COVID updates: TGA threatens Craig Kelly with legal action over misleading vaccine texts — as it happened

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The Therapeutic Goods Administration has demanded crossbencher Craig Kelly stop spreading "seriously misleading" information about COVID-19 vaccines.

Mr Kelly has described the TGA's letter as defamatory and said he would "vigorously defend" himself against any action.

Here are the key events from Wednesday:

Catch up on all of Wednesday's COVID-19 news and updates on our blog.

Live updates

By Peta Fuller

Pinned

Today's case numbers and press conferences

We'll keep this updated throughout the day as and when we get details.

QLD: Zero new local cases. No COVID-19 press conference today.

VIC: 423 new local cases. Press conference, Watch here

NSW: 1,259 new local cases. Press conference, Watch here

ACT: 13 new local cases. Press conference, Watch here

NT: Press conference, Watch here

NZ: 14 new local cases.

WA: Zero new local cases. No COVID-19 press conference today.

SA: Zero new local cases. No COVID-19 press conference today.

TAS: Zero new local cases. No COVID-19 press conference today.

By Michael Doyle

That's all for the blog today

We have been given our cue to close blog friends. 

It has been another busy day with lots of news and updates. 

Thank-you to everyone who joined us today.

Until next time, stay safe and be well. 

By Michael Doyle

Snow industry on brink of collapse after second winter of COVID-19 lockdowns and no trade

After two consecutive winters with limited domestic trade and no international tourists, Australia's snow industry is on the brink of collapse, according to industry experts.

The industry contributes an estimated $2 billion to the economy annually and employs around 20,000 people.

Snowsports Industries Australia (SIA) chairman Edward Fortey believed the entire industry was under threat — from small city retailers to accommodation providers and large resorts.

"There has been a closure of nearly two years … our members have gone through their second winter as essentially a non-event," Mr Fortey said.

"We are pretty resilient … but it is an impossible task to ask them to survive … there are going to be some casualties, unfortunately."

Read more of this story by reporter Breanna Holden.

By Michael Doyle

Mark Cubit from the Australian International Development Networks calls for Australia to assist poorer nations around the world with vaccines.

By Michael Doyle

Public transport shutdown planned to thwart protests in Melbourne

Victoria Police are planning to temporarily shut down public transport this weekend to prevent protesters from travelling into the Melbourne CBD for anti-lockdown protests.

Victoria Police Commissioner Shane Patton said public transport would be closed between 8:00am and 2:00pm on Saturday, based on health advice about the risk of people converging as the state's outbreak worsened.

"What that means is that any buses will bypass the city, any trams will be stopped before the city … and trains will not come into the city during that period of time," he said.

Commissioner Patton said people who did travel in would be arrested and fined if they refuse to comply with restrictions.

"It's our intention, in the first instance, to prevent this protest occurring as much as we possibly can, to prevent the spread of the virus," he said.

"The risk is so great from a convergence of thousands of people, as we saw recently."

Reporting by Sian Johnson and Richard Willingham.

By Michael Doyle

Shepparton locals share a message of hope as Ballarat prepares to re-enter lockdown

It's been a tough couple of months for musician Jonathan Safari, living in the regional Victorian town of Shepparton.

"There's no shows, there's no events, there's no gigs, there's no money," he said.

But on Wednesday, the 20-year-old hip hop artist and producer was ecstatic.

"I'm super, super happy to be coming out of lockdown — I can't wait to be able to see my friends again, hang out, go to the studio and make more music," he said.

"I'm actually even booking a first session with [my friends] this weekend, I just can't wait."

Greater Shepparton has been battling a COVID-19 outbreak that sent a third of the population into home quarantine.

When the rest of regional Victoria started tasting freedom last week, Shepparton was left locked down.

But now there are only 25 active cases in Greater Shepparton, and a run of "zero new cases" means the area is coming out of lockdown.

Read more on Shepparton locals sharing messages of hope by 7.30 reporters Ellen Coulter and Kirsten Robb.

By Michael Doyle

Catch up on the latest data on Australia's vaccine rollout.

