Debate around Victoria's COVID-19 pandemic bill has turned ugly. Here's what you need to know. It's the legislation dominating public discussion in Victoria.
A new set of proposed laws, designed to govern the state's future response and powers in the case of a pandemic. The Victorian Health Minister has been keen to promote this new bill as increasing transparency, but there have also been plenty of critics. On the city's streets, a small group of people wheeled out violent imagery on the steps of parliament as part of a protest against the bill, while legal groups and the state's ombudsman have been calling for greater oversight to be included in the legislation.
These are the key details involved in the legislation and proposed changes. Why is the Victorian government pushing these laws? The state government created this new bill to replace Victoria's State of Emergency laws, which were used during the COVID-19 pandemic, but had to be renewed every four weeks. The laws give the government the legal basis for lockdowns, mandatory mask-wearing, vaccine mandates and curfews. NSW and Victoria tighten international arrival rules as states and territories respond to Omicron variant. Australian states and territories are reimposing border rules in response to the new Omicron variant of COVID-19, which has now been detected in a growing number of countries across the world.
Key points: International arrivals into Victoria and NSW will now be required to self-isolate for at least 72 hours, regardless of vaccination statusThose from nine African countries where the variant has been found will undergo 14 days' quarantine in all states and territoriesSouth Australia reinforces its border less than a week after reopening, and Western Australia strengthens its rules On Saturday, Australia tightened its international border to travellers from nine African countries where the new variant of concern has been found. People arriving from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini, Malawi, and the Seychelles into any Australian state or territory must undergo 14 days' quarantine. Chief Minister criticises 'misinformation spreading online' about NT COVID-19 outbreak.
Northern Territory's Chief Minister Michael Gunner has used a COVID-19 update press conference to denounce misinformation spread by anti-vaxxers and overseas conspiracy theorists who, he says, could harm Indigenous Territorians.
Key points: Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner says there is "insane, unhinged stuff spreading online" The misinformation is coming mainly from overseas, he saysHe highlighted false rumours about the ADF during the current outbreak At the press conference, Mr Gunner announced one new case in the outbreak and the lifting of the hard lockdown for one of the communities that, earlier in the week, had been considered most at risk. Mr Gunner also called it a "positive day" in the current outbreak, which has predominantly impacted Aboriginal Territorians. However, he singled out what he called a "huge amount of misinformation spreading online in the last few days".
Austria to go into full lockdown as Covid surges. Victorian Pandemic Management bill - Rule of Law Education Centre. Will lockdowns continue in this new Bill?
The Premier and Health Minister will have absolute, unreviewable power to indefinitely keep Victorians in lockdown. Australia might be on its coronavirus 'honeymoon'. Singapore shows what could happen next. Many Australians are rightly looking forward to a carefree summer, as vaccination bookings across the country reach new highs.
With international borders opening up this month, and daily COVID-19 cases falling, there is a whiff of normality in the spring air. However, Professor Dale Fisher, an Australian infectious diseases expert, warns that any return to normal life may be short-lived, based on the experience of countries overseas. Another wave of COVID-19 infections could be around the corner. "I think you will get a bit of a honeymoon [in summer], because people open the doors, windows, go outside for picnics.
China's coronavirus death toll is curiously low. Can we believe the numbers? Chinese authorities have reported an extraordinary COVID-19 feat: A death rate that is 62 times better than Australia's.
If accurate, the official figures highlight the benefits of the world's strictest zero-tolerance policy, which involved keeping borders closed and moving quickly to suppress small outbreaks. While many of its Asia-Pacific neighbours have given up on an elimination strategy, China continues to keep its borders mostly closed, with little prospect of them opening for another 12 months. Some might question whether such an extraordinary figure can be trusted, but many experts told the ABC the low death rate is plausible.
One theory is that since the original outbreak in Wuhan was snuffed out, the vast majority of cases in China have come from people arriving from overseas. Tonga records first-ever COVID-19 case, Pacific island nation prepares for lockdown. Residents on Tonga's main island will go into a snap lockdown at midnight after the country recorded its first COVID-19 case since the beginning of the pandemic.
Key points: Residents on Tonga's main island will begin a seven-day lockdown from Tuesday, with a daily curfew from 8pm to 6amThe move comes after a passenger from New Zealand tested positive in hotel quarantineSome Tongans have been panic-buying ahead of lockdown restrictions Prime Minister Pohiva Tu'i'onenoa announced the seven-day lockdown in a press conference on Monday, despite no evidence of community transmission. From midnight, residents on the island of Tongatapu will be required to stay home, except to access essential services or to purchase essential goods, including medical supplies.
