Coronavirus Australia: Vic records 2179 COVID-19 cases, 6 deaths
Victoria has recorded 2179 new COVID-19 cases and six deaths, as a vaccine mandate comes into effect for more than 1.25 million authorised workers across the state.
The health department on Friday confirmed the figures, which are a slight drop on the record 2297 infections recorded on Thursday.
There are now 21,324 cases in the state, while the deaths take the toll from the current outbreak to 131.
Some 73,942 tests were processed in the 24 hours to Friday morning and 38,752 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered at state-run hubs.
It comes as Victorians permitted to work on-site must show proof they have had their first vaccination, or a booking within the next week to keep working.
They must then be fully vaccinated by November 26, and there are limited medical exemptions.
When the mandate was announced, most authorised workers in the state had already been partially vaccinated but it was estimated hundreds of thousands had not.
The public health order covers retail workers, personal trainers, journalists, faith leaders, judges, police, lawyers, actors, professional sportspeople and many other professions.
Tim Piper, the Victorian head of the peak employer association Ai Group, said “V-Day” was creating huge issues and some business were contacting it to report workers were refusing to get vaccinated.
“The workers have often been in their jobs many years, they may be key people in the business,” Mr Piper said.
“Skilled and experienced employees are at a premium and some businesses are at their wits’ end trying to decide what to do.”
He reminded employers they must send the staff home if they don’t comply with the order, and employees are not entitled to be paid unless they agree to take any accrued annual leave or long service leave.
Premier Daniel Andrews said he made no apology for his government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates across specific industries and the entire authorised workforce.
“These mandates, these requirements, push people to do what needs to be done,“ he told reporters on Thursday.
A motion to ban unvaccinated MPs and staff from entering parliament, an Australian-first and in line with the authorised worker mandate, also passed on Thursday.
Victoria is on track to reach its 70 per cent double vaccination target ahead of the indicative date of October 26, triggering the end of Melbourne’s long- running sixth lockdown.
QLD RECORDS TWO CASES, WARNS ABOUT NSW
Queensland has recorded two new cases of COVID-19 as the state government warns that a plan by NSW to scrap mandatory quarantine for vaccinated international travellers will put people at greater risk.
One of the new cases recorded on Friday is a flight crew member who tested positive on the way into hotel quarantine before flying onto Papua New Guinea.
The other is a truck driver who was contacted while driving into the state but he hasn’t been infectious in the community.
Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young says while both cases are technically locally-acquired, they pose “no risk at all” to the community.
She’s more concerned about the NSW government’s announcement that it will scrap mandatory quarantine for fully vaccinated international travellers from November.
Dr Young says the state border settings will have to be reassessed, but she doesn’t have enough information about the NSW plan yet.
“There’s just been an enormous change this morning that I haven’t been able to get my head around,” she told reporters.
“So I need to go and work out what that change means, and it’s not just a change that will impact on NSW, opening the borders to NSW then leads to a flow on to every other state.
“So, I just have to recalibrate my thinking that I’ve been coming to over the last few weeks.”
ACT RECORDS 35 NEW CASES OF COVID-19
The ACT recorded 35 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, along with the death of a woman in her 70s, marking the eighth death of the current outbreak.
The woman was a resident at an aged care facility in Canberra’s north and is the seventh death linked to the centre.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the government was aiming to have more areas in the surrounding region free from quarantine measures.
“We are leaning into more areas to not have a quarantine requirement, and then we are going to assess the case load and vaccination status of particular areas within NSW ,” Mr Barr said.
However, the chief minister warned ACT residents not to go over the border into NSW for non-essential reasons, such as going to the pub.
Mr Barr also welcomed a decision from the NSW government to scrap quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated international travellers from November 1.
While Canberra isn’t likely to have international flights return to the capital in the near future, negotiations were ongoing about transfer arrangements.
“It’s a sensible distinction to draw at a national level, but it’s not a pertinent issue because there’s no expectation of international flights,” Mr Barr said.
“We will work with the NSW and Victorian governments in relation to what transit arrangements will be.”
It comes as Friday marked the end of Canberra’s nine-week COVID lockdown, which will see cafes, restaurants, pubs and hairdressers reopen.
Retail, however, will not be able to reopen to customers in store until October 29.
The ACT’s first-dose rate for COVID also passed 99 per cent, keeping Canberra on track to be one of the most vaccinated cities in the world.
“We continue to see first doses creep up, but at a slower rate because we are running out of people to provide first doses to,” Mr Barr said.
“Our focus is to ensure the 25 per cent of the eligible population who have received their first dose get their second.”
There are 16 patients in Canberra hospitals with the virus, eight of whom are in intensive care.
NSW RECORDS 399 NEW LOCAL COVID-19 CASES
There are 399 new local COVID-19 cases in NSW as the government reveals Sydneysiders won’t be allowed to travel to the regions until November.
NSW Health said there had been four more COVID-19 deaths in the 24-hours until Thursday and one new case of COVID-19 that was acquired overseas.
NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole confirmed the much anticipated decision to delay travel to the regions until November 1 had been taken because of the risk to those communities where vaccination rates lag behind the cities.
He says delaying regional travel is necessary to protect the regions from a virus outbreak because only 36 per cent of regional local government areas have populations where 80 per cent are double vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I know it’s frustrating. It’s not an easy decision,” the Nationals leader told Sydney radio station 2GB on Friday.
“But we have a responsibility to make sure that we keep our regional communities safe.
“It’s important that we don’t actually open up businesses and then ... case numbers escalate putting those communities and those businesses in jeopardy.”
The coalition government had promised unlimited travel across the state for the fully vaccinated from the Monday after NSW reached its 80 per cent double vaccination milestone.
With 77.8 per cent of NSW residents over 16 now fully vaccinated, the state is likely to reach the 80 per cent threshold on the weekend.
Premier Dominic Perrottet is set to provide an update on what new freedoms will be allowed next week.
Meanwhile, people in NSW are now able to integrate the COVID-19 digital vaccination certificate into their Service NSW app, making life easier for the businesses and customers.
Digital and Customer Service Victor Dominello says the integration of the vaccine certificate with the app is the the easiest and quickest way to prove you’re fully vaccinated.
“When someone visits a venue, they’ll be able to show their green check-in tick and vaccination status simultaneously, saving staff and customers time,” he said.
Meanwhile, restrictions for people entering NSW from the ACT are being eased and people will no longer need to complete a declaration form upon entry to NSW or follow stay-at-home rules on arrival.
Queensland residents will also no longer have to complete a declaration form on arrival due to low rates of community transmission in that state.
Some 91.4 per cent of eligible NSW residents have had at least one COVID-19 jab.
Of 12- to 15-year-olds, 72.11 per cent had received at least one dose by Wednesday, and 26.01 per cent are fully immunised.
NSW reported 406 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, down from 444 the previous day.
Six more people died, taking the total for the most recent outbreak to 454.
STATE-BY-STATE CASE BREAKDOWN
VIC - 2179 new local cases, six deaths
NSW - 399 new local cases, four deaths
QLD - zero new local cases, two new acquired cases
ACT - 35 new local cases
WA - TBA
SA - TBA
TAS - TBA
NT - TBA
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