What happened Sunday, 29 August 2021

With that, we’ll wrap up the live blog for the day.

Here’s a recap of today’s news:

  • New South Wales Covid numbers continue to soar, with a record 1,218 new cases and six deaths as pressure on the state’s hospital system reaches critical levels. Hospitalisations in the state are surging too. There are now 813 Covid patients in hospitals across NSW – 35 more than Saturday. Currently 126 people are in intensive care, 54 of whom are on ventilators.
  • The Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has ruled out the possibility of ending Covid lockdown this Thursday, after the state announced 92 new cases of community transmission on Sunday, its highest daily total this year.
  • The Australian Capital Territory reported 13 new Covid cases, which were all linked.
  • The health minister, Greg Hunt, expects to be able to make the Moderna coronavirus jab available to young Australians as the vaccination program ramps up in coming weeks.

Have a pleasant evening, we’ll be back to do it all again tomorrow.

Updated

There’s a bit more information about the Covid outbreaks at two prisons in NSW.

At the NSW Covid update today, we heard there 31 infections associated with Parklea correctional centre, with the prison in Sydney’s north-west now under a strict lockdown.

The deputy chief health officer, Dr Jeremy McAnulty, said health investigators believe the virus was introduced into the prison by a member of the community, not a prisoner.

Silverwater prison also recorded Covid cases, however McAnulty said he did not know exactly how many cases were linked to the facility.

In a statement, a Corrective Services NSW spokeswoman said that 23 prisons across NSW are now taking extra precautions related to the prisoner infections.

This is because of potential exposure to the virus in inmates who were recently transferred to those other prisons from Parklea.

The spokeswoman said some of those prisons have now been locked down. She said:

All those inmates have been isolated and tested by Justice Health & Forensic Mental Health Network (JH&FMHN) for Covid-19 as part of health protocols.

Corrective Services NSW is taking every precaution to protect staff and inmates, and prevent transmission of the virus.”

A Corrective Services NSW spokeswoman confirmed six correctional staff from Bathurst correctional centre have returned positive Covid tests since Thursday.

Jake Lapham (@JakeLapham)

Breaking: Up to SIX correctional officers at #Bathurst Jail are COVID positive. Some to be included in tomorrows numbers but some tested positive back on Thursday (which is confusing). #nswcovid @abcnews

August 29, 2021

It’s unclear if they are connected to the Parklea outbreak.

Updated

The Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has ruled out the possibility of ending Covid lockdown this Thursday, after the state announced 92 new cases of community transmission on Sunday, its highest daily total this year.

“Sadly, with these sorts of numbers, it is only fair that we be as upfront as possible and we make it clear to the community that we will not be able to open up, take all these rules off, in just a few days’ time,” Andrews said.

“We will get advice in the coming days. Decisions will also be made and they will be announced very soon thereafter as we always have done. This is – these are difficult numbers.”

Andrews said Victorian authorities are determined to avoid the massive surge in Covid-19 cases and strain on the healthcare system that New South Wales is experiencing.

You can read the full report here:

Sydney teenagers have spoken to Guardian Australian about their terrifying Covid experience.

Celebrating a birthday, within Covid guidelines, was enough to put three 18-year-olds in quarantine. Then one ended up in hospital unable to breathe or walk.

Read the full story:

For those in NSW, a new venue of concern has been released by NSW Health.

NSW Health (@NSWHealth)

⚠️PUBLIC HEALTH ALERT – NEW VENUES OF CONCERN⚠️

We have been notified of a number of new close and casual contact venues of concern associated with confirmed cases of COVID 19. pic.twitter.com/3F7VnSkGk9

August 29, 2021

It follows health authorities moving away from listing every exposure site in the state, and focusing on specific ones in locations of concern.

Updated

I’m just about to finish up for the day!

