The entertainment industry has accused Daniel Andrews of “slamming the door shut on our fingers” over a “costly” typo in the state’s road map.
Welcome to Tuesday’s live coverage of Australia’s Covid-19 situation.
Vaccinated Victorians are just days away from new freedoms, with a number of restrictions due to ease at midnight on Thursday.
The state recorded 1749 Covid cases and 11 deaths on Tuesday.
Cases have remained low in NSW, with 273 cases and four deaths, though experts have warned these figures will likely rise in the coming weeks now the state’s reopening is underway.
Follow below for today’s top updates. Keep refreshing the page for the latest news.
Costly typo in Vic’s reopening plan
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has apologised after a “typo” in his state’s lockdown exit road map declared that entertainment venues would be allowed to reopen once 70 per cent of the eligible population is vaccinated (set to happen by this Thursday).
The error – which was present in a copy of the road map shared to the Premier’s Twitter and later updated on the State Government’s website – said that along with pubs and clubs, 20 fully vaccinated people were allowed indoors or 50 fully vaccinated people were allowed outdoors at entertainment venues.
Having taken the road map shared by Mr Andrews at face value, the owner of Melbourne’s Comedy Republic, Kyran Wheatley, didn’t waste any time – organising and selling out eight shows for this weekend.
When he realised that it had been a mistake and the word “entertainment” had been removed from the road map, Mr Wheatley told ABC Radio Melbourne’s Virginia Trioli it was like “they’ve slammed that door shut on our fingers”, and that all of the shows had to be cancelled.
“I’m reading the Premier’s Twitter account right now, and it still says pubs, clubs and entertainment venues can open to 20 fully vaccinated people indoors, but late yesterday …[we saw] that the word ‘entertainment’ had vanished from the [road map] that was published to the Premier’s site,” he said.
“It was just a small crack in the door, 20 people just enough to put your fingers in, and it feels like they’ve slammed that door shut on our fingers.”
Addressing the matter today, Mr Andrews said entertainment venues will open when Victoria hits its 80 per cent double dose target.
“I know that it’s frustrating; everyone would like to be open at the one time,” he said.
“But we’re not talking about a three month gap between one milestone and the next; it is literally eight or nine days and then we can have everything open.”
For Mr Wheatley, though, the error has come at a cost.
“When you say we can do it, we make moves and make choices. We book, we spend money,” he told Trioli.
“To give [freedom] and then take it away … is the perfect way to kick the arts when they’re down.”
Nearly 600 kids infected in NSW in past week
Statistics from NSW Health show that nearly 600 children under the age of nine tested positive to Covid-19 in the past week.
Kids aged 10 to 19 made up for over 400 of the last seven days cases, while similar numbers were recorded in the 20 to 29 and 30 to 39 age brackets.
The numbers come as NSW numbers continue to decline, while Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) recently gave Pfizer approval to apply for the use of its vaccine in children aged five to 11 years.
While the Delta variant has spread at a rate five times higher than the virus in 2020, the majority of children have had asymptomatic or mild cases of Covid-19 – reaffirming that they are significantly less likely to pass on the virus to adults, according to research from the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS).
No more quarantine for Queensland arrivals to WA
In what he described as “good news”, West Australian Premier Mark McGowan has announced his state will reclassify Queensland as “very low risk” under its controlled border.
From this 12.01am this Friday, “any potential arrivals into Western Australia, from Queensland, will still have to complete a G2G pass and undergo a health screening upon arrival”, Mr McGowan said.
“But they will no longer need to complete 14 days of self-quarantine. This means Queensland will join South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory as very low risk jurisdictions whereby travel can take place with a G2G pass and health screening upon arrival,” he explained.
“This is good news for WA and for the thousands of people from those states and territories who can safely travel into WA without being required to quarantine.”
Mr McGowan said if health advice changes, his state would not hesitate to strengthen border controls again and will remain “cautious and careful” – which also means the border controls with NSW, the ACT and Victoria will stay as they are for now.
Vic set to pass vax milestone within hours
Victoria is on track to pass a major vaccine milestone by the end of the day, as a raft of new freedoms loom for the state.
At least 89.4 per cent of Victorians have received their first dose of a Covid vaccine, with that figure expected to hit 90 per cent within the next few hours.
More than 67 per cent of residents are fully vaccinated, with a range of eased restrictions to kick in at 11.59pm on Thursday after the 70 per cent double dose milestone is reached.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the state was well on track to hit that target.
