Covid-19 stay updates: Victoria, NSW circumstances, lockdown, restrictions

A pub has been forced to close its doors because the owner allegedly kept letting in unvaccinated customers despite numerous warnings from police.

A NSW pub has been forced to shut down because the owner allegedly kept letting in unvaccinated customers despite numerous warnings from police.

The owner has been known to hang up signs supporting antivaxxers and has got into trouble with police in the past.

It comes as NSW officially became the first state to vaccinate 80 per cent of its eligible population against Covid-19, opening it up to more freedoms come Monday.

Meanwhile Victoria has reported 1993 new local infections and sadly, seven deaths – a slight drop after two consecutive days of cases exceeding 2000.

NSW also reported another drop in cases, with 319 new infections and two deaths.

And residents in Hobart and southern Tasmania are on the first day of a three-day lockdown, after a 31-year-old man who was Covid-positive escaped hotel quarantine and visited a supermarket earlier this week.

There were no further cases in the state overnight.

Read on for a rolling update of the day’s events. This live blog is now closed.

NSW pub closed down for letting in antivaxxers

A NSW pub has been forced to close because the owner allegedly kept letting in unvaccinated customers despite numerous warnings from police.

The Caledonian Hotel in Singleton is well known for it controversial vaccine stance, vowing to continue to welcome all customers into their premises no matter their jab status despite public health orders.

Signs have been hung over the entrance in the past stating: “Jab or no jab – all welcome at the Cali. Free Australia.”

The 57-year-old owner Brad Hill has received multiple fines and warnings from officers about his obligations under the Public Health Act.

On Saturday evening, law enforcement went a step further by forcing the pub to shut down.

“The closure order follows a number of previous interactions with the licensee …due to repeated and continued breaches of the Public Health Order by allegedly allowing – and not taking steps to prevent – unvaccinated people being at the premises,” police said in a statement.

Police said they had attended the venue on George Street “numerous times in the past week”. Mr Hill had been issued with three PINs as had staff members three for breaching the public health orders.

The venue will remain closed until midnight on Tuesday.

NSW hits long-awaited vaccine target

It’s finally here. After 106 days of lockdown, NSW residents have just reached their 80 per cent vaccine milestone.

For those who are double-jabbed, new freedoms will come into effect from next Monday.

Community sport will resume, there’s no more capacity limits on guests at weddings and funerals, masks won’t be required in offices, and drinking while standing and dancing will be permitted indoors and outdoors at hospitality venues.

The number of customers allowed at hospitality venues will double and twice as many people will be allowed to visit one another’s homes.

All hospitality and retail premises will operate at one person per four square metres indoors and one person per two square metres outdoors.

As of next Monday, 20 people will be allowed in home visits, rather than the current 10 person limit.

Premier Dominic Perrottet made the announcement on Saturday afternoon just past 4pm.

Mr Perrottet acknowledged it had been a “long wait” but that NSW has finally “done it”.

Gyms, indoor recreation and sporting facilities will open with density limits and up to 20 people allowed in classes.

Groups of 50 vaccinated people can gather outdoors.

Up to 3000 people will be able to attend ticketed outdoor events, if they’re all vaccinated, of course.

Caps will be scrapped for beauty and hairdressing salons, and they will just have to follow the one person per four square metre rule like all hospitality venues.

Indoor swimming pools are allowed to open their doors for swimming lessons, training and rehab activities.

Sex services will also resume operations.

Schools will also open with Level 3 Covid-19 safety measures.

To celebrate the 80 per cent milestone, earlier this week Mr Perrottet announced that on Monday evening, the government will light up the Sydney Opera House with images of frontline workers “who have made enormous sacrifices, particularly our nurses, and to celebrate everyone across NSW for the effort they have made to ensure that NSW leads the country out of the pandemic”.

Australia reacts to 80 per cent milestone

NSW residents are ecstatic about hitting the very sought-after 80 per cent vaccine target which will open them up to the spare of new freedoms for the coming Monday.

