News COVID update: Vaccine relief, hospital pressure, and a state masks up

COVID update: Vaccine relief, hospital pressure, and a state masks up

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A weekend of sunshine was a relief for people in lockdown who had little else to do but hit the pavement for an hour, and more people took their chance to walk up for a vaccination.

Another 1.4 million Australians had a vaccine dose during the past four days.

Well done.

Remember to thank healthcare workers while you’re getting the vaccine.

They are under increasing pressure and even more so in places where staff have been furloughed because coronavirus cases have spread in hospital wards.

Here’s a wrap of all we know about the cases concerning health teams, a reminder of new rules and a look ahead to what to expect in locked-down states on Monday.

New South Wales

Tougher laws are now in place across the state following two days of cases above 800.

Remember, you must now where a mask if you are outside of your home except if you’re doing exercise. Strolling to the shops does not count as exercise.

Those living in Sydney’s coronavirus hotspots are waking up to their first day under a curfew.

Hardware stores like Bunnings, office supply stores and other retail premises must close in those 12 LGAs except for click-and-collect, and all exams and education activities will move online, except the HSC.

As case numbers mount and elimination of COVID-19 in NSW becomes unfeasible, Health Minister Brad Hazzard has reassured residents that the health system retained plenty of excess capacity to handle sick patients.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people gathered at the Queensland-NSW border on Sunday to protest changes to entry requirements between the states, including a man on a large white horse who was encouraging people to cross the border. Yes, really.

Here’s a video, in case you missed it:

NSW Police said protesters had crossed the border between Queensland at Coolangatta and NSW at Tweed Heads, with eight people arrested and 54 fined for breaching public health orders.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said the protesters’ actions had posed “a significant risk to the community”.

Police are going to keep tracking down the people who attended the events.

Police allege Anthony Karam, 27, “failed to isolate as directed by the Public Health Order”. Photo: NSW Police

Officers are also still looking for Anthony Karam, a man dubbed “public health enemy number one” after going on the run when he was supposed to be in quarantine. Mr Karam has tested positive to the virus.

“He is not only a danger to the community but to himself as he is sick and can be seen coughing when he was last seen in an apartment block,’’ a NSW Police spokeswoman told The Daily Telegraph. 


Health Minister Martin Foley denies authorities have lost control of the state’s latest infection wave but admits there’s “great concern” about the scale of community transmission despite a Victoria-wide lockdown.

The state officially recorded 65 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases on Sunday, with 55 linked to current outbreaks and 10 mystery cases. Only 12 were in isolation while infectious.

Childcare is now closed and parents have been advised to encourage children to wear masks.

Regional Victorians are in lockdown as authorities wait to see how far the Shepparton outbreak has spread. So far it has been linked to another regional town, Mansfield, and to the cluster at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Dozens of new ‘Tier 2’ exposure sites across Melbourne were named on on Sunday night – including IKEA in Richmond, cafes and restaurants – plus this ‘Tier 1’ place of concern in regional Victoria:

  • Signature Cuts hairdresser in Shepparton

There’s concern about the pressure on the health system, with hundreds of hospital workers furloughed and concerns over a growing cluster at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

At least seven cases are linked to that hospital.

It’s believed a Shepparton man who came in for surgery was the source of the virus.

He was not initially tested for coronavirus and so his illness was not detected until later when a visitor to another patient tested positive.

Hundreds of hospital staff are now isolating.

It follows the declaration of Werribee Mercy Hospital as a tier 3 exposure site following a positive test from a patient on Thursday.

Take this moment to spare a thought for the doctors and nurses across the state. Some of them are working double shifts.

A young family takes advantage of Melbourne’s weather for a stroll at Williamstown on Sunday. Photo: AAP

The weekend brought Victorians some much-needed sunshine over the weekend and it also brought out more people to vaccination hubs.

All public sector staff will get up to half a day of paid time off to keep appointments for the two jabs they need for full protection, Mr Foley announced on Sunday.

He also promised a new vaccination blitz for residential aged care and disability workers at state-run facilities, including walk-up jabs at more than 50 centres.

Meanwhile, 20,000 regional Victorian businesses are now eligible for automatic cash payments of $5600, or $2800 per week, after being placed back under a lockdown on Saturday.

The state’s alpine resorts will receive up to $20,000 a week depending on the business type and location, and about 2000 regional hospitality businesses will receive payments of $5000, $10,000 and $20,000 per week depending on their venue’s capacity.

Victoria’s Industry Support and Recovery Minister Martin Pakula said the $146.6 million joint federal and state government funding matched the support provided to metropolitan Melbourne.


The state government is investigating whether a Housing ACT complex is a COVID-19 exposure location because of its connection to one of the current active cases in the territory.

At this stage there are no cases among the residents of the complex in Turner.

“This situation is still evolving, and our focus is on supporting the tenants and their needs,” ACT Health said on Sunday.

It is also concerned about a 14-case cluster in the territory’s disability sector.

The cluster includes seven support workers, one tradesman and two NSW support workers linked to the ACT cases.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr announced 19 new cases on Sunday, just over double the number from the day before, but said this was the result of a slight change in the reporting cut-off time.

Seventeen were linked to previously known cases and two remained under investigation.

There are now 121 active cases in the territory, which remains under lockdown until September 2.

ACT Health confirmed one positive case was linked to the Australian National University .

“At this stage we have not confirmed any exposure sites on the ANU campus, but this remains under investigation,” it said.

-with AAP