Lockdown warning for Qld as cases rise
Queenslanders have been warned a lockdown could be on the cards if the state’s two new Covid-19 clusters continue to grow.
Welcome to Tuesday’s live coverage of Australia’s Covid-19 situation.
Queensland has been rocked by the emergence of four new locally acquired cases, prompting authorities to announce new mandatory vaccination and mask rules.
NSW recorded 787 cases and 12 deaths on Monday, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian unveiling her plan for what life looks like at 80 per cent vaccination goal and beyond.
Victoria confirmed a record 867 cases and four deaths on Tuesday, with health officials also confirming an additional 149 infections that had been missed during previous reporting periods.
Follow below for today’s top updates. Keep refreshing the page for the latest developments.
Lockdown warning for Qld
Queenslanders have been warned a lockdown could be on the cards if Covid cases continue to grow in Brisbane.
Chief health officer Dr Jeanette Young didn’t rule out that Brisbane and Moreton Bay could potentially be facing stay-at-home orders in the coming days.
“We will be keeping a very, very close eye on what happens over the next 24- 48-hour is to see if we need additional restrictions,” she said.
“Of course I always consider a lockdown and then I work through what we need to do.
“At this stage, I do not think a lot is warranted. That could change, but I am really, really very competent by the fact that people do know how to respond and respond very quickly.”
Dr Young said a range of additional systems will be put in place to protect the state’s “most vulnerable”, including for people in aged care, disability care, in hospitals, and in prisons.
“Plus, we have ramped up the use of PPE in our hospitals and facilities in both that Brisbane LGA and the Moreton Bay LGA. We will just have to see what happens over the next 48-hours,” she said.
New mandatory vax and mask rules for Qld
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced new mandatory vaccination and mask rules following a recent rise in Covid-19 cases.
From next month, Queensland will be introducing mandatory vaccinations for truck drivers, after it was discovered one of the new cases in Brisbane was linked to a truck driver.
“From 15 October it will be mandatory for all truckies using the freight pass to have one dose,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“By 15 November they’ll need to have their second dose are booking and from today, we are starting roadside vaccinations for truckies.”
Ms Palaszczuk said there have been seven truck drivers who have entered the state while infected with Covid-19 since August 24.
Masks will also be mandatory made in indoor settings for people who live in Brisbane and the Moreton Bay region, with the changes to kick in immediately.
The rules also apply to anyone who anyone who has been working or in those areas since September 19.
“We ask you to also abide by these restrictions which is wearing a mask at all times indoor and outdoors unless you are outdoors and can socially distance,” Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said.
“This will be in place for two weeks while we work through the risks of these cases.”
Despite the rise in cases, Ms Palaszczuk urged residents not to panic.
“There’s no need to panic because Queenslanders have been doing the right thing,” she said.
Three NSW LGAs being ‘considered’ for lockdown
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has issued a warning to three LGAs, saying lockdowns could be looming due to a rise in Covid cases.
Mr Hazzard said Port Macquarie and Muswellbrook were being “considered” for lockdowns and Kempsey’s lockdown might also be extended.
“These decisions are not made lightly. There’s more work to do and the public health team will do that work this afternoon but I’m putting the community on notice that there may be a further announcement today in regard to all three of those areas or any one of those three areas,” he said.
“We just need to make some final decisions on that.
“In the meantime, my strong advice as Health Minister to all of the residents in those areas is to be very cautious where you’re moving around at the moment and to certainly go out and get vaccinated.”
863 cases and seven deaths in NSW
NSW has recorded 863 new locally acquired Covid cases and seven deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.
The deaths include one person in their 40s, one person in their 50s, two people in their 70s, two people in their 80s and one person in their 90s.
Three people had received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, three people had received one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and one person was not vaccinated.
Four new Covid cases in Queensland
Queensland has confirmed four new locally acquired cases on Tuesday, with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk saying the government has been getting updates on the evolving situation throughout the morning.
Of the new cases, one is a is a fully vaccinated man in his 30s who works at an aviation training facility.