Police and the military will also enforce a curfew between 8pm and 6am, with all bars, restaurants and non-essential businesses to close temporarily. From Spanish flu to COVID in Australia, parallels in pandemics more than a century apart. World War I was in its dying days, but in late October of 1918 Australia was bracing for a new battlefront.
Unlike the war, the mass casualties would be on home soil. On October 18 of that year, the SS Mataram, sailing from Singapore, arrived in Darwin carrying a virus that would ultimately kill an estimated 50 million people worldwide. Melbourne bids farewell to COVID-19 lockdown and the controversial curfew. Victoria has finally downed one of the bluntest and most controversial public health tools used during the pandemic.
As of today, the lockdown has lifted from Melbourne, and along with it, the curfew. There are hopes the measures will not be needed again any time soon in a highly vaccinated population. With the eased restrictions come a raft of returned freedoms, including dine-in hospitality, more outdoor activities and limited household visits. Victoria records highest-ever daily COVID-19 total, with five deaths and 1,438 new cases. Victorian authorities say illegal gatherings and house parties over the AFL grand final day long weekend are behind the dramatic jump in COVID-19 infections in the state.
Key points: The state's COVID-19 response commander says AFL grand final parties contributed to about a third of the new casesPremier Daniel Andrews says "hundreds, if not thousands" of recent cases were caused by people choosing to break rulesThe interval between Pfizer doses at state-run vaccination sites will be reduced back down to three weeks from Monday, and Moderna supplies at state hubs have been boosted The state has recorded 1,438 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and five further deaths. The deaths bring the total from this outbreak to 41. Biden receives vaccine ‘booster’ as confusion continues over third dose. At the White House on Monday, Joe Biden donned a black surgical mask, rolled his shirt sleeve to his shoulder and received a third dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine as a “booster” shot. The president received the public jab as confusion about who is eligible for such shots – and when – continued.
The administration had hoped recommending and implementing booster shots would be a simple matter. “Let me be clear, boosters are important,” Biden told reporters. Victorian government to shut down construction industry after clashes at CFMEU office. The Victorian government will forcibly shut down all construction sites in metropolitan Melbourne and all other locked down local government areas in response to violent protests on Monday. Key points: Construction sites in metropolitan Melbourne and all other locked down LGAs in Victoria will close for two weeksUnion leaders have blamed "extremists" for the violent protestsBuilding industry groups have criticised the government's handling of the industry The Andrews government engaged in crisis talks on Monday night with the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), following the heated brawls outside the union's Elizabeth Street offices in Melbourne's CBD.
Protesters rallied against the Victorian government mandate requiring all construction workers to have at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose by September 23. Victoria police deployed crowd control equipment and arrested several people. Complete shutdown. Victoria records 423 new COVID cases and two deaths, as public transport shutdown planned. Police will suspend part of Melbourne's public transport system for six hours on Saturday in an attempt to thwart planned anti-lockdown protests.
Key points: The bulk of Victoria's 423 new cases are not yet linked to existing outbreaksA roadmap will be unveiled on Sunday, detailing a plan to ease restrictions over the next few monthsUnion leaders say they would support mandatory vaccination if a public health order made it compulsory Trains, trams and buses will not run into the CBD between 8:00am and 2:00pm, and extra police will be stationed in the city to fine and arrest people trying to take part.
Meanwhile, the City of Ballarat has re-entered lockdown and will remain under those restrictions for at least seven days after recording four positive cases and multiple wastewater detections and exposure sites. "People don't just stay in one part of the regions, they move, they travel, they work. " The Premier said there would be additional testing resources and vaccines for Ballarat. Sweeping new vaccine mandates for 100 million Americans. WASHINGTON (AP) — In his most forceful pandemic actions and words, President Joe Biden on Thursday announced sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant. Speaking at the White House, Biden sharply criticized the roughly 80 million Americans who are not yet vaccinated, despite months of availability and incentives.
“We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” he said, all but biting off his words. With no more COVID zero, we've hit a new stage. But the states are more fractured than ever. In the Orwellian world of the pandemic, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews's raising of the white flag on "COVID zero" was greeted positively by the Morrison government and with relief by many among the public who are at the end of their tether. We've now officially moved into a new stage. As federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Thursday, "the pandemic has become endemic". In accepting Victoria couldn't get back near zero, Andrews was following NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who lost control of the virus, with daily new cases in that state now running well above a thousand and rising. Only weeks ago there were hopes of suppressing the outbreaks in both states. When it was becoming obvious NSW was failing, Berejiklian was criticised for not locking down early and hard enough.
