Good evening and thank you for reading our live coverage of the day’s events. If you are just joining us now, here’s everything you need to know:
- The modelling by the Burnet Institute predicts the12 local government areas of concern in Sydney’s south-west and west will record a combined 1100 to 2000 new coronavirus cases a day until mid-September. After this, the combined effect of vaccinations and continued restrictions are expected to reduce the number of new infections and hospitalisations. While cases are also likely to be recorded outside these areas in NSW, at present those LGAs are at the epicentre of the outbreak and account for more than 80 per cent of new infections.
- The five deaths in NSW were a man in his 90s who was a resident at St George Aged Care Facility at Bexley, a woman in her 80s who died at Ryde Hospital, a woman in her 50s who died at Westmead Hospital, a woman in her 80s who also died at Westmead Hospital and a man in his 60s who died at home in the Southern Highlands.
Later on Monday, the Western NSW Local Health District confirmed an Aboriginal woman in her 70s had died of COVID-19 at Dubbo Hospital. It follows the death of a Dubbo man in his 50s last week, who was believed to be the first Indigenous person to die from COVID-19 in Australia since the pandemic began.
- Victoria recorded 246 new, locally acquired cases of coronavirus, the highest number of daily cases in more than a year. Health Minister Martin Foley said that of the 92 people in Victoria in hospital as a result of the latest outbreak, only one was fully vaccinated. He said 67 patients had not received any vaccine dose despite being eligible. Another 13 were unvaccinated but not eligible because they were under the age of 16. From next Monday, children aged 12 to 15 will be eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.
- Victorian COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar echoed Mr Foley’s sentiments and described the latest outbreak as “a pandemic of the young, of essential workers and the unvaccinated”. He said 83 per cent of all new cases in the past 24 hours we aged under 50. Households and small businesses were among key transmission sites, Mr Weimar said. The young and the unvaccinated are, of course, an overlapping group because older people were eligible for a vaccine at an earlier stage in the pandemic.
- The Victorian government announced a rent relief package for renters who have lost at least 20 per cent of their income as a result of the latest outbreak (from May 27 this year), who are spending more than 30 per cent of their income on rent. A grant of up to $1500 will be paid via their landlords. Singles will need to earn less than $62,860 and couples will need to earn no more than $94,300. People will also need to have less than $2000 in savings.
- Victorian Liberal frontbenchers Matthew Guy and Tim Smith resigned from Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien’s shadow cabinet this morning ahead of a planned leadership spill this week.
- The ACT has recorded 11 new cases of COVID-19 in the community. “Of those 11, only three were in quarantine during their entire infectious period. We’re aware that seven have spent at least part of their infectious period in the community and there’s one that’s still under further investigation,” ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said. On the vaccination front, 70.6 per cent of Canberrans have now received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine and 47 per cent are fully vaccinated.
- Queensland and WA both recorded zero new cases of COVID-19 in the community. WA Premier Mark McGowan, who said last week that it is likely his borders will remain shut to NSW, Victoria and the ACT until next year, said states without local coronavirus cases “want to stay as COVID-free for as long as we can while we got our vaccination levels up”. He wants to meet a vaccination target of 80 per cent of people aged over 16 before he considers easing restrictions.
- New Zealand recorded 20 new community cases of COVID-19. Auckland remains in strict lockdown but Prime Minister Jacinda Arden announced today that restrictions would be eased for a second time for the rest of the country. From 11.59pm on Tuesday the country outside Auckland will step down from level three restrictions, which is one step down from a lockdown, to level two, which enables people to return to work and school. Masks will still be required in most indoor settings.
This is Michaela Whitbourn signing off on the blog for tonight. Broede Carmody will be back with you tomorrow morning.
Victorians can now make group bookings for COVID-19 vaccinations.
Anyone who wants to make a group booking has to complete a registration of interest form and state what type of group they are; whether they be a school, employees of a particular workplace, people at high risk of catching COVID-19, or just a mix of other people who are eligible for the jab.
People don’t have to provide the names of individual group members when they register, and instead, can provide them when they arrive at a state-run clinic for their booking. Group members just have to be eligible for a vaccination, and bring along ID and their Medicare card.
