The Covid Wrap: A State-By-State Summary On Covid Across Australia
Don’t blink, it could change
In a week where COVID cases spiked and political gauntlets were thrown, the one sure winner was the Prime Minister securing much needed vials of the popular Pfizer vaccine.
On Tuesday half a million Pfizer doses were acquired via a 'vaccine swap' with Singapore to prop up the nation's vaccine rollout.
The National Briefing
However, the big news was delivered on Friday when Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a whooping 4 million Pfizer doses arriving from the UK in another 'swap deal'.
“There are four million reasons to be hopeful today,” he said.
“The government has been able to secure, with the government of the United Kingdom, a Pfizer swap deal which will see four million doses of Pfizer come to Australia this month.”
- PM Scott Morrison
Meantime, the PM’s plan to open the country once vaccination rates hit 70 to 80 per cent, have been met with stealth resistance, amid escalating Covid cases in NSW and Victoria
The pugnacious debate played out with both the PM and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg issuing stern warnings to Queensland and Western Australia to follow the 'national reopening plan'.
And like a good melodrama, just as the Treasure put on a display of warring words with Queensland's Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, the PM cautioned WA's Premier Mark McGowan that the DELTA variant is 'stronger' than the state's hard border, suggesting that the next time a challenge came through the High Courts, they may not be as supportive.
Then by the end of the week, a bonus episode, as the ACT chief minister called upon the nation’s leaders demanding an end to the contentious debate.
Andrew Barr challenged Mr Morrison’s National Cabinet to address the revised Doherty Institute modelling which suggested that opening up with only 70 per cent could lead to thousands of cases and hundreds of deaths.
Mr Barr argued that targets instead be moved to 80 percent of the eligible population vaccinated.
Which leads to the main agenda for Friday's National cabinet meet - determining if Australia's health system can cope when COVID restrictions are eased.
Already concerned that public hospitals are struggling to cope, Australian Medical Association President Dr Omar Khorshid wrote to the PM, along with state leader on Thursday advising that hospitals and those who work in them are “in danger of being locked into a permanent cycle of crisis”.
“Even pre-COVID, emergency departments were full, ambulances ramped, and waiting times for elective surgery too long”.
“Our hospitals are not starting from a position of strength. Far from it,” he said.
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-19 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 cases in South Australia on Friday.
Lockdown in the Australian Capital Territory has been extended until September 17 with a few changes to the rules. 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 18 new Covid-19 cases on Friday.
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 restriction to all of NSW except to border zone residents who are approved essential workers carrying a border permit. 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, along with greater Darwin and Katherine 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 scored a double donut day with no new Covid-19 cases on Friday.
After a record-breaking week of COVID numbers New South Wales recorded 1431 new infections and 12 deaths on Friday. Sydneysiders remain gated into their burning hot spot, with people barred from leaving except for essential services. Meanwhile stay-at-home orders have been extended for all of NSW until Friday, September 10 amid growing concerns over cases in the regions, especially Dubbo. 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 have broken records with 208 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases on Friday and tragically one death. From Thursday 2 September, Premier Dan Andrews tightened the border to NSW, removing 6 Victorian and 2 NSW LGA's from the border bubble. 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.
Tasmania remain tightly zipped off from the mainland in an effort to avoid the Delta downfall as they continue with zero 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 Quarantine-free travel to New Zealand is definitely off still off the cards, even they seem to be getting ahead of the virus with 28 new Covid cases on Friday. Meantime, Auckland and the Northland region expected to remain at alert level four for at least another week. Planning way, way ahead, travel to the land of the long white cloud could manifest in two weeks for some Aussies, but I wouldn't put my money on it.
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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