New South Wales passes another vaccination milestone

ABC News Channel live stream

With 114,546 shots administered by state hubs yesterday, 44.5 per cent of people in NSW are now fully vaccinated, bringing the total number of vaccinations to 8 million. 

Here are the key moments from Saturday:

Catch up on all of Saturday's COVID news and updates in our blog.

Key events

Live updates

By Jacqueline Howard


Case numbers and press conference times

  • Queensland: 5 new cases. 37 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated. Watch the press conference
  • Victoria: 450 new cases. 39 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated. Watch the press conference
  • New South Wales: 1,599 cases, 8 deaths. 44.5 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated. Watch the press conference
  • ACT: 15 new cases. 50.8 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated. Watch the press conference
  • South Australia: One new local case, not active in the community. 39.54 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated

We will continue to update this post throughout the day. 

By Jacqueline Howard

That's all we have time for today

Thanks for joining me. Take care of yourselves this afternoon and I'll see you all again tomorrow.

By Jacqueline Howard

Health workers face death threats as COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy takes hold in PNG

Papua New Guinea health workers who've been visiting rural areas during the pandemic have been faced with death threats.

Less than two per cent of the country's population is inoculated, and health officials blame the slow uptake on vaccine hesitancy that's being fueled by misinformation online.

Dr Alfred Mel from the National Cancer Centre in Lae Province says there's a reluctance among people in PNG to accept a treatment they don't understand.

By Jacqueline Howard

Key Event

Zero cases in Western Australia

WA Health is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 overnight.

There are currently two active cases in hotel quarantine in the state.

By Jacqueline Howard

ANALYSIS: The weapon Queensland has in its COVID-19 arsenal that locked-down states have run out of

By Matt Wordsworth

Queensland's Chief Health Officer and Premier are expecting the Delta strain of COVID-19 to "pop up" any day now, but it hasn't managed to get a foothold despite some serious attempts.

Eight truck drivers have come into Queensland while infectious – four in the past fortnight — and so far, somehow, it hasn't led to a major outbreak.

In June, an unvaccinated receptionist caught it just by being positioned near the COVID ward at Brisbane's Prince Charles Hospital, then went on holiday to Townsville, but only her brother got infected.

The City Backpacker cluster of the Alpha strain in July. Contained.

The Indooroopilly cluster in August. Squashed.

Hell, we don't even know how that one started.

Yet we look down south and one unvaccinated limo driver infected by a flight crew sparked an outbreak that is still raging.

People have caught the virus simply by being in the same restaurant or getting their hair done.

There has obviously been an enormous, collective commitment to home quarantine, testing and contact tracing in Queensland, but the Sunshine State appears to have the extra element other jurisdictions ran out of: luck.

Read the full story here.

By Jacqueline Howard

NSW-Victoria border businesses call for restrictions to be relaxed, border bubble reinstated

In the Victoria-New South Wales border towns of Echuca and Moama, businesses are reopening as restrictions ease on both sides of the Murray River, but locals still can't go across the bridge, unless it's for an essential reason.

Residents are calling for an end to tough restrictions and for the New South Wales-Victoria border bubble to be reinstated to allow them to travel freely between Echuca and Moama.

In this story, we hear from Paul Lavars, the Rich River Golf Club in Moama's marketing manager, and Gemma James, owner of The Beauty Bar in Echuca.

By Jacqueline Howard

Australians left stranded by border restrictions fear there's 'no clear end in sight'

Alone in her car in a vacant car park near the Victoria-South Australia border, Jo-Anne Ware found herself plagued by a simple question.

"I just sort of went, 'Where am I? Where do we live?'" she said.

"It feels like I'm living in Berlin and the walls are up."

Last month, the registered nurse and full-time carer left her home in Western Australia to look after a family friend in Victoria who was waiting to undergo surgery.

But as the coronavirus Delta variant took hold, plunging the state into lockdown, Ms Ware found herself joining a club no-one wanted to be a part of: the stranded Australians.

"[The procedure] wasn't going ahead, so I had to come home," she said.

"So now I've got no job, no place to go. I live in Western Australia, I work in Western Australia, [but I'm] stuck on the South Australian border."

