Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor evacuated, Paul Kelly dismisses AstraZeneca COVID vaccine criticisms, NSW-Victoria border tensions rise amid 2021 Australian Open

He passed it to his wife, who was in the same room as him, but also to a hotel cleaner who serviced the room once they had been moved to hospital. That sparked a three-day lockdown of Greater Brisbane after the cleaner visited a number of locations while infectious.

The cleaner also infected her partner, who was not involved with the hotel, but because of their relationship, that did not surprise health authorities.

But the tipping point came after genomic testing confirmed a man and woman who arrived in Brisbane from Lebanon also picked up the B.1.1.7 strain.

They were also staying on the seventh floor of the hotel, which Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said sounded alarm bells.

“We’re going to be very, very careful about floor seven and see whether that’s where it spread and the rest of the hotel is fine, but we don’t know, so we’re taking a really cautious approach, as we always do here in Queensland,” Dr Young said.

As a result, the hotel’s guests and staff have all been evacuated, with those in quarantine moved to the nearby Westin Hotel, where their 14-day quarantine clocks have been reset to zero.

Read more: Mystery of the seventh floor: How did the virus spread in hotel quarantine?

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NSW records one local COVID-19 case, AstraZeneca vaccine concerns raised, NSW-Victoria border tensions rise, 2021 Australian Open set to begin

“My temperature rose to 38 degrees celsius and I battled with it for three days, but it became clear I could not do that independently,” Shelomentseva said.

Doctors immediately performed a cesarean section to deliver baby girl Liza, but still feared for the recovery of the mother who went on to spend almost two months on a ventilator to help her breathe.

“It was a very serious case,” said Galina Shkandriy, head of the Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Department at the hospital where Shelomentseva was treated. “The entire ward is to thank for the patient recovering from 100 per cent lung damage,” the RIA news agency cited her as saying.

“When we consulted doctors from around the city, they all said ‘you probably won’t be able to do anything because with those indicators, people don’t survive’.

“Oksana spent 51 days in intensive care in a most serious condition. We were able to save her from the most severe lung damage and multiple organ failure.”

Shelomentseva was discharged on Monday and returned home to her husband and three children, including baby Liza.

At 3,448,203, Russia has the world’s fourth-largest tally of coronavirus cases after the United States, India and Brazil, and has reported 62,804 deaths from the virus.

Pregnant women are considered at higher risk of severe effects of COVID-19 compared to other women of the same age, and researchers have found a link between coronavirus and pre-term births.

with Reuters

Thank you for stopping by and checking out this article involving National and NSW news and updates published as “NSW records one local COVID-19 case, AstraZeneca vaccine concerns raised, NSW-Victoria border tensions rise, 2021 Australian Open set to begin”. This news update was posted by My Local Pages as part of our Australian news services.

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AstraZeneca COVID vaccine concerns raised, NSW-Victoria border tensions rise, 2021 Australian Open set to begin in Melbourne

“I would urge people looking at this to look at the full information not just pick one figure from that study,” he said, referring to an interim report from phase three clinical trials of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Professor Kelly said three different countries with slightly different protocols had been involved in the phase three AstraZeneca trial – the results of which were published in early December and form the basis of the concerns expressed by the Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology today.

“The pooled result was 70 per cent [effectiveness]. In one group, it was 90 per cent. And 62 per cent was the larger group,” he said. The Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology is most concerned about the 62 per cent figure.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Professor Kelly said more information was still on its way to the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which is ultimately responsible for approving the vaccine.

“We’ll have much more information than a five- or six-page article published in [the medical journal] The Lancet when the TGA makes its decision. They’ll have tens of thousands of pages, probably, of information,” he said.

“Once they make that decision we’ll be guided by it. At minimum, [it is an] effective vaccine. It definitely exceeds the World Health Organisation’s goal of over 50 per cent effectiveness.”

Professor Kelly said the government would accelerate its public information campaign once vaccines were approved and available, and stopped short of commenting on whether some members of Parliament were undermining the government’s own health advice on social media.

Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly has become a dangerous source of dubious advice at a time when the government wants full support for a mammoth effort to vaccinate almost everyone.

“That’s their choice to do these in a democratic country that allows free speech,” he said.

“I would say this though – all along, I’ve labelled this as the social media pandemic. People should really be careful about who they’re listening to and who they’re looking [to] for advice. I would really respectfully say the Australian government and the state and territory governments are the places to go to first.”

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NSW-Victoria border closure leaves people racing to find a way back home before enforced quarantine

It took just one news notification to wreck the night Stella McNab had been waiting months for.

The 21-year-old Melbourne student caught a train to Wagga Wagga on Wednesday, to spend the new year with her best friend.

The pair had not seen each other since March when lockdowns first began.

After a year of isolation and loneliness, separated from her family who live in regional Victoria, Stella was hoping to send off the year with joy.

Instead, her night was filled with anxiety as she became one of many Melburnians holidaying in NSW who had to rush to get back across the border before it closed.

“It’s been a really stressful and precarious time,” she said.

“Because I didn’t drive, I was sort of stuck in limbo and I didn’t feel like I got much of a warning when that notification came through on my phone.”

Thousands of Victorians queued for hours on roads in a bid to get back from New South Wales before midnight to avoid quarantining for 14 days.

After 11:59pm last night they were being turned around at the border, and anyone returning from today is required to go through hotel quarantine for 14 days.

Hotel quarantine ‘not even an option’

Stella McNab knows there’s a chance she won’t see her friends in NSW again for some time.(Supplied: Stella McNab)

Stella scrambled to get travel plans in place so that she could make it back to Melbourne for work.

Aiming to beat the backlog of cars at Albury, she got a lift from her friend Cherie to the border town of Barooga.

Cherie’s mother then picked her up from the border and drove her to Shepparton where she caught a train home.

Stella knew that she could not afford to miss work or pay for hotel quarantine.

“I don’t come from a family where my parents can give me money to do hotel quarantine, that’s not even an option,” she said.

“As a student and a 21-year-old, I don’t have a spare $3,000 that I can just fork out on it.”

She doesn’t think the Victorian Government should have closed the border to COVID-free parts of regional NSW.

“I lived through COVID in Melbourne and it was awful. My family are all from regional Victoria and it’s been months since I’ve seen my friends,” she said.

South Coast residents concerned over COVID cases

Meanwhile people in Bermagui have expressed concern about two positive cases from Victoria who recently travelled to the NSW south coast.

The pair visited the the Great Southern Hotel in Eden on December 30 and Bermi’s Beachside Café in Bermagui on December 31.

It is understood the two cases are connected to Melbourne’s Thai restaurant cluster.

Sydney holiday-maker Trevor said he was sad to hear the news — as Bermagui’s economy and community are still recovering after bushfires 12 months ago.

“Local businesses were really hopeful for a really good January period for this year to make up for it,” he said.

“But unfortunately it’s not going to happen for them.”

Contact tracing is underway for both venues.

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Cuts to visitors, amid new out break!

On the last day of the year, the Victorian Government has announced new coronavirus restrictions from 5:00 pm tonight. This will further cut the limit for indoor gathering sizes to 15 and making mask mandatory even for indoors.

As per the Acting Premier Jacinta Allan, the newly added restrictions were meant for people who had plans to host and attend New Year’s Eve gatherings for tonight based on the existing limit of 30 guests, hence, they would need to reduce their numbers.

On a statement, she said “We certainly do apologize to people who have put plans in place, who were looking forward to having events … but this is a necessary step, it’s on the advice that we’ve received overnight.”

She also pointed out the only people who are allowed to be travelling into Melbourne’s CBD for New Year’s Eve are those who had already made reservations at a hospitality venue.

This announcement of safety restriction changes comes after health authorities recorded three new coronavirus cases in Melbourne yesterday, sadly putting an end to the state’s 61-day streak of zero locally acquired cases.

