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What we know today, Thursday October 28

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Victoria has recorded another 1923 COVID-19 cases and 25 people have died of the virus overnight – the highest daily death toll from the current outbreak.

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Vic records 1923 cases, 25 deaths

Victoria has recorded 1923 COVID-19 cases and 25 people have died of the virus overnight – the highest daily death toll from the current outbreak.

The health department confirmed on Thursday the state is now managing 22,189 active infections.

There are 746 people in hospital, with the seven-day average at 780. Of those, 137 are in intensive care with 85 on a ventilator.

The latest deaths take the toll from the current outbreak to 272.

About 77 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and over are now fully vaccinated.

There were 82,648 tests processed and 22,189 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered at state-run hubs on Wednesday.

ATAGI signs off on COVID booster approval

Booster shots for COVID-19 will begin for the general public across the country from November 8, after the government signed off on final advice from the country’s peak vaccine advisory group.

It comes as Australia passed a 75 per cent double-dose vaccination rate for eligible people over 16.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration on Wednesday granted provisional approval for a third COVID dose, with the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation later signing off on the measures.

While the general public rollout of boosters will begin next month, aged care residents will be able to receive their top-up shot from Thursday.

The booster of the Pfizer vaccine, which will be provided to the general public regardless of which vaccine they had received, will be given six months after the initial course.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the national vaccine rate was expected to pass 80 per cent next week, coinciding with Australia’s international borders reopening.

“Australia is connecting together again, and we’ll continue to see that occurring in the months ahead,” Morrison told reporters.

“We’re beating COVID and taking our lives back, and we’re doing this as we see the vaccination levels in the country rise.”

Severely immunocompromised Australians have already been eligible for a third dose.

NSW records 293 cases, two deaths

NSW has recorded 293 new local cases of COVID-19 and two deaths after a Sydney gym became the centre of a coronavirus cluster.

NSW Health said there were 89,678 tests undertaken in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday and 11 fewer new local cases than the previous day.

There are 381 COVID-19 patients in NSW hospitals, with 82 of them in intensive care.

Now 93.3 per cent of people 16 and older have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 86 per cent of adults are fully jabbed.

The death toll from the current outbreak, which began in mid-June, is 508.

Upper House hits Riverbank Arena, park lands rezoning

The State Government’s election promise bid to build a 15,000-seat, $662m arena on city park lands has been dealt a blow, with the Upper House last night backing a Greens motion opposing the project.

Greens MLC Robert Simms also introduced a Private Members Bill to prevent the Planning Minister from rezoning the park lands without the approval of both Houses of Parliament.

It followed an Adelaide City Council decision this week to reject the government’s bid to rezone or subzone 71ha of the Adelaide park lands, including an area in Helen Mayo Park earmarked for the proposed Riverbank Arena.

“Last night the Upper House sent the Government a clear message,” Simms said.

“We don’t want to see the heritage values of our park lands being jeopardised by development. It is untenable for the Government to now press ahead with its plans for this Arena on the Riverbank, when it’s been opposed by one of the houses of parliament, along with the Adelaide City Council.

“The Government needs to go back to the drawing board.”

Simms’ motion was supported by Labor and the crossbenches.

It notes that the Adelaide park lands and city layout are listed on the national heritage register and that the proposed development of the site could impact adversely on the heritage values of the park lands.

The Greens MLC said he planned to bring his bill to a vote in the coming weeks. He said the government needed to “hit the pause button” on rezoning plans.

“They’ve been moving at break-neck speed. It’s time for the parliament to have a say,” Simms said

“The park lands belong to all South Australians. If we allow them to be rezoned for commercial or residential use, we change their character forever.

“The Private Members Bill I introduced would ensure that the parliament has a say on their future.”

Storms set to lash South Australia

The storm front approaching at 7am.

Adelaide’s erratic spring weather is set to reach a crescendo today as a combination of heat, storms, wind and rain spark a multitude of Bureau of Meteorology warnings across the state.

