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    Back-to-school RATs for Tasmanian children

    Tasmania will give students a back-to-school pack containing two coronavirus rapid antigen tests as part of the plan for returning to the classroom on February 9. Students should only be tested if symptomatic and further rapid tests would be provided to…
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    Vic drops booster interval to three months

    Victorians can now get their COVID-19 booster shot sooner, with the government shortening the interval from the second dose down to three months at state hubs. The state recorded 20,769 new COVID-19 cases and 18 deaths on Wednesday, 10,726 from PCR tests and…
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    Restrictions return after Omicron surge

    Multiple states and territories have brought back in some pandemic restrictions in a bid to suppress the spread of the infectious Omicron variant. As case numbers continue to climb across the country, NSW has moved to suspend elective surgery, while singing…
  • 20211229001609591611 Martin Foley 600x400

    New rules as Vic records 21,997 new cases

    Restrictions on the number of people allowed in cafes, bars and restaurants are returning to Victoria after the state recorded 21,997 new COVID-19 cases. Density limits will be reintroduced from Friday, Health Minister Martin Foley announced on Thursday. The…
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    South Aust posts spike in COVID-19 cases

    South Australia has reported 25 new COVID-19 cases, its highest daily figure for more than 18 months, amid concerns over delays in naming exposure sites. Premier Steven Marshall revealed the new cases on Wednesday, the highest daily number since April last…
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    Victoria braces for Omicron COVID-19 spike

    Authorities are warning Victorians to brace for a "significant increase" in Omicron COVID-19 cases, but are going ahead with relaxing some of the state's mandatory vaccination rules. From 11.59pm on Wednesday, shoppers will no longer need to prove they are…
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    Qld to open to virus hotspots on Dec 13

    The Queensland border will open to interstate COVID-19 hotspots several days early as health authorities prepare for an influx of travellers from next Monday. The re-opening date had been slated for December 17, but it has been brought forward to December 13…
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    Health workers rush to get jabbed ahead of deadline

    Tasmania's Health Minister has declared 97 percent of workers in his sector have now met the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. That equates to 14,534 public health employees across the state who are jabbed, booked in to get the shot, or have an adequate exemption.…
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    Australia approves COVID-19 booster shot

    Aged care residents are expected to be the first people to receive a coronavirus vaccine booster shot after the medical regulator gave the green light. The Therapeutic Goods Administration on Wednesday gave provisional approval for Australians 18 and over to…
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    Vic on the fast track to COVID freedoms

    Victoria is on track to reach its next major vaccination target ahead of schedule as Melbourne prepares to exit lockdown, meaning more freedoms are fewer than two weeks away. The city will emerge from its sixth shutdown at 11:59pm on Thursday, five days…
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    Victoria ends lockdown five days early

    Victoria will end its sixth long-running lockdown five days earlier than planned, as the state races to its 70 per cent fully vaccinated target. Premier Daniel Andrews made the announcement on Sunday, saying now was the time for Victorians to celebrate. "As…
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    "Not out of the woods yet", 51 casual contacts of infected teen

    The number of casual contacts linked to the COVID-positive Launceston teenager who breached quarantine has risen to 51. "They're mostly people who were at the airport at the same time as the case, or at the IGA. Those numbers have come up a little bit since…
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    COVID case breached home quarantine without mask

    Investigations have revealed a COVID positive Launceston teenager left home quarantine without a mask to go to a local supermarket with his cousin. The IGA at Newnham between 2:20pm and 2:45pm on Saturday October 2 has been declared an exposure site. Anyone…
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    New Vic restrictions as Gutwein dismisses Flight Centre legal threat

    The Premier isn't fazed at threats of legal action from the Flight Centre boss about ongoing state border closures. Graham Turner has flagged suing lockout states including Tasmania if they don't reveal "reasonable" reopening plans in coming weeks Peter…
  • Dan Andrews 20210915001576352451 600x400

    Vic roadmap unveiled, 7 day lockdown for Geelong

    Melbourne's controversial curfew will be scrapped, with people able to travel up to 25 kilometres and have a beer outside the pub once 70 per cent of Victorians aged over 16 are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. But the most substantial changes to the…
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    Regional Victoria exits COVID-19 lockdown