“So we are well-placed to reach our target of 70 per cent double dosed and to open up, as of 11:59pm Thursday evening, a great credit to the work of so many Victorians, now more than 5 million who have had at least one dose,” he said.
Unvaxxed face restrictions into 2022
Premier Daniel Andrews has offered unvaccinated Victorians a grim reality check, saying they won’t be enjoying new freedoms until “well into 2022”.
Mr Andrews said it “made no sense” that NSW would let unvaccinated residents enjoy the same freedoms as vaccinated residents from December 1.
“I can recall Gladys making some announcements may be five or six weeks after the vaccinated economy started you would fold it up and it would not be there anymore,” he said.
“I do not know if Dominic has done the same thing. I do not know the answer to that. But does not make any sense to me, in any event. We will not be doing that here.
“Why would you have that thing up and running and then pull all the architecture that you have built, all the infrastructure that you have built, the culture that you have changed – why would you change that four, five weeks later?”
Mr Andrews then made it very clear that Victoria would not be following in NSW’s footsteps and unvaccinated residents would be facing restrictions for some time.
“I will not say to someone, ‘Just wait four, five weeks and then you can go to the pub’. No,” he said.
“If you make the judgement do not get vaccinated if you think you can wait us out, the public, whatever you think you are waiting out. You will not wait out the virus because it will be here for a long time and the only protection against it is to be vaccinated. This will be well and truly into 2022.”
He said even when 90 per cent of Victorians are fully vaccinated the restrictions on unvaxxed residents won’t be removed.
“It will not be anytime soon. That is going to function for a period of time, well into 2022.”
‘No apologies’: Harsh detail in Qld border plan
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has confirmed that residents wanting to return to the state from a hotspot will have to wait until December like every other Australian.
Speaking to Sunrise, the Premier said she makes “no apologies” for not giving Queenslanders special treatment and allowing them to come home sooner under the reopening plan.
“It is not harsh because Queensland is a big place. They would have to travel through multiple towns as the multiple spots along the way,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“What we have seen with our freight drivers is they are the largest number of people who have Covid at the moment. They come in and do multiple stops in Queensland.
“I make no apology for that. It is going to be tough, but they just have to wait a little bit longer and people will be reunited.”
Currently, anyone who has been in a declared Covid hotspot in the past 14 days cannot enter Queensland unless it is for one of the limited essential reasons outlined by the state government.
Queensland residents who have been in a hotspot and wish to enter the state must arrived by air after being provided with an allocated entry date and designated airport.
Upon arrival they must complete 14 days of mandatory quarantine.
ACT’s huge vax claim as road map changes announced
Chief Minister Andrew Barr has made a major claim after the ACT reached a huge vaccination milestone yesterday.
The ACT now has 80 per cent of people over the age of 16 fully vaccinated, prompting Mr Barr to announce a raft of changes to the state’s reopening road map.
“Reaching the 80 per cent milestone is a significant achievement. Canberrans should be really proud of how our community has worked together and given us the best opportunity to manage the expected increase in cases as the nation starts to reopen,” he said.
He then claimed that the ACT would likely have 99 per cent double dose vaccination rate before December.
“We are now well on our way to having close to 99 per cent of the eligible population fully vaccinated by the end of November,” he said.
It comes as he brought forward a range of freedoms for vaccinated residents, with retail now reopening on Friday under the one person per four square metre rule.
Mr Barr said even more restrictions would ease by October 29, including relaxing capacity limits across hospitality and for major events.
ACT residents will also be able to travel to anywhere in NSW, including Greater Sydney, from November 1.
NSW records 273 cases and four deaths
NSW has recorded 273 locally acquired Covid-19 cases and four deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.
Of the people who died, three people were in their 60s and one person was in their 80s.
Two of these people were not vaccinated, one had received one dose of the vaccine and one was fully vaccinated.
There are now 80.8 per cent of NSW residents over the age of 16 who have received two doses of the vaccine.
About 74.8 per cent of people aged 12-15 have had their first vaccine dose and 35.5 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Victoria records 1749 cases and 11 deaths
Victoria has recorded 1749 Covid-19 cases and 11 deaths in the 24 hours to midnight last night.
‘I was ridiculed’: Anna hits back over vaccinations
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has hit back at the people who “ridiculed” her for wanting Covid-19 vaccination rates to hit 90 per cent.