Thunderstorms are predicted for several areas and a fire weather warning has been issued for the North West Pastoral, Eastern Eyre Peninsula and Flinders districts.

It follows a scrub and grass fire at Carriewerloo Homestead 35km north of Iron Knob in the states Far North yesterday afternoon.

About CFS firefighters, five appliances and a bulk water carrier battled the fire that is believed to have been caused by lightning.

BOM has also issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the Adelaide Metropolitan area, Mount Lofty Ranges, Lower Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula, Kangaroo Island and parts of the West Coast, Eastern Eyre Peninsula, Flinders, Mid North, Murraylands and the Upper South East.

Adelaide is expecting a maximum temperature of 29C with an 80 per cent chance of 2mm-8mm of rain.

Gusty winds will accompany the storm front with winds east to southeasterly 20 to 30 km/h tending east to northeasterly 25 to 35 km/h in the middle of the day then shifting westerly 35 to 55 km/h in the early afternoon.

A sheep graziers warning has also been issued for Kangaroo Island, the Upper South East and Lower South East districts.

ACT hits 90 per cent double dosed

The ACT is set to become Australia’s first jurisdiction to have 90 per cent of its adult population double vaccinated against COVID-19, as South Australia ticks past 80 per cent to have one dose.

Federal Government data published late yesterday shows that 89.9 per cent of people aged 16 and over in the ACT were double vaccinated as of Tuesday night with that figure almost certain to top 90 per cent in today’s figures.

The fully vaccinated rate in NSW has reached 86 per cent while Victoria is third on 76.9 per cent and Tasmania (73 per cent) fourth.

The percentage of fully-vaccinated people aged 16 and over in South Australia is 63.8 per cent but the figure of those to have a first dose went past 80 per cent yesterday.

The State Government had hoped to reach the milestone during a vaccination blitz on the weekend but it took until the Tuesday figures, published yesterday, to confirm the milestone.

The Northern Territory (62 per cent double dosed), Queensland (61.8 per cent) Western Australia (60.8 per cent) are the slowest to take up the COVID vaccination.

South Australia will open its borders to all states and territories after reaching its 80 per cent vaccination target on the predicted date of November 23 – but most restrictions will remain in place until the state hits 90 per cent vaccination.

Premier Steven Marshall unveiled South Australia’s “COVID-Ready” plan out of the pandemic on Tuesday.

Under the plan, border restrictions will be eased when SA reaches the 80 per cent double vaccination target, with people who are fully COVID-vaccinated able to enter SA from all states and territories.

However, people will still need to quarantine if they are travelling from local government areas where there is community transmission and less than 80 per cent of the population is fully-vaccinated.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said parts of the last stages in Canberra’s COVID road map could be brought forward a few weeks following the 90 per cent vaccination target They were initially slated to be eased from November 26.

Barr indicated Canberra was on track to get to 99 per cent fully vaccinated by the end of November.

Mandatory vaccination for SA police

South Australian South Australian Police Commissioner Grant Stevens. Picture: David Mariuz/AAP

Police officers in South Australia must have their first COVID-19 vaccination by November 15 to continue working following a SAPOL announcement yesterday afternoon.

The ruling will also apply all SAPOL staff including anyone working in a police station, police custodial facility or any other premises controlled by South Australia Police, including public sector employees.

The SAPOL staff will also need to have made a booking to receive a second dose and provide proof of their vaccination status upon request.

A South Australia Police worker is not required to have evidence of a COVID-19 vaccination if they have a medical certificate from a legally qualified medical practitioner and the certificate specifies the nature of the exemption and the basis on which it applies.

The medical certificate also needs to be endorsed by the Chief Public Health Officer or her delegate with a copy provided to the relevant officer in charge.

The vaccination rule will come into effect just eight days before the state’s borders are expected to reopen to Victoria and New South Wales on November 23.