    A Lockdown will be lifted in regional Victoria, with the exception of the town of Shepparton which is still battling a coronavirus outbreak. The state has recorded 221 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, but most are in Melbourne. "Regional…
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    Virus 'ripping families apart': Syd nurse

    An intensive care nurse working in one of NSW's worst COVID-19 hotspots says the virus is "ripping families apart" and taking an enormous physical and emotional toll on healthcare workers. More than 870 COVID-19 patients are in hospital in NSW, with 143 in…
  • 20210828 SA Health Alert

    SA names sites linked to infected truckies

    South Australian authorities have identified petrol stations linked to truck drivers who travelled through three states in WA, before testing positive to COVID-19. The two drivers were tested as part of routine surveillance in NSW on Wednesday, but being…
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    Regional Victoria to return to lockdown

    Regional Victorians will re-enter lockdown at 1pm on Saturday as authorities scramble to contain a COVID-19 outbreak centred on the city of Shepparton. Victoria recorded 61 new locally acquired virus cases on Saturday, including 39 in the community while…
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    Launceston "clear" of COVID scare

    Tasmania's Director of Public Health says the coronavirus scare in Lauceston earlier this month is now well and truly behind us. A traveller from Sydney, who came without a border pass via Melbourne, tested positive in hotel quarantine at Peppers Seaport then…

Victoria braces for Omicron COVID-19 spike

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Authorities are warning Victorians to brace for a "significant increase" in Omicron COVID-19 cases, but are going ahead with relaxing some of the state's mandatory vaccination rules.

From 11.59pm on Wednesday, shoppers will no longer need to prove they are vaccinated to visit non-essential retail outlets.

Mandatory vaccination rules for weddings, funerals and real estate inspections and auctions will also be scrapped, as will showing proof of vaccination for those aged 18 and under.

However, hair and beauty customers must still be fully vaccinated, as do all patrons of restaurants, bars and cafes, including weddings and funerals held at hospitality venues.

Mask mandates will also continue in all retail settings and for hospitality workers, but will not be required at weddings and funerals.

Deep cleaning rules will be scrapped for workplaces, tour and transport operators, gyms, theatres and cinemas , while elective surgeries will rise to 75 per cent capacity in regional areas.

The changes, part of new pandemic orders signed by Health Minister Martin Foley on Wednesday, will remain in place until January 12.

"Those tweaks are of course informed largely by the relative uncertainty that the Omicron variant brings, as we start to learn more about what that means," Mr Foley told reporters in Melbourne.

Victoria recorded 1405 new cases and a further three deaths on Wednesday, with another four Omicron cases taking the state's total to 10.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton warned the state will see a "significant increase" in Omicron infections, as he pointed to New South Wales' case spike and widespread infections in Europe.

"The story globally is it is doubling every two-to-three days. It is replacing the Delta variant," he said.

"There's good evidence, and it's getting stronger by the day, that having had your booster shot will protect you even more from serious illness."

He said 720,000 Victorians are currently eligible for a booster, after the interval was moved from six to five months from the second jab.

Overall, Professor Sutton said 330,000 people who are eligible for a vaccine had not yet received a first dose.

"Our behavioural surveys tell us that maybe 150,000 of those are determined not to get a vaccine," he said.

Those remaining had not "gotten around to it or are ambivalent".

There are 365 people in hospital, 84 of whom are in intensive care and 46 on ventilators.

Prof Sutton said 73 per cent of those in hospital were not fully vaccinated and that number grew to 91 per cent of those in ICU.

It comes as more than 700 Victorians are being sent into isolation after attending two Melbourne nightclubs on Friday night.

A positive Omicron case visited Sircuit Bar in Fitzroy between 9pm and midnight and Collingwood's The Peel Hotel from 11.30pm to 3am.

About 410 people were at Sircuit and 320 were at the Peel during those times, with all deemed close contacts.

They must get a PCR test immediately and isolate at home for seven days if fully vaccinated, or 14 if not.

© AAP 2021

Photo: Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley (AAP Image/Erik Anderson)

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