Australia Covid live news update: some restrictions to ease in NSW and Victoria this week as vaccination milestones met

3 weeks ago

So the vaccine passport trials will begin in 20 regional LGA’s in Victoria from 11 October, and we have some idea of what that will look like now.

The trial LGAs include Buloke, Pyrenees, Bass Coast, Greater Bendigo, East Gippsland, and Warrnambool, and were picked for their high vaccination rates.

‘No jab, no entry’ rules will be implemented at those 20 LGAs, with pubs, clubs and entertainment venues to host up to 30 people indoors and 100 outdoors.

To enter, people will need either a physical or digital copy of their vaccine passport, and staff at the venues will be required to enforce the rules.

The rules are meant to emulate what the government intends to rollout across the state, so it will be interesting to see how the trial pans out.

Some restrictions have been eased today in New South Wales, including around face masks and swimming pools.

From today, outdoor swimming pools are allowed to reopen to both vaccinated and unvaccinated swimmers, coming as a relief to all those suburbs that don’t have a beach within their 5km radius.

Other restrictions eased from today include allowing retailers like Bunnings and plant nurseries to reopen in LGAs of concern, as well as allowing people in those areas to exercise without a mask.

The public health orders were amended on Saturday, and take effect now, with more restrictions expected (or hoped) to ease this week.

Updated at 6.13pm EDT

Picking on the thread about borders reopening (what I’m sure will be a recurring theme this week, especially as NSW steams ahead towards 70% double vaccinated), yesterday Queensland’s deputy premier criticised Scott Morrison for giving people false hope for reopening.

PM Scott Morrison had earlier appeared on Weekend Sunrise, saying state premiers should honour the national reopening plan at 70% and 80% double vaccination rates:

There comes a time when you’ve got to honour the arrangement you’ve made with the Australian people, and that is when you get to 80% vaccination, it’s very clear that you can start opening up.

But Queensland’s Steven Miles was not having it, telling media yesterday that the PM should worry more about the “health and wellbeing” of people in NSW and Victoria than on Queensland’s border:

It’s not that simple and it’s misleading people to tell them that it should be that simple.

This bloke should focus on his job. You know, diplomacy is his job, international trade is his job, vaccination should be his job but we’re doing it.

Quarantine should have been his job, but we’re doing it. Keeping Covid out of NSW was his job and he failed at it.

I don’t think Queensland does want to just give in this close to the end of the pandemic. I don’t think Queenslanders will want to let Covid in for Christmas if we don’t have it but NSW still does.

Deputy premier of Queensland Steven Miles.
Deputy premier of Queensland Steven Miles. Photograph: Russell Freeman/AAP

Updated at 6.07pm EDT

Good morning everyone, Mostafa Rachwani with you today to take you through the morning’s news.

We start in New South Wales, which yesterday passed 60% double dose Covid vaccination, with the 70% mark not far off. We’re expecting the NSW government to provide more details on their reopening plan this week, as numbers continue to drop.

Yesterday the state recorded below 1,000 cases for the second time in a week, raising hopes the case number baseline can be lower than expected. But testing numbers also dropped in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday, reflecting the trend towards lower Covid testing rates on the weekend.

In Victoria, we’re expecting some restrictions to be eased by Wednesday, but with the state recording 779 cases yesterday, there are fears case numbers could equal or surpass NSW this week.

It also comes after another protester tested positive on Sunday, with authorities racing to investigate the case and his close contacts.

It came as the prime minister yesterday, who is expected back in Australia this week, urged the states to stick to the national reopening plan after some leaders indicated doubts about opening borders at 80% double vaccinated.

Elsewhere, s MP Darren Chester yesterday announced he is “taking a break from the party”, as discussions around the announced 2050 emissions reduction target begin to bite. It came as his colleague, Queensland Matt Canavan, said he was prepared to defy his party if they accept a commitment to net zero.

We’ll keep our eyes across the board, and on any headlines that come up throughout the day.

Updated at 5.39pm EDT

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