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Australia news LIVE: Victoria’s COVID cases rising sharply, NSW’s ‘freedom day’ looms, five-year-olds could get first shots by Christmas

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‘Not until everyone is welcome’: The Sydney businesses choosing to stay closed

Yoga studios, cafes, a beauty salon and a gym are among the Sydney businesses that will not reopen on Monday over concerns about requiring staff and customers to be vaccinated.

Sydney Yoga Collective, based in Bondi Junction, said it had “no intention of breaching your human rights”, while Hardcore Gym in Carlton, near Hurstville said vaccination passports contravened its values.

“I don’t want to open up until everyone is welcome”: Best Bagel Co. owner Sarah O’Brien.Credit:Brook Mitchell

Other business owners were concerned about potential conflict with customers over vaccine requirements.

Best Bagel Co. owner Sarah O’Brien said she was pro-vaccine but would continue to operate her Cremorne cafe as a takeaway business only. She said requiring staff and customers to be vaccinated had become polarising.

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Victoria’s Chief Health Officer could be sidelined as government ponders more power for ministers

The Victorian government is set to consider scaling back the powers of the state’s unelected Chief Health Officer, and giving the Health Minister greater control over public health orders to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.

Almost two years into the crisis, as the state prepares to ease restrictions and learn to live with the virus, Andrews government MPs are now asking when elected officials will get the ultimate power to sign off on public health orders.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton.Credit:Justin McManus

As part of its plan to permanently replace the controversial state of emergency legislation, which expires on December 15, the state government has been drafting specific pandemic laws which are set to be introduced to Parliament within weeks.

A group of government MPs confirmed to The Sunday Age one of the changes to be considered was giving the Health Minister sole authority to sign off on public health restrictions – powers which currently rest with Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton.

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This morning’s headlines

Good morning, Angus Thompson kicking off the national blog for you for Sunday, October 10. I’ll be bringing you the day’s most important news as it happens, but first here are a few of the biggest stories in today’s papers:

  • Victoria, NSW and Australia as a whole appear to be well on track to exceed the 80 per cent double-dose vaccination rate and push towards 90, an unexpected development that will have major implications for the way the country lives with COVID-19. More than 80 per cent of Australian adults have now been vaccinated at least once, with Victoria reaching 84 per cent on Friday and NSW 90 per cent.
  • NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet says he is committed to avoiding any further lockdowns in NSW, agreeing the measure would be a last resort as the state opens up on Monday, and has also flagged international borders could reopen for fully vaccinated Australians as early as November 1. That’s about two weeks ahead of the schedule flagged by the federal government.
  • Five-years-olds in Australia could get their first COVID-19 vaccinations over the summer if Pfizer can make a compelling case to the nation’s medicines regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, that the benefits of the jab outweigh any side effects.
  • Indonesia hopes to see Australian travellers return to Bali by the end of the year as the island welcomes back tourists from select countries including China, Japan and New Zealand this week, with virus cases easing on the island and across the Indonesian archipelago.
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