The Covid Wrap: A State-By-State Summary On Covid Across Australia
Don’t blink, it could change
Under the new political landscape, Perottet's opening gambit this week, galvanised a strategic maneuver like a chess master determined to mount a new attack against our old foe Covid.
In a well-thought-out strategy, and without his chief health officer by his side, the NSW Premier took to pandemic battlegrounds with what could have been interpreted as an impulsive tactical opening move to result in tangible gain by announcing changes to the Reopening Roadmap as set out by the recently departed Gladys Berejiklian.
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The amendments, which essentially see several restrictions eased faster than was planned, have sent the Australian Medical Authority [AMA] into panic that the state is moving "too fast, too soon".
The AMA's New South Wales president Danielle McMullen warned the accelerated easing could mean "the number of people contracting the virus and ending up in hospital skyrockets".
"Keeping people safe must be the Premier's top priority," she said.
"We've got a new Premier in the driver's seat, but that's not a good enough reason to deviate from the course previously set."
- Dr McMullen
In a statement released by AMA president Dr Omar Korshid, he purports that higher vaccination rates among younger cohorts need to be achieved in a bid to reduce infections.
"NSW must not be reckless at this critical time. That would cost more lives, cause more suffering, and put the economies of NSW and the nation at risk. Sydney must take this opportunity to show the rest of the country how to live with COVID whilst protecting health and health care.
"The AMA supports opening-up, but it must be done wisely and cautiously, with the ability to pause and assess the impact of lifting restrictions, before moving to the next stage. To do otherwise risks far too much," the statement read.
Wise words for Victoria as the state sets off in hot pursuit of 'freedom' even as the drudgery of lockdowns continue.
Yet, despite infections rising with cases hitting record numbers each day, Premier Dan Andrews remains hell bent on opening the state as scheduled.
It comes as the sunshine state, which has one of the lowest vaccine take-up rates in the country, kicks off a ‘Super Pfizer Weekend’ in a bid to avoid a public health crisis.
Not isolated to Queensland alone, pressure has mounted this week on the Federal government from all states and territories to provide more crisis funding to bolster health systems ahead of the country reopening.
With the spotlight firmly on the sunshine state, something of a political brawl broke out between Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and the commonwealth, with the Premier threatening to keep the states borders closed if greater financial aid was not forthcoming,
Amounted to “shakedown politics”, by Wednesday Canberra said that they had done enough already and instead denied all requests to bolster financial aid toward state and territory run hospitals.
Taking matters into their own hands, Ambulance Victoria have called in the Australian Defence Force, the State Emergency Service and St Johns Ambulance Australia, to help cope with Covid pressure.
Meantime, 'no jab no job' mandates continue to rollout across industry sectors with BHP and FIFO mandating the jab for all workers.
It comes after Victoria last week mandated Covid vaccines for all authorised workers across the state.
This week Australia also hit the jackpot with 81.5 per cent of eligible people having received their first dose of a Covid vaccine, while just over 60 per cent are fully vaccinated,
Finally, the politics of Covid misinformation has played its hand this week as we head towards reopening the country.
With the mash-up of targeted health misinformation spread across traditional media and new media, political adviser turned co-founder of news service The Daily Aus, Zara Seidler told ABC's Q+A that we need to look to who we are arming against misinformation, with social influencers a missed opportunity.
"Instagram launched a campaign recently, that was arming influencers, who a lot of younger people are listening to, with tools to identify misinformation"
- Zara Seidler
The takeaway from all of this lies in how information is consumed and weaponised, with the understanding that one person’s misinformation is another person’s opinion.
Meantime, the rollercoaster of lockdowns and restrictions continues to ride the east coast of the country:
In Queensland, stage 4 restrictions have been lifted for those in the Brisbane, Gold Coast, Moreton Bay, Logan, Townsville and Palm Island LGAs, with a return to Stage 3 rules.
While across all New South Wales, lockdown will lift from Monday 11 October, with greater freedoms endowed upon those who are fully vaccinated.