“The service is open to community members and community service organisations at state-run vaccination centres,” the Chief Health Officer’s update said on Monday.
The Department of Health will contact a nominated member of the group within 10 days of them completing the registration form.
Victorian authorities have identified more childcare centres as COVID-19 exposure sites.
The Health Department listed several new tier-1 or close contact sites on Monday evening.
Anyone who attended them during the specified timeframes has to immediately get tested for COVID-19, and quarantine for 14 days from the exposure, regardless of whether they receive a negative test result.
The new tier-1 sites are:
- BM Hall Kitchens and Cabinets, Mornington – Thursday, September 2 between 7.30am and 4.30pm and Friday, September 3 between 7.30am and 3.15pm
- Doncaster Land Rover service workshop, Doncaster – Wednesday, September 1 between 8am and 5.30pm, and Thursday, September 2 between 7.50am and 1.10pm
- Doncaster Land Rover pre-delivery centre, Doncaster – Thursday, September 2 between 7.50am and 1.10pm
- Pearl Street Child Care Centre, Glenroy – Thursday, September 2 between 7.20am and 5pm and Friday, September 3 between 7.20am and 6pm
- Construction site Greenvale Secondary School, Greenvale – Saturday, September 4 between 6.30am and 3.30pm
- Cartage Australia, Truganina – Wednesday, September 1 between 5am and 3pm
- Yarra Youth Centre, Fitzroy – Friday, August 27 between 1pm and 5.10pm
- Highlands Medical Clinic, Craigieburn – Friday, September 3 between 9.40am and 10.40am
- 574 Plummer Street (buildings 1 and 2), Port Melbourne – from Tuesday, August 31 to Monday, September 6
- Simultech Australia, Lilydale – Thursday, September 2 between 8.30am and 4.30pm
- Kong Chinese Bistro, Roxburgh Park – Friday, September 3 between 6.15pm and 7.20pm
- Woolworths Chelsea, Bath Street – Saturday, September 4 between 12.30pm and 1.30pm
The remainder of the new sites are tier-2, and include the Matrix Early Learning at Fawkner and Derby Street Children’s Centre at Pascoe Vale, both in Melbourne’s north, and a Coles and a Woolworths supermarkets in Epping and Roxburgh Park respectively.
Authorities warned that some people who visited tier-2 sites including Woolworths at Coburg Station, the KFC Ferntree Gully drive-through, and Sprinkles Ice Creamery Lollies n More at Point Cook would be identified as close contacts. The Department of Health would contact those people.
A full list of Victorian exposure sites can be found here.
Proof of vaccination, often referred to as a “vaccination passport”, will be required to gain entry to nightclubs, mass events and large venues in England by the end of this month, the UK government has confirmed.
Nadhim Zahawi, Minister for Covid Vaccine Deployment in Boris Johnson’s government, told Sky over the weekend:
We are looking at, by the end of September when everyone has had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated, for the large venues, venues that could end up causing a real spike in infections … we need to use the certification process.
The worst thing we can do for those venues is to have a sort of open-shut-open-shut strategy because we see infection rates rise because of the close interaction of people, that’s how the virus spreads, if people are in close spaces in large numbers we see spikes appearing.
The best thing to do then is to work with the industry to make sure that they can open safely and sustainably in the long term, and the best way to do that is to check vaccine status.
You might recall that NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian today released modelling from the Burnet Institute about intensive care demand and capacity in the state as COVID-19 cases rise.
NSW recorded 1281 new coronavirus cases in the community in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday and five more deaths.
The modelling, which you can take a look at here, predicts that in 12 local government areas of concern in NSW, coronavirus cases will continue increasing until mid-September. These areas are expected to record a combined 1100 to 2000 new cases per day.
“A peak in hospital and ICU utilisation will follow. It is anticipated that between 2,200 and 3,900 people will require hospitalisation,” NSW Health says.
The full list of areas of concern is here, and it includes Blacktown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Fairfield and parts of Penrith. The government has previously said that more than 80 per cent of new COVID-19 infections are being detected in these areas.