Moreover, Testing Commander Jeroen Weimar from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) revealed that authorities were able to detect an additional three linked cases on short notice, which brings the total number of recorded community case to six.

In line with that, yesterday, Ms. Allan cited that the cases had either a direct or indirect link to the Smile Buffalo Thai restaurant at Black Rock on December 21. “One that night, one case and two close contacts of cases attended this restaurant, as did a returned traveller from New South Wales.”

With utter urgency, Ms. Allan said that the NSW traveller was being testes.

On a bid to provide information to the public for safety measures, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has been regularly updating a list of public exposure sites on its website.

Thus far, the venues listed – with the corresponding hours – are namely, Smile Buffalo Thai restaurant at Black Rock on December 21, the Century City Walk and Mocha Jo’s in Glen Waverley between 1:30pm and 5:00pm on December 28 and Katialo restaurant in the Eaton Mall at Oakleigh between 7:00pm and 8:15pm on December 28.

The list continues with, Mentone/Parkdale Beach at Mentone between 10:00am and 4:30pm on December 27, the Holy Family Parish Doveton between 4:00pm and 6:00pm on December 26 and the Kmart, Big W, Target, Millers, King of Gifts and Lacoste stores at Fountain Gate Shopping Centre on December 26 between 9:00am and 11:00am

The DHHS has urged anyone who visited any of the listed locations during the times indicated must present their selves for testing and must self-isolate until they return a negative result.

WATCH LIVE: Premier Mark McGowan makes announcement on NSW-Victoria border opening

Premier Mark McGowan is set to reveal whether WA will continue with its plan to open its border after fears of a New South Wales coronavirus outbreak were allayed.

No locally acquired coronavirus cases have been detected after a Sydney quarantine hotel cleaner caught the virus at work.

Another potential threat emerged over the weekend when two German travellers managed to avoid quarantine upon landing in Sydney and instead board a flight to Melbourne. Both have since tested negative to coronavirus.

Watch the media conference in the video player above.

WA is scheduled to open up to NSW and Victoria from Tuesday, dropping the 14-day quarantine requirement for travel from those States.

Mr McGowan’s press conference is scheduled for 11.30am but may be subject to delays.

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The NSW-Victoria border opens today after being closed for more than four months due to COVID-19

The NSW-Victoria border has reopened, 138 days after it was locked down by Premier Gladys Berejiklian to combat the spread of coronavirus.

At the main road crossing between the two states, a DJ was spinning beats and police sirens were blaring as cars crossed the Murray River between Wodonga and Albury at 12.01am.

Meanwhile, when the first flight from Melbourne touched down in Sydney shortly before 8.00am, passengers were met with drag queens, Bondi life guards and offered donuts — the treats that have become synonymous with “0” new cases of COVID-19.

The border reopening as breathed new life into one of the world’s busiest air travel routes, with a total of 25 planes due to land in the Harbour City from Melbourne today.

The changing rules mean that, for the first time since July 8, people are able to travel between Australia’s two most populous states without a mandatory two-week quarantine period.

Victorians arriving in Sydney received a warm welcome at the airport.(ABC News: Alexia Attwood)
Five life guards stand at the airport with welcome signs
Bondi surf life savers greet passengers arriving from Melbourne this morning.(ABC News: Alexia Attwood)

Melbourne resident Fiona Snape stayed in Wodonga last night so she could hit the road early this morning to pick up her 18-year-old daughter from University in Canberra.

Ms Snape booked the accommodation as soon as she heard the border was opening.

“I haven’t seen her since the beginning of July so that will be great to see her again and I’ll pick her up and take her back to Melbourne for the holidays,” she said.

“We’re all looking forward to a nice reunion.”

A smiling woman stands in the driveway of a motel.
Fiona Snape stayed in Wodonga overnight so she could cross the border early this morning.(ABC News: Jackson Peck)

The EconoLodge Border Gateway Motel booked out within hours of the announcement the border would reopen.

“We’ve had close to 150 reservations since the announcement … for a 10-room motel in a little country town that’s quite phenomenal,” manager Duncan McLaren said.

