MONDAY, October 18
Queenslanders have been warned the dates announced in the roadmap to reopening announced on Monday are fixed, and the state will be reopened even if vaccination targets were not met.
The announcement signalled that vaccination would become the first line of defence in Queensland going forward, not border restrictions or lockdowns as had been the case in the state throughout the pandemic.
Queensland will open its borders in time for Christmas, with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announcing a staggered plan with new quarantine requirements that hinge on vaccination rates.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk revealed the roadmap on Monday after weeks of public pressure to give Queenslanders certainty about the path out of lockdowns.
Travel will be allowed again from November 19, when the state is expected to hit 70 per cent of the overall population double-dosed, for fully vaccinated people from hotspots if they arrive by air and do 14 days’ home quarantine.
At the 80 per cent mark, expected by December 17, fully vaccinated people from a hotspot can come to Queensland under the same conditions or by road but will not have to go through home quarantine.
Ms Palaszczuk clarified on Monday that those dates could be brought forward if the state hit the 70 and 80 per cent threshold early, but they would not be moved back, and one way or another, Queensland reopening plan was set.
New South Wales recorded 265 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8:00pm yesterday.
Five people with COVID-19 died.
There were 60,273 tests undertaken in the latest reporting period.
To date 92 per cent of people over the age of 16 have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 80.3 per cent are fully protected.
Further restrictions have been lifted for people who are fully vaccinated, after the state hit the 80 per cent double-vaccination target on Saturday.
From today, 20 visitors will be allowed in homes and groups of 50 can gather outside.
Masks are no longer mandatory in offices or outdoor settings, unless you are a front-of-house hospitality worker.
Patrons can now drink while standing and dancing is back for everywhere except for nightclubs.
The caps on guests at weddings, wedding receptions and funerals have also been lifted.
The staggered return to school started today, with students in kindergarten, year 1 and year 12 all back in classrooms.
However, all teachers must be vaccinated to be back on campus and masks are required for all staff and students in year seven and above.
From next Monday, all other grades will return to face-to-face learning.
This morning Premier Dominic Perrottet announced an extension of a tutoring program for children who have fallen behind while learning at home.
The Intensive Learning Support Program will now run until the end of 2022 at a cost of $383 million and will be available for all public school students.
Some students from a number of Catholic and Independent schools, particularly in areas where there’s greater disadvantage, will also be eligible for the funding.
Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said schools in western and south-western Sydney, where lockdown restrictions were the harshest, will be a particular focus for the program.
*Victoria has recorded 1,903 new local COVID-19 cases and seven deaths as the state moves closer to the end of its lockdown.
There are now 22,327 active cases of the virus in Victoria, and 152 people have died during the current Delta outbreak.
The new cases were identified from 69,825 test results received yesterday.
There were 32,405 doses of vaccine administered at state-run sites yesterday, and more doses delivered at GP clinics and other venues.
Yesterday, Premier Daniel Andrews announced Victoria’s lockdown would end at 11:59pm on Thursday when the state reaches its goal of having 70 per cent of people aged 16+ fully vaccinated.
Mr Andrews pledged the state will have endured its last COVID-19 lockdown when restrictions are lifted this week.
“That is what the national plan says, that’s what I’m determined to deliver,” he told ABC News Breakfast.
*The ACT has recorded 17 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases.
Eleven of today’s cases are linked to a known source.
There are 17 people in hospital with the virus — nine of those in intensive care.
More than 79.5 per cent of Canberrans aged 12 and over are now fully vaccinated.
The ACT has enjoyed its first weekend out of lockdown, but non-essential retailers said they were frustrated by click-and-collect restrictions hampering trade.
*Tasmania will come out of its three-day snap lockdown at 6pm tonight, but mask wearing will continue to be mandated, Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein has announced.
The state recorded no new cases in the last 24 hours.
People will need to wear masks when leaving the home until Friday, when the measure will be reviewed.
Restrictions for aged care and hospitals also remain until the end of the week.
“Masks will apply indoors and outdoors for anyone 12 years and over unless in your own home or in your own vehicle either driving by yourself or with your immediate family,” Mr Gutwein said.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has vowed to “abolish” prostitution in the country, saying it “enslaves” women.
Speaking at the end of a three-day congress of his Socialist party in Valencia, Mr Sanchez highlighted policies introduced by his government which he said had helped Spain “advance”, such as tougher domestic violence laws and minimum wage hikes.
“And out of this congress emerges a commitment I will implement. We will advance by abolishing prostitution, which enslaves women,” he said, without providing further details.
While sexual exploitation and pimping are illegal in Spain, prostitution is unregulated.
There is no punishment for those who offer paid sexual services of their own will as long as it is not in public spaces.
Spain’s laws are instead focused on combating human trafficking.
Although sex work is not recognised as regular employment, there are a large number of brothels throughout the country.
Many operate as hotels or other lodging establishments.
One in three men in Spain have paid for sex at least once in their life, according to a 2009 survey by the country’s state-owned Social Investigations Centre (CIS).
Campaigners argue the legal limbo around prostitution fuels demand for sex trafficking.
Mr Sanchez took office in January 2020 at the helm of a minority coalition government after his Socialist party came first in two inconclusive national elections in 2019.
The party’s election manifesto called prostitution “one of the cruellest aspects of the feminisation of poverty and one of the worst forms of violence against women”.
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