However, some people were a bit sore about it.

Online, social media commentators accused NSW of stealing vaccines to get to that target.

“You should be thanking the other states and territories who had their doses reallocated to NSW,” said one person.

Others also voiced their trepidation about opening up when those statistics only counted people over the age of 16.

57 anti-lockdown protesters arrested

A total of 57 anti-vax, anti-lockdown protesters have been arrested in Melbourne after a fairly muted march.

Riot police converged across inner Melbourne on Saturday after groups of protesters attempted to storm multiple locations.

Protesters were outnumbered and outsmarted by police, attempting to change their locations through encrypted messaging – bids that were thwarted several times.

The protesters, who originally planned to meet at Princes Park, were repeatedly met by police, including officers on horseback.

Police constantly moved across the city ahead of them, quickly dispersing groups and questioning locals about their addresses.

Roadblocks were also set up checking people’s addresses.

— NCA NewsWire

Read the full story here.

‘Ludicrous and unacceptable’: Frydenberg doubles down

Josh Frydenberg has doubled down on his opposition to Victoria’s Covid-19 restrictions, declaring during a press conference that it is “ludicrous and unacceptable” that people in Sydney can now travel to Victoria, but Melburnians aren’t able to see their families in the regions.

“Victorians are looking at what is happening in NSW and saying ‘Why do those people get the freedoms at 70 and 80 per cent that we here in Victoria are not getting?’” the Treasurer told reporters.

“Victorians have done the right thing. They have spent so much time in lockdown. They have gone and got the jab in record numbers. It is now time that the Government gave back their freedoms and their lives.”

Asked if Victoria needed to be in lockdown for “so long”, Mr Frydenberg said it was “an indisputable fact, a very sad fact is that Victorians have spent more time in lockdown than any other state and that Melburnians have spent more time in lockdown than any other city in the world”.

“Just think about that for a moment. Melburnians have spent more time lockdown than any other city in the world,” he added.

“There are going to be more cases, particularly among the unvaccinated. This is what living with Covid means. An elimination strategy is not a viable strategy.”

It’s worth noting that Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has repeatedly said his state is no longer trying to eradicate the virus.

Melbourne protesters acknowledge it was a fizzer

A self-described “highly visible police presence” has effectively quashed protests taking place in Melbourne on Saturday over the Victorian government’s authorised worker vaccine mandate.

The schemes of anti-vaxxer, anti-government protesters were foiled by police — so much so that even protesters acknowledged it was a failure.

AAP reports that protest organisers used encrypted social media channels to meet at locations across the Melbourne CBD.

Bus loads of police were filmed in a clear attempt to put off protesters by sheer numbers.

Around 2pm, protesters essentially gave up.

“Today has been called. The police have succeeded temporarily in squashing the Melbourne protest movement. We need better strategies to get the numbers together,” a post online read.

NSW edges tantalisingly closer to new freedoms

NSW is edging ever closer to the 80 per cent vaccine milestone.

As of Saturday afternoon, the state was standing at 79.81 per cent fully vaccinated.

Yesterday, NSW Health said the state was “flying” towards its vaccine target.

A total of 20,460 jabs have been administered in the last 24 hours up to 8pm last night.

Once NSW hits the magic number of 80 per cent, more restrictions will ease.

Community sport will resume, there’s be no more capacity limits on guests at weddings and funerals, masks won’t be required in offices, and drinking while standing and dancing will be permitted indoors and outdoors at hospitality venues.

The number of customers allowed at hospitality venues will double and twice as many people will be allowed to visit one another’s homes.

Not wanting to miss out on the fun, Victoria is also inching towards a number that will spell more freedoms for them.

It’s just going to be a week or so behind NSW, with the garden state expected to reach 80 per cent by October 31.

Truck driver tests positive in WA

There’s been one new case of Covid-19 in a Western Australia, in a truck driver who tested positive while in Victoria on October 5.

