Australia news LIVE: Outdoor pools to reopen in NSW; Victoria on track for 80 per cent target as nation’s COVID cases rise

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Key posts

  • Restaurant, university among Victoria’s latest exposure sites
  • Some restrictions easing in NSW today
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
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Restaurant, university among Victoria’s latest exposure sites

Victorian health authorities identified a number of new COVID-19 exposure sites late last night, including an innerMelbourne restaurant and a university building.

Pasta Poetry at Fairfield, in Melbourne’s north east, was declared a tier-1 or close contact site between 7am and 5pm over four days: from Monday, September 20 through to Thursday, September 23.

Rivers at Wodonga Plaza, on the Victorian side of the Vic-NSW border, was declared a tier-1 site on Thursday, September 23 between 2pm and 5pm.

The remainder of sites added late on Sunday were tier 2, and included a building at Victoria University’s Sunshine campus. Building C at the campus was declared a tier-2 site between 8am and 4pm on Monday, September 20 and then again on Tuesday, September 21.

Authorities warned that there would be some close contacts identified at the otherwise casual contact site.

A full list of Victorian exposure sites can be found here.

Some restrictions easing in NSW today

A number of NSW’s lockdown rules have been eased this morning, including restrictions on swimming pools and face masks.

From today, outdoor public swimming pools are allowed to open and both vaccinated and unvaccinated people are allowed to attend them.

Public health order amendments made on Saturday and in force from today also allow retail stores like Bunnings and plant nurseries to reopen in Sydney’s local government areas of concern.

People in those areas can also now remove their face masks for exercise. Previously, this could only be done if they were completing “strenuous” exercise.

Vaccine passports to be trialled in Victoria as lockdown restrictions set to ease further

Melburnians will soon be allowed to enjoy new freedoms, including playing golf or tennis and roaming up to 15 kilometres from home, as Victoria takes another step to reopening large areas of public life.

On Sunday, Industry Recovery Minister Martin Pakula said COVID-19 vaccine passports might be trialled at the Melbourne Cup to allow crowds to return to the spring carnival, as well as other ticketed events in country Victoria and metropolitan suburbs.

Industry Recovery Minister Martin Pakula details the pilot scheme on Sunday.Credit:Chris Hopkins

Regional hospitality, hairdressing and tourism businesses in six local government areas will be part of a two-week trial in October to determine how vaccine passports could be rolled out across the state, with the Premier indicating COVID-19 jabs would probably be mandated for those sectors.

Victoria recorded 779 cases on Sunday and the deaths of two men – one in his 70s from Hume and another in his 80s from Moreland – both of whom were unvaccinated, as the number of active cases in the state hit a record high of 8011.

Read the full story here.

Qld’s Deputy Premier hits out at PM over border reopening comments

Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles has criticised the Australian Prime Minister for giving people false hope about the state opening its borders in time for Christmas.

Speaking to the media on Sunday, Mr Miles said Scott Morrison needed to focus on his job instead of discussing “what should happen in Queensland in 90 days’ time”.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles says he doesn’t think Queenslanders want to let COVID into the state for Christmas. Credit:Matt Dennien

“It’s not that simple and it’s misleading people to tell them that it should be that simple,” he said.

“I don’t think Queenslanders will want to let COVID in for Christmas if we don’t have it but New South Wales still does.”

Mr Morrison says Australia should live with the virus once 70 and 80 per cent vaccination rates are hit.

More on the border dispute here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for your company.

It’s Monday, September 27. 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.

  • Outdoor swimming pools are able to reopen across NSW today. NSW Health says they will be open to everyone regardless of whether they’ve had the jab because there is a lower risk of COVID transmission outdoors. There were 961 new cases of COVID-19 across the state yesterday. It’s the third day in a row that cases have fallen.
  • Victoria is on track to reach its 80 per cent first-dose vaccine milestone tomorrow. This means the 10km travel radius will increase to 15km and some outdoor activities, such as golf and open-air training for the fully vaccinated, will be allowed to resume. The state government is also looking to test vaccine passports in the coming weeks, possibly in time for next month’s Melbourne Cup. And residents in Geelong and the Surf Coast, in regional Victoria, are waking up out of lockdown. The state reported 779 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday.
  • Queensland’s Deputy Premier has accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison of giving Australians false hope. On Sunday, the PM said he was confident states would open up in time for Christmas. But Labor’s Steven Miles says he doesn’t think Queenslanders “will want to let COVID in for Christmas if we don’t have it but NSW still does”.
  • The ACT recorded 25 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. Ten people are hospitalised with the virus. More than 85 per cent of people in the nation’s capital have had one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 58.8 per cent have had both jabs.
  • And in overseas news, the race to replace Germany’s Angela Merkel is extremely close. The centre-left Social Democrats hold a razor-thin lead over Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democrats, according to exit polls released overnight (Australian time). Either side will need to enter a coalition with at least two other parties in order to form government.
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