“It’s quite a good feeling to have after the last few months of very crippling restrictions.”

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.
A DJ performed as the border reopened at Albury-Wodonga at midnight.

At Sydney Airport, passengers boarding the first flight to Melbourne for over four months were eager to get in the air.

Melbourne resident Jess McGill has been stuck in Sydney and was elated to finally be going home.

“I’m excited to go home so I’m really looking forward to seeing my family, I just got the first flight I could [as] it was really hard to get a flight,” she said.

Qantas base manager Captain Mathew Hicks said today was a huge win for the company, which recently reported a $2 billion loss due to travel restrictions.

“I’m feeling pretty positive … I think it’s going to uptick now domestically [but] still a way to go internationally.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian yesterday acknowledged how difficult the closure had been for border communities and she thanked them for their resilience.

“We never want to see this ever again,” she said.

“This is the last time in our lifetime this border is closed and we know tomorrow morning after midnight it will be a whole new era for both of our states.”

Ms Berejiklian said she felt more confident now about the lifting of the border than when she made the call on November 3, because of the number of days of no local transmissions in both states.

Crews removing traffic guides on Sunday morning at Albury.
Crews removed traffic guides at a border checkpoint at Albury on Sunday.(ABC News: Mikaela Ortolan)

Today Victoria recorded its 24th consecutive day of no community transmission and yesterday NSW reached 15 days of zero local cases.

The border between the two states has been closed since July 8, following Melbourne being hit by a second wave of coronavirus cases in late June.

Since then, only a select few people have been permitted to cross the border, including some year 11 and 12 students, agricultural workers, those seeking emergency care and those allowed to cross on compassionate grounds.

On September 4, a 50-kilometre border bubble was set up to help communities cope with the disruption.

Since July, more than 14,000 NSW Police officers from across the state have patrolled more than 27 checkpoints along the border.

They were helped by 1,200 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel, along with Transport for NSW staff and Victoria Police.

It was a big job: As many as 25,000 traffic movements a day were detected in Albury-Wodonga at one stage.

NSW Police said 80 per cent of vehicle movements were by local residents of border towns.

A warning sign at Albury in July.
Drivers heading to NSW were met with warnings during the border closure.(ABC News: Lukas Coch)

Ms Berejiklian had long advocated for open borders between the states and territories amid the pandemic.

However, the Premier’s was forced to change tack in July when an unknowingly infected Victorian visited the Crossroads Hotel in Sydney’s south-west and caused an outbreak oft 58 COVID-19 cases in NSW.

Now, more than four months later, NSW is Australia’s first jurisdiction without any hard borders.

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The Border Mail captures first moments of NSW-Victoria border reopening | The Border Mail