After mid-September, NSW Health believes vaccine-acquired immunity will start kicking in and driving down case numbers, with restrictions also playing a part.
Hospitalisations are expected to peak in October at 3,434 (which includes COVID and non-COVID cases), and the intensive care capacity is expected to peak in early November at 947 patients (again, a figure that includes non-COVID cases).
As the NSW Premier made clear, the modelling is based on a number of variables and assumes that people adhere to existing restrictions.
Liberal Senator Jane Hume, the Minister for Women’s Economic Security, has defended the Morrison government against accusations it has not gone far enough in implementing recommendations of the Respect@Work national inquiry into workplace sexual harassment.
Last week, the federal government enacted six of the inquiry’s 55 recommendations but did not adopt a centrepiece reform to impose a positive legal duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment.
Senator Hume had this to say to the ABC’s Patricia Karvelas this afternoon:
Of the 55 recommendations, not all were directed to government; some were directed to state governments and some were directed to businesses.
Of the 15 that were to government, there were a number that were legislated last week and they’re really about strengthening the framework around sexual harassment and sexual violence, which is really important to do.
There are some recommendations that are more complex and more work is required on those and more work is currently being done. The others should be directed to business.
There’s some that didn’t require legislative change, things like the Respect@Work Council, that’s something we’ve already implemented. This is one part of the puzzle.
The Respect@Work council brings together leaders from government regulators and policy makers that have oversight of sexual harassment policies and complaints, and is aimed at improving clarity and consistency across existing laws.
Asked why the government had not supported a proposal for ten days’ domestic or family violence leave, Senator Hume said it was “not a policy that’s without implications, both for business and for individuals”.
“We want to hear voices from across the community. There are more than 200 different groups that are represented at the [two-day women’s safety] summit today and tomorrow and they all have very unique perspectives.
“That’s exactly why we want them to inform that next national plan on ending violence against women.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has returned to Canberra from a brief visit to his family in Sydney after gaining an exemption from health authorities to cross the border with NSW.
With state borders closed across the country, Mr Morrison needed approval from the Australian Capital Territory’s chief health officer to make the visit after being in Sydney for Father’s Day on Sunday.
The arrangement allowed him to return to Parliament House on Monday morning to join Social Services Minister Anne Ruston at a summit on women’s safety and to speak with national security officials face-to-face for a cabinet committee meeting.
Flight radar websites showed that one of the Royal Australian Air Force’s business jets, a Dassault Falcon 7X, flew from Canberra to Sydney on Saturday afternoon in a 25-minute flight and returned to Canberra early on Monday morning.
Victorian health authorities have identified a number of new tier-1 COVID-19 exposure sites, including two medical clinics, a bar, a courier business and a smash repair place to add to a primary school, supermarkets and community centre listed earlier in the day.
A number of the new sites are tier-1 or close contact, meaning anyone who attended them during the specified timeframes must immediately get tested for COVID-19 and quarantine for 14 days from the exposure, regardless of whether they receive a negative test result.
