Australia live news update: Victoria records 1,656 Covid cases; 268 cases in NSW; Melbourne and ACT lift more restrictions







Australia changes child vaccination rules that risked trapping families abroad

There’s been some really welcome news overnight for Australian families stuck in the United Kingdom with children.

In recent weeks, I’ve been reporting on a frankly untenable situation that was preventing some families from returning home.

Australia requires children aged 12 and above to be fully vaccinated to skip quarantine. Airlines based their policies on the government’s position, meaning any child without two doses of a TGA-approved vaccine effectively could not fly.

But in countries like the UK, Hong Kong, and Norway, kids are not allowed to have more than one dose of Pfizer.

Initially, the federal government stuck to its position, and ruled those children would not meet its definition of fully vaccinated.

That has now changed.

Chief medical officer Paul Kelly has been working with New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory on a proposal to give kids in this position an exemption. They have agreed to provide such an exemption.

The health department said in a statement:


Although children aged 12–17 years old are able to be fully vaccinated in Australia, this is not consistent around the world. The Chief Medical Officer is concerned about the unintended implications of the requirement being applied at the border, particularly the potential for separating children from their families. As a result, Professor Kelly has been working with jurisdictions ready to receive international flights or travellers to agree a class exemption for those aged 12–17 years.

New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory have agreed to apply an exemption for those Australians aged 12–17 to arrive from overseas who do not meet the criteria for fully vaccinated.

The affected adolescents will be required to undertake a test within 24 hours of arrival into Australia and quarantine at home for 7 days. A second test will be required on day 5 prior to completion of quarantine. They may attend school after completing 7 days home quarantine. Additionally, 12–17 year olds not fully vaccinated will not be allowed to visit other high risk settings such as disability facilities, aged-care residential facilities and hospitals until 14 days after arrival.




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Crown Resorts has settled a class action against it over falls in its share price following the arrest of staff in China for $125m.

The settlement comes ahead of the appearance this morning of Crown’s major shareholder, James Packer, at a royal commission into the company in Western Australia.

Earlier this week, a royal commission in Victoria made damaging findings about Crown’s conduct in relation to Crown’s conduct in China in 2016, which led to the arrests.

An inquiry in NSW also criticised Crown’s conduct in China.

The company’s share price fell 14% on 17 October 2016 when news of the arrests was confirmed.

“This case demonstrates the importance of class actions, whistleblowers and investigative journalism in holding corporations to account,” Maurice Blackburn senior associate Michael Donelly said.

“Without those things, we doubt that the three separate Royal Commissions into Crown would have been established.”

In a statement to the ASX Crown said settling the lawsuit was a commercial decision and did not involve admitting liability.

“Crown expects to recover a significant portion of the settlement amount from its insurers but cannot at this stage be certain about the outcome of negotiations with insurers, or the outcome of any necessary formal steps for recovery it may need to take,” it said.

The deal is subject to approval by the federal court.




NSW records 268 cases and two deaths, Vic records 1,656 and 10 deaths

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Victoria lashed by wild storm overnight

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