Two more deaths on country roads

A man died in a rollover on the Eyre Peninsula last night and a Barossa Valley woman has died more than 10 days after being injured in a three-car crash in Mount Pleasant this month.

A passing motorist noticed the single-vehicle crash west of Cleve, about 9pm on Wednesday 27 October and alerted emergency services.

Eyre Peninsula police, paramedics, CFS and SES crews rushed to the scene, but the driver, a 42-year-old Wallaroo man, who was the sole occupant of the Toyota station wagon, was found dead at the scene.

Meanwhile, an Angaston woman has died more than 10 days after being injured in a three-car crash in Mount Pleasant this month.

Police were called to Eden Valley Road after reports of a three-car crash between a Holden SUV, Holden ute and a Nissan 4WD at 6pm on Sunday, October 17.

The Holden SUV driver, a 55-year-old man from Angaston, was uninjured in the crash however his passenger, a 59-year-old woman also from Angaston was flown to the Royal Adelaide Hospital with life-threatening injuries. The woman died yesterday.

The driver of the Holden ute, a 72-year-old man from Nuriootpa, was taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. His passenger, a 58-year-old woman from Nuriootpa, was taken to Angaston Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The driver and sole occupant of the Nissan 4WD, a 28-year-old man from Mount Pleasant, fled the scene prior to police arrival but was arrested in a nearby paddock a short time later. He was taken to the Lyell McEwin Hospital for treatment of minor injuries and has since been charged with cause death by dangerous driving, fail to stop at an accident, hinder and resist police.  He will appear in the Tanunda Magistrates Court on 14 December.

The two deaths take the South Australian road toll to 83 this year, compared to 71 at this time last year.

Support for Adelaide United midfielder

Adelaide United player Josh Cavallo in action in April. Picture: Brendon Thorne/AAP

A flood of support has come in for Adelaide United player Josh Cavallo after he announced he was gay yesterday and the midfielder hopes more professional footballers will follow his lead.

Cavallo on Wednesday became a rarity in professional sport: an openly gay male athlete.

“I know there are other players living in silence,” he wrote on Twitter.

“I want to help change this, to show that everyone … deserves the right to be their authentic self.

“It’s astonishing to know that there are currently no gay professional footballers who are out and actively playing, not only in Australia, but around the world.

“I want to … let other players in my situation feel that they’re not alone.”

The 21-year-old said growing up he “always felt the need to hide myself because I was ashamed”.

“Ashamed I would never be able to do what I loved and be gay,” he wrote.”Being a closeted gay footballer, I’ve had to learn to mask my feelings in order to fit the mould of a professional footballer.

“Growing up being gay and playing football were just two worlds that hadn’t crossed paths before.

“I’ve lived my life assuming that this was a topic never to be spoken about.”

Adelaide United coach Carl Veart said Cavallo, who has played 19 games for the Reds after playing nine matches for Western United, has “shown incredible courage to be one of very few professional sportsmen to be this brave”.

“I have nothing but admiration and support for him, as do all the players and coaching staff,” Veart said.

“I want all my players to feel comfortable and happy being their own person, on and off the park.

“For Josh to be the best he can be and get the most out of his career, he needs the freedom to be himself and I fully support him.”

Adelaide’s assistant coach Ross Aloisi said Cavallo had been living with “an incredible burden and unimaginable pain”.

“To see Josh today, with that weight lifted off his shoulders, it makes me proud of how brave a man he is,” Aloisi said.

Cavallo received praise from far and wide with world-renowned footballers Gerard Pique and Antoine Griezmann also supporting the young star.

“Proud of you,” said gun Atletico Madrid striker Griezmann on Twitter.

Barcelona central defender Pique wrote: “Hey @JoshuaCavallo, I don’t have the pleasure to know you personally but I want to thank you for this step that you take.

“The world of football is far behind and you are helping us move forward.”

 – with AAP and Reuters

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