said was requested because protesters were using the live footage to plan their rallies.

News helicopters will now be allowed to film protests in the city, but they will need to wait 60 minutes before broadcasting any footage.

Earlier on Wednesday, police were granted a no-fly zone over central Melbourne, as protests over mandatory vaccinations raged on.

Police Deputy Commissioner Ross Guenther said live footage had been impairing the safety of officers.

“I supported the request because what was happening was that the live news footage from the helicopters was being used by the protesters to identify where we were and what our tactics were at different locations,” he told reporters on Wednesday night.

“Having said that, we reviewed that later this afternoon, recognising that it is important for the media to get their pictures in these situations.”

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) agreed to the request on Wednesday morning.

It meant low-flying aircraft such as helicopters wouldn’t have been allowed to fly over central Melbourne until Sunday morning.

Police acknowledged there were concerns the media would not be able to cover the protests from the air, but “alternate options” were being explored.

– Additional reporting NCA NewsWire

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