Vaccinated New South Wales residents could enjoy Freedom Day 2.0 next week as the state moves toward its 80 percent double vaccination target.
Welcome to Wednesday’s live coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Australia.
NSW recorded 444 cases and four deaths from Covid on Wednesday. It comes as the state hurtles toward its 80 percent double vaccination goal, with new freedoms possibly introduced next week.
Deaths from Covid-19 rose in Victoria on Wednesday, with 13 deaths and 1,571 confirmed cases in the 24 hours to midnight.
It comes as the state approaches its double vaccination goal of 70 percent, which will see a number of restrictions for vaccinated residents.
Follow below for today’s top updates. Keep updating the page for the latest news.
New South Wales could have even more freedoms by Monday
Vaccinated New South Wales residents could enjoy even more freedom next week. A massive spike in Covid vaccines could see the state hit hit 80 percent of the jab target sooner than expected.
Federal government figures showed Tuesday that 75.23 percent of adults in the state are now fully vaccinated and 90.77 percent have received a dose.
This means New South Wales could be on track to hit its 80 percent goal by the weekend, an achievement that would trigger a series of lowered restrictions starting Monday, October 18, a week before the projected date for October 25.
Freedom Day 2.0 will see up to 20 visitors in a home, regional travel will be allowed for residents of Greater Sydney, and masks are no longer required in outdoor settings.
Residents will also be able to stand while drinking indoors, dancing will be allowed indoors and outdoors (except nightclubs), and major recreational facilities, such as stadiums, theme parks, and racetracks, may open with density limits up to 5000 persons.
The revelation of NSW’s vaccine surge comes just three days after new freedoms were implemented for vaccinated residents, including the reopening of hospitality and business venues, the reopening of gyms and the authorization of home visits.
Victoria registers 1,571 cases and 13 deaths
Victoria has recorded 1,571 locally acquired Covid cases and 13 deaths in the 24 hours to midnight.
That’s the highest number of daily deaths the state has seen during this outbreak.
NSW records 444 cases and four deaths
NSW has recorded 444 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases and four deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.
‘End it today’: Queensland turns Anna on
Tensions have reached a boiling point in Queensland, and desperate businessmen have turned on Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk for her tough border stance.
Palaszczuk has rejected repeated calls to publish a roadmap for reopening with New South Wales and Victoria, even suggesting that removing strict border restrictions when 80 percent of Australians are fully vaccinated would be a step “backwards”.
Rebecca Andrews, head of the industry body’s artificial intelligence group in Queensland, said Courier mail that the Queensland government should “end the vague and contradictory messages today” about reopening the borders.
“To speak vaguely of a Christmas reopening schedule and then up the ante on vaccination targets is far from the breaker announcement that the government should make to encourage people to get jabbed,” he said.
The owner of The Breakers vacation apartments in Broadbeach, Michael Stephens, accused the prime minister of not caring about troubled businesses.
He told the publication that his occupancy rates have dropped from 85 percent to 5 percent and many of his Christmas reservations have been canceled.
“He gets up every morning and acts like this is a State of Origin game,” Stephens said.
“We are not just Queenslanders, we are Australians.”
Queensland health workers hold a crisis meeting
Queensland health workers held a crisis meeting yesterday to call for health care reform and increased funding for hospitals across the state.
Discussions about the crisis took place outside Ipswich Hospital, with Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union Secretary Beth Mohle, who said there are fears the hospital system may not be able to cope with an outbreak in New South Wales or Delta Victorian style.
“I know our members right now are watching what is happening in southern NSW, ACT and Victoria with the pressure that is being put on their systems due to the Covid outbreaks and the Delta outbreaks in particular, with a feeling of anticipation pain, “he said. 4BC.
“What they are concerned about is how well the system would handle if that comes up here.”
Kmart’s tough new Covid rule for NSW
Kmart has confirmed that unvaccinated customers will not be allowed to shop in NSW stores unless they have a medical exemption.
CEO John Gualtieri said was announcing the move in accordance with New South Wales government regulations.
“As per the NSW government requirement, customers will be required to show proof that they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, unless a medical exemption applies,” Gualtieri said in the note to buyers. “We ask for your patience and support as we implement this new process in our network of stores.”
The announcement comes as customers continue to flock to Kmart, with a Sydney store experiencing a 200 million checkout queue just to purchase items.
Photos and videos of wild scenes at Kmart they have drawn criticism, with people arguing that the images show shoppers not abiding by social distancing rules.
– Hannah Paine