“He was infectious in the community for three days and he was double dose vaccinated but he only had that second dose, I understand, about a week ago,” Ms Palaszczuk said, adding the second case is his wife.
Ms Palaszczuk said the third case is a truck driver and is the one that is of the most concern to authorities. The truck driver has been living in shared accommodation but has been infectious in the community for eight days while infectious.
“The police are speaking to this truck driver to get some more information from him,” the Premier said.
The fourth case is a person who completed their full 14 days hotel quarantine but then tested positive after leaving hotel quarantine.
Record cases in Victoria with 867 infections
Victoria has recorded 867 Covid cases and four deaths in the 24 hours to midnight last night, making it the worst day the state has seen since the beginning of the pandemic.
The previous record was confirmed on Saturday when Victoria saw 847 new cases.
Victoria’s Health Department also confirmed an additional 149 cases that were missed during the reporting periods on Sunday and Monday.
“Late yesterday, the Department became aware that a number of COVID-19 test results were incorrectly recorded by a third-party software vendor supporting a private provider,” the Department of Health said.
“These results included nine cases reportable on 26 September and 140 cases reportable on 27 September. Those 149 cases are reported in today’s numbers – meaning today’s actual case number is 867.”
The additional cases mean’s Victoria actually recorded 845 cases on Monday, overtaking the 787 cases confirmed by NSW.
Fears Qld may need snap lockdown
A leading infectious disease expert has warned Brisbane could find it very difficult to control its new mystery cases unless the city goes into a snap lockdown.
Epidemiologist Professor Mary-Louise McLaws told Nine’s Today that Queensland health authorities should be concerned about the two new mystery infections, adding the Delta variant poses a “serious threat” to the state.
“This is very different from the non-Delta or the would strain or Alpha,” she told the program.
“So, it is going to be hard work if they don’t do a quick sharp lockdown to try to get a handle on this and try to do as much testing of the community as fast as possible.”
Professor McLaws also warned that the upcoming NRL grand final could become a “super spreading event” and called for the event to be postponed.
“I would be surprised if they cancel it, but I personally think they should, so that they can get their vaccination rates up really high, otherwise what they are going to have is potentially an experience such as NSW or Victoria,” she said.
“Having that game, I know they are looking forward to it, but it is going to be a potential spreading event.”
Professor McLaws said Queensland’s vaccination rate isn’t high enough to combat the Delta strain on its own, meaning additional measures would be needed to get the situation under control.
‘Be ready’: Gladys’ message to other Premiers
NSW Premier has issued a strong message to Australia’s other state and territory leaders, warning them everyone in the country will have to get used to living with the Delta strain sooner or later.
“NSW and Victoria with our populations have gone first. Victoria is a month behind us in terms of where they are on the curve and what they’re likely to expect,” Ms Berejiklian told ABC’s News Breakfast.
“I urge all premiers to be ready. Vaccinate your populations and consider compassionate grounds on reuniting families both overseas and in Australia. It’s been two years since people have seen each other, been with each other.”
Ms Berejiklian said it was “about time” Australians were allowed to move freely within their own country.
“I don’t want to be in a position where I can go overseas but I can’t to other states in Australia,” she said.
“That won’t be very Australian, in my humble opinion.”
‘Have no crystal ball’: Future lockdowns not ruled out
Deputy Premier John Barilaro has refused to rule out future lockdowns for NSW.
Speaking to Sunrise on Tuesday, Mr Barilaro said localised lockdowns could still be on the cards in the future and, even though he feels “confident” NSW won’t need a statewide lockdown, it can’t be completely guaranteed.
“The reality is, I can’t guarantee anything. We have no crystal ball. When Delta hit we never thought it would hit with the severity it did,” he told the program.
“We don’t know what is around the corner. But on the settings we’ve got in place and vaccination – and nothing abnormal or anything different happens – there is no reason we should go into a statewide or region-wide lockdown.
“We have said in the roadmap that we will hold the powers to have suppression orders put in place at a very localised level. It might be minimising travel for a little period for a local postcode or LGA.
