Prime Minister Daniel Andrews has revealed the date when Victoria’s lockdown will end, despite the worrying rise in Covid cases in recent days.
Welcome to Monday’s live coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Australia.
The Victorians will be given a host of liberties in just a few weeks, and the state will reach its next major vaccination target by the end of October.
It comes as Victoria confirmed a record number of Covid cases on Saturday, with 1,448 infections and two deaths and 1,220 cases and three deaths on Sunday.
NSW residents have been warned to be complacent as cases dropped Sunday, with 667 infections, although deaths remained high with 10 fatalities.
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Victoria’s Freedom Date Set Despite Record Cases
Melbourne’s lockdown ends this month, with Prime Minister Daniel Andrews marking October 26 as the day fully vaccinated Victorians will be given a range of additional freedoms.
About 52 percent of Victorians over the age of 16 have had two shots, and the state is expected to hit the 70 percent double dose milestone on Oct. 26 or a few days earlier.
This will give Melbourne a range of freedoms, including gathering outside in groups of 10, reopening pubs and clubs, increasing capacity limits for weddings and funerals and reopening hairdressers and personal care services.
In regional Victoria, community sports can return, catering establishments can open indoors for 30 fully vaccinated people and funerals and weddings can take place with 30 fully vaccinated people indoors and 100 outdoors.
Mr Andrews praised Victorians for their hard work and urged more people to get vaccinated so they could “finish this so we can lift the lockdown (and) get the case open by the end of October”.
“We are so close to the end. (We can) look forward to not just 2022, but many weeks before Christmas, and Christmas is the kind of Christmas we want,” he said.
“As a community, we can look forward to the coming weeks with a sense of hope and optimism.”
This is because the state’s number of cases soared into the thousands last week. Victoria saw the highest daily number of infections of the entire pandemic on Saturday, with 1,448 cases and two deaths.
NSW hits vaccine milestone this week
NSW is just days away from meeting its 70 percent double-dose vaccination target, with a significant easing of restrictions before October 11.
Just over 67 percent of residents over the age of 16 have had two shots, of which 88 percent received the first dose.
The new freedoms for fully vaccinated residents will be activated next Monday and will include relaxed domestic and outdoor gatherings, reopening of catering, shops and gyms, reopening stadiums and theaters and increasing capacity limits for weddings and funerals.
Fully vaccinated people identified as having close contact with a positive case also only need to isolate for seven days, instead of 14.
Despite the impending freedoms, Health Minister Brad Hazzard reminded residents that there will still be rules to follow.
“Of course there will be limits in different locations, the four square meter rule, that will apply indoors,” he said.
“It will be two square meters outside for locations such as catering.”
Class limits also apply to gyms, with restrictions set to change once the state reaches its 80 percent vaccination coverage.
Dominic Perrottet Replaces Gladys Berejiklian as Prime Minister of NSW
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet becomes the state’s next prime minister with a deal to install Stuart Ayres as his deputy.
Mr Perrottet has formally submitted his candidacy at a press conference in Sydney on Sunday night.
But he won’t get the top job without a fight at this stage, with the only other stated contender Rob Stokes confirming his name is still in the ring.
The NSW treasurer said the decision was ultimately a matter for the banquet hall on Tuesday.
“Over the past 48 hours I have had the opportunity to talk to my wife, Helen, my family and my colleagues about my intention to nominate today as the Liberal leader of the parliamentary party,” he said.
“I do that, along with the Minister for Jobs like Stuart Ayres…as my deputy leader. We believe it is a team that will bring stability, unity and experience.”
Mr Perrottet paid tribute to the “tireless dedication of our Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian.”
“There is no doubt that NSW is a much better place today because of our Prime Minister’s tireless dedication,” he said.
“Over the past 18 months, as her deputy and treasurer, I have worked very closely with her as we navigated droughts and fires during this pandemic, and New South Wales, and am stronger today because of her tireless, servant leadership to the people from NS.”
– Samantha Maiden and Anton Nilsson