NSW is only days away from enjoying additional freedoms, but a major roadmap change is expected to leave many residents less than impressed.
Welcome to Friday’s live coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Australia.
Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet is expected to unveil a major change to NSW’s roadmap today, as the state hurtles toward its 80 percent vaccination target.
NSW recorded 406 Covid cases and six deaths on Thursday.
Victorians eagerly await hearing today’s figures after the state confirmed yesterday a record day for infections, with 2,297 Covid cases and 11 deaths.
Follow below for today’s top updates. Keep updating the page for the latest news.
Delayed major release for vaxxed NSW
The New South Wales government is expected to roll back on the freedom promised to vaccinated residents, just days before new, relaxed restrictions are put in place.
Residents of the greater Sydney area who want to meet friends and family or go on a regional holiday will have to delay their plans as the government prepares to extend the regional travel ban.
The state is expected to hit its 80 percent double vaccination target this weekend, a target that will trigger a host of freedoms beginning the following Monday, likely Oct. 18.
Travel between Greater Sydney and the New South Wales region has been continually touted as one of those freedoms, but it is understood that Thursday’s crisis cabinet meeting resolved to delay this freedom.
It comes after Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet revealed that there were “concerns” that some regional areas with lower vaccination rates could be at risk.
Regional travel is now expected to be delayed until at least October 25, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
It will be the second time that officials have backtracked on easing this restriction, with the initially set freedom to reach the 70 percent vaccination goal, before returning to the 80 percent goal.
However, the rest of the roadmap is expected to go ahead as planned, and if vaccination rates continue to rise, it will go live from Monday.
Some of the new freedoms will include having 20 visitors in a house, standing and drinking in the pub, 3000 people at ticketed outdoor events, density limits for hair salons and other personal care services will be removed and there will be no cap. in the number of fully vaccinated guests at weddings and funerals.
The decision on the blockade will be made in the next few days.
Victoria’s Prime Minister Daniel Andrews has confirmed that the state is still on track to ease restrictions this month, despite the record number of Covid cases in the state today.
When asked if this meant the government was pushing for freedoms because Victorians are fed up with lockdowns, Andrews said he “wouldn’t put it that way.”
“So we have, fundamentally, a very important agreement with the Victorian community: you get vaccinated and we will open up, and I do what I say,” he said.
“So that’s why we’re going to open up because people have been vaccinated in record amounts in record time and they should be proud of that and I’m proud of them, I’m deeply grateful to them.”
Andrews said there will be discussions in the next few days about when the shutdown will end, but made it very clear that the Victorian government “will deliver the roadmap.”
“We will answer questions about when the lockdown ends, the precise moment, as well as any additional steps, any changes that we can make to the roadmap, but we will deliver the roadmap,” he said.
65 percent of Australians are now fully vaccinated
Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed on Thursday that 65.4 percent of Australians over the age of 16 have received two doses of the Covid vaccine.
At least 83.6% have received a dose.
“So that protection is really reaching the whole country. It is a very important number and I want to thank the Australians who return for their second dose, and continue to urge them to do so, ”said Mr Hunt.
“For those who have not yet received their first dose, there is wide access across the country and we urge you to continue to do so. Those numbers are increasing every day, but we urge you to continue to do so. “