Victoria’s government will help relocate up to 1,000 overseas health workers, including Australians, to support the pandemic-hit health system while also boosting the pay of doctors, nurses and paramedics in the state.

Follow all the latest COVID-19 updates in the blog below.

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By Kelsie Iorio

ACT border stuff

Andrew Barr says there will be an expansion of the border postcode exemption situation from this Friday to allow people living in areas immediately surrounding the ACT to travel.

He’s flagged that the details on all the expanded postcodes will be available on the ACT’s COVID website soon, so we’ll check back in on that in a little bit.

The Chief Minister says:

“New South Wales residents in these regions, as well as the border postcodes that are already covered by the existing expanding exemption, will be permitted to travel to and from the ACT to undertake work or study to access schools or essential shopping and healthcare without needing to apply for an exemption.

“Residents in these postcodes can also enter the ACT to visit family and friends under the existing ACT gathering limits whether inside the household or outside.”

By Kelsie Iorio

The ACT’s lockdown will ease on Friday as planned

The Chief Minister says there’s just under 60 hours to go til the territory can start its pathway back to some kind of normal.

“The ACT’s first phase forward will start at 11:59pm Thursday,” he says.

We’ll go into some more details on what the eased restrictions entail soon, but:

  • Up to 25 people will be able to gather inside
  • Up to five people will be able to visit at home
  • Licensed venues will be able to have five customers across the venue with one per four square metres (whichever is less)
  • But up to 50 patrons will be able to sit outside (or the four-square-metre rule)
  • Sports teams can train outside and pools can reopen with entry limits
  • Hairdressers and personal care services can reopen at a limited capacity

By Kelsie Iorio

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr is speaking soon

You can stream the press conference live on Facebook.

By Kelsie Iorio

New Zealand records 43 new community COVID cases

40 of those were in Auckland, which remains under fairly tight restrictions at the moment.

14 of the 43 haven’t been linked to existing outbreaks at this stage.

By Kelsie Iorio

NSW’s more detailed COVID numbers are out

By Kelsie Iorio

It’s finally happening! Vaccines at Bunnings!!!!! (in Queensland, at least)

From this Saturday, Queenslanders grabbing a snag at Bunnings will be able to get a COVID-19 jab at the same time.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk made the announcement in state Parliament this morning, saying about two dozen sites had been identified to be included in the rollout.

There are participating stores in Mackay, Townsville, Bundaberg, Dalby and several locations in south-east Queensland.

By Kelsie Iorio

Suggestion for emergency cute thread: Stories of lockdown adoptions! Own own house grew from a 0 cat count to 2 lovely sweet rescues since this crazy pandemic began. Would love to hear from the ABC Blog community of their own stories (plus any extra photos of the blog staff’s furry companions). Thanks for all the great work!

-Yvette – QLD

It’s not as busy today as it was yesterday so I can’t say no to this one.

I adopted the love of my life after the first big lockdown at the start of last year. We still weren’t allowed to go wander around the shelter because of restrictions, so we did a questionnaire and the team picked a cat for us based on our answers. I, of course, thought that was ridiculous and how could they possibly know which cat would click with us without us meeting said cat. Anyway, they were one million per cent right.

By Kelsie Iorio

‘At least 16 of these new cases spent some time infectious in the community’, I’m not sure that reads how it’s intended? It sounds like at least, they were in the community, like an upside? Just me?

-Confused

No no — authorities have confirmed that 16 of the new cases spent time in the community while infectious, but it could be more because they haven’t confirmed the movements of the other positive cases yet. So at least 16 people were out and about while infectious, but that number might end up being higher.

By Kelsie Iorio

‘Unprecedented investment’ into frontline healthcare workforce

Martin Foley has also announced a “record” investment to support COVID-facing frontline hospital staff dealing with a surge in patients when the state does reopen.

“We will be introducing the new hospital surge support allowance which will be paid to patient-facing healthcare workers providing direct care in both our public hospital services and Ambulance Victoria over the next four months,” he says.

“Starting this week, the allowance will help ensure that these highly skilled staff in our public hospitals respond to the critical care that we know they will deliver, but making sure that staff in our emergency departments is at least supported and recognised by this unprecedented investment.”

By Kelsie Iorio

Victoria pushing for overseas healthcare workers to help with the COVID rush

Martin Foley says the state is investing “some $2.5 million” to recruit hundreds of healthcare workers who are currently living overseas to come and work in Victoria.

He says the cohort will largely be made up of returning Australians who want to come back, as well as some international recruits.

“These professional groups were covered nurses, doctors, midwives and a range of allied health professionals, and they will be recruited on the basis of the services and support that our hospital system needs,” he says.

“To be eligible for this program, eligible healthcare workers need to have an existing employment contract with a Victorian healthcare service and have the active professional registration in place, and to be ready to travel.”

By Kelsie Iorio

Some numbers out of Victorian hospitals

  • 675 people in the state are in hospital with COVID
  • 144 of those are in intensive care
  • 100 people are on a ventilator
  • Martin Foley says just 7 per cent of people in hospital with COVID yesterday were fully vaccinated

By Kelsie Iorio

Martin Foley apologises to the Deaf community

Looks like we’re down an interpreter in Victoria today.

I know it won’t help everyone who needs it, but you can pop closed captions on via the YouTube stream.

By Kelsie Iorio

Watch Victoria’s press conference here

By Kelsie Iorio

28 new locally acquired COVID cases recorded in the ACT

At least 16 of these new cases spent some time infectious in the community; nine were in quarantine during their entire infectious period.

Out of the total cases, 22 are linked to other known cases or clusters, with 14 of these household contacts.

There are currently 19 people in hospital with the virus. Eight people are in intensive care and six require ventilation.

The total number of cases for this outbreak now sits at 1,262.

By Kelsie Iorio

By Kelsie Iorio

will there be a press conference for qld today?

-Qld Press Conference Watcher

Not that we’re aware of — of course, if this changes we’ll let you know.

Parliament is sitting in Queensland today, so they might be a bit tied up there.

Audience comment by BeeBee

Vic. Happy day yesterday. My household became fully vaxxed. My teenage boys are both suffering side effects today though. At least I know this is temporary and all of us are protected now. Woohoo!!! Here’s to ending lockdown soon.

By Kelsie Iorio

No new locally acquired COVID cases in Queensland today

Premier Annastasia Palaszczuk said in Parliament that four overseas-acquired cases have been detected — three out of the four are mariners.

70.21 per cent of Queenslanders over 16 have had their first vaccine dose, and 52.7 per cent are fully vaxxed.

Posted , updated 

(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)

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