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What we know today, Monday November 22


Victoria has recorded another 1029 COVID-19 cases and three deaths overnight, with 89 per cent of the state population vaccinated.

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Vic records 1029 COVID cases, three deaths

Victoria has recorded 1029 new COVID-19 cases and a further three deaths as it draws closer to hitting its 90 per cent full vaccination target.

The state is now managing 9533 coronavirus cases and 316 virus-related patients in hospital, pushing down the seven-day average to 327.

Forty-four people are in intensive care with 23 of those on a ventilator.

Health officials say virus testers processed 49,818 results on Sunday, while 3510 vaccine doses were administered at state-run hubs.

Despite those and others at GPs and pharmacies, the state still hasn’t officially hit its 90 per cent vaccination milestone

About 89 per cent of Victorians aged 12 and over are now fully vaccinated.

Memorial Drive to host international tennis in January

The Memorial Drive Tennis Centre will play host to two international tennis events next summer in the lead up to the Australian Open.

The State Government announced a short time ago that a joint WTA 500 and ATP 250 tournament will be held at Memorial Drive from January 2 to 9, followed by a combined WTA 250 and ATP 250 from January 9 to 15.

The Australian Open is due to start two days later on January 17.

Players for the Memorial Drive tournaments will be announced in the next couple of weeks, organisers say.

Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing Corey Wingard said he was “quietly confident the field is going to be epic”.

“We saw earlier this year with A Day at the Drive how popular tennis is here in South Australia and it’s fantastic that next year we’re able to get back to hosting a bigger, longer and more action-packed tournament,” Wingard said.

“Excitement will continue to build from now until January and although we have to wait until next month to find out which tennis stars are heading our way.”

The State Government says the $44 million Stage 2 redevelopment of Memorial Drive will be event ready by January and completed by mid-2022.

NSW records 180 COVID cases and three deaths

NSW has recorded 180 COVID-19 cases and three deaths.

NSW Health says there are 202 people with the virus in hospital, 30 of them in ICU.

In the 24-hour reporting period to 8pm on Sunday there were 45,405 tests conducted.

Nearly 95 per cent (94.4 per cent) of adults have had their first vaccine while 91.8 per cent of people 16 and older have had two doses.

Some 75.4 per cent of people aged 12-15 have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 81 per cent of them have had their first jab.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet on Sunday warned unvaccinated people will not be granted freedoms any earlier than December 15, despite thousands rallying against vaccination requirements.

The measures “are tailored to keep people safe and that’s what we’re focused on”, Mr Perrottet said a day after 10,000 unmasked protesters descended on the city.

Vickie Chapman quits while Ombudsman investigates

Vickie Chapman will stand down as Deputy Premier and quit all of her ministerial roles while the Ombudsman investigates multiple findings made against her by a parliamentary inquiry.

After she and Premier Steven Marshall both insisted she would not be resigning after an historic vote of no confidence against her last week, the position changed over the weekend.

In a statement released at 5am today, the Premier and Chapman said she would stand aside as Deputy Premier and from her ministerial roles until the Ombudsman’s report into her conduct is received.

State Ombudsman Wayne Lines confirmed on Friday he would investigate matters raised against Chapman in a parliamentary inquiry probing her decision to veto a major port project on her native Kangaroo Island.

Chapman said today: “I have advised the Premier that I will be stepping aside as Attorney-General and Minister for Planning and Local Government pending the outcome of the Ombudsman’s inquiry”.

“I will advise the House of Assembly party room that I will be standing down as the Deputy Leader,” she said.

“As the Ombudsman reports to the Attorney-General, it is entirely appropriate to step aside for the duration of the inquiry. This is the precedent set by former Attorney-General (Michael) Atkinson…

“I maintain that I have made the right decision in respect of the KI seaport proposal and that I had no conflict of interest, actual or perceived.”

Read the full story here.

South Australian vaccination rate below 80 per cent

South Australia’s vaccination rate remains just below 80 per cent, with one day to go before the state opens its borders to double-vaccinated people from interstate.

On Sunday, official Australian Government data showed 77.2 per cent of the state’s population aged over 16 had received two vaccination doses. Just over 87 per cent of the same population group had received at least one dose.

The State Government announced November 23 as the date for opening the borders, on the basis that it predicted 80 per cent of the population would be vaccinated by then.

