Australia news LIVE: Sydney schools to reopen earlier than expected; Victorian healthcare workers told to brace for COVID surge

Australia news LIVE: Sydney schools to reopen earlier than expected; Victorian healthcare workers told to brace for COVID surge

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Key posts

  • Childcare centres, primary school among Victoria’s latest exposure sites
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
  • 1 of 1

Childcare centres, primary school among Victoria’s latest exposure sites

In case you missed it, Victorian health authorities identified a number of new COVID-19 exposure sites last night, including several childcare centres and a primary school.

Narre Kids Early Learning and Kinder at Narre Warren, in Melbourne’s south east, was declared a tier-1 or close contact site between 9am and 4.30pm on Monday, September 27 and Tuesday, September 28.

Delahey Children’s Centre, in the city’s north west, was declared tier 1 for Thursday, September 23 between 1pm and 6pm. Meanwhile, Aspire Childcare Atherstone Estate at Strathtulloh (in the outer west) was declared tier 1 for Monday, September 27 between 8.30am and 10.30am.

Truganina Early Learning Centre in Melbourne’s west was also declared tier 1 for Thursday, September 23 between 7am and 4.30pm, while Kensington Community Children’s Co-operative in the inner north west was declared tier 1 on Thursday, September 23 between 9am and 3.30pm.

St Margaret’s Primary School at Maribyrnong, in Melbourne’s north west, was declared tier 1 for Thursday, September 23 between 8am and 4pm.

A full list of Victorian exposure sites can be found here.

Sydney schools to reopen a week earlier, classes to start from October 18

Sydney students will return to school a week earlier than originally announced after the state government reviewed its back-to-class plan amid faster than expected vaccinations, with kindergarten, year 1 and year 12 students now returning on October 18.

NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell also wants all schools across the city to reopen at the same time, in a sign that the government has stepped away from earlier plans to close those in areas with high rates of COVID-19 community transmission.

High school students will need to wear masks when schools reopenCredit:Getty

The NSW crisis cabinet made the decision on Wednesday, a senior government source who spoke on the condition of anonymity confirmed, and will meet later this week to consider an overhaul of the state’s contact tracing methods.

More on NSW’s updated back-to-school plan here.

Victorian health workers told to ‘prepare psychologically’ for surge

Prominent GPs have called for a new after-hours COVID-19 health hotline, as one paramedic describes Victorian emergency department conditions as “already apocalyptic” and the Andrews government warns the worst is yet to come.

With unprecedented demand on hospitals and calls to triple zero reaching levels on Monday not seen since the 2016 thunderstorm asthma event, state health officials have given welfare briefings this week urging front-line workers to “prepare psychologically” for a difficult few months as Victorians emerge from lockdown.

Melbourne GP Nathan Pinskier, who provides doctors to the Victorian government for COVID-19 testing and hotel quarantine, is part of a group of doctors proposing an after-hours service to field calls from patients and suspected cases, to give people an option other than calling triple-zero.

He said COVID-19 patients were currently monitored by a “fragmented” system of public hospital networks and community health services.

Read the full story here.

COVID spreads between double-dosed as CHO warns Qld won’t keep it out

One of the latest new Queensland cases of COVID-19 could be the state’s first recorded transmission of the virus between two people who were fully vaccinated.

As the state health authority battles to keep the Delta strain at bay, Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young warned she expected the virus to be circulating widely in the community well before year’s end.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young. Credit:Matt Dennien

“Once the community’s all vaccinated, we will get virus circulating and people will get sick, but the chances of them needing intensive care and dying with the disease are enormously lower,” she said.

Just one new local COVID-19 case was reported by Queensland authorities on Tuesday: a fully vaccinated close contact of an Eatons Hill-based aviation trainer believed to have contracted the virus from an international pilot.

While not included in Queensland’s figures, a Gold Coast-based truck driver spent Saturday to Monday infectious in the community before testing positive in NSW.

Read more about the situation in Queensland here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for reading our live coverage.

It’s Thursday, September 30. I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll keep you informed of some of today’s biggest stories as they unfold.

Here’s everything you need to know before we get started.

  • Sydney students will return to school a week earlier than originally expected. Those in kindergarten, years 1 and 12 can now return to school on October 18. A week later, years 2, 6 and 11 will return. Then, on November 1, all remaining grades will head back to the classroom. Yesterday, NSW recorded 863 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 deaths – the deadliest 24-hour reporting period for the state so far. Meanwhile, people in NSW aged 60 and over will now have access to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
  • Victorian healthcare workers are being told to brace for a surge in hospitalisations once Melbourne emerges from lockdown off the back of high vaccination rates. Meanwhile, the Victorian Health Department is facing $95 million in fines over alleged infection control breaches in state-run hotel quarantine. And the construction union’s Melbourne office has been labelled a tier-1 exposure site due to last week’s violent scuffle involving people unhappy about the building industry’s vaccine mandate. Victoria recorded a record 950 coronavirus cases yesterday and seven deaths.
  • New COVID cases have Brisbane and the Gold Coast on high alert. Queensland recorded one new community case yesterday, a close contact of an aviation worker who was one of Tuesday’s four cases. A truck driver working between NSW and Qld was also among yesterday’s numbers, but has been added to NSW’s official tally. Hundreds of people have been ordered into home quarantine, but neither Brisbane nor the Gold Coast has been placed in lockdown.
  • The ACT recorded 22 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday and one death. Ten coronavirus patients are in Canberra hospitals and Chief Minister Andrew Barr wants the territory out of lockdown by the middle of next month.
  • In Western Australia, the men who snuck into the state from Victoria to watch the AFL grand final have been locked-up until their next court appearance. One of the men has tested negative to coronavirus. However, authorities are continuing their investigations after the other man returned an inconclusive test (though it is likely to be a false positive). Both face time in jail. WA’s vaccine commander says the men “knowingly put others at risk”.
  • And in overseas news, YouTube says it will block all anti-vaccine content. And Fumio Kishida, Japan’s former foreign affairs minister, will become the country’s new prime minister.
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