“I am very confident the days are gone that we will have a statewide lockdown.”
Qld rocked by mystery cases
Queensland health authorities are scrambling to find the source of two new Covid-19 cases, which emerged just hours apart in Brisbane.
Adalong Guesthouse in South Brisbane is under police guard and more than a dozen people have been forced into isolation following the latest Covid case, according to The Courier Mail.
The publication reports the second case is not believed to be linked to the infection detected in an aviation worker – a man in his 30s – which was revealed late on Monday night.
Queensland Health are expected to confirm three new cases today, the aviation worker, his wife and the second mystery case.
The source of the man’s infection is still unknown and he has not travelled interstate or overseas recently.
A public health alert was issued for several locations in Eatons Hill, Aspley and Albany Creek in Brisbane’s north and Rocklea in the city’s south after he travelled around the city while unknowingly infectious.
The last reported case of community transmission in Brisbane was announced weeks ago and was linked to the Sunnybank cluster.
These are the first mystery cases Queensland has recorded in 50 days.
‘No way’ Qld will open borders to states with restrictions
The new Queensland cases come as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she would keep the borders closed with NSW and Victoria until most of their restrictions have been lifted.
She said lifting the border rules even when 80 per cent of the adult population was fully vaccinated would be a “backwards” step for Queensland.
“Why would we reopen to states that still plan on having pretty strict restrictions even once they reach 80 per cent?” senior government officials told The Australian.
“Obviously their chief health officers do not think it is safe for a lot of people to gather even at that higher vaccination rate.”
The officials told the publication there was “no way” Ms Palaszczuk would consider reopening the borders to states while they still have multiple though restrictions in place.
Under the roadmap announced by NSW yesterday, when the state hits its 80 per cent vaccination goal up to 10 visitors will be allowed to a home, 20 people can gather outdoors and businesses will operate under the four square metre rule indoors.
This target is expected to reached in late October.
It isn’t until December 1, when the state is expected to have about 90 per cent of adults fully vaccinated, that household and gathering limits will be scrapped and businesses can operate under the two square metre rule.
Stay at home orders extended for NSW region
The Cowra region in the NSW central west has had stay-at-home orders extended “due to the risk of ongoing Covid-19 transmission”, the NSW Government says.
“The stay-at-home orders introduced on 20 September will be extended for seven days until 12.01am on 5 October, 2021,” the government said in a statement.
“The stay-at-home orders for Yass Valley LGA will be lifted, as scheduled, at midnight tonight.
“To determine the extent of the risk and detect any other potential COVID-19 cases in the Cowra area, we are calling on the community to come forward for testing in large numbers.”
Breakdown of yesterday’s new freedom announcement
Yesterday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian revealed the extra freedoms vaccinated NSW residents will experience when the state hits its 80 per cent vaccination goal.
Ms Berejiklian confirmed the state is set to hit its 70 per cent vaccination goal on October 11, with the 80 per cent target due to be reached about two weeks after that.
The following changes will kick in for fully vaccinated residents from the Monday after the 80 per cent milestone is reached:
• Residents will be able to travel anywhere freely in NSW
• People will be able to stand up and drink at the pub
• Up to 10 visitors will be allowed to a home, not including children 12 and under
• Up to 20 people can gather outdoors
• Up to 200 people can attend Covid Safe events and 500 can attended ticketed and seated events
• Community sport will resume
• All venues and businesses will operate at the one person per four square metre rule indoors and two square metre rule indoors
• There will be no limit on guests at weddings and funerals for fully vaccinated people
• Customer caps for personal services such as hairdressers will be removed
Ms Berejiklian said a third stage of reopening would occur on December 1, which is when unvaccinated residents will be allowed to join in on the extra freedoms.
The following changes will also kick in on December 1:
• Venues will move to the two square metre rule
• Masks will not be required outdoors or indoors at offices
• Indoor pools and nightclubs can reopen
• There will be no limit on the number of visitors to a home or gather outdoors
• A Covid Safe plan will be required for events with more than 1000 people