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The CHO also said protective measures were needed to ensure the Victorian healthcare system was not overwhelmed.

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A statement of the reasons for the declaration of a pandemic and the opinion of Professor Sutton and Mr Foley will be tabled in Parliament, while a copy will also be published in the Official Journal.

The declaration is the result of pandemic-specific legislation passed by the Victorian parliament last week.

The Bill to Amend the Public Health and Welfare (Pandemic Management) Bill allows the Prime Minister to declare a pandemic and the Minister of Health to enforce orders such as lockdown, port of masks, vaccination warrants and quarantine.

The new laws were necessary because the state of emergency could no longer be extended.

But they quickly became a lightning rod for anti-containment and anti-vaccination groups, which occupied the steps of the state parliament for weeks in protest.

Andrews said the new framework has more control than a state of emergency, with an independent joint inquiry committee and the ability for parliament to reject orders in the event of a pandemic.

“We have learned a lot in the past two years from this global pandemic – now we are applying those lessons to manage pandemics in the future, support our public health system, keep Victorians safe, and keep our vaccinated economy open.” , did he declare. noted.

It comes as Victoria has recorded 1,206 new COVID-19 infections, all but three locally acquired and two deaths.

This is the fifth day in a row that daily infections have surpassed 1,000, bringing the total number of active cases to 11,224.

Among the infections, there are two more cases of the Omicron variant.

Victoria recorded 1,206 new COVID-19 infections on Friday.

Source: PAA

There are now three cases of Omicron in Victoria, after a returning traveler was identified in quarantine at the hotel earlier this week.

The latter two cases are from overseas travelers, who landed on a flight from Dubai to Melbourne on November 30.

Genomic sequencing is underway to determine whether a COVID-positive third person on the flight carries the new variant, which has been seen in South Africa and has since spread to more than 50 countries.

All other passengers have been contacted and asked to get tested, as contact tracers attempt to prevent the variant from infiltrating the community.

In addition, three previously suspected Omicron cases – none of which had a history of interstate or overseas travel – have been confirmed or are likely to be infected with the Delta variant, according to the Department of Health.

Prime Minister Daniel Andrews reiterated that the state is not pursuing an “Omicron zero strategy”, describing it as unachievable.

Some 313 Victorians are battling the virus in hospital, including 104 in intensive care and 25 on a ventilator. The average seven-day hospital stay remains stable at 306.

Testers processed 66,784 results on Thursday, while 3,925 people were vaccinated at state-run centers.

Victoria’s double-dose vaccination rate for ages 12 and older stands at 91.9%, as the state prepares to start rolling out doses of Pfizer for children five to 11 years old from 10 January after final approval from Australia’s Immunization Advisory Body.

Tasmania changes rules ahead of reopening

Tasmania has changed its rules for reopening borders for residents traveling to and from high-risk areas on the mainland.

The island state will allow entry from Wednesday for all fully vaccinated travelers, provided they return a negative test within 72 hours of arrival.

Under the original plan, Tasmanian residents traveling to high-risk locations were exempted from needing a test if they spent less than a week there.

But Prime Minister Peter Gutwein announced on Friday that all Tasmanians will need to be tested if they visit high-risk areas.

“All Tasmanians who travel to high-risk areas will need to be tested for COVID-19, regardless of how little time they have spent there,” he told reporters.

“If you want to go shopping in Melbourne for a day and find yourself in one of the high risk areas then you will need to take a test on your return and self-isolate until you get the result. ”

Prime Minister of Tasmania Peter Gutwein.

Source: PAA

Mr Gutwein said 90% of Tasmanians aged 16 and over will be fully immunized by the end of the weekend.

The island state is currently closed to NSW and Victoria, its two largest tourist markets, as well as ACT and hot spots in other jurisdictions.

Tasmania has been virtually free from community transmission of COVID-19 since a fatal outbreak in the northwest in April last year.

NSW and Queensland

New South Wales has recorded its highest number of cases since the lockdown was lifted, with health authorities worrying about increased transmission occurring in larger social venues such as pubs and clubs.

As of Thursday, some 516 infections were detected on more than 90,000 tests, but no new deaths linked to the virus were reported.

It is the highest daily tally on New South Wales since October 9, two days before the lockdown was lifted.

Among the cases was a traveler whose diagnosis triggered a short-term lockdown at a Bondi hostel.

Police cordoned off Noah’s Bondi Backpackers on Thursday afternoon as NSW Health locked it down and began testing all residents.

A spokesperson for the Sydney Local Health District confirmed on Thursday evening that a case had been detected.

“The case is now isolated. At the moment, Omicron is not a suspect, ”they said.

This is a relief for health authorities, who are already fighting to contain at least two major transmission events.

A quiz night at a Sydney pub sparked a new cluster of cases, with at least 44 customers testing positive for the virus after attending the popular Oxford Tavern in Petersham on November 30.

Authorities are also concerned about 140 passengers who embarked on a Sydney Harbor cruise on Friday evening, which has so far resulted in five cases of the Omicron variant.

NSW Health said on Friday it was concerned about the increase in transmission taking place in large social venues such as pubs, clubs and party venues.

“Transmission in these types of settings is contributing to the increase in cases in NSW and we urge people not to attend social activities if they have symptoms, however mild,” he said. .

The number of people diagnosed with the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in NSW has now exceeded 40.

NSW Health has also issued an alert for Woody’s Surf Shack Night Club in Byron Bay for several days, where thousands of teens are celebrating schoolchildren.

“As Christmas approaches, and more and more of us get together with families, friends and colleagues to celebrate, it is especially important to be vigilant,” she said.

Gatherings should be held outdoors whenever possible, she said, and people with even mild symptoms should not attend or have visitors.

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But Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet calls for “confidence, hope and optimism” before most restrictions end next week.

From December 15, density limits will be removed, QR records will only be required in high-risk locations, and masks will only need to be worn on public transport, at airports and on airplanes.

The government also announced a boost to the rebate relief available to qualifying individual merchants, nonprofits, and small businesses across the state.

They will be able to access up to $ 2,000 – up from $ 1,500 – to offset certain NSW and local government fees, including food and liquor permits, event fees and council rates.

In Queensland, six new locally acquired COVID-19 cases have been recorded and the state is investigating a seventh just three days ahead of border restrictions with ease from NSW.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the six confirmed cases, and the seventh, are on the Gold Coast, with evidence of community transmission across the region.

With SBS News