Victoria to remain in lockdown as COVID cases surge but Andrews hopeful of driving down numbers. Federal government warned about gaps in biosecurity controls weeks before Ruby Princess debacle. Maritime workers raised "significant concerns" with the federal government about the coronavirus threat posed by arriving ships weeks before the Ruby Princess disaster. Key points: The Maritime Union of Australia wrote to the PM and then-agriculture minister warning of "significant concerns" over biosecurity control gapsThe warning was sent in January 2020, six weeks before the Ruby Princess incident A report by the inspector-general of biosecurity said it was "perplexing" the agriculture department was not better prepared.
Scott Morrison's COVID lockdown exit plan has a big stumbling block — the two halves of Australia. After being pummelled for months over the vaccine "stroll-out" and wearing at least some of the blame for never-ending lockdowns, it's understandable the Prime Minister has grabbed a torch from the Doherty Institute to lead the nation "out of the cave". The only problem is, not all Australians are in a cave.
The nation is currently divided between the locked-down and the free. Using military language and presence might not be the best approach to COVID and public health. Governments around the world have enacted unprecedented responses to minimise the spread of COVID to preserve both individual health and health systems. Ardern’s Covid lockdown finds favour as New Zealand watches Sydney’s Delta disaster. To overseas eyes, going into national lockdown over a single case should have been a hard sell, even for an extraordinarily popular prime minister such as Jacinda Ardern. But a disastrous outbreak of the Delta variant in Sydney has helped galvanise New Zealand’s “team of 5 million” – and across the country, the government’s tough strategy on Covid-19 has enjoyed widespread popular support.
On Tuesday, New Zealand was plunged into a national, level 4 lockdown – the highest level of restrictions – as the country announced its first local case of the Delta variant. COVID-19 vaccine data shows areas with highest and lowest vaccination rates in the country. Australia's COVID-19 vaccination targets muddied by Delta variant, as modellers calculate country's way out. It has been described by the Prime Minister as Australia's ticket to freedom, the only "way out". But with Australia lagging behind world vaccination rates and more than half the country in lockdown, the questions "when" and "how" are becoming even more vital. Earlier this month when outlining his "four-phase COVID-19 strategy", Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed infectious disease modellers at The Doherty Institute in Melbourne were calculating and modelling the rate of vaccinations needed for Australia to avoid lockdowns, and, eventually, open up.
Scott Morrison's attempt to influence ATAGI advice on AstraZeneca vaccine is misguided. 'I take responsibility': Prime Minister acknowledges COVID-19 vaccine rollout failures, as one million weekly doses mark reached. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he takes responsibility for the slow COVID-19 vaccine rollout, but that the country is now tracking well with the vaccination program. Coronavirus war of words continues between states and Morrison as Delta variant changes the rules. Every now and then you hear a line that has such piercing cut-through you know it will be repeated — over and over — in a fiercely contested election campaign with devastating impact. That moment was this week offered by the office of Victorian Premier Dan Andrews, who, having returned from a long absence from injury, is taking no prisoners.
England’s Covid unlocking is threat to world, say 1,200 scientists. Boris Johnson’s plan to lift virtually all of England’s pandemic restrictions on Monday is a threat to the world and provides fertile ground for the emergence of vaccine-resistant variants, international experts say. Britain’s position as a global transport hub would mean any new variant here would rapidly spread around the world, scientists and physicians warned at an emergency summit.
Luxury brands Gucci and Louis Vuitton are 'essential' under NSW COVID restrictions. Victoria wakes to its fifth lockdown. Here's how we got there again. Covid-19 ad: Lieutenant General John Frewen says graphic 30-second clip not run ‘lightly’ Japan to declare virus emergency lasting through Olympics. Boris Johnson to scrap most of England’s Covid rules from 19 July. The missing 'magic numbers' in Morrison's COVID strategy are a stark reminder of our bungled vaccine rollout. As India's health system falters, COVID quackery gets a boost with officials promoting coronavirus misinformation. Why is India not announcing a nationwide lockdown amid its deadly COVID second wave? The shambolic handling of repatriating Australian citizens from India reveals the government's priorities. Desperate New Delhi hospitals turn to the courts with minutes of oxygen left.
