Daily News Roundup

October 15, 2021

FRIDAY, October 14

NSW will open its borders to fully vaccinated international travellers — who will no longer need to quarantine in hotels, or at home — from next month.

In a major policy shift, Premier Dominic Perrottet announced people from his state would “be travelling to Bali before Broome” when the reforms come into effect on November 1.

People wanting to arrive in Sydney from overseas will need to show proof they’ve received a TGA-approved vaccine, and undertake a PCR test for COVID-19 before they board their flight. 

The Premier’s announcement came as NSW recorded 399 locally acquired COVID-19 cases and four deaths in the 24 hours to 8:00pm yesterday and Deputy Premier Paul Toole revealed the restart of regional travel for Greater Sydney residents had been pushed back to November 1.

“We are opening Sydney and NSW to the world, and that date will come in on November 1. [We] will work closely with the Commonwealth to ensure protections are in place so we keep people safe [as we] rejoin the world,” Mr Perrottet said.

Since March 2020 all states and territories have required all overseas passengers to quarantine in hotels, at their own expense, for 14 days.

Last month, then-premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a trial of home quarantine for eligible international arrivals but her successor, Mr Perrottet, has now pressed fast-forward on this transition.

NSW is the only state to announce quarantine-free international travel. All interstate borders to NSW remain closed.

“We can’t live here in a hermit kingdom. So many businesses [here] rely on tourism for business and trade,” Mr Perrottet said.

Anyone who is not fully vaccinated will still be required to enter hotel quarantine but there will only be 210 spots available per week.

Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres said the November 1 date was chosen as it gave airlines two weeks to put on extra flights to NSW.

There are now 677 COVID patients in hospitals across the state, with 145 people in intensive care.

Despite NSW Health pandemic modelling suggesting October would be the worst month for hospitalisations and intensive care admissions, hospital admissions have trended downwards since October 1, falling from 1,055 to 677.

This morning Deputy Premier Paul Toole announced the restart of regional travel for Greater Sydney residents had been pushed back to November 1.

Regional travel had been promised to Sydneysiders once the state reached its 80 per cent vaccination target — which is expected to happen this weekend.

But the plan has been delayed after mayors from the regions said they were worried about potential community transmission due to unequal vaccination rates outside metro areas.

Mr Toole said he realised the delay was “frustrating” for those who had planned trips or reunions with family outside Greater Sydney.

“It isn’t an easy decision … but we have a responsibility to make sure we keep our regional communities safe,” he said.

“It is important we don’t open up businesses and start to see them having case numbers escalate, putting those communities and businesses in jeopardy.”

*Victoria has recorded 2,179 new local COVID-19 cases and six deaths as the deadline for authorised workers to be vaccinated passes.

The death toll for the current Delta outbreak stands at 131, and there are now 21,324 active cases of the virus in Victoria.

The new cases were detected from 73,942 test results received yesterday.

There were 38,752 doses of vaccine administered at state-run sites, and more vaccinations at GP clinics and other venues.

Yesterday, Premier Daniel Andrews said Victoria remained on track to follow its roadmap out of lockdown next week, despite recording 2,297 new COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths.

It was the highest single-day total recorded by an Australian state or territory during the pandemic.

The spike in infections came after several days of lower daily case tallies.

The new cases came as the deadline for authorised workers to be vaccinated passed, affecting around a million workers across dozens of industries in Victoria.

*Queensland has recorded no new locally acquired COVID-19 cases, while two other cases have been detected but pose no risk to the community.

The first was a flight crew member who tested positive to the virus after leaving hotel quarantine on their way to Papua New Guinea.

The second case was detected in a vaccinated truck driver who was advised of his infection by Victorian authorities after entering Queensland via Goondiwindi.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said he immediately contacted Queensland authorities and is now at Prince Charles Hospital.

She said both cases posed “absolutely no risk to the community”.

*The ACT has recorded 35 new COVID-19 cases, as the territory emerges from a nine-week lockdown. 

