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COVID-19 in Australia

Restrictions are being eased for Melbourne and regional Victoria

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From 19 October and again on 2 November, there are changes to restrictions on travel, activities and businesses. Here’s what you need to know

Melbourne

From 19 October the following changes to restrictions are in place

  • There will be no time limit on leaving your home for exercise or socialising outdoors.
  • The travel distance from your home will increase from 5km to 25km for exercise and shopping.
  • Outdoor gatherings will increase to 10 people from two households.
  • Tennis courts, skate parks, golf courses and hairdressers will reopen, subject to Covid-safe restrictions.
  • Real estate auctions will occur with a maximum of 10 people and commercial real estate inspections can occur.
  • Outdoor pools can host 30 swimmers. Indoor pools can open up for one-on-one hydrotherapy with a health professional.
  • The following will be allowed, subject to conditions: non-essential outdoor home maintenance, repairs, renovations and house painting can occur with a maximum of five workers.
  • Solo or automated car washing and pool cleaning will be allowed, mobile or home business pet grooming will be allowed, outdoor photography will be allowed, and there will be a full return of allied health services.

 

 

From 2 November the following changes to restrictions will occur

  • The four reasons for leaving home will be removed and people will be able to leave their home for any reason.
  • A maximum of two people, plus children, will be able to visit another home once per day. This won’t be a “bubble” arrangement as currently applies to single people in Melbourne.
  • More businesses will reopen subject to conditions.
  • Retail will reopen. Hospitality will reopen with a maximum of 20 people inside and 50 outside.
  • Beauty and personal services will return.
  • Outdoor sport and recreation for a household or up to 10 people in a group will be permitted.
  • Outdoor community contact sport for under 18-year-olds and non-contact sport for adults will recommence.
  • Outdoor fitness and dance classes with 10 people, not including the trainer, can resume.
  • A maximum of 20 people will be allowed for outdoor religious gatherings. A maximum of 10 people will be allowed at weddings. A maximum of 20 mourners will be permitted at funerals.
  • Outdoor seated entertainment will be able to host a maximum of 50 people or 25% of the venue’s fixed seat capacity.

 


 

 

Regional Victoria

From 19 October the following changes to restrictions are in place

  • Two adults and two children will be able to visit a home.
  • Hospitality venues can increase their capacity to 70 people outside and 40 people inside.
  • Outdoor religious gatherings will increase to 20 people.
  • Indoor pools will open for people 18 and under to a maximum of 20 people.
  • One-on-one hydrotherapy with health professionals will also be allowed.
  • Libraries and toy libraries will reopen to a maximum of 20 people.
  • Households will be able to visit a care facility, rather than one person visiting at a time.

 

From 2 November the following changes to restrictions will occur

  • Non-contact indoor physical recreation, such as dance classes, will resume for under 18-year-olds, up to a maximum of 20 people. Spectators are limited to one parent, guardian or carer only, where the child requires parental supervision.
  • Non-contact indoor community sport will resume for under 18-year-olds. The same limits on spectators apply.
  • Indoor trampolining centres reopen for under 18-year-olds with the same limits as those that apply for indoor physical recreation.

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COVID-19 in Australia

Victoria eases Covid restrictions and ends mandatory mask-wearing outdoors

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As Victoria marked its 23rd consecutive day of no new Covid-19 cases and no additional deaths, the state’s premier, Daniel Andrews, announced new restrictions update in Victoria.

From Monday, Victorians will no longer be required to wear masks when outside at all times, under the new rules announced on Sunday. 

Instead, people will only be required to wear mask when indoors and on public transport, or in places outside where social distancing is not possible.

 

Home Visit

People will be allowed to have up to 15 people in their home each day, and this rule applies to holiday accomodation.

 

Hospo

Cafes, bars, and restaurants will be able to seat 100 indoors and 200 outdoors, within the density limits. 

 

Gym and indoor Sports

Gyms and indoor sporting venues will be able to increase capacity to 150 people, with groups of up to 20 adhering to one person per four square metres. Indoor pools can host 150 people, while outdoor pools can host 300 people.

 

Gatherings

People will be able to gather in groups of up to 50 people outdoors. Religious ceremonies can have 150 people indoors and 300 outdoors. Weddings and funerals can have 150 people indoors and outdoors.