Speaking to Today, the Premier warned the virus was coming for Queensland and the only way to combat it was by raising vaccination rates.
“My ministers are out there and I am encouraging the Federal Government to do the same to go out there and encourage people to get the vaccine because the virus will come into Queensland. It is inevitable,” she said.
“We have seen smaller outbreaks. It is only a matter of time and the best way for protection is that vaccine level and I was ridiculed when I said I would like to see 90 per cent.
“NSW has hit 90 per cent. ACT has hit 90 per cent. We could be the best vaccinated country in the world if we get our vaccination levels up.”
Ms Palaszczuk said it was now “a race” for Queenslanders to get vaccinated, with visitors allowed to enter the state from December 17 without quarantine.
“They are going to have people on 17th December driving into the Gold Coast, stopping in, coffee shops, going into restaurants, so honestly the Gold Coast has got to lift its game as well,” she said.
“This is a race now. It is a race for everyone to get vaccinated.”
‘Not possible’: Stark warning for NSW
NSW residents have been enjoying weeks of falling Covid-19 cases and were yesterday granted even more freedoms after the 80 per cent vaccination goal was reached.
However, an infectious disease expert has warned NSW’s days of low cases are numbered.
Deakin University epidemiologist, Catherine Bennett, said maintaining the fall in infections was “not possible” now that restrictions were easing.
“As the vaccination rate rises, that’s giving the population at maximum protection right now, but if you think we will go to zero, you’ll be disappointed,” she told ABC.
NSW enjoyed its first round of eased restrictions on October 11, followed by more freedoms on October 18.
The next round of eased restrictions are set for November 1, which will include allowing travel between Greater Sydney and regional areas.
Professor Bennett said NSW could follow a similar path to Denmark, with saw cases rise just 10 days after easing restrictions earlier this year.
“Denmark did see a drop but it came back up and now it’s transitioning into controlling the virus, as long as those transmissions are just that and not hospitalisations, that’s when an issue might need to be looked at closely and a strategy will need to be formed,” she said.
“Areas like the Hunter Region where cases are climbing might need additional resources and attention compared to places that have now levelled out.”
Yesterday, Premier Dominic Perrottet revealed he expected cases to begin to rise over the next two weeks, saying it will be a “challenge” for the state.
“But that’s why we need everybody to keep looking after each other. This is not over. There’s a long journey to go,” he said.
“There will be naturally a lag [in cases] but our health system is ready. The alternative is to stay closed.”
Queensland reveals reopening road map
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has revealed when the state’s border will be reopened to the rest of Australia.
Ms Palaszczuk on Monday said fully vaccinated people from interstate would be welcomed into the state in the next month.
At 70 per cent of full vaccination, expected on November 19, fully vaccinated people will be able to enter the state by air, if they have a negative test in the 72 hours beforehand and complete home quarantine for 14 days after arriving.
At 80 per cent, expected on December 17, fully vaccinated people will be allowed in via road or air, as long as they test negative 72 hours beforehand.
They will not be required to complete a quarantine period.
Once the state reached its 80 per cent target, Ms Palaszczuk said additional public health restrictions would apply to unvaccinated people.
Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said the December 17 deadline meant the latest people could get vaccinated was six weeks before then to ensure they made the cut-off.
“We might even get there earlier. The most important thing, every single Queensland 12 years of age or older, need to do, is protect themselves because once we start seeing cases, this virus will find people who aren’t vaccinated,” Dr Young said.
“We now have a deadline. Hopefully it’ll happen even earlier because I know people want to get out and about, and now I make a plea to younger people, if younger people were to get vaccinated, we would reach that target even earlier.
Victoria ‘rocketing’ towards major vax milestone
Victoria is just days away from reaching a new vaccine milestone, with Covid Commander Jeroen Weimar saying there has been a surge in second dose vaccinations.
“We are hurtling towards our 70 per cent and 80 per cent double dose targets. The pace is increasing, following the announcements yesterday we saw a rocketing of double dose bookings – 31,000 bookings yesterday,” he said on Monday.
“If you haven’t booked in your second dose appointment please join the thousands getting the second dose is today and tomorrow and during this week.
“The quicker we get the second doses the quicker you complete your vaccination journey and have that protection and the quicker the state gets to those 70 per cent and 80 per cent thresholds and we will start to see what lies beyond some of those dates.”