The new tier-1 sites are:
- Aitken Hill Pre-School Community Centre, Craigieburn – Wednesday, September 1 and Thursday, September 2 between 7.50am and 5pm
- Newbury Child and Community Centre, Craigieburn – Tuesday, August 31 and Thursday, September 2 between 8.30am and 4pm
- Coles, Wyndham Village Shopping Centre, Tarneit – Friday, September 3 between 12.40pm and 2.10pm
- Madina Halal Meats, Hoppers Crossing – Thursday, September 2 between 12.40pm and 1.20pm
- Ilim College Glenroy Campus, Hadfield – Wednesday, September 1 and Thursday, September 2 between 9am and 3.30pm
- Speed Queen Equipment Sales, Thornbury – Thursday, August 26 between 8.05am and 5pm, Friday, August 27 between 8am and 5pm, Tuesday, August 31 between 7.55am and 5.30pm, and Wednesday, September 1 between 8.10am and 5pm
- Leanna Coffee, Pies, Vietnamese Rolls, Northcote Plaza Shopping Centre, Northcote – Thursday, September 2 between 1pm and 2.10pm
- Francesca’s Bar, Northcote, Thursday, September 2 between 11am and 1pm and Friday, September 3 between 11am and 1.30pm
- IGA Xpress Fawkner, Tuesday, August 31 between 8.28am and 5.30pm
- CouriersPlease Truganina, Wednesday, September 1 between 11.30am and 7.40pm
- Q1 Medical Hoppers Crossing Saturday, September 4 between 10.13am and 11.35am
- X-Treme Smash Repairs, Sunshine North – Monday, August 30 and Tuesday, August 31 between 7.45am and 5.30pm; Friday, September 3 between 7.45am and 4.55pm; Thursday, September 2 between 7.45am and 5.30pm
- Yarraville Specialist Centre, Yarraville – Friday, September 3 between 9.50am and 11.10am
The remainder of the new sites are tier-2, which require people to get tested urgently and isolate until receiving a negative result. Those sites are are:
- Coles, Roxburgh Village, Roxburgh Park – Wednesday, September 1 between 6.30pm and 8.30pm
- Coates Hire, Campbellfield – Friday, September 3 between 7am and 8.30am
- Woolworths, Greenvale Lakes, Roxburgh Park – Sunday, August 29 between 12pm and 5.30pm (the Health Department will contact some tier-1 contacts)
- Future Cabinet, Thomastown – Friday, August 27 and Wednesday, September 1 between 8am and 5.30pm
- iAthletic, Brunswick East – from Monday, August 30 to Wednesday, September 1 between 9am and 5.30pm, and Thursday, September 2 between 9.15am and 12.30pm (the Health Department will contact some tier-1 contacts)
- Woolworths, Pacific Epping – Friday, September 3 between 11am and 2pm
- Costco, Epping – Thursday, September 2 between 4pm and 5.30pm
- Chemist Warehouse, Hoppers Crossing – Friday, September 3 between 12.15pm and 1.10pm
- @7 Cafe, Wyndham Village Shopping Centre, Tarneit – Thursday, September 2 between 12pm and 1.05pm
- Aldi, Tarneit Central, Tarneit – Friday, September 3 between 1.40pm and 2.40pm
- Apartment Complex, 21 Moore Street, Moonee Ponds – Friday, September 3, Saturday, September 4 and Sunday September 5 between midnight and 11.59pm
- Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses, Keilor Park, Thursday, September 02 between 7am and 4p; Friday, September 3 between 7am and 5.40pm and Saturday, September 4 between 7am and 12.30pm
A full list of Victorian exposure sites can be found here.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison opened a two-day women’s safety summit today by saying there hasn’t been enough progress when it comes to attitudes towards women and domestic violence.
His comments have not been particularly well received in some quarters.
As regular contributor Kristine Ziwicka writes today, Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins made 55 recommendations after the national Respect@Work inquiry to make workplaces safer for women:
But last week, the Morrison government ensured that only six of those recommendations made their way into law and scuppered attempts by Labor and the Greens to implement the centrepiece of Jenkins’ report – a positive duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment from happening in the first place.
Make no mistake: history will remember this moment as a key milestone in Australia’s #MeToo journey – and Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his newly minted taskforce for women will prove to be on the wrong side of that history.
The government also joined with One Nation to block other amendments to the Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Bill. These would have changed workplace laws to ban sexual harassment, protected victims of sexual harassment from massive legal bills, and reviewed the Fair Work system to ensure that sexual harassment – using the definition in the Sex Discrimination Act – was expressly prohibited.
This was a significant missed opportunity.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro says the curfews in south-western and western Sydney have not worked, and were only introduced following media pressure.
At a briefing of regional media on Monday, Mr Barilaro said he would not support a curfew for Dubbo, despite rising coronavirus case numbers.
“So the idea of a curfew is one that was put in place in an area that was so out of control and you would question its ability to work … If you look at the numbers since we put the curfew in, nothing has occurred, nothing has changed; numbers continue to rise,” he said.
He said a curfew in Dubbo would do “nothing more than hurt the wellbeing of that community.”