 

Entertainments

Cinemas and small galleries can open up to 150 people in each space, with larger facilities able to use 25% of their space. Community venues will be allowed up to 150 people indoors and 300 outdoors, while gaming venues can have up to 150 people, but every second gaming machine will be turned off.

 

Businesses

From 30 November, private sector businesses would be allowed to have 25% of their staff return to the office. The public sector would remain working from home for the time being. 

There’re more to announce on 6 December, but flagged that from 13 December, people would be allowed up to 30 visitors into their home each day.

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COVID-19 in Australia

South Australia’s coronavirus lockdown led by the lie from a pizza shop worker

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After months of no COVID-19 cases outside of hotel quarantine, South Australians learned of some worrying developments on Sunday.

A woman in her 80s tested positive to the virus at the Lyell McEwin Hospital emergency department in Adelaide.

It soon became apparent the woman had caught the virus from her daughter, a cleaner at the Peppers medi-hotel in the Adelaide CBD, one of several sites across the city where international travellers undergo isolation.

By Monday, most of the woman’s extended family were considered to be COVID cases, and contact tracing was underway at dozens of sites across the city.

By Tuesday, the cluster had expanded to include two security guards who had worked at the Peppers hotel.                                                   

One of the guards worked a second job at the Woodville Pizza Bar. About the same time, another case of COVID-19 emerged — a worker at a separate CBD quarantine hotel, the Stamford.

Contact tracers initially struggled to identify the source of transmission. But after interviewing the Stamford worker, established he had ordered takeaway from the pizza bar.

 

 

Had the virus been spread by a pizza delivery?

The Chief Public Health Officer was already worried that the virus seemed to be reproducing rapidly.

A public health alert was issued, urging anyone who had ordered food from, or attended the pizza bar over a 10-day period to immediately isolate and seek a coronavirus test.

Then authorities took more drastic action — forcing South Australians to remain at home for six days, shutting down businesses, schools and industry.

This was not a Victorian-style lockdown, they insisted, but a “circuit breaker” designed to buy some breathing space for contact tracers to catch up.

Tellingly, the closure also included takeaway food outlets, which had remained open through earlier shutdowns.

 

 

The lie exposed

With the state locked down, and contact tracing happening at a furious rate, not everything was adding up.

Soon it became clear. At a press conference on Friday morning, the Premier Steven Marshall dropped a bombshell — revealing police investigations had established that the alleged “pizza customer” had lied.

He had, in fact, worked in the pizza bar, and had been a close contact of the other infected worker.

The Government and police were furious — they had shut down the state based upon a lie. That decision had already had tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars of economic impact.

 

 

Does Steven Marshall take responsibility for the lockdown? 

Reporter: Premier, you said you were using this one man that essentially sparked this harshest lockdown but it was you and your government that made the decision to do that. Do you take responsibility for that? Do you owe people of South Australia an apology?

Steven Marshall: Can I just say, as of day one, we have been really clear on how we are handling this pandemic and that is listen to experts and take action. We have done that, we have listened to experts, they presented us with information and we acted swiftly and decisively to keep the people of South Australia protected.

I don’t want anyone watching this telecast to think that the risks are over. While the risk is far more diminished [but] the risk is still there, it is a real risk that we need to adhere very strictly to the restrictions.

 

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COVID-19 in Australia

Australia’s national vaccination policy has been endorsed

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Australia needs to be ready for when vaccines have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

And with forecasts that a vaccine could be available in Australia from early 2021, it’s likely going to happen sooner rather than later.

Here’s what we know so far about how a successful COVID-19 vaccine would be rolled out in Australia.

 

Who gets the vaccine first?

A successful vaccine will first be handed out to three priority groups under the plan.

They include those at increased risk of exposure including health and aged care workers, those working in critical jobs and those at an increased risk of getting COVID-19.

What will the vaccine dose cost me?

COVID-19 vaccines will be available for free to all Australian citizens, permanent residents and most visa holders, according to the Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.

However, under the plan, visa sub-classes 771 (Transit), 600 (Tourist stream), 651 (eVisitor) and 601 (Electronic Travel Authority) will be excluded.

 

How will Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine be rolled out?

Planning is underway while the vaccines are being developed but it’s difficult to set a plan in stone because each vaccine will have its own storage, handling and administration requirements.

At this stage, the Federal Government is set to work on regulation of vaccines, their acceptance from manufacturers, storage and transport, funding policy and data collection and monitoring.

The state and territory governments will look after how a successful vaccine will be delivered to people at vaccination sites.

 

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