The driver, who is now in South Australia, was in WA between September 30 and October 3 – and was potentially infectious during that time.

Contact tracing teams are following up 10 close contacts and 60 casual contacts – with 62 so far returning a negative result.

Health authorities say the driver poses a low risk to the community.

‘Fake doctor’ gave Covid exemptions

A Gold Coast woman was allegedly pretending to be a doctor when she issued hundreds of fake Covid-realted exemption certificates, and police are concerned she may have dished out more.

After executing a search warrant at a home in Labrador, police on Wednesday charged the 46-year-old woman with five counts of taking a title indicating a person is a health practitioner.

She allegedly told police she had issued more than 600 false medical exemption certificates.

They say she engaged with people across the country, mainly via initial online video consultations, and after her arrest, received several calls from concerned people who believed they may have had interactions with her.

“In many instances, people would not have known the woman was acting illegally,” Queensland Police said on Saturday.

“However, it is important to recognise the ‘exemptions’ issued by the woman are invalid.”

– Additional reporting NCA NewsWire

Warnings of ‘highly visible police presence’ in Melbourne

Amid fears protesters will descend on Melbourne to demonstrate against an authorised worker vaccine mandate, cops have warned there’ll be a “highly visible police presence”.

A police spokeswoman told the Herald Sun authorities would be out in force to quash any potential chaos.

“There will be a highly visible police presence in the Melbourne CBD, on the roads and across the public transport network on Saturday,” she said.

“However, those who choose to blatantly disregard the CHO’s directions and put the health and safety of all Victorians in jeopardy can expect to be held accountable.”

An alert issued to thousands of protesters in one group called on them to stand in solidarity for “no vaccine mandates” and to end the lockdown, and be on “standby” in inner city suburbs to protest at midday.

Police have already made arrests as protesters attempt to gather.

15-year-old Victorian ‘very sadly’ among Covid deaths

Victoria’s Covid-19 commander Jeroen Weimar has provided further detail about the seven virus deaths in his state overnight.

One of them, Mr Weimar told reporters, was a 15-year-old girl who “very sadly passed away, with a number of conditions, but she was positive”.

“That is a sad and tragic case, we won’t be making any more comments on her but we will send our best wishes to her family and the family of all those who have lost their lives with Covid, particularly in the last 24 hours.”

The other six deaths occurred in a man in his 80s from Darebin, a woman in her 70s from Whittlesea, a man in his 80s from Moonee Valley, a woman in her 60s from Casey, another woman in her 60s from Darebin, and a man in his 50s from Hume.

Queensland introduces border restrictions with Tasmania

There might have been zero new cases in Tasmania overnight, but that hasn’t stopped the Sunshine State from reimposing border restrictions with 12 local government areas.

Residents in Hobart and the state’s south will be required to enter hotel quarantine if they fly to Queensland after 1am tomorrow.

Chief health officer Jeanette Young urged anyone in her state who was in Tasmania on October 11 or 12 to get tested if they show any symptoms.

“I strongly recommend that at this point in time, anyone who is planning to go down to Tasmania, does reconsider whether it’s necessary to do so,” Dr Young told reporters.

20 new cases in the ACT

There have been 20 new cases in the ACT up to the 24 hours to 8pm yesterday.

Of these infections, 14 are linked to known cases or clusters.

There are currently 15 patients being treated with the virus in hospital, 10 of whom are in intensive care.

No new cases in Queensland 

There have been no new cases of local Covid-19 in the Sunshine State in the last 24 hours. The state reported three new overseas acquired cases, all of which were detected in hotel quarantine.

Premier’s ‘great sadness’ at snap lockdown

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein has expressed his “great sadness” at the snap lockdown that Hobart and its surrounding LGAs is currently under.

The state recorded no further infections overnight.

