Qld border to reopen to Greater Sydney, NSW restrictions eased, COVID Performance Index ranks Australia eighth, 2021 Tokyo Olympics to go ahead

The Queensland government had seemingly not given the NSW Premier a heads-up about the news.

“Fantastic, good news and I hope that means a lot of families that were hoping to get together over Christmas and New Year’s and couldn’t, can reunite now,” Ms Berejiklian told Ben Fordham Live this morning.

Ms Berejiklian said she also hoped states won’t close borders to all of NSW in the future if one or two hotspots emerge again.

“I don’t think it should mean the whole state is punished … we’ve got a very sound quarantine system around Australia but within our own country, we should be allowed to move around freely,” Ms Berejiklian said.

She also said she expects restrictions will be eased even further in another fortnight if no new locally acquired cases are recorded.

Up to 30 guests will be allowed in homes and 50 people will be allowed to gather outside from midnight. Masks will also no longer be mandatory for shoppers, but will still be required for hospitality workers and on public transport.

“We’re encouraging people to go back to work, that’s why we’re keeping masks on public transport … so they have that level of safety and confidence to go back to the workplace,” Ms Berejiklian said.

She said health experts have advised her to wait two fortnights after the last recorded local case before easing restrictions further.

Once that is achieved, Ms Berejiklian said the government plans to reduce social distancing in businesses from four square metres per person to two square metres.

“At the moment, it’s too risky to say, ‘let everything be eased’, and then if we have a superspreading event, we’ll be back to where we were before Christmas,” she said.

However, she said the outlook for further easing of restrictions “is great”.

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NSW restrictions likely to be eased, Australian Open crisis continues, TGA to overlook COVID vaccine safety

Professor Kelly warned on Tuesday Australia had to be cautious in restarting international travel given the country was in an “envious position” compared to most of the world.

However, he added Australia was reviewing the health risk of neighbouring countries in the Pacific, while also in “close discussions” with New Zealand, whose residents are allowed into Australia.

Compulsory masks on public transport are likely to remain even after other restrictions are eased. Credit: Renee Nowytarger

NSW recorded no new local coronavirus cases for the third day in a row on Wednesday, prompting Ms Berejiklian to flag that restrictions will most likely be eased next week.

After 19,959 tests were recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday – nearly double that of the previous day – the Premier said the health advice was restrictions could start to be eased to what they were before the northern beaches outbreak in December.

Read the full story here.

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Latest Restriction Eases In Victoria Announced Following 8-Straight Days

restriction ease

Victorian Government recently announced that mask rules will be eased and gave a green light that workers will be able to return to the office at a greater capacity.

The restriction ease has surfaced after the state had recorded eight straight days of no new locally acquired COVID-19 cases.

This was confirmed by Premier Daniel Andrews as he announced the ‘pause’ on the state’s return to work schedule was lifted, along with the plan prior to the Black Rock outbreak given the green light to go ahead.

This means numerous private businesses and its staff can return to operation with 50 per cent capacity. On the other hand, the public sector will be able to return to 25 per cent.

As per the Premier “It’s a positive step forward. I think pausing for the week was the right choice to make given there was some uncertainty, but now eight days of zero means we can make that announcement.”

In addition to the ease, mask-wearing will revert back to the earlier Christmas mandates, in which they are only compulsory in high-risk settings indoors such as supermarkets, shopping centres, hospitals, domestic flights, Ubers/taxis and public transport.

“We know masks have been a very important insurance policy. That extra level of protection against transmitting this virus.” Mr Andrews added.

As per record, more than 16,000 test results were received in the past 24 hours and the number of active COVID-19 cases has dropped to 29. The triple zero figures come as the state has issued fresh isolations rules for travellers who have returned from a Brisbane quarantine hotel.

Currently, there are six cases of coronavirus in Queensland that have been found to be the highly contagious UK strain of the virus, which all have been linked to the Grand Chancellor Hotel.

The Premier confirmed 18 people in Victoria were quarantining in the Brisbane hotel during the outbreak period of concern.

“We are contacting them, we are testing them. Some will need to isolate. Some will simply need to get a negative test. There’s not one blanket answer. It depends on when they were in hotel quarantine.”

Thus, Victorian health authorities have urged anyone who was a resident or worked at the hotel at any time on or after December 30 to self-isolate and urgently call Queensland Health on 134 COVID.

Restrictions eased following Greater Brisbane snap lockdown

Greater Brisbane’s snap three-day lockdown has come to an end, however some restrictions have remained in place from 6pm tonight until 1am on January 22.

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Sydney COVID northern beaches cluster grows by seven; Greater Sydney restrictions, northern beaches lockdown eased for Christmas by Gladys Berejiklian

People more vulnerable to coronavirus have been asked to reconsider their Christmas plans despite Sydney being given a three-day slight reprieve from its restrictions.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said people over 70 or with comorbidities should “seriously” reconsider having guests to their home this weekend.

“If they do, try and do it outside in the fresh air – perhaps on a balcony, perhaps outside somewhere – so that you minimise the risks,” he said.

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said people were being discouraged from visiting aged care facilities in the northern beaches over the Christmas break although guidance would be provided after consultation with the aged care industry, particularly for the southern part of the northern beaches.

“The risk is too high,” she said.”There will be exceptions in all cases, where someone may be at end of life and we need to take a pragmatic view.”

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Sydney COVID northern beaches cluster grows by seven; Greater Sydney restrictions, northern beaches lockdown eased for Christmas by Gladys Berejiklian

Northern beaches residents will not be allowed to leave their region.

