Australia news LIVE: Sydney emerges from lockdown; Victoria’s COVID cases continue to climb

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Schools among Victoria’s latest exposure sites

In case you missed it, Victorian health authorities identified a number of new COVID-19 exposure sites late last night, including schools.

Woodend Primary School in the Macedon Ranges was declared a tier-1 or close contact exposure site between 8.45am and 4pm on Tuesday, October 5 and Wednesday, October 6.

Queen of Peace Parish Primary School at Altona Meadows, in Melbourne’s south west, was also declared tier-1 for Tuesday, October 5 between 8.30am and 4pm.

And Virtual School Victoria at Thornbury, in the city’s north – the largest government school in the state – was declared a close contact site between 7am and 12pm and then 4.30pm and 9pm on both Tuesday, October 5 and Wednesday, October 6.

Anyone who attended the above schools during those timeframes has to immediately get tested for COVID-19 and quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure, unless advised otherwise by the Department of Health.

More Victorian exposure sites can be found on the state government’s website here.

Hospitality, retail staff back to work as NSW emerges from COVID-19 slumber

Tens of thousands of Sydney retail and hospitality staff will return to work today as NSW starts to emerge from its 106-day lockdown, with pubs, shops and hairdressers bracing for a frantic return to normality.

However, in a clear sign the state government is anxious about how people will behave under the new freedoms, senior ministers have urged customers to treat staff heading back to work as if they were family.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet on Sunday. Credit:Dean Sewell

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and Prime Minister Scott Morrison also flagged that international travel to and from Sydney could resume as soon as November 1 if a state-based trial of home quarantine is successful.

Read the full story here.

Victoria’s ‘vaccinated economy’ begins with regional trials, a concert and crowds at the Cup

A key test of Victoria’s preparedness to live under “COVID-normal” will begin today when a vaccine passports trial is launched.

The trial will be the first taste of life under a vaccine passport system and its success will pave the way for major events, including a live music concert later this month and a crowd of 10,000 fans at the Melbourne Cup.

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews on Sunday.Credit:Scott McNaughton

In an ordinary year, the Cup attracts up to 100,000 people, but VRC chairman Neil Wilson welcomed the 10,000 limit.

“We’re delighted with 10,000 people. We think that’s a great number. We’ve had over 10,000 people at our course previously, so we know we can do 10,000 people in a COVID-safe environment and we’re really looking forward to Cup Day restarting major events in Melbourne,” Mr Wilson said.

Deakin University epidemiologist Catherine Bennett said there was sense in trialling large events outdoors but she warned that the October 30 concert at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl would happen when “there’s going to be quite a bit of virus in the community”.

More on Victoria’s plans here.

Qld nudges 70 per cent first-jab rate on fifth day without a local case

Queensland reported a fifth day without any new community cases yesterday, as the state nudges a 70 per cent first-dose vaccination rate.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said two cases detected in hotel quarantine from 7000 tests across the state in the 24 hours to Sunday morning were of no concern to authorities.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk urged people in the Gladstone region to get vaccinated.Credit:Getty

Speaking from Gladstone, about 450 kilometres north of Brisbane, Ms Palaszczuk urged people in the region – and in other areas where vaccination rates are lagging the state average – to get their first dose.

A total of 69.7 per cent of the population aged 16 and over had now done so, she said.

“We’re almost getting to that 70 per cent [first-dose rate].”

More on the situation in Queensland here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for your company.

It’s Monday, October 11. I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day.

Here’s everything you need to know before we get started.

  • Sydney is emerging from lockdown this morning. From today, masks are no longer required outdoors and 10 fully vaccinated visitors are allowed in homes. Retail, hospitality, gyms and churches are back with one person per four square metres. Hair and nail salons are open to five vaccinated people, while weddings and funerals are permitted with a 100-person cap. Yesterday, NSW recorded its lowest daily coronavirus tally since August. There were 477 new local cases and six deaths.
  • Victoria is preparing for the return of select major events. The state government is hoping to have 10,000 people at this year’s Melbourne Cup. A Sidney Myer Music Bowl concert is also being planned for the end of the month. Yesterday, Victoria recorded 1890 new cases of COVID-19 and five deaths.
  • Queensland is nudging its 70 per cent first-dose vaccination target. Yesterday, the Sunshine State reported its fifth day in a row of zero community cases. Meanwhile, the ACT yesterday recorded 30 new cases of COVID-19 and six deaths. Western Australia is also on alert after a truck driver who later tested positive to coronavirus drove through the state late last month.
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