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Australia news LIVE: Three-week COVID-19 vaccine blitz starts in Melbourne’s north and west; outdoor restrictions ease in NSW for fully-vaxxed as infections rise

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Key posts

  • Fresh ad campaign for COVID-19 jabs focuses on freedoms, young people
  • Victorian school that flouted lockdown rules hit by COVID outbreak
  • Terror threats on rise following Afghanistan, coronavirus shutdowns: Home Affairs Minister
  • A closer look at the new outdoor gathering rules in NSW for the fully-vaxxed
  • The morning’s headlines at a glance
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Fresh ad campaign for COVID-19 jabs focuses on freedoms, young people

The push to get millions more COVID-19 jabs into Australian arms entered a new phase from Sunday, with a fresh advertising campaign rolled out across the country.

The government’s First Things First vaccination advertising campaign.

Dubbed First Things First, the campaign highlights the freedoms that vaccinated Australians will enjoy once the 70 and then 80 per cent vaccination targets set out in the national plan to begin re-opening the country are reached.

It shows people in a range of every day settings – from pubs, family dinners, hairdressers and nightclubs through to a grandparent holding her grandchild and ends with a simple message: “Before we can do the thing we want to do, there is something we all need to do first – book your COVID-19 vaccination”.

Lieutenant-General John Frewen, who is in charge of the vaccine roll out to doctors and pharmacies across the country said the new campaign, which coincides with people aged 12 to 15 becoming eligible for the jab, was designed to mobilise all Australians – particularly younger ones – to get vaccinated.

Read the full story here.

Victorian school that flouted lockdown rules hit by COVID outbreak

A Fitzroy North primary school whose principal has repeatedly flouted public health orders and invited families to send in their children during lockdowns has been hit by a significant coronavirus outbreak.

Premier Daniel Andrews warned on Sunday that reopening Melbourne’s classrooms – closed since August 5 – would cause COVID-19 cases to quickly spread through schools, forcing many to close again almost immediately.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday.Credit:Paul Jeffers

The state recorded 392 new coronavirus infections on Sunday. The state’s Deputy Chief Health Officer, Dan O’Brien, said 30 students and staff had tested positive at the Fitzroy Community School in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy North.

“It looks like the case numbers are at least 30 but it’s growing from there,” he said.

Emails obtained by The Age reveal the principal, Timothy Berryman, invited parents to send their children in repeatedly while Melbourne has been in lockdown, arguing that the damage to their mental health from extended periods of remote learning was potentially severe, while the health risks to children from catching coronavirus were negligible.

News of the school outbreak came as Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Victoria would get more than 400,000 extra Pfizer and Moderna vaccine shots. It followed Mr Andrews’ claim last week that Victoria was being short-changed by Canberra by about 340,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines, in preference for Sydney.

Read the full story here.

Terror threats on rise following Afghanistan, coronavirus shutdowns: Home Affairs Minister

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews says Australians cannot be complacent about the threat of terrorism amid the rise of home-grown religiously motivated and ideologically driven groups which have been fuelled by the “dark web” during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Ms Andrews will use a major speech to mark the 20-year anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the United States to warn that sporting arenas, shopping malls, airports, and other iconic locations will again need to contend with the “spectre of terrorism” as the nation reopens following months of restrictions.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews. Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

She will convene a meeting of Commonwealth, state and territory police agencies in the coming weeks to deal with what she says are significant developments in threats.

“Individuals, groups, and ideologies – both old and new – continue to plot and fantasise about doing us harm … I don’t say this to scaremonger – rather – to ensure we’re clear-eyed about the threat; so we can prepare now to safeguard all Australians from those who would do us harm,” Ms Andrews will say in a speech to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Read the full story here.

A closer look at the new outdoor gathering rules in NSW for the fully-vaxxed

As we reported last week, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced a road map for easing restrictions for fully vaccinated people in the state once 70 per cent of people aged 16 and over have received both jabs.

On current estimates the state will reach that milestone in about mid-October.

A red sunrise at Avalon ahead of a warm day on Friday. The weather forecast for Sydney today is much less picnic-friendly.Credit:Nick Moir

But some new freedoms for fully vaccinated people in NSW started at 12.01am today:

  • People who live outside the local government areas of concern are allowed to gather outdoors for recreation, including picnics, in groups of up to five fully vaccinated adults (children under 12, for whom no vaccine is approved, are not included in the total) in their LGA, or within five kilometres from home.
  • For people who live in the LGAs of concern, households with all adults fully vaccinated are able to gather outdoors for recreation, including picnics. This is for up to two hours (up from one hour), must not occur during the 9pm to 5am curfew and must be within five kilometres from home. These two recreation hours are in addition to exercise.

As Daniella White reports, the weather forecast suggests picnics might be on the back burner for the next few days.

The local government areas of concern are: Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta, Strathfield and the Penrith suburbs of Caddens, Claremont Meadows, Colyton, Erskine Park, Kemps Creek, Kingswood, Mount Vernon, North St Marys, Orchard Hills, Oxley Park, St Clair and St Marys.

The morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of the day’s events.

I’m Michaela Whitbourn and I’ll be anchoring the live blog for the first half of the day. Here’s everything you need to know from the past 24 hours in news:

  • NSW recorded 1262 new local cases of coronavirus on Sunday and another seven deaths, taking the outbreak death toll to 177. Restrictions on small outdoor gatherings eased at 12.01am for the fully-vaccinated, although the weather forecast may put a dampener on any weekday picnic plans.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian provides an update on COVID-19 on Sunday. Today’s update will be provided by NSW Health via an online video.Credit:Edwina Pickles

  • As of today, NSW government ministers including Premier Gladys Berejiklian were expected to stop providing the daily coronavirus update at a press conference in Sydney. Information on the number of new infections in the state was expected to be provided by NSW Health officials via an online video, with the premier and other government ministers appearing on a “needs basis”. This new approach comes as infections and intensive care admissions are expected to peak in coming weeks. Ms Berejiklian clarified on Sunday that she may still appear seven days a week in some cases, or three days a week. “It depends on what’s going on,” she said on Sunday. There are reports Ms Berejiklian will decide today is a day that requires a press conference. We’ll bring you the latest news as it happens.

Victoria has started opening drive-through clinics in areas with lower vaccination rates, such as Melton in Melbourne’s west.Credit:Paul Jeffers

  • Victoria recorded 392 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. A three-week vaccine blitz targeting Melbourne’s northern and western suburbs starts today, with the Commonwealth to send several hundred thousand extra Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 jabs to GPs, pharmacies and state-run hubs. State hubs and GPs will receive the Pfizer vaccine while pharmacists will receive the long-awaited Moderna vaccine.
  • Queensland reported zero new cases of COVID-19 in the community on Sunday. The state’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeannette Young, said she was “genuinely hopeful” the state had dodged a serious outbreak, but warned that the threat had not passed. Almost 1000 families are in home quarantine for two weeks because of school and social ties to an infected family of five from Sunnybank and Moorooka. Dr Young said on Sunday it was almost certain the origin of that outbreak was a man who had travelled with two others from NSW on September 5 and stayed overnight at the home of the family’s father.
  • The ACT recorded 15 new cases of COVID-19 in the community on Sunday. Ten people are in hospital. On Tuesday, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr is expected to unveil a cautious and gradual plan for easing restrictions in the territory.
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