There was palpable jubilation in the first moments of the NSW-Victoria border reopening, just as the Border community has shared the pain of its closure. Sirens sounded at 12.01am and the handful of NSW Police members still at the checkpoint stepped off Wodonga Place, allowing free passage into the state. Close to 100 cars crossed within the first 10 minutes, carrying people from Albury-Wodonga – enjoying the novelty of the historic moment – and beyond. Twenty cars with NSW and Victorian registrations were pulled over on the Lincoln Causeway leading up to midnight, ready to cross. They included Ballarat resident Craig Latta and his son Nathan, who were eager to escape restrictions in the southern state, if only for a short period. “I’ve really struggled with the mask thing,” Mr Latta said. “At the end of the day, it’s there for good reasons, but my health doesn’t do too well – I can only get halfway around the supermarket before I struggle. And if you haven’t got one on, you’re looked at. “Governments are overreaching into people’s freedoms a bit, we can’t make any decisions for ourselves.” Mr Latta drove to Wodonga today but accounts from Wodonga moteliers of people booking to cross was proven true with cars waiting to get into NSW. “I think most people will probably cross tomorrow, you’ve got to be a bit of a nut to come out at this time of night in the rain,” the appliance repairman laughed. The late hour and intermittent rain did not stop a crowd of onlookers gathering at Wodonga Place, enjoying tunes of Steve Bowen who counted down to midnight. “I think the police enjoyed the atmosphere,” he said. Ellen Hines, a Melbourne resident originally from Albury, was also among the first people to cross and said she was looking forward to catching up with friends and family. The final group of policemen at the Albury checkpoint were from Sydney and the Blue Mountains and one was on his fifth deployment to the operation. The happiness was clear on the face of Murray River Police Superintendent Paul Smith with such a large-scale operation coming to an end. Assistant Commissioner Scott Whyte, who had been in Albury earlier on Sunday for the Premier’s visit, said there had not been an increase in people attempting to cross without the right approvals leading up to the border opening. “I can say it’s been a massive police operation, I’m enormously proud of all the police officers that have performed duty over the 20 weeks,” he said. “It was a fairly large operation with only 36 to 48 hours’ planning. “The community support has been enormous. “We’ve achieved, I think what we’ve set out to, to keep NSW safe through a very difficult time in this health crisis.” But the purpose and benefits of the border closure were questioned by Northern Victoria MP Tim Quilty. “This has been the first time I’ve been able to cross; going up and down to Melbourne, I haven’t been able to get a permit,” he said. “I’m very pleased to be here and obviously, a bunch of others were too. “The whole thing was a waste of time, a big waste of money. “It was a massive disruption, economically it’s cost hundreds of millions of dollars. “It’s been really hard on everybody. “Regional Victoria never really had it [COVID-19] – our communities didn’t need to be divided like this.” Mr Quilty believed many of those crossing “would not be coming back” to Victoria. Regardless, the Wodonga-based Liberal Democrats MP was joyful and summed up his feelings about a Wodonga Place, free of dividers and personnel, succinctly. “It’s excellent. Bloody good,” he said.



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Victoria records zero COVID-19 cases, NSW-Victoria border could reopen, US COVID-19 cases rise amid 2020 election, Australia death toll at 907

“The advice I have received from [NSW Health experts] has allowed us to maintain the strategy we have,” Ms Berejiklian said. “The approach taken by WA and Queensland, in particular, does not make sense.”

“The announcement by NSW is a logical one, but what it highlights is the lack of logic that Queensland and WA have placed in relation to their border strategy.”

She said as long as states and territories continued to get on top of outbreaks quickly, she was confident the November 23 date would hold firm.

Ms Berejiklian added the use of QR codes would be compulsory for all hospitality businesses from November 23. Businesses can have their own QR code, but she urged people to use the Service NSW code.

“The 23rd of November will be a significant day in NSW, but we believe the dual strategy of opening up our borders to all Australian citizens, all New Zealand citizens, in addition to making QR use of codes compulsory for hospitality businesses is an important step forward,” she said.

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News Alert: Opening of the borders

As Victoria has finally moved past the complete lockdown of Metro Melbourne, other States are extremely close to opening up the ability for their citizens to move freely across borders. This has become very political in Queensland as the election nears Labor has kept the border closed, whilst letting the rich and famous through, whilst denying Queenslanders with major health issues, non covid related. Now it looks set to open the borders with NSW on the 1st of November which will no doubt please the six plus million residents of New South Wales.

On the Tasmanian front it opened it’s borders on Monday to QLD, SA, WA, NT, ACT and even New Zealand residents before providing access to NSW and Victorian residents. It now appears Tassie will relent and provide access for NSW from Friday week, with Victorian’s being deemed too early to be considered safe, as they are currently shown as a high risk. The key to making this an actual reality is the fact that QLD, SA, WA, NT, ACT and NZ do not need to quarantine upon entering Tasmania.

The Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein restrictions and other measures may be changed or put in place on short notice, as this is the nature of dealing with Covid. No doubt he will follow his own State’s health advice which is a key reason the Australian response has been so disjointed. As Tasmania has not had a single case in the last 76 days means it is only the Northern Territory who holds a better record in Australia at present being 86 days since their last confirmed case.