Daily News Roundup

November 1, 2021


Monday, November 1

Tearful reunions have returned at Sydney Airport for the first time in 20 months with landing Australians able to hug relieved family and friends waiting to greet them.

From this morning, hotel quarantine and the cap on arrivals have been scrapped for fully vaccinated travellers.

Fourteen international flights are expected to land in Sydney today.

One of the first passengers to land was desperate to see his sick mother.

“I am really scared and emotional because I really want to see my mum because the doctors say she hasn’t got long,” he told reporters.

He now faces another challenge to get approval to travel to Western Australia where his mother lives.

“I am going to do whatever I can to see her,” he said.

Australian Nick Skarajew was on board the Qantas flight from Los Angeles. (Supplied.)

Nick Skarajew, who was on board a Qantas flight from Los Angeles, said he was relieved to be among the first passengers exempt from hotel quarantine.

He spent the past month in the United States but felt for those who had spent much longer trying to get home.

“It’s amazing hearing some of the stories about displaced families, about relationships and also a lot of sad people that feel quite helpless with you know parents and immediate family members passing away and not being able to do much,” he said.

*Vaccination hubs and pharmacies are now offering booster COVID-19 shots for NSW residents after the state recorded 135 new cases and four deaths.   

The number of local COVID-19 cases recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm yesterday was the lowest daily number since July 22.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the booster program would prioritise high-risk workers across the state.

“We’ll move the focus the need is required,” he said.

“I think that will be less relevant for location and more relevant for those higher risk areas that should take priority when rolling out the program.”

More than 93 per cent of the adult population of the state have now had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 87.7 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said NSW could be “one of the highest vaccinated jurisdictions in the world”.

“The people of NSW can be proud of our vaccination rate, and there’s no reason we can’t reach 95 per cent double-dose vaccination to help ensure we get on top of this pandemic,” Mr Hazzard said. 

*Victoria has recorded 1,471 new local COVID-19 cases and four deaths as quarantine-free international travel returns to Melbourne.

There are now 21,959 active cases of the virus in Victoria, and 309 people have died during the current Delta outbreak.

The new cases were identified from 46,065 test results received yesterday.

There were 14,413 doses of vaccine administered at state-run sites yesterday, and more vaccinations at GP clinics and other venues.

For the first time in 18 months, international arrivals will not have to undergo two weeks of hotel quarantine upon their arrival in Melbourne.


TV legend Bert Newton once gifted one of his Gold Logies to a man dying of AIDS – but insisted the kind gesture be kept secret until after his own death.

Australian showbiz reporter Peter Ford, who was a longtime friend of Newton’s, told the previously unheard story during an appearance on NSW Breakfast with Gawndy and Maz this morning, reports news.com. 

Four-time Gold Logie winner Newton died over the weekend aged 83 after a long period of ill health.

Ford said the story, which dated back 31 years, “says a lot about (Bert) as a person.”

Ford explained he had a friend who was dying of AIDS in a Melbourne hospital, and only had a few weeks left to live. He sent letters to various celebrities on his friend’s behalf, asking them to sign a card and send it back.

“Within a week, all these celebrities had signed cards and sent them back, cheering up my friend enormously – but Bert didn’t,” he said, recalling he felt disappointed that Newton hadn’t responded.

Bert poses with a Gold Logie in 2007.

“Five days later, I went to the hospital and there was a buzz in the air. The person on the desk said, ‘You’re not going to believe it – Bert Newton was just here. He’s gone around to every single person on the AIDs ward, sat at their bedside, told them stories and made them laugh.’”

Ford visited with his friend, who was “on a high” in his hospital bed. Newton had stopped in for a visit – and left behind one of his Gold Logies. Newton had previously nabbed four Gold Logies, earning Australian TV’s highest honour in 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1984.

Ford later called Newton to thank him for the incredible gift, and said the TV legend had just one request: “Don’t report that until after I’ve carked it, because I’ve probably broken some Logie law by giving one of them away.”

Ford described his relationship to Newton as “closer than most,” calling him “a great mentor” throughout his career as a TV showbiz reporter. He said Newton’s death had come after a “horrible year” for the TV legend, who had been in hospital since January and had his leg amputated in May in what was meant to be a lifesaving operation.

“It was one complication after another – a few weeks ago they were going to amputate the second leg, but they didn’t end up doing it,” he said, explaining Newton instead entered a palliative care facility where he would remain until his death.

“He just wanted to get home – up until 7 o’clock Saturday night, he was still talking about getting better and getting home,” he said.

Ford’s is just one of a torrent of tributes that have flown for Newton since news of his death broke on Saturday night. Fellow TV host Rove McManus said he had lost “a mentor and a friend,” Former Wheel of Fortune host “Baby John” Burgess said Newton’s loss was “immeasurable,” and Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued a statement saying “there will never be another like him”.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced Newton will be honoured with a state funeral.

“Bert Newton was an icon, a larrikin and a born entertainer. We have never known TV without Bert – he was there from the beginning,” Mr Andrews said.

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