“I want to start by thanking Tasmanians in the south for their co-operation, by staying at home at this critical time. I don’t mind saying that I walked back to my room late last night and just noted the number of people that were on the streets and there weren’t very many. In the main, they were wearing face masks,” Mr Gutwein told reporters.

“I must admit, it filled me with great sadness, walking past the closed businesses and noting those that were doing their very best to supply takeaways and to have pivoted and thank you to them for that.

“It is important the steps that we are going through at the moment, we have acted swiftly, decisively, with a view to ensuring that this doesn’t get away from us.”

While the Premier said he was “pleased” there hadn’t been any more infections, he warned that “the next 48 hours remains critical and I ask all Tasmanians in the south to work together to get on top of this as quickly as we can”.

ACT expands NSW border bubble

The ACT has expanded its border bubble with NSW – meaning Canberrans will be able to travel to the Southern Highlands and south coast from midday today.

Residents will be allowed to travel freely to locations including Batemans Bay, Thredbo and Bowral if they are fully vaccinated, meaning they’ll no longer have to quarantine or complete an exemption form to return to the ACT.

People who live in those approved areas of NSW will also be allowed to enter the ACT, as long as they follow the public health directions.

ACT Health said the change was to “better align our travel restrictions with NSW where possible”.

NSW reports 319 new local cases

NSW’s numbers are in, with another drop in local infections – down to 319 new infections in the 24 hours up to 8pm last night.

There were also, sadly, two further deaths.

There are currently 652 people with Covid-19 being treated in hospital, 138 of who are in the ICU.

Victoria reports 1993 Covid-19 cases

Victoria has reported 1993 new local cases overnight and, sadly, seven further deaths.

It’s a slight drop in numbers for the state, after recording two consecutive days of cases exceeding 2000.

‘No time to lose’: Treasurer’s urgent plea

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is again calling for Daniel Andrews to roll back restrictions in Victoria to line up with those in NSW, declaring that “it’s time to put Victoria back in the fast lane”.

In an op-ed published by the Herald Sun, Mr Frydenberg wrote that “Melbourne has gone from the world’s most liveable city to the world’s most locked down city”.

“The damage done by lockdowns is clear. Our cafes are quiet; our lanes are empty; and our stadiums, normally filled with cheering fans, are deserted,” he wrote.

“Melbourne is famous for its cultural vitality; its music, museums, and its warm hospitality. But Covid has hit and hit us hard.”

Comparing the measures in Victoria to those in NSW, Mr Frydenberg said there was “no time to lose”.

“Victorians who have given up so much, are rightly asking the question; why are the people of NSW granted more freedoms at 70 and 80 per cent vaccination rates than they are?” he said.

“Victorians, like those in NSW, have done the right thing and got the jab, and in return, they deserve their lives and their freedoms back.”

Why the mandatory jab lawsuit failed

The NSW government has won a landmark Supreme Court challenge to the state’s lockdown measures to combat the Covid outbreak.

Two sets of plaintiffs – who all refused to be vaccinated – filed civil suits asking for various aspects of the public health orders to be quashed and that the government be restrained from setting any further lockdown measures.

Northern Rivers woman Natasha Henry and five other citizens asked the court to overturn rules requiring aged care workers to get the Covid-19 jab and prohibiting unvaccinated essential workers from leaving a local government area of concern for their jobs.

Another group, including construction worker Al-Munir Kassam, was asking the public health orders be declared invalid because they impugn their “personal liberty” and force them to undergo a medical procedure.

However, Robert Justice Beech-Jones ordered that both lawsuits be dismissed on Friday afternoon.

“It was contended the orders interfered with a person’s right to bodily integrity and a host of other freedoms,” Justice Beech-Jones said.

“When all is said and done, the proper analysis is the impugned order curtails freedom of movement, which in turn affects a person’s ability to work and socialise.”

– Additional reporting NCA NewsWire

Hobart enters three-day lockdown

Hobart and southern Tasmania has entered its full day of a three-day lockdown to contain the threat of a Delta outbreak, after a 31-year-old man who was Covid-positive escaped hotel quarantine and visited a supermarket earlier this week.

