Vaccinated Victorians can return from NSW
VICTORIANS fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can return from Greater Sydney within a week.
Premier Daniel Andrews has announced anyone in NSW who has had both doses and returned a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours of returning can apply to come back from September 30. Returnees will have to quarantine at home for 14 days.
Several thousand Victorians are expected to be able to return.
“I know it has been a real inconvenience and challenge for those people and their families,” Mr Andrews told reporters today (Thursday, September 23).
The move comes as Victoria recorded its highest-ever daily COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to today, with 766 new infections as well as four deaths.
The case number surpasses the 2020 second-wave peak of 686, which had been revised down from 725 cases due to duplications.
The new cases brings the latest outbreak’s death toll to 20. The state has 6,666 active infections.
There were 62,408 coronavirus tests processed and 40,957 vaccine doses administered at state hubs yesterday (Wednesday, September 22) according to the health department.
Meanwhile, Melbourne is bracing for a fourth day of protests, as police say few demonstrators are tradies angered by mandatory COVID-19 vaccines or the construction industry shutdown.
A mob of 400 to 600 again swarmed the Victorian capital yesterday, despite stay-at-home orders and repeated warnings from authorities.
Chanting “every day” from the Shrine of Remembrance, hundreds without masks – some still wearing high-visibility clothing – marched through the city to the war memorial.
Heavily armed police surrounded the shrine, leading to a tense stand-off with protesters that lasted about three hours.
Riot squad members appeared to fire tear gas, rubber bullets and other non-lethal rounds when rioters became increasingly hostile and refused to leave.
Two officers suffered head injuries after bottles were thrown at them, and there were 215 arrests.
RSL Victoria said the mob had disrespected the sanctity of the sacred site, while Shrine of Remembrance chief executive told ABC today “there had been urination on the walls of the Shrine of Remembrance, which is disgusting that those sort of things should have occurred, and rubbish strewn everywhere.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned the gathering at the shrine, telling reporters in Washington “the conduct was disgraceful”.
“This is a sacred place, it’s not a place of protest. It was disrespectful and it dishonoured those Australians who have made the ultimate sacrifice,” he said.
“I would hope any and all who were engaged in that disgraceful behaviour, would be ashamed.”
Police have moved to stop media from covering live the riots from the air, arguing footage from the helicopter was being used to dodge police.
The matter is being fought in the Federal Court today.
“The media, being the eyes and ears of the public, cannot be muzzled or censored in that task by having to go to Victoria Police first to seek an approval each time we want to lift a helicopter into the air for the dissemination of news around the country,” Will Houghton QC, representing Seven, Nine and the ABC, said in an opening statement.
“Secondly it can’t be censored by Victoria Police by their refusal of approval when operations are proceeding within the city of Melbourne.”
The protests initially began in opposition to mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for the construction sector and the closure of building site tea rooms, but have since turned into wider unrest.
Police took a more aggressive approach to the mob after they wreaked havoc on the West Gate Freeway on Tuesday this week.
Meanwhile, the regional city of Ballarat emerged from a seven-day lockdown at midnight yesterday, although strict rules remain.