From Thursday to Saturday, eased restrictions will be also be implemented across greater Sydney.

While household gatherings will continue to be limited to 10 guests, children under 12 will not be included that 10 from Thursday to Saturday.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the “modest changes” to the restrictions would be reassessed on Saturday.

“Whilst we appreciate the modest changes we’ve made over the next three days, we also accept and respect the fact that many families and individuals may choose not to take up that opportunity because of concerns they may have for vulnerable members of their family, or because they’re worried about acquiring or the virus or contributing to transmission,” she said.

“We ask everybody to make those assessments.”

The remaining seven cases were associated with the northern beaches cluster, which is now at 97 cases.NSW recorded more than 42,000 tests in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday, after a record 44,466 tests were reported in the previous 24 hours.

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International flights return to Melbourne; Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani has coronavirus; NSW quarantine bungle could threaten WA’s border reopening; UK gears up for huge vaccination plan; Freedom day in NSW and Victoria with restrictions eased

One of NSW’s top doctors is “very worried” residents in the former COVID-19 hotspot will let their guard down as restrictions ease, leading to fast-moving outbreaks within the state.

From today, NSW residents can enjoy standing drinks once again as the numbers of people allowed in bars and restaurants increases. A one person per two-square-metre rule will now apply at those venues along with weddings and funerals.

And, the freedom to party is back with 50 people allowed on a dancefloor.

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Coronavirus restrictions have eased again in Victoria and NSW. Here’s what you need to know

Residents of Victoria and New South Wales are enjoying new freedoms, as more COVID-19 restrictions were eased on Monday morning ahead of the festive season. 

In Victoria, it is no longer compulsory to wear masks in offices or cafes.

Masks must still be carried at all times and worn on public transport, in ride-share vehicles, at indoor shopping centres and crowded places.

People wearing face masks are seen waiting to board a flight to Sydney at Melbourne.


Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says people should use their discretion about wearing masks in instances where adequate social distancing cannot be achieved.

“Masks have been a great insurance policy and remain as such,” Mr Andrews said.

Melbourne households are now able to receive 30 visitors a day – up from 15 – from an unlimited number of other homes. 

Outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people are permitted in public places.

People seen walking around and lining up for rides without wearing masks at Luna Park in Melbourne.

People seen walking around and lining up for rides without wearing masks at Luna Park in Melbourne.

Sipa USA Alexander Bogatyrev / SOPA Image

Caps have been removed for weddings, funerals and religious events, with attendance instead subject to one person per two square metres.

Patron limits at pubs, cafes and restaurants have also been scrapped, but venues must observe the rule of one person per two square metres. Customers will no longer have to be seated for service.

In NSW, residents are enjoying what Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has described as “freedom day”. 

The rule of one person per four square metres will change to one person per two square metres, with gyms and nightclubs the only exceptions.

Caps on patron numbers at hospitality venues, weddings and funerals are scrapped, and standing in outdoor hospitality venues will be permitted.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian addresses media during a COVID-19 update in Sydney.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian addresses media during a COVID-19 update in Sydney.


Nightclubs can open, with up to 50 people on the dancefloor at a time.

Controlled events are permitted to have up to 5000 people, while stadiums and outdoor theatres can operate at 100 per cent capacity.

Indoor stadiums and theatres can operate at 75 per cent capacity and choirs of up to 50 people will be permitted to perform indoors.

The government has also agreed to lift the limit on outdoor gatherings – including back yards – to 100 people, in time for Christmas celebrations.

The changes come into effect only days after the diagnosis of a Sydney hotel quarantine worker threatened the state’s progress, as it notched up 26 days without a locally transmitted virus case.

But with authorities confirming the woman was infected at work and a testing blitz yet to yield another positive result, the NSW government has proceeded with the changed restrictions.

It also follows the quarantining of 176 passengers and crew from a flight into Melbourne, after German travellers failed to enter mandatory quarantine in Sydney, and boarded Virgin flight VA838 which landed in Melbourne on Saturday.

Neither of the pair – a 53-year-old woman and 15-year-old boy – have shown symptoms and have since tested negative to COVID, Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your jurisdiction’s restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

Please check the relevant guidelines for your state or territory: NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory, ACT, Tasmania


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Top cop says eased COVID-19 rules won’t mean ‘free for all’

A SENIOR police officer has reminded residents and visitors to the Far North Coast to adhere to COVID-19 rules or suffer the consequences over the festive season and into the new year.

With extra resources deployed to the region, police are reminding people to party safe.

Tweed Byron Police District Inspector Matt Kehoe said while the pandemic regulations from December 1, 2020, now allowed gatherings of up to 50 people inside a house or in a public space, people must still be careful.

“The gathering numbers increased does not give people a free-for-all to organise large parties in public spaces or in homes,” he said.

“We will be cracking down if this is what we are presented with and there are some quite significant penalties in place for COVID-19 breaches.”

Insp Kehoe said a recent doof party at Belongil, which was attended by 400 people, was a prime example of entitled and selfish behaviour.

He also warned anyone planning on causing trouble in the area around New Year’s Eve to think twice.

“We will have a high visibility police presence with extra resources deployed,” he said.

“We are trying to reinforce the message that if people do come, to respect the community and surrounds, have a safe time and be conscious of the COVID-19 restrictions.”

Insp Kehoe said all available resources form the police district would be on hand to keep the community safe.

“We will be managing with operational support on the ground and as well as local resources with have support from other regions,” he said.

“We want everyone to enjoy themselves but have a safe time too.”

Last year residents in the popular resort town were furious with the rubbish left behind on beaches after new year’s eve celebrations.

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