However, the government has since acknowledged that the mark will be hit later in the week.

Vaccination rates for some parts of the population and local government areas remain significantly below the 80 per cent mark.

The double-vaccination rate for Aboriginal people was 46.7 per cent as of yesterday.

For South Australians aged 12-15 years, the rate is lower – 43.15 per cent.

The Government is preparing for a surge in cases in the coming weeks and months, with a focus on home care.

Health Minister Stephen Wade said governments’ new HealthCheck SA app had been built to manage up to 50,000 people, providing at-home monitoring for people, their families and close contacts, while also linking them to support if needed.

“We anticipate that around 85 per cent of positive COVID-19 cases will be safely supported through home-based care and monitoring through the new HealthCheck SA app, freeing up beds in our hospitals for more acutely unwell patients,” he said yesterday.

Northern Territory braces for COVID-19 outbreak spread

Health authorities in the Northern Territory are scrambling to manage a growing COVID-19 outbreak that has spread to remote Indigenous communities.

The outbreak has grown to 35 after nine people from the Binjari community 320km south of Darwin were diagnosed late on Saturday.

No further local COVID-19 cases were detected on Sunday, but contract tracers have identified 385 close contacts from the latest cluster, according to the NT government.

Of these, 374 have been contacted and are isolating while 314 have tested negative.

Unvaccinated travellers are no longer able to enter the NT under sweeping border rule changes that begin on Monday.

The only exception will be essential personnel and Territorians returning from jurisdictions where the virus is not present, called green zones.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner said a 78-year-old woman from Binjari is being treated in Royal Darwin Hospital, while the other eight cases – five men and three women – have been taken to the Howard Springs quarantine centre.

‘I’m safe and well’: Chinese tennis star Peng Shaui

Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai. Photo: AP/Andy Brownbill

Chinese tennis star Peng Shaui had a video call on Sunday with the president of the International Olympic Committee and told him she was safe and well, the IOC said in a statement.

Photos and videos of Peng at a tournament in Beijing earlier on Sunday had done little to dampen international concerns, following a nearly three-week public absence after she alleged that a former senior Chinese official sexually assaulted her.

In a statement, the IOC said that at the start of the 30-minute call with its president Thomas Bach, Peng had thanked the IOC for its concern about her well-being.

“She explained that she is safe and well, living at her home in Beijing, but would like to have her privacy respected at this time,” the IOC’s statement said.

“That is why she prefers to spend her time with friends and family right now. Nevertheless, she will continue to be involved in tennis, the sport she loves so much.”

France’s foreign minister had earlier called on the Chinese authorities to provide more reassurance, echoing a statement by the Women’s Tennis Association that the images were “insufficient” proof.

“I’m expecting only one thing: that she speaks,” France’s Jean-Yves Le Drian told LCI television, adding that there could be unspecified diplomatic consequences if China did not clear up the situation. The United States and Britain had also called for China to provide proof of Peng’s whereabouts.

Current and former tennis players, from Naomi Osaka to Serena Williams to Billie Jean King, had joined the calls seeking to confirm she was safe, using the social media hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai?

The concern over Peng came as global rights groups and others have called for a boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February over China’s human rights record.

On November 2, Peng posted on Chinese social media that former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli had sexually assaulted her several years ago.

Neither Zhang nor the Chinese government have commented on her allegation. Peng’s social media post was quickly deleted and the topic has been blocked from discussion on China’s heavily censored internet.

Coalition senator slammed for ‘anti-vax’ content funded by taxpayers

Coalition senator Gerard Rennick is being accused of undermining the nation’s vaccine rollout with “anti-vax content”, after setting up a taxpayer-funded website to publish unverified reports of alleged vaccine adverse events and claim a government “cover up” of side effects.

The Queensland senator, who says he will withhold votes from his government’s legislation unless they back down on vaccine mandates for workers, has defended his actions as in “the taxpayer interest”.

But Senator Rennick has been condemned by the federal Opposition and by Australian Medical Association vice president Dr Chris Moy, who called it “about as anti-scientific as you can get”.

For several weeks, Senator Rennick has been collecting stories from people who allege they’ve suffered medical side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

After receiving stories on Facebook, Senator Rennick copies and republishes the claims – complete with photos – several times a day on social media.

Read the full exclusive story on The New Daily.

-With AAP, The New Daily and Reuters

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