Premier’s demand to states on flight caps
Queensland is considering halving the number of COVID-free days required for its southern border to be reopened to 14 days.
Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Daniel Gschwind says the government is in talks over whether to allow NSW residents to travel freely into the Sunshine State if there is a fortnight without community transmission.
"It has been mentioned as one option as many people have said 28 days is a long period. We'd be very much in favour of that," he said.
NSW recorded 10 new cases of the virus in the past day including six in hotel quarantine and four infections linked to a known case or cluster.
Under current criteria, NSW must have 28 days of no community transmission for the border to be reopened. This has been dubbed a "tall order" by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
On Wednesday, Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles did not confirm whether restrictions would be lifted sooner.
Instead, he said authorities would make a decision later this month on whether to reopen the border after monitoring South Australia's opening with the ACT.
"We'll continue to monitor the situation in other states. We understand it's been about 65 days since the ACT has had a case so we will take that into account."
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian suggested that there is "no reason" to keep the QLD border closed, based on current definitions of hot spots.
"If you look at any proposed definition of a hotspot, technically there aren't any in NSW," she said.
"So, I'd be arguing that there is no reason to keep the border closed today.
"If you look at our case numbers and the way that we are managing the situation, the number of people we're processing through quarantine, the number of tests we're doing … I would argue that the QLD border shouldn't be closed today.
"We only had four community transmissions overnight with all from existing clusters.
"No unknown cases, and yesterday's unknown cases were ruled out as well."
NEW ALERTS FOR SYDNEY VENUES
Of the new NSW cases, one is a close contact of a case linked to the CBD cluster who had completed self-isolation prior to becoming symptomatic.
Three of the new cases are linked to a staff member at Concord Emergency Department, including a student at Blue Mountains Grammar School, a household contact of the student who did not attend school while infectious and a close contact of the student who is not at school.
NSW Health has issued new alerts for the following Sydney venues:
- Springwood Sports Club at 83 Macquarie Road, Springwood: September 12 from 1-2pm
- Lawson oval in Lawson: September 13 from 10:30am-12:45pm
- Hunters Hill Bowling Club: September 9 from 6:50pm-9pm.
- JB-HIFI Penrith Plaza: September 13 from 4-4.30pm
- Anytime Fitness, Casula: September 11 from 10:15am-12pm
2000 EXTRA AUSTRALIANS ALLOWED HOME
Up to 2000 extra Australians will be allowed back into the country each week under changes to flight caps, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack announced on Wednesday.
At least 25,000 Australians, including up to 3000 deemed vulnerable, are stranded overseas.
"It has been a difficult situation for some trying to get home and we have acknowledged that," Mr McCormack said.
"We want those returning Australians to be able to do so … I want to raise that to 6000.
"I have written to premiers and chief ministers to make that possible so that we can bring home 2000 more."
The Federal Government reduced the number of incoming flights in August to 4000 passengers a week in a bid to ease pressure on state and territory quarantine facilities until October 24.
NSW is taking the brunt of the arrivals at 350 passengers a day, while Perth is accepting 525 a week.
Brisbane and Adelaide have a limit of 500 passengers a week.
"We will increase the number of Australians coming into Sydney by 500," Mr McCormack said.
"As well 500 more will be coming into Queensland and I urge and encourage (Premier) Annastacia Palaszczuk to look at the Gold Coast and Cairns.
"Likewise, WA is increasing its capacity by 500; SA about 360."
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said she will agree to up the intake of returned overseas travellers if the other states also agree to do so.
"I can confirm the prime minister and I had a very good conversation yesterday, he asked for NSW to take on an extra 500 travellers every week, which would mean that our daily cap would go from 350 to 420," she said.
"I have consulted my relevant ministers and the police commissioner, who is in charge of quarantine, everybody said they could take on that extra load.
"I have agreed on the basis that the other states double what they're currently taking, so that would mean that QLD and WA would go from about 500 a week to 1000 a week, it would still only be about a third of what NSW is doing, but it certainly means they would be sharing the load more.
"If the other states agree to up their numbers, we will then also accommodate that."
VICTORIA RECORDS 42 CASES, EIGHT DEATHS
Victoria has recorded another 42 new cases of coronavirus overnight, with eight people succumbing to the deadly disease.
It comes after no deaths were recorded on Tuesday.
More than a million Victorians will be able to travel, go to the pub and visit friends as regional cities and country towns are given the green light to open up.
From 11.59pm on Wednesday, restrictions on regional Victorians will eased to allow them to dine in at restaurants, cafes and pubs, and gather outdoors in groups of up to 10.
Masks will still be mandatory in regional Victoria, but there will be no restriction on leaving home for any reason, and community sport will return for all children.
The number of permitted attendees at weddings and funerals will also increase, and retail and beauty businesses can reopen.
In a boost ahead of the school holidays, intrastate travel will also be allowed, and tourist accommodation in regional Victoria will reopen.
MANAGING MENTAL HEALTH DURING COVID
One of the nation's top anxiety and depression experts has warned Australian could be suffering with the mental health ramifications of COVID-19 for a long time to come - urging people to think of the pandemic as a marathon and not a sprint.
St Vincent's Hospital and University of NSW's Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression head Dr Mike Millard has created a report that outlines 10 tips for managing your mental health during COVID.
Mr Millard said he predicts the mental health impact of the pandemic will linger for a long time - likely even after a vaccine is found.
"What a lot of us thought of as a spring earlier on in the year is very much turning out to be a marathon. And it is a marathon without knowing the finishing line or when we will reach it," Mr Millard said.
"We are in the second wave of the pandemic but the mental health aspects are going to be with us for quite a while."
The report titled Tips for Getting Through the COVID-19 Marathon suggested planning one fun activity and one productive activity every day, monitoring the things you are reading and watching to ensure there is a balance between information and fun, be proactive about managing any health concerns and sticking to a routine for healthy eating and exercise.
Mr Millard said as the pandemic has gone on, it has been harder for people to stick to mental wellness activities like contacting family and friends and taking care of themselves.
"There are the people who have generally not had mental health difficulties before but are now suddenly forced with thinking about where their next meal comes from," he said.
"We also have a sizeable proportion of people who had pre-existing mental health difficulties."
Mr Millard said as time has gone on, the novelty of self-care activities like cooking, gardening and Zoom video calls has been lost for many people.
"We are seeing a lot less people posting photos of being home baking and those sorts of things we saw in the first lockdown," he said.
"This is going to be with us for a while so let's use the time to learn skills to manage our mental wellbeing."
The report encouraged people to celebrate small wins each day and spent quality time with loves ones even if it has to be over the phone.
Originally published as Sydney gym, club alerts, Premier's demand to states on flight caps