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  • plane passenger

    New quarantine deal for Tas/Vic

    The Tasmanian and Victorian governments have arranged a quarantine-swap deal. Tasmania has agreed to quarantine farm workers heading for the Victorian harvest, while Victoria will provide quarantine facilities for overseas Tasmanians wanting to return home.…
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    Vic border and visitor restrictions eased

    More Victorians stranded interstate will be able to return home after the state government further eased border restrictions. Premier Daniel Andrews announced all of Greater Sydney's local government areas currently deemed red zones will become orange as of…
  • coronavirus update

    NSW premier teases easing of restrictions -sharenews

    NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has promised eased COVID-19 restrictions in a week's time, if all goes well, after the community heeded her call to drive up testing numbers. Almost 20,000 people were tested for coronavirus in NSW in the latest reporting…
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    More COVID cases linked to Australian Open -sharenews

    Australian Open boss Craig Tiley has rejected calls to shorten men's matches at the grand slam as the number of coronavirus cases linked to the tournament rises to nine. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says three of four new COVID-19 cases in the state…
  • Coronavirus latest news2

    US, China clash at WHO over Wuhan mission -sharenews

    The United States has called on China to allow an expert team from the World Health Organisation to interview "care givers, former patients and lab workers" in the central city of Wuhan, drawing a rebuke from Beijing officials. The team of WHO-led independent…
  • Coronavirus latest news2

    Easing restrictions for Greater Brisbane

    The Tasmanian Government has moved to allow people from Greater Brisbane to travel here. Travellers from the region are now able to come to Tasmania but must still quarantine when they arrive into the state, effective immediately. Premier Peter Gutwein says…
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    Victoria eases borders for parts of Sydney -sharenews

    Thousands of stranded Victorians will be able to return home following the easing of border restrictions with the NSW Blue Mountains, Wollongong and parts of Sydney. Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Monday that 25 of Sydney's 35 local government areas…
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    Overseas travel remains unlikely this year -sharenews

    The head of Australia's health department believes it is unlikely international borders will substantially reopen this year, even if most people are vaccinated against coronavirus. Brendan Murphy downplayed the prospect of a widespread easing of border…
  • Coronavirus latest news2

    Vaccine may be ticket to NSW venue entry -sharenews

    The NSW premier says her government will consider permitting venues to ban entry to those who decline to take the COVID-19 vaccine. NSW reported six new local cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, five of which were household contacts of a previously-confirmed case in…
  • Coronavirus latest news2

    Tas tracing done from Brisbane hotel cluster

    All Tasmanian arrivals who completed their international quarantine at Brisbane's Grand Chancellor Hotel since December 30 have been tracked down by state health authorities. 14 travellers are in isolation and being tested again for coronavirus, despite…
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    Vic workplaces to return, mask rules eased -sharenews

    Victorian workers can start returning to offices from Monday as mask rules are also eased. But Premier Daniel Andrews says 18 people have returned to the state after they were quarantined in Brisbane's Grand Chancellor Hotel. They are being contacted and are…
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    Chief medic calms concerns about vaccine -sharenews

    Australia's chief medical officer has rejected calls to pause the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine, insisting it is completely effective in preventing serious illness and death from coronavirus. Some doctors are concerned about the vaccine's efficacy rate,…
  • Coronavirus latest news2

    NSW issues virus alert for Brisbane hotel -sharenews

    NSW has issued an alert for anyone who has been at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane, fearing a highly contagious strain of coronavirus may have spread across the border. The quarantine hotel is linked to six cases of the UK variant of COVID-19 and has…
  • coronavirus update

    US coronavirus deaths hit new daily high -sharenews

    Coronavirus deaths in the US have hit another one-day high at more than 4300. The country's overall death toll from coronavirus has eclipsed 380,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. The US recorded 4327 deaths on Tuesday, with Arizona and California…
  • coronavirus update

    NSW still trying to link 14 COVID cases -sharenews

    Four weeks on from discovering the northern beaches outbreak, NSW Health is still trying to link 14 recent coronavirus cases to known clusters. Five locally-acquired coronavirus cases were reported on Tuesday in NSW from just under 15,000 tests. The origins…
  • airport covid pexels anna shvets 3943882

    Numbers cut on three repatriation flights -sharenews

    Australians stranded overseas have been dealt another blow, with passenger numbers halved on three repatriation flights because of new caps on international arrivals. There are also reports some commercial flights have been abruptly cancelled without…
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    Aust Open qualifying hit by coronavirus -sharenews