Read stories from Jo-Anne and other Australians in the same situation here.

By Jacqueline Howard

Dr Ryan Hodges from Monash Health says lots of pregnant women are "very sick" in Victoria right now

By Caitlyn Davey

Obstetrician outlines dangers of COVID in pregnant women 

Dr Ryan Hodges, an obstetrician who specialises in managing complex pregnancies at Monash Health spoke on the dangers of COVID to pregnant women, outlining the greater odds of danger and death from the virus.

"We know that in pregnancy that coronavirus infections means you are five times more likely that you are going to need to come to us at Monash. When you do come to us at Monash there is a one in three chance you will need oxygen therapy. There is a one in seven chance you are going to be in intensive care. There is a one in two chance you will need emergency delivery of your baby. There is a one in two chance of caesarean section, and a one in four chance that your baby will need to be born prematurely. You are twice as likely to have a stillborn. This is what we are seeing from the Delta variant of the coronavirus," Dr Hodges said. 

Dr Hodges said his medical team at Monash was extremely concerned about the Delta strain and the coming wave of infections.

"We are concerned. It is very early on in this next wave, and what we are seeing is not what we saw in the last wave. This is not what we see with influenza. Never would I have seven sick women in hospital with influenza. This is different."

Women 24 weeks and further into their pregnancies are being given priority in state-run vaccination clinics across the state. 

By Caitlyn Davey

Vic: Wastewater detection in Ballarat — residents urged to get tested  

COVID wastewater detections have been detected in the Ballarat catchment area. It's the third unexpected detection from the Ballarat South area, with Deputy Secretary Kate Matson urging anyone with symptoms in the Ballarat area to come forward to be tested.

Ms Matson said the Victorian health system was bracing for the impact of rising case numbers.

"We are planning for increased hospitalisations, but while the majority of our population is unvaccinated, we need to collectively do everything we can to keep those numbers down," Ms Matson said.

"We are all tired. We all want to catch up and live the life we did a couple of years ago, but while we have vaccination rates too low, please, don't."

By Jacqueline Howard

One extra case in ACT prison to be counted tomorrow

The ACT's CHO Dr Kerryn Coleman has confirmed a case at the Alexander Maconochie Centre prison was reported after last night's cut-off time.

Dr Coleman said it was a detainee on transfer into the facility. She also moved to reassure the community that everyone exposed to that case is being contact directly.

By Caitlyn Davey

Households and train line areas of concern in Melbourne 

Ms Matson said the highly infectious nature of the virus meant COVID was now covering entire households rapidly.

 "We are seeing more and more where entire households test positive in one day. So it might be three people in a house, it might be eight people in a house, and they may form part of our numbers in one day."

Ms Matson also addressed infections with the V/Line workforce, following the positive testing of a train conductor overnight who worked with a positive train driver.

There are 18 of today's 129 services cancelled, with coaches replacing trains as a result. 

Three staff members at different hotel quarantine locations around the Melbourne (Melbourne Airport, Intercontinental and Novotel on Collins) have also tested positive for COVID. All were fully vaccinated. 

By Jacqueline Howard

ACT vaccination appointments brought forward

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said more than 19,500 first dose Pfizer appointments had been moved forward after a boost in supply.

“That's fantastic news, lots and lots of people were able to bring forward their first dose. There are also still early appointments available, especially for people who are currently scheduled for a vaccine appointment in late October or early November,” Mr Barr said.

“The Commonwealth Government has also advised us that the majority of the new Pfizer doses that are coming to the ACT that were part of that UK deal are going to be directed to local GP clinics.

“This could mean as many as 60,000 new booking opportunities.”

Mr Barr said thousands of bookings would also be available when the territory received its share of Moderna vaccines, due to arrive in the coming months.

“On the presumption that we would receive our population share of that anticipated 10 million additional supply, that is about 167,000 doses for the ACT,” Mr Barr said.

“We understand this will be available through pharmacists. So what this means is that those who have bookings in October or November may in fact be able to get a Pfizer, or a Moderna vaccine, even sooner, through GP networks or pharmacies.

“A highly vaccinated Canberra is a safer Canberra, and our nation leading vaccination program should give everyone the confidence that there will be much better times ahead later this year.”

