Is confinement over or extended? Three Australian capitals set to uncover COVID restrictions on Friday
UPDATE: Lockdown is expected to end for all of Queensland EXCEPT Brisbane and Moreton Bay
Three Australian capitals will learn if they emerge from the lockdown on Friday, as NSW continues to fight an increase in cases.
It comes after a tense week for the nation, with nearly half of the population subject to strict stay-at-home orders and a debate raging over the deployment of the vaccine.
Here’s what you need to know.
New South Wales
Three healthcare workers are among the latest cases of COVID-19 in New South Wales as the state premier announced plans to step up vaccinations.
24 new local cases were registered within 24 hours to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, including a nursing student who worked at Fairfield and Royal North Shore hospitals in Sydney.
Two of the nurse’s contacts were also found positive for COVID after the 8 p.m. deadline and will be included in Friday’s numbers – a health care worker from RNS, Fairfield and Royal Ryde Rehabilitation hospitals and an emergency care worker. Seniors from SummitCare in Baulkham Hills.
Their diagnoses raised fears of an epidemic within the healthcare system, with hundreds sent to isolation and at least two hospital wards and one nursing home locked out.
You can watch the NSW COVID-19 update LIVE here
Queensland’s lockdown will only be partially lifted after Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk announced three new cases of COVID on Friday morning.
Residents of Noosa, Sunshine Coast, Ipswich, Logan, Redlands, Gold Coast and Townsville will come out of their instant lockdown at 6 p.m. Friday – but those in Brisbane and Moreton Bay will have to wait at least an additional 24 hours.
You can watch Queensland’s COVID-19 update LIVE here – it is expected to start around 8:15 am (AEST)
A four-day lockdown in Western Australia is set to end on schedule after the state registered no new cases of the coronavirus.
More than two million people in Perth and the region of Peel are in detention until 12:01 am WST on Saturday after local cases of the Delta variant were detected.
About 15,800 people were swabbed on Wednesday, a result Premier Mark McGowan called “incredibly encouraging” while urging further testing.
The Northern Territory could remain stranded after an infected minor violates his isolation order and lied to authorities.
Darwin and Alice Springs were locked up after a worker at the Newmont granite mine in the Tanami Desert was diagnosed with COVID-19 six days ago.
Authorities had hoped to lift the stay-at-home order on Friday until they discovered the man in his 50s had misreported his movements.
The Top End lockdown is due to end at 1 p.m. CST on Friday.
The deployment of the coronavirus vaccine and a proposal to set a “magic” threshold at which the blockages will no longer apply will be on the agenda at the national cabinet meeting.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s virtual meeting of heads of state and territory on Friday will also discuss international passenger caps.
Labor prime ministers in Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria have called for cuts of up to 80% from current levels, ahead of what is expected to be a fiery rally.
But Mr Morrison also wants an agreement on vaccination thresholds to prevent future lockdowns as well as travel exemptions for vaccinated Australians.
Turnbull launches vaccination
Former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called the Morrison government’s vaccine rollout a phenomenal failure.
In a scathing rebuke, Turnbull said Australia only fully vaccinating eight percent of its population was inexcusable.
He said the government’s failure to buy enough vaccines was to blame.
“This is just a failure in the most important job of the Commonwealth government, which was to immunize the country. It is extremely disappointing, ”Mr. Turnbull told the ABC.
– with AAP