Daily News Roundup

September 30, 2021

 


THURSDAY, September 30

Queensland has recorded six new community cases of COVID-19 and new restrictions will be introduced for parts of the state’s south-east and the Townsville region, but Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says authorities are “not too concerned at this stage”.

Ms Palaszczuk said four of those cases are linked to the aviation trainer cluster, which began with a man from Eatons Hill, north of Brisbane.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said she believed the point of exposure of the four cases linked to the aviation cluster occurred on September 21.

“We have multiple exposure venues across Brisbane, Moreton Bay, the Gold Coast and Townsville, so it’s very important,” Dr Young said.

“If people have been in any of those LGA days since the 21st [of September] please go online and check for all those exposure venues.

“One of those pilots involved in the aviation cluster went up there [to Townsville] on the 21st and has been infectious up there since then.”

A woman from Camp Hill who visited Kyogle in Northern New South Wales has also tested positive.

Dr Young said the woman had been infectious in the Queensland community between September 25 to 28.

She said the woman has the Delta variant but is not “clustering with any other Queensland case”.

Dr Young said the sixth case confirmed today had flown on flight VA333 from Melbourne to Brisbane on September 28 and went into hotel quarantine.

Asked if Sunday’s NRL grand final in Brisbane had influenced the decision not to place south-east Queensland in lockdown, Ms Palaszczuk said it had “absolutely” no influence and she was acting on the advice of the Chief Health Officer.

“Let me make it very clear that the health of Queenslanders comes first and as soon as Dr Young says we need to go move into lockdown, we will,” the Premier said.

“We’ve got four of those [cases] that are linked to that cluster, plus [Queensland] Health have got all their contact tracers working and putting people into isolation so it’s going to be very critical over the next 24 to 48 hours whether or not we see any seeding into the community.”

There are 22 active cases in the state.

Stage two restrictions will be put in place for Brisbane, Gold Coast, Logan, Moreton Bay, Townsville and Palm island as of 4:00pm today.

The restrictions mean a maximum of 30 people will be allowed to gather in homes and in public.

Capacity at sporting events will be capped at 75 per cent.

Weddings and funerals will be capped at 100 with a maximum of 20 people allowed to dance.

Hospitality venues will have a reduced capacity at one person per four square metres.

*Eight members of the Argentinian rugby union squad have been denied re-entry into Queensland after taking a day trip to northern New South Wales from their Gold Coast base.

Police told the ABC eight players travelled to Byron Bay for a health retreat and were stopped when they tried to come back into Queensland last night.

Under the current rules, border residents wishing to travel between the two states for essential purposes must complete a border zone travel pass.

Police said the group did not have the appropriate documentation and the bus was turned around, with the players staying overnight in Kingscliff.

Argentina are set to take on the Wallabies on Saturday on the Gold Coast.

Byron Bay and the Tweed was included back in the Queensland border bubble yesterday, but under the current rules only residents are allowed to travel

Police said Queensland Health was now in talks with the team.

*Victoria has recorded 1,438 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and five further deaths.

The new cases were detected from 65,497 test results processed on Wednesday.

It once again takes the number of active infections across the state to a new record high, with 11,018 people currently recovering from COVID-19.

The rising case numbers are in line with projections for the months ahead, with new infections and hospitalisations still about a month away from their expected peak.

The surge is already putting strain on a stretched healthcare system, and pressure is expected to mount until greater vaccination coverage is reached.

The latest data shows 79.4 per cent of Victorians aged 16+ had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Tuesday, and 49.1 per cent had been fully vaccinated.

Not counted in those targets are children aged 12 to 15, but it was yesterday revealed 40 per cent of that cohort has now had at least one dose. That number was achieved in just 17 days, Premier Daniel Andrews said.

The Federal Government has announced extra financial support for Victorian businesses affected by COVID restrictions, which will no longer be available once 80 per cent of those aged 16+ are fully vaccinated.

It’s projected Victoria will reach that vaccination milestone in early November.

*A lawyer for almost 50 Queensland Police Service employees has written to Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll saying the vaccine mandate is discriminatory and breaches their workplace award.

It is now the second challenge to the direction for all staff to receive one jab by next week or face suspension and possible dismissal.

Another group of employees are seeking an order in the Brisbane Supreme Court today to invalidate the direction and stop it from being enforced.

Commissioner Katarina Carroll has directed both civilian staff and police to have at least one vaccination shot by October 4 and a second dose by January 24 next year.

She has said previously any staff member who fails to meet the deadline will be suspended for a week on pay and then asked to show cause why they should not be suspended without pay.

A group of Queensland police officers and their families set up a crowd-funding page earlier this month to raise money for the challenge, and any other legal challenges against compulsory vaccination.

More than $110,000 has been raised for this group, which is now 47 Queensland Police Service (QPS) employees strong — more than 30 who are sworn police officers, including detectives and plain clothes officers.

The group yesterday began an industrial dispute process against the QPS relating to the mandate.

A letter sent to Commissioner Carroll on Wednesday by lawyer Thomas Allan has been obtained by ABC News.

It claims the “group members object to the directive and prospective changes in the conditions of their employment consequent on any failure to comply with the directive” on the basis they were not consulted before the edict was made.

*NSW records 941 new cases of COVID-19, six deaths

NSW has reported 941 new COVID-19 cases and six deaths as the state inches closer to its 90 per cent first dose vaccination target.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed the reopening of schools would be brought forward a week thanks to high vaccination rates.

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Four people, including a child, have been killed in a fiery crash on the Ipswich Motorway, west of Brisbane overnight.

Police said early investigations suggest a black sedan was travelling the wrong way in the westbound lane just after 11:00pm.

The car collided head-on with a four-wheel-drive before both vehicles caught fire.

The four-wheel drive was carrying two adults and a child, all three died at the scene.

The 34-year-old driver of the sedan was also killed.

Police are appealing for anyone who saw the black sedan in the area before the crash to come forward.