Further south to Victoria and greater Melbourne, the Mitchell Shire, the Moorabool shire and Shepparton are all under stay-at-home orders.
Meanwhile, across the country:
With the tightest border in the country, Western Australia have mandated that travellers from a 'high risk' state are required to provide evidence that they have received their first Covid vaccine and have tested 72 hours prior to departing for the western skies. Elsewhere Queensland, Victoria and the ACT are considered 'medium risk' and require an exemption to enter WA. Lucky South Australian's have been deemed 'low risk', so they may play in WA but only with a border declaration. That leaves 'low risk' Tasmania, the Northern Territory and New Zealand as the only visitors allowed into the state. WA recorded no new Covid cases on Friday.
South Australia continues to keep the gate firmly locked to Victoria, NSW the ACT, and some parts of Queensland. Visitors from WA and NT are allowed but must have a series of Covid tests and self-quarantine until receiving their first negative result. And once again the only Aussies deemed ‘restriction free’ are Tasmanians. There were no new Covid case recorded in South Australia on Friday.
Lockdown in the Australian Capital Territory continues until midnight October 15. Further, border restrictions have been tightened for all non-ACT residents entering the capital from locked down areas of Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales, effectively not allowing them in. Meanwhile, travellers from all other states and territories must stay abreast of exposure site locations. The countries capital recorded their highest daily number of infections since the pandemic began with 52 new Covid cases on Friday and sadly two deaths.
The Northern Territory is closed to travellers from hotspots – NSW, ACT, and Victoria – and returning NT residents face mandatory supervised quarantine and all arrivals must complete an online Border Entry Form. Meantime, anyone who has been at a public exposure state in any other state must get a COVID -19 test and quarantine in a suitable place for 14 days. NT recorded no new Covid cases on Friday.
To Queensland and they have extended border restrictions to all of NSW except for LGA's along the NSW border bubble to allow students and essential workers carrying a border permit to cross the state line. In addition, essential workers crossing from NSW must provide proof of having had at least one dose of a Covid vaccine. Victoria and South Australia are considered a ‘hot spot’, while travellers from the NT, WA, Tasmania, and SA are permitted to visit the sunshine state but must complete a travel declaration form up to three days prior to arriving. Queensland recorded no new Covid cases on Friday.
After another week of declining Covid numbers New South Wales recorded 646 new infections and 11 deaths on Friday. Sydneysiders remain gated into their burning hot spot, while those who are fully-vaxxed can engage in outdoor recreation with up to 5 other double dosed friends. For outsiders wanting to enter NSW, particularly those from Queensland, South Australia, the ACT and Victoria they must complete a travel declaration form.
Down south and Victoria continue to break records with 1838 new locally acquired Covid cases reported on Friday and tragically five coronavirus death. From Thursday 2 September, 6 Victorian and 2 NSW LGA's were removed from the border bubble and a strict permit system remains in place for all states and territories, with anyone wanting to enter the garden required to secure a permit. Meantime, no-one from NSW, the ACT, or some parts of south-east Queensland are allowed in. Cross-border NSW LGAs have been downgraded to a red-zone, meaning cross-border residents can enter Victoria without a permit.
Tasmania remain tightly zipped off from the mainland to avoid the worst of the Delta downfall as they no new Covid cases. The Apple Isle is now off limits to people from NSW, the ACT, and Victoria, while travellers from South Australia, WA, parts of Queensland and some parts of New Zealand may visit if they don't bring any nasties with them.
Across the ditch and New Zealand will not be reopening its trans-Tasman travel bubble any time soon, as Covid cases numbers remain vigilant across NSW and Victoria.
Set to remain in place until November 19, New Zealand's ban on quarantine free travellers from Australia hinges on vaccination rates. New Zealand reported 44 new Covid cases on Friday.
Finally, to wrap up in the words of Mr Scott Morrison “there are shifting sands when it comes to the evolution of this issue".
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