News

Restrictions lifted in NT as QLD hits 80 per cent vax target and Omicron reaches two more states

Ali Coulton

Ali Coulton

There’s much to celebrate in Australia today, with the Northern Territory’s Greater Katherine region’s strict lockout restrictions have been lifted and Queensland hitting the national 80 per cent double vaxxed target.

Katherine, Binjari and Rockhole exited lockout at midday on Wednesday, the day after Lajamanu, scrapping restrictions on leaving home for the regions.

Katherine has been in either lockdown or lockout since the Northern Territory outbreak began on 4 November.

The territory recorded two new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the total number of cases in the outbreak to 63.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison broke the news this morning that both the Northern Territory and Queensland have officially hit the 80 per cent vaccine target outlined in the national COVID roadmap.

“We know how important it is to reunite families in time for Christmas. So it’s great to see Queensland reach the 80 per cent double dosed milestone,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said confirming the news on her own Twitter.

“Our borders will open from 1am, Monday 13 December. Queensland’s high vaccination rate means we are well prepared for this.”

Palaszczuk initially announced the state’s reopening date on Monday, predicting it would reach the vaccination target this week.

The premier had promised to reveal the reopening date once the state reached the target, but opted to make the announcement early.

Chief Minister of the Northern Territory Michael Gunner announced the territory had fully vaccinated 91 per cent of its eligible population in a tweet on Tuesday.

According to Gunner, the Northern Territory hit the national 80 per cent vaccination target on 11 November.

All Australian states except for Western Australia have now hit the target, but it’s not far behind with 79 per cent of its eligible population now on their second dose.

In Omicron news, Victoria recorded its first cases of the variant yesterday, confirming a positive case in hotel quarantine.

Victoria Health is also investigating two suspected cases with the variant in the cities of Casey and Brimbank.

Household contacts of these cases have also tested positive and whole-genome sequencing is underway to confirm whether these represent the Omicron variant.

None of these cases are linked to international travel, meaning community transmission is likely.

Queensland’s Minister for Health Yvette D’Ath also revealed the sunshine state had recorded its first Omicron cases yesterday, confirming a Nigerian traveller completing hotel quarantine in Cairns had tested positive for the variant.

D’Ath said a South African traveller in Queensland had tested positive for Omicton MIKE, a new lineage of the variant.

The news comes as NSW’s Omicron outbreak climbed to 34 yesterday, not including two additional suspected cases that were detected on a Sydney Harbour cruise.


Image source: iStock/swissmediavision



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