News State ACT News Quarantine, masks and shops: ACT shakes up post-lockdown roadmap

Quarantine, masks and shops: ACT shakes up post-lockdown roadmap

canberra covid rules
Canberra is poised to follow NSW and Victoria in winding back almost all virus measures. Photo: Getty
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The ACT will scrap quarantine requirements for residents returning from NSW from November 1.

Fully vaccinated international arrivals will also be exempt from quarantine requirements from the same date to align with NSW.

The reopening of non-essential retail in the ACT has also been brought forward to this Friday (October 22), after the territory eclipsed the 80 per cent double-dose vaccination threshold on Tuesday.

Density limits of one person per four square metres will be in place.

In another big change as the national capital emerges from its COVID lockdown, masks will no longer be mandatory outdoors from October 29.

The territory had another 24 local infections on Tuesday, 21 of them linked to known outbreaks. It has 428 active cases.

There are 18 COVID patients in Canberra hospitals, including 10 in intensive care.

Elsewhere, some Canberrans will lose hundreds of dollars in income support payments in the next fortnight because the ACT has passed the pivotal 80 per cent vaccination milestone.

The federal government will begin to taper the disaster payments after it removed the territory from its COVID-19 hotspot list.

The maximum payment of $750 a week will reduce to $450 and then to $320 before ending in two weeks.

The Commonwealth will continue its 50 per cent cost-sharing arrangement for COVID-19 related impacts on hospital and state public health authorities with all states and territories.

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Victorian businesses have been urged to split their staff into teams, to avoid being shut down with COVID exposure. Photo: Getty

Vic case numbers drop

Victoria’s local virus cases have dropped again, to 1749 on Tuesday.

There were also 11 more deaths, making it one of the deadliest days in the state’s current outbreak so far.

They were two women in their 70s and one older than 100, and two men in their 70s, four in their 80s and two in their 90s.

The toll from the outbreak has risen to 163.

But Tuesday’s cases are down on the 1903 on Monday, and the lowest since 1571 reported last Wednesday.

They come as testing rates remain high across Victoria and vaccination rates continue to rise. As of Tuesday, 89.4 per cent of eligible Victorians were partially vaccinated, and 67.2 were fully vaccinated.

Premier Daniel Andrews urged Victorians eligible for a second dose to bring their appointments forward if they could.

“We are well-placed to reach our target of 70 per cent double-dosed and to open up, as of 11.59pm Thursday evening – a great credit to the work of so many Victorians,” he said.

Melbourne’s lockdown will end at midnight on Thursday as the state takes a major step in its reopening from the deadly Delta outbreak. Mr Andrews said the state was “well and truly ahead of schedule” to reach its next goal of 80 per cent vaccination by October 30 or 31.

On Monday, Victorian COVID-19 commander Jeroen Weimar urged businesses to split staff into separate groups to avoid entire workforces being knocked out by the virus, with case numbers expected to rise again after the lockdown ends.

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Sydney Opera House’s sails were lit up on Monday night in a tribute to health workers and people who have been vaccinated. Photo: AAP

NSW regional alarm mounts

COVID-19 cases continue to decline in NSW, with 273 cases and four more deaths on Tuesday.

The number of people in NSW hospitals with COVID-19 has also dropped, with 589 in hospital with the virus, 128 of whom are in intensive care.

Chief health officer Kerry Chant said the drop in hospital cases was welcome.

“But it will not mean they have much of a breather because we also have business as usual,” she said on Tuesday.

“It is the responsibility of all of us to do all that we can – get vaccinated, continue to follow the public health advice and let’s try to make sure that our ICUs have as few as possible people with COVID in them as we open up over this Christmas-New Year period.”

In the 24 hours report to 8pm on Monday, 92.1 per cent of NSW residents 16 and older have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine while 80.8 per cent of people are fully vaccinated.

The latest fatalities were three men and one woman aged from their 60s to their 80s. Three were from Sydney, and one from Wollongong.

Their deaths take NSW’s toll from its Delta outbreak to 479.

Concerns also remain for regional areas of the state, where case numbers are climbing.

“We are seeing cases increase in regional areas, cases in Hunter New
England, around Lake Macquarie, Wollongong and other regions, so please be vigilant wherever you are across the state,” Dr Chant said.

NSW began the second stage of its roadmap out of lockdown on Monday after passing the 80 per cent full vaccination rate.

-with AAP