By Michael Doyle

Star jockey Jamie Kah facing longer ban after misleading Racing Victoria stewards about COVID-19 breach

Leading jockey Jamie Kah has been found guilty of misleading Racing Victoria (RV) stewards about last month's much-publicised COVID-19 lockdown breach.

Kah was one of four jockeys suspended from racing for three months — a ban that includes the Spring Racing Carnival — after attending a gathering at a rental property in Mornington last month.

She pleaded not guilty to charges of lying to stewards about who attended the gathering, which had breached Victoria's coronavirus protocols and Melbourne's night-time curfew.

RV found the 25-year-old "wilfully" omitted details about the guest list.

Kah's punishment will be handed down on Friday morning.

RV has suggested she receive a two-month ban on top of her existing sanction.

By Michael Doyle

Craig Kelly says TGA media release is 'defamatory'

Craig Kelly has accused the national medical regulator, the TGA, of putting out a "misleading and deceptive" media release about its legal action against him.

"The letter I have received from Maddocks Lawyers in Canberra on behalf of the TGA, only has raised an issue of an alleged copyright infringement and nothing more," he said.

"The TGA's media release is defamatory and I'm seeking urgent legal advice.

"In particular, the TGA's media release creates a false impression that the correspondence I have received from Maddox includes a reference to the text being "seriously misleading" when in fact, the correspondence from Maddock Lawyers makes no reference to this point.

"Ultimately the frivolous copyright issue is a disgraceful diversionary tactic by the TGA."

Mr Kelly said he would "virgorously defend" himself against the alleged copyright breaches.

By Michael Doyle

Nation-leading vaccination rates are in New South Wales Central West

The New South Wales Central West has recorded the fastest uptake of first doses of COVID-19 vaccinations in Australia.

In the past week, the district has overtaken Sydney to outstrip every other area in the country for residents receiving their initial dose.

"We are leading the way," Western Local Health District chief executive Scott McLachlan said.

"I'm really proud of our communities.

"They've heard the message that vaccination is the best way to tackle COVID-19 and they've stepped up."

As of September 14, Gilgandra had the region's highest vaccination rates followed closely by the Lachlan Shire.

Learn more about vaccination rates across NSW here with reporting y Joanna Woodburn.

By Michael Doyle

Case of COVID-19 identified in Lismore area, school in Goonellabah closed

A case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in the Lismore area this afternoon by local health authorities.

There has been no announcement yet about whether this will mean a lockdown for any parts of the region.

It comes less than a week after the Northern Rivers was released from lockdown, after first being subject to stay-at-home orders on August 9.

The COVID-positive person is a resident of northern New South Wales and attended a school in Goonellabah, near Lismore, on Monday.

In a statement, the Northern NSW Health District said it was working with the Department of Education to advise parents and pupils of the school, which will be closed from tomorrow.

Reporting by Emma Rennie.

By Michael Doyle

Victorian couple stuck in Coffs Harbour

Sue Temby and her husband Richard arrived in Coffs Harbour for a temporary job position.

When Richard had a fall and was hospitalised for six days, during which time he suffered brain bleeds, the pair decided to return to Melbourne to see his neurologist.

But several rejected applications later, they're still stuck in New South Wales.

"It's kind of hard to understand," she said.

"We're out of lockdown now here, we were in lockdown, although there weren't any covid cases in this region and we're fully vaccinated."

Mr and Mrs Temby, both in their 70s, have an appointment booked for October 5, but taking into consideration time spent in quarantine, they need to be in Victoria in less than a week's time.

"That [appointment] took months to organise….he really needs to be checked out," Sue, who is a former nurse, said.

"We're sort of half packed, half unpacked because we could be here for months."

Reporting by Andrea Nierhoff.

By Michael Doyle

TGA threatens Craig Kelly with legal action over misleading COVID texts, Kelly says action is defamatory

By political reporter Jane Norman

The nation's medical regulator has demanded rogue crossbencher Craig Kelly stop distributing "seriously misleading" information about COVID-19 vaccines.

Mr Kelly, who quit the Liberal Party after spruiking unproven remedies for the virus, has been spamming people with text messages containing a link to what he claims is the Australian government's COVID-19 vaccine adverse events report.

Lawyers for the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) have today written to Mr Kelly accusing him of breaching copyright and "demanding he stop distributing incomplete extracts of the report … which the TGA believes could be seriously misleading".