    American Denis Kudla has tested positive for COVID-19 at the Australian Open qualifying tournament in Doha and has been sent to a quarantine hotel. Fourth-seeded Kudla downed Moroccan Elliot Benchetrit 6-4 6-3 but the match ended in controversy. The positive…
  • Coronavirus latest news2

    Virus cases low as states clash on borders -sharenews

    Border closures have sparked fresh tensions between state governments after the end of Brisbane's mini-lockdown led to more travel restriction tweaks. A snap shutdown ended on Monday night after three days aimed at stopping a highly contagious coronavirus…
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    Victoria introduces new traffic light system for interstate travel

    Victoria will reopen to regional NSW, with the introduction of a new "traffic light" system for interstate travel. Permits designating regions in other parts of Australia green, orange or red zones depending on coronavirus risk were to go live from 6pm…
  • coronavirus update

    Some Brisbane arrivals free to leave isolation

    Anyone who arrived in Tasmania from Greater Brisbane prior to 9am on January 8th can now leave quarantine. "...because they have not been identified as a close or casual contact of the [original] case," Health Minister Sarah Courtney said on Monday afternoon.…

Aussies won't be locked down for Christmas

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Most Australians won't be locked down over Christmas after the NSW government eased coronavirus restrictions in Sydney.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says Sydneysiders will be allowed to host limited visitors over Christmas, after just eight new locally-acquired cases were reported in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday.

The NSW changes mean that people in every state and territory - who aren't in quarantine or isolation - can gather with friends or family over the festive break.

"They're modest tweaks and modest changes to account for the fact that everybody has had a very difficult year and some people's stress levels and mental health capacity is already at breaking point," Ms Berejiklian told reporters on Wednesday.

Restrictions for regional NSW will remain unchanged, while up to 10 people and unlimited children aged under 12 will be allowed to gather on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day across Greater Sydney.

Northern beaches residents north of the Narrabeen Bridge can host five people from the local area, while those in the south will be able to host 10 visitors from anywhere.

Seven of the cases reported on Wednesday were linked to the northern beaches cluster, but an eighth is a contact of an infected quarantine nurse.

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said genomic testing has linked those cases with the cluster, but authorities are still trying to find the person who spread the virus to the pair.

She also warned that a Qantas staff member had flown into Darwin from overseas and then taken a domestic flight to Sydney while infected last Friday.

Australian Medical Association president Omar Khorshid welcomed the cautious approach, but said going hard and early on restrictions is the best way to tackle outbreaks.

He said the NSW government should consider cancelling New Year's Eve fireworks to avoid crowds gathering.

"We all need to be extra vigilant during this holiday period to the stop the spread of COVID-19, especially as at this time of year when people travel, attend events, and spend time in close proximity with family and friends," Dr Khorshid said in a statement.

Victoria reported no new cases after a 15-year-old girl contracted the virus in Sydney before driving home to Melbourne with her mother.

Four other family members have tested negative to the virus and are isolating together at their home.

With no other cases of community transmission in the rest of the country, Australians are set to celebrate a relatively normal Christmas.

Up to 30 people can gather in Victoria, while 50 people are allowed to get together in Queensland, South Australia and the ACT provided they keep a 1.5 metre distance.

Tasmanians and people in the NT can have up 100 people around for Christmas, while in Western Australia there is no limit.

However, every state and territory is keeping their borders closed to Greater Sydney, with WA shut to all of NSW due to the outbreak.

Ms Berejiklian's criticism of state leaders' decisions also means there's little hope of a Christmas truce about the borders.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the border closures were based on health advice about the Sydney outbreak, which the NSW government was responsible for.

"If there hadn't been the cluster outbreak in the northern beaches, well ... everybody would have been seeing their family and friends over this Christmas-New Year period," she told reporters.

"But I think it's a bit rich for NSW to start blaming Queensland and Victoria and whichever other state and territory she (she) wants to blame.

"This has happened in NSW, it has happened in the northern beaches, and we wish them all the very best, but we do not want our lifestyle compromised."

Sydneysiders who do decide to travel interstate must undergo mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine on arrival.

Some have decided to do that, and with many people still returning from abroad, hundreds of Australians will spend Christmas in hotel quarantine or self-isolation around the country.

There are also tens of thousands of Australians who still remain stuck overseas, nine months after the pandemic began.

© AAP 2020

By Mirelle/shutterstock.com

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