Good morning all. Hope you had excellent weekends.
Victoria recorded 246 new cases of COVID-19 this morning. That’s up from from yesterday’s 183 cases and is the highest number of daily cases for the state in more than a year. Victoria administered 26,955 vaccine doses yesterday. Premier Daniel Andrews has flagged easing more coronavirus restrictions when the state hits its 70% first dose vaccine target.
More than one in 10 people in NSW with COVID-19 are now ending up in hospital, according to data from the state health department. There are currently over a thousand patients in the state’s hospitals with COVID-19, with 175 in intensive care. NSW recorded 1,485 cases yesterday, and administered more than 46,000 vaccine doses.
New South Wales looks like it could reopen its international border once it hits its 80% vaccination target, regardless of whether or not other states are ready. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday he could envisage such a situation under the government’s National Plan. It could see residents in New South Wales and Tasmania, along with the ACT, travel abroad more than a month before others as vaccination rates diverge.
The state, which has carried much of the burden of returning travellers since the beginning of the pandemic, is also planning to phase out hotel quarantine. “We are already considering when we do that and how we do that,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on the weekend. “I think the current quarantine system has nearly reached its use-by date in terms of how effective it is.”
News Corp Australia, which has played a very strong (and often divisive) role in Australia’s vicious climate wars, seems to be turning over a new leaf. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that News Corp’s local operation will “end its long-standing editorial hostility towards carbon reduction policies and advocate for the world’s leading economies to hit net zero emissions by 2050.” Seems like there’s been some shifts in this space ahead of the climate summit in Glasgow, where Australia is not expected to have many allies.
Online shoppers could face more parcel delivery ‘pauses’ in the lead-up to Christmas, a supply chain expert says. Australia Post will pause e-commerce parcel pick-ups in NSW, Victoria, and the ACT for three days from Saturday to bring deliveries “to a safe and manageable level”. “We may need some other pause moments in the future,” said Edith Cowan University senior lecturer Flavio Macau.
The live music industry has joined forces for a new vaccine ad campaign. #VaxTheNation aims to “stop the interruptions” and open up the nation’s devastated entertainment sector — and the only way to do that is by getting everyone vaccinated. “The impact of the pandemic on Australia’s world-leading music, theatre, comedy and live entertainment industries has been truly devastating,” said LIVE Alliance members in a statement. “Getting vaccinated is the crucial step fans can take which will allow us to join together and enjoy the unbeatable magic of live performance once again.”
A construction site in Sydney’s eastern suburbs was shut down when workers were unable to produce permits showing they were authorised to work outside their LGA. It highlights the rushed rollout of a new permit system by the NSW government, which has been criticised for overlooking workers who travel to multiple destinations as part of their job. Authorised workers from LGAs of concern who work outside their LGAs are required to carry a permit from Service NSW declaring that they are an authorised worker.
Regional Australia should plan to ‘lock in’ the benefits of migration away from the cities, a new Infrastructure Australia report says. In a report covering the next 15 years of investment, the agency flags the ‘unrealised potential’ of regional and rural Australia. This includes boosting transport and digital infrastructure in the regions, which have seen an influx of new residents through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The nation’s privacy watchdog has called for police to be banned from accessing COVID-19 check-in information. The Nine papers report that law enforcement agencies have sought to use the contact-tracing data on at least six occasions to solve unrelated crimes. South Australia and the Northern Territory are the only jurisdictions which have ruled out the use of the data by police.
An interesting piece in the AFR this morning on how NSW’s contact tracers lost control of Delta.