"The TGA has acted in an effort to ensure that the public receives accurate information about adverse event reports," the TGA said in a statement.

"It is alleged that extracts were selectively taken from the Database of Adverse Event Notifications on the TGA website by the United Australia Party and used by the United Australia Party in text messages to members of the public.

"The reports are subject to copyright and the extracts distributed by the United Australia Party have removed important information about the reports and the TGA's copyright statement."

On Monday, TGA boss John Skerritt indicated the regulator was investigating whether Mr Kelly's messages had fallen foul of the law.

"We are looking through, with advice from the Australian Government's Solicitor, whether an offence has been committed because it does have an Australian government logo," he told 730.

Mr Kelly has previously conceded the messages might be annoying, but argued there are worse ways of getting attention.

"If people don't like a text message there, they're much less intrusive than the old method of cold telephone calls," he said.

"If someone doesn't like it, it's just a microsecond swipe of the finger and the message is gone."

By Michael Doyle

No new cases in Tasmania today

By Michael Doyle

US COVID-19 cases climbing, wiping out months of progress

COVID-19 deaths and cases in the US have climbed back to levels not seen since last winter, erasing months of progress and potentially bolstering President Joe Biden's argument for his sweeping, new vaccination requirements.

The US is averaging more than 1,800 COVID-19 deaths and 170,000 new cases a day, the highest levels, respectively, since early March and late January.

Both figures have been rising over the past two weeks.

However, the country is still well below the terrifying peaks reached in January, when it was averaging about 3,400 deaths and 250,000 new cases a day.

The latest cases — driven by the Delta variant, combined with resistance among some Americans to be vaccinated — are concentrated mostly in southern states.

While one-time hotspots such as Florida and Louisiana are improving, infection rates are soaring in Kentucky, Georgia and Tennessee, fuelled by children now back in school, loose mask restrictions and low vaccination levels.

ABC/Wires

By Michael Doyle

DOYLE JOKE: In honour of Norm Macdonald

Welcome Michael! I think we need a Doyle joke please! :)

-SA Res

Today we lost who I believe was one of the greatest stand-up comedians ever, Norm Macdonald. He was my hero.

So, here I would like to share with you my favourite one-line joke of Norm's:

I don't want fancy things. I don't want fancy-schmancy things, I don't want fancy-schmancy take a trip to France-y things. What I want is to waste your time and mine.

By Michael Doyle

South Australia records no new case of COVID-19

By Michael Doyle

More Pfizer doses arrive to New Zealand

New Zealand says the first shipment of 250,000 Pfizer coronavirus vaccines purchased from Denmark arrived in Auckland on Wednesday.

The government announced last week that it struck a deal with Denmark to buy half a million doses to try and keep its COVID-19 vaccination program running at full speed.

A similar deal with Spain for extra vaccines was also reached.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told reporters in Wellington there was now "nothing holding back" the country's rollout of shots.

New Zealand was slow to get its vaccination program running but has seen the demand spike since an outbreak of the Delta variant in Auckland last month.

Officials said 14 local infections were recorded on Wednesday, all in Auckland.

Hipkins said over 70 per cent of New Zealand's population over 12 years old have received their first dose, and 36 per cent are fully vaccinated.

AP

By Michael Doyle

WA records no new cases of COVID-19

By Michael Doyle

SA Premier hits back after Mark McGowan warns of COVID-19 'community spread' if borders reopen

As South Australia looks towards reopening to the eastern states at the end of the year, the decision could see its border close in the west.

SA Premier Steven Marshall has previously said the state would shift from statewide border restrictions to locking out localised areas once COVID-19 vaccination rates reach 80 per cent.

In response to that stance, WA Premier Mark McGowan yesterday said he would wait and see what happened but would close the WA-SA border if necessary.

"Obviously if South Australia then has community spread of the virus, they may regret that decision," he said.

"And if they do, well obviously we'd take health advice, but most likely we would close to that jurisdiction."

When asked to respond to Mr McGowan's comments, Mr Marshall today said WA would be in a "very isolated situation" if it were to close its borders to SA.

You can read the full story below by reporter Stacey Pestrin.


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