Announcing the shutdown on Friday afternoon, Premier Peter Gutwein said the man had been “uncooperative” with authorities about his movements.

“There is growing concern now that he has been to several touch points in the community. We can’t continue to wait another two days to find out more about what has been going on,” Mr Gutwein told reporters.

“We don’t want to be Sydney or Melbourne in this case that acted too late with Delta.”

The lockdown applies to Hobart and surrounding local government areas, where residents will only be allowed to leave their homes for essential purposes.

Mr Gutwein said he hoped the lockdown would end as scheduled at 6pm on Monday night, but that would depend on public health advice over the weekend.

Who misses out when international travel returns

Australians and their families will be to free to travel in and out of the country from November 1, a move triggered by NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet’s announcement that quarantine would come to an end in his state for fully vaccinated arrivals.

But not everyone will benefit from the lifted outbound travel ban – with Prime Minister Scott Morrison stressing that only “Australians, permanent residents and citizens and their families” will be permitted to come and go for the time being.

After being reportedly blindsided by Mr Perrottet’s declaration that the NSW border would open for everyone – including international tourists – the PM delivered a diplomatic slapdown, noting that it was the Commonwealth that controlled visas and decided who comes to Australia.

While he welcomed the decision to reopen borders and scrap quarantine, he suggested it was a “first step” and was about Australian residents returning, not tourists.

“We are not opening up to everyone coming back to Australia at the moment. I want to be clear about that,” Mr Morrison said.

“It is for the Commonwealth and Federal Government to decide when the border opens and shuts at an international level and we will do that.

“In the first instance it will be for Australian residents and their families. We will see how that goes.”

The PM said no decision had yet been made on when “visa holders, student visa holders (and) international visitors travelling” would be welcomed Down Under.

Government sources told The Australian they expect it could be “weeks” after Australia passes its 80 per cent vaccination rate in November before international students and skilled migrants are allowed a look-in.

State’s borders likely to stay shut

Western Australia’s hard border closure to NSW is likely to be extended as fully vaccinated Australians are allowed to return to the latter state from overseas without quarantining.

Vaccinated Australian citizens, residents and their families, including overseas-based parents, will be allowed to freely enter NSW from November 1.

They will need to be tested before boarding a flight and will need to prove they have had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said on Friday he was concerned an influx of travellers could lead to more coronavirus cases, flagging the border could remain shut for longer.

“I understand why they would (open their international border), because you may well be just as safe overseas as you are in Sydney,” he told reporters.

“But it may mean there’s greater spread of the virus in NSW. So that would obviously mean that we would keep our current border arrangement which is at ‘extreme risk’ with NSW for as long as it’s necessary.”

NSW residents are only allowed to enter WA in some exceptional circumstances and they must undergo a fortnight of hotel quarantine.

– Additional reporting NCA NewsWire

Glaring issue with new VaxPass

One vital detail may have been overlooked in the rollout of the VaxPass for NSW residents on Friday, according to a digital privacy expert.

The new Service NSW phone app’s additional feature, which streamlined the existing check in system with the user’s vaccination status, has attracted criticism over a seemingly obvious flaw.

The new function, while equipped with the Waratah logo hologram and rotating QR codes, doesn’t present the user’s photo identification.

Without the inclusion of photo ID, unvaccinated members of the public could easily use someone else’s phone, or even someone else’s login details, to gain access to a venue.

“Unlike the NSW driver’s licence which has your picture on it, you can take your friend’s phone and show their QR code, chief digital privacy officer at Trustrgrid, David Palmer, said.

“You need to have the picture of the individual to match who’s presenting it, and then the QR code does its work by presenting the green tick saying you’re vaccinated.”

Mr Palmer said without photo identification being built into VaxPasses, businesses employees would need to request that each person present additional documents before entering a venue.

– Brooke Rolfe

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