Scott Morrison defends India COVID travel ban after criticism of jail time and fines for citizens who try and return. Chinese social media blows up over official Communist Party post mocking India's COVID-19 catastrophe. India suffers record daily coronavirus deaths as total new cases dip slightly. As Modi govt faces up to Covid disaster, BJP learns a tough truth — the virus doesn’t vote. Narendra Modi and the perils of Covid hubris. Press Information Bureau. Critics blast federal government's 'immoral and un-Australian' ban on citizens returning from India. Australian government considering sending oxygen, ventilators to help India as its health system is overwhelmed by second wave. India virus patients suffocate amid oxygen shortage in surge. Indian expansion of Covid vaccine drive may further strain supplies. Thousands could fly to England from India before it joins Covid travel ‘red list’
Victoria's coronavirus state of emergency powers to be extended until December 16. Australia needs a more consistent and sensible approach to Covid-19 border decisions. Epidemiologists back Victoria's lockdown but say evidence not yet in on 'shorter incubation' The seven countries with better coronavirus responses than Australia. Infographic: How well is your country vaccinating its people? Vaccine: India begins world's biggest drive.
: Trump signs relief and spending package into law. Victoria's coronavirus hotel quarantine report delivers no knockout blow for defiant Daniel Andrews. Ex-health minister Jenny Mikakos slams 'failed' Victorian coronavirus hotel quarantine inquiry, accuses Daniel Andrews of 'deflection' Pence, top congressional leaders get COVID-19 vaccines. Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf says country's coronavirus response 'failed' White House threatens FDA chief's job over vaccine approval. Trump hails vaccine 'miracle,' with millions of doses soon. Uruguay's unified response to COVID-19 has helped it avoid the same fate as its neighbours - ABC News. France's second wave of coronavirus turns potentially deadly as hospitals struggle to keep up - ABC News. The new Covid-normal: is Victoria ready to come out of lockdown? Donald Trump has finished his COVID-19 treatment, but has he recovered? - ABC News.
White House COVID-19 outbreak. Covid’s second coming: how did Britain get back in this mess? Daniel Andrews will detail the next step in Melbourne's coronavirus restrictions roadmap today - ABC News. Australian defence force help for Victoria hotel quarantine was offered in April, inquiry told. Daniel Andrews tells inquiry Jenny Mikakos responsible for Victoria hotel quarantine program. Jenny Mikakos resigns as Victoria's health minister after Covid hotel quarantine inquiry. Scott Morrison urges sharing of COVID-19 vaccine in his United Nations speech - ABC News. Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos may have misled COVID-19 hotel quarantine inquiry about use of guards - ABC News.
Victorian Police Minister tells inquiry she learned ADF plan for Melbourne quarantine hotels from newspaper - ABC News. At Victoria’s COVID-19 hotel quarantine inquiry, Daniel Andrews has squarely pointed the finger of blame - ABC News. Follow new Covid restrictions or risk a second lockdown, Johnson warns. How did Vietnam bring the spread of coronavirus to a halt — again? - ABC News. Victorian hotel quarantine system told guests with coronavirus were allowed to leave quarantine, inquiry told - ABC News. Queensland Chief Health Officer under police protection after death threats, Premier backs advice on border restrictions - ABC News. Queensland Chief Health Officer under police protection after death threats, Premier backs advice on border restrictions - ABC News.
The Guardian view on India's strongman: in denial about a Covid crisis. Woman becomes the first person in WA to be fitted with a monitoring bracelet for allegedly breaching quarantine - ABC News. Queensland border reopens after coronavirus closure but travellers stuck in traffic jams. 'I was never consulted': Police did not request Victorian curfew. Health experts welcome Melbourne lockdown extension but question curfew. Top infectious disease experts call for a 48-hour turnaround of contact tracing in Victoria. Australia's economy goes down under with record, virus-led slump.
Morrison walks back comments on potential Covid vaccine, saying 'it is not going to be compulsory' New Zealand health minister David Clark quits over handling of Covid-19 outbreak. Trump calls out New Zealand’s 'terrible' Covid surge, on day it records nine new cases. Jacinda Ardern relied on instinct for 'go hard, go early' COVID-19 approach. Coronavirus has finally spooked Donald Trump. Here's what changed his mind. Trump dissed coronavirus pandemic worry, now claims he warned about it. Venezuela’s Health Care Crisis Now Poses a Global Threat. Africa: Covid-19 Exposes Healthcare Shortfalls.
Why Victoria needs both state of emergency and state of disaster powers to fight coronavirus - ABC News. 'Go hard, go early' – now New Zealand goes back to the drawing board. Government coronavirus messages left 'nonsensical' after being translated into other languages - ABC News. Four COVID cases were enough for New Zealand to lock down Auckland. Here's what we know - ABC News. Four probable coronavirus cases linked to New Zealand cluster, as masks to be mandatory on Auckland flights - ABC News.