But before I leave you in the extremely capable hands of my colleague, Elias Visontay, let’s take a look back at today’s biggest headlines:

  • ACT reported 13 new Covid-19 cases, all linked. Eight were in quarantine for their infectious period, while five were infectious in the community.
  • Queensland recorded one case of community transmission, linked to the Indooroopilly cluster, who was in isolation for their entire infectious period.
  • Western Australia and South Australia both recorded zero new locally acquired Covid-19 cases. But SA now has 14 exposure sites, after two truck drivers from NSW travelled through the state before testing positive for Covid-19 in WA yesterday.
  • Meanwhile, New Zealand reported 83 new cases, all but one in Auckland. This brings the country’s total to 511 cases since the Delta outbreak was first identified on 17 August. Prime minister Jacinda Ardern warned that Auckland was likely to be in lockdown for at least another fortnight, if not longer.

Updated

Three arrested at anti-lockdown protest near NSW-Queensland border

We are seeing pictures of a small anti-lockdown protest that took place at the Queensland-NSW border this morning.

Queensland Police said they had a relatively small crowd of a maximum of 100 protesters, which gathered steam at midday and ran for around an hour. They said that a joint operation between Queensland and NSW.

Police effectively prevented the protestors from gathering together in large numbers.

Three people were arrested in Coolangatta, Queensland. Of them, a 39-year-old male was charged with serious assault and obstruct police.

All three were involved in last week’s anti-lockdown border protests, and were all persons of interest, Queensland police said.

Police
Police respond to an anti-lockdown protest in Coolangatta on the NSW-Queensland border. Photograph: Jason O’Brien/AAP
Police
Mounted police patrol Coolangatta beach. Photograph: Jason O’Brien/AAP
Scenes
Police in Tweed Heads on Sunday. Photograph: Jason O’Brien/AAP

Updated

Further to my last post about South Australian exposure sites, the state’s chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier added that she was concerned that not enough people have been using QR codes to check into shops and venues.

She said only three people had used QR codes to check in at exposure sites at the same time that the truck drivers were there.

She said that there were 16 people who had used but failed to check in at Port Augusta OTR petrol station within the same time window that the two truck drivers attended.

“That is a concern for us because we have not been able to contact them, require the testing and have them in quarantine, and it’s concerning for those individuals themselves but also their families and anyone else they may come into contact with,” Spurrier said.

Updated

South Australia announces 14 new Covid exposure sites

South Australia hasn’t recorded any new Covid-19 cases, but it has announced 14 new tier-1 exposure sites.

Why? Remember how I mentioned earlier that two truck drivers from New South Wales had tested positive after arriving in Western Australia? They travelled through South Australia.

South Australian chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier said that both drivers were getting daily Covid-19 tests, as is required for freight drivers coming from NSW, and were wearing masks.

But she added that authorities were concerned that one driver could have been infectious as early as 21 August, three days before his test.

We’re very hopeful he would have had a very low infectiousness at that stage, but as an abundance of caution we’ve put up those exposure sites.

Prof
Prof Nicola Spurrier. Photograph: Naomi Jellicoe/AAP

Updated

I appreciate when someone else does the maths for me.

Peter Hannam (@p_hannam)

Positives per tests up to 1.2%… a big jump from 0.68% from a few days ago. (Eg At today’s ratio, yesterday’s case numbers would have been 1556, not 1035…) #COVID19nsw https://t.co/G9xKaygHGI

August 29, 2021

No new Covid cases in WA

Western Australia has announced zero new cases of community transmission in the last 24 hours.

The state had a small scare yesterday after two NSW truck drivers tested positive for Covid-19 upon arrival in WA.

Mark McGowan (@MarkMcGowanMP)

This is our WA COVID-19 weekend update for Sunday, 29 August 2021.

For official information on COVID-19 in WA, visit https://t.co/qA5jY6mVkvhttps://t.co/IZQLHJxqve pic.twitter.com/nMZFGBu40B

August 29, 2021

Updated

Thank you so much to my colleague Elias Visontay.

It’s Justine Landis-Hanley here again, to bring you this afternoon’s news.

Updated

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