There has been another death in the Calvary Haydon aged care facility — a woman in her 70s, who is the seventh person to die in that cluster.

This brings the total number of deaths during the ACT’s current Delta outbreak to eight.

There are 16 people in hospital with the virus, including eight people in intensive care.

The ACT’s vaccination rates remain strong — more than 99 per cent of the eligible population in Canberra has now received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Now the lockdown is lifted, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the government’s focus will change from the number of COVID-19 case numbers, to the number of cases in hospital. 

“A potential concern for us would be if fully vaccinated people were finding themselves in hospital or intensive care, but the evidence so far is that the vaccines have been working to reduce the proportion of cases that require hospitalisation or intensive care,” he said.


A US congressional committee investigating the January 6 Capitol insurrection is set to vote to recommend criminal contempt charges against former White House aide Steve Bannon after he defied the panel’s subpoena to appear.

The chairman of the panel, Bennie Thompson, a Democrat, said the committee would vote next week to recommend the charges.

That would send the recommendation to the US House of Representatives for a vote.

If the House votes to pursue the contempt charges against Mr Bannon, the US Justice Department will ultimately decide whether to prosecute.

Members of the committee had demanded documents and testimony from Mr Bannon, who was in touch with former President Donald Trump ahead of the violent attack.

“The Select Committee will not tolerate defiance of our subpoenas, so we must move forward with proceedings to refer Mr Bannon for criminal contempt,” Mr Thompson said in a statement.

While the committee had scheduled a Thursday deposition with Mr Bannon, his lawyer said that — at Mr Trump’s direction — he would not appear.

Mr Bannon also failed to provide documents to the panel by a deadline last week.

Depositions of former Defense Department official Kashyap Patel and two other men who worked for Mr Trump — former White House chief-of-staff Mark Meadows and the former president’s longtime social media director Dan Scavino — were scheduled for this week but have been delayed.

Mr Bannon’s testimony is just one facet of an escalating congressional inquiry, with 19 subpoenas issued so far and thousands of pages of documents flowing in.

However, Mr Bannon’s defiance is a crucial development for the committee, whose members are vowing to restore the binding force of congressional subpoenas after they were routinely flouted during Mr Trump’s time in office.

“Mr Bannon has declined to cooperate with the Select Committee and is, instead, hiding behind the former president’s insufficient, blanket and vague statements regarding privileges he has purported to invoke,” Mr Thompson said in his statement.

“We reject his position entirely.”


Prosecutors in the trial of a spectator who caused a huge crash on the first stage of the Tour de France have asked for a four-month suspended jail sentence, according to a lawyer for the riders’ union.

The French woman, who was not been named, was holding a sign up to TV cameras, with her back to the onrushing peloton.

German cyclist Tony Martin hit the sign and fell to the ground, with dozens more falling as they rode into him in a scene that grabbed global headlines.

Most of the riders were able to resume the race, but another German cyclist, Jasha Sütterlin, was forced to pull out of the Tour with a large haematoma to his wrist.

The woman turned herself in some days later.

Lawyer Romuald Palao — who represents the Professional Cyclists’ Association (CPA), which is party to the trial — told reporters after a hearing in the French city of Brest that the court would rule on the case on December 9.

“What we want from this trial is that it helps ensure this does not happen again. Cycling is dangerous enough in itself, no need for additional risks,” Mr Palao said.

“People on the side of the road must act responsibly.”

He said the riders’ union would not hesitate to file more lawsuits if such incidents were to happen again, adding that spectators taking selfies or posing for pictures or videos needed to be wary of the cyclists’ safety.

The woman, whom prosecutors earlier said felt ashamed of what she had done, told the court on Thursday that holding the sign up was a mistake and that she regretted it.

She is accused of involuntarily causing injury and putting the lives of others at risk.

Her lawyer declined to comment on the trial.

The Tour de France withdrew its own lawsuit in July, saying that while the safety of the race was key, the case had been blown out of proportion after it triggered a media frenzy.


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