By Caitlyn Davey

Victoria: Cases by suburb 

Deputy Secretary Kate Matson gave a case breakdown suburb by suburb.

More than 70 per cent of today's cases are in the northern suburbs:

  • 166 in Hume
  • 87 in Moreland
  • 41 in Whittlesea.

Western suburbs continue to see steady growth:

  • 25 in Wyndham
  • 20 in Brimbank
  • 16 in Hobsons Bay

Victoria is also seeing spread around to the eastern suburbs and south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne:

  • 26 cases today are in the south-east, including 6 in Greater Dandenong.

By Caitlyn Davey

Construction cases grow in Victoria 

Martin Foley says:

"The cases that are related to construction continue to be investigated by our public health team, both regionally and in metropolitan Victoria. There is a bit of a crossover with some larger outbreaks in the construction sector, together with these regional cases as well.

"There is a Panorama Box Hill construction site, in Box Hill of course, which has had an outbreak that we have referred to a few times. It is now sitting at 116 cases associated across three related construction sites, and has been one of the most significant outbreaks in this particular outbreak event.

"Today is day 11 of the testing and isolation of those three related sites, so as day 13 tests commence in a couple of days, we would expect the over 300 primary close contacts associated with that site to continue to return more positives. And a construction site in the city has had nine cases linked to its construction site. 

"Of course, construction is quite rightly a permitted activity under the current restrictions, it is a skilled and mobile workforce, but what these positive cases show is that being mobile, it is able to be seeded both across metropolitan Melbourne and a number of the regional settings of Victoria.

"Construction, together with a focus from the public health team, the industry and the regulatory agencies, is a strong focus of activity at the moment, to ensure we get ahead of these outbreaks and make sure that the most important thing that the sector can do is both continue and improve their COVID-safe plans, but equally, make sure that they do their bit for the high levels of vaccination.

"Construction companies do have the responsibility to stick to their COVID-safe plans and to make sure that all the things that go with that apply on construction sites

"That everybody is checking in.

"That you have the correct density number of workers on site.

"That all workers test at the first sign of any symptoms

"Anybody that is eligible needs to get a vaccine as soon as they possibly can.

"So if I had one message today, it was that all workers, big and small, in the construction industry, need to make sure that they follow the rules and that the time for continuing to hand out warnings in the sector is over, and that a combination of the authorised officers, WorkSafe inspectors and indeed the leadership of the sector itself is about making sure that the spike that we have seen in construction-related cases comes to an end."

By Jacqueline Howard

Key Event

South Australia records one new case in a mine worker arriving from Sydney

South Australia has recorded one new local case of COVID-19 in a mine worker who flew in yesterday from Sydney.

He arrived on flight VA 406 at 9:20am, and was tested half an hour later.

SA Health says the man went straight into quarantine at the Adelaide Airport hotel under the mining company’s policy.

Other passengers on the flight and people who were in the terminal will be contacted by SA Health.

Chief Public Health Officer Prof. Nicola Spurrier says officials will also meet to discuss border arrangements with Queensland in light of its latest cases.

“Just letting people know that we are watching Queensland at the moment… we would rather not have any border controls in place, but it’s very early days,” she said.

“If we need to make some changes we will do that.”

By Jacqueline Howard

Key Event

New Zealand records 23 new cases

There have been 23 new cases of COVID in the community reported in New Zealand today, more than double the 11 new cases reported yesterday.

All of the cases were in Auckland, with 14 of those linked to existing cases.

By Caitlyn Davey

More than 70% of Melbourne's new cases are in northern suburbs 

By Jacqueline Howard

Key Event

ACT records 15 new cases

It brings the total number of active cases in the ACT to 249.

14 of those cases are linked, one remains in the early stages of investigation. Eleven of those cases are household contacts.

Nine of the new cases were in quarantine for the entire infectious period. Six were infectious in the community for at least part of their infectious period.

There are 16 people in Canberra hospitals, with three in the ICU and one on a veltilator. The youngest person in hospital is under 16 years of age. The oldest is in their 70s.

By Jacqueline Howard

Tune in to the ACT press conference here

Apologies for this being late today. We were managing some technical difficulties.

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