The Covid Wrap: A State-By-State Summary On Covid Across Australia
Don’t blink, it could change
There was a clear shift in narrative this week with Covid normality in the road ahead dominating political and public discourse.
The key element being the stark reality between hard lockdowns and impending vaccine lockouts, as Australia prepares to open borders.
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It comes as “lockdown states” open up with different rules for the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, as the nation surpasses 80 per cent of people now double dosed, and 90 per cent having received their first Covid inoculation, although obvious disparities between regions, communities and economics remains, but we'll get to that later.
Earlier in the week, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced that once the state reaches the 80 per cent double dose milestone, they will ease restrictions for fully vaccinated people, businesses, and hospitality venues, while also barring unvaccinated people from hospitals, aged care, and disability care facilities.
"This is both a reward for the fully vaccinated and a proportion for when the borders open and we will see more cases in our community and people deserve to know that they can go to these places and that they are safe," Ms Palaszczuk said.
Meantime, health authorities remain concerned about two mystery Covid cases on the Gold Coast, especially with Schoolies Week coming up.
Queensland's new vaccine economy follows Victoria's lead, after Premier Dan Andrews, last month announced that full vaccination would give people greater ability to “participate in the economy”.
"You’re going to be able to go to a pub, the cinema, to a sporting event. You’re going to be able to do all sorts of things that an unvaccinated person is not going to be able to do,” Mr Andrews said.
The move from lockdowns to lockouts of the unvaccinated, aims to shut out people who refuse to get the jab from sporting matches, restaurants, travel, entertainment venues and retail experiences, right through until 2023.
Meantime, Singapore, one of the world's greatest pandemic success stories, went one step further this week, by axing subsidised healthcare for people who are unvaccinated by choice.
Sending an undeniable message to those who do not want the jab, that if they catch Covid, it’s on them!
Ex-New South Wales Premier Bob Carr endorsed the move, tweeting that Australia should follow suit and withdraw Medicare privileges from unvaccinated Aussies.
However, any such sanctions of unvaccinated people from Medicare, would only shift the responsibility on to individuals, as opposed to the inconvenient truth of a government's neglect.
Ultimately, what has become apparent in the parlaying of pandemic politics and Covid currency this week, is the gaping hole in vaccine coverage that lies between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians, as well as those well-healed, compared to those on the margins.
Furthermore, in certain areas across Australia, the disparity is strikingly unmistakable.
About 70 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are now fully vaccinated in New South Wales, Victoria, and the Australian Capital Territory, where outbreaks have been extensive, while Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, who have essentially been Covid-free, report first dose rates of their First Nations people, below 55 per cent.
Professor Peter O’Mara, a Wiradjuri man and Chair of RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, holds grave concerns ahead of borders reopening.
"The fact that there remains a serious gap in vaccine coverage between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous people in this country is a national shame," he told RACGP News.
"In only the past three months there have been more than 7000 cases among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, with over 700 people hospitalised including 80 ICU admissions and 16 deaths in New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT"
- Prof Peter O'Mara
Even though, the unvaccinated remain only a small proportion of the population, a more aggressive approach is called for, but one lead with compassion, community, and care.
Meanwhile, across the country:
With the harshest border restrictions in the country, Western Australia have mandated that travellers from Victoria, NSW, the ACT and Queensland are not permitted to enter without an approval through G2G Pass. While all other travellers 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. WA recorded no new Covid cases on Friday.
South Australia continues to keep the gate firmly locked to Victoria, NSW and the ACT. Visitors from Queensland, WA, NT and Tasmania are allowed but must first complete a Cross Border Travel Registration. There were no new Covid case recorded in South Australia on Friday.
All travellers to the Australian Capital Territory need to complete an exemption before arriving. From November 1, border restrictions eased allowing ACT residents to visit NSW and Victoria. The nation's capital recorded 15 new Covid cases on Friday.
The Northern Territory is closed to people from hotspots including NSW, ACT, and Victoria. Travellers into the Territory from other regions must get a Covid test and are required to enter supervised quarantine for 14 days at their own expense. 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. Victoria, the ACT and the Jervise Bay Territory are also considered ‘hot spots’ and are not permitted to enter. While travellers from the NT, WA, Tasmania, and SA must complete a travel declaration form up to three days prior to arriving. The sunshine state recorded two new locally acquired Covid cases on Friday.
As Covid numbers continue to plateau in New South Wales, the state recorded 286 new infections and sadly two lives lost on Friday. Restrictions have further eased with regional travel back on, while the border between New South Wales and Victoria is now open to fully vaccinated travellers. All visitors must complete a travel declaration form.
Down south and Victoria’s cases are settling with 1115 new infections reported on Friday and tragically nine Covid deaths. All LGA’s in Australia are now deemed a ‘green zone’, with all residents permitted to travel to Victoria. There are no longer testing or quarantine requirements for travellers and workers from a green zone, including unvaccinated people, however, they are still required to obtain an entry permit from Service Victoria to verify they are not Covid positive or close contact.
Tasmania happily reported no new cases on Friday. The Apple Isle remains 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 more nasties with them. Tasmania are set to plan to reopen borders on December 15.
Across the ditch and Trans-Tasman families are set for a second-consecutive Christmas apart as the New Zealand government opts against a border reopening to Australia this year. New Zealand reported 201 new Covid cases on Friday, the second time the country has cracked 200 cases in the last week.
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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