Australia

Tonight’s top headlines

Good evening. Here’s a wrap of the key news updates from Tuesday. 

  • Half a million Pfizer vaccine doses will arrive in Australia from Singapore this week in a “vaccine swap”
  • Two women who were diagnosed with COVID-19 have died at home in Victoria
  • The AFL confirmed Perth will host this year’s grand final due to the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne

Let’s get into it.

As part of the deal, Australia will send doses back to Singapore later this year.(

ABC News: Nicolas Perpitch

)

Under the agreement, Australia will receive 500,000 Pfizer doses that are due to expire.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the doses would arrive this week, to be rolled out across Australia from next week, and would be shared equally with all states and territories on the basis of population. 

“We need to vaccinate the whole country and we need for those doses to go from one end of the country to the other and for them to be taken up,” he said.

The federal government will then deliver half a million Pfizer vaccines back to Singapore in December, when Australia is expected to have ample supplies.

Gladys Berejiklian addresses the media
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said two-thirds of the adult population in NSW are now vaccinated.(

AAP: Dan Himbrechts

)

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she didn’t understand why some states and territories were walking away from the national plan to end lockdowns once 80 per cent of the Australian population is vaccinated.

“What 70 per cent looks like in NSW double-dose might be different to WA but it means we’ll be much freer and the key issue for us is remember we are the largest population, the highest density, and the highest diversity,” she said.

The Premier said her “absolute goal” was to have every Australian be home for Christmas.

Three more people died of COVID, bringing the number of fatalities connected with the current outbreak to 96.

The Premier said 67 per cent of NSW’s population had now had their first jab and hoped to get to the “magic 70 per cent and 80 per cent as quickly as possible”.

Meanwhile, police issued hundreds of infringement notices and made more than 150 arrests at anti-lockdown protests around NSW — more than a third of which were held in the state’s north.

Daniel Andrews at COVID press conference.
Daniel Andrews said tomorrow “will not be freedom day” but would provide people with clarity.(

AAP: Daniel Pockett

)

Two Victorian women with COVID-19 have died at home, the Department of Health has confirmed. 

One of the women, aged in her 40s, is from the Darebin council area and the other woman, aged in her 60s, is from Hume.

Meanwhile, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews will reveal tomorrow what restrictions would be eased in Victoria when case numbers reach particular thresholds over the coming weeks.

Victoria recorded 76 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases overnight.

Contact tracers have linked 45 of the new cases to existing outbreaks, and 36 of the new cases were in isolation for the whole of their infectious period.

“Tomorrow, I will stand here and we will explain what the thresholds are,” Mr Andrews said.

“The low number that we can cope with, the low number that we can live with and the easing that we will be able to do over time, over coming weeks.”

A US soldier seen through a night sight.
Major General Chris Donahue, commander of the US Army 82nd Airborne Division, was the final American service member to depart Afghanistan. (

AP: US Central Command

)

The US military was dealing with the threat of attacks from the IS-K terrorist group right up until the last plane took off.

Troops evacuated as many as 1,500 Afghans on the last day of the evacuation mission.

“The last US soldier has left Kabul airport and our country gained complete independence,” Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there were fewer than 200 Americans still in Afghanistan, but that number was “likely closer to 100”.

Aerial photo of a stadium with a packed crowd
Western Australia will join Victoria and Queensland as the only states to have hosted the AFL decider.(

Getty: Paul Kane

)

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has confirmed Perth Stadium will host the 2021 grand final. 

It’s the second year in a row that the MCG in Victoria will be overlooked due to coronavirus restrictions that prevent spectators from attending.

The showpiece game is scheduled for September 25, which will allow for a pre-grand final bye.

Still of Toby Greene walking towards an umpire
Toby Greene pleaded not guilty to making intentional contact with an umpire.(

Supplied: Channel Seven

)

GWS star Toby Greene is set to miss the rest of the AFL finals series after being handed a three-match suspension by the tribunal for intentional umpire contact.

Greene pleaded not guilty to the “intentional” aspect of the charge at his hearing on Tuesday, but conceded contact had been made with experienced whistleblower Matt Stevic.

The incident occurred during three-quarter time of the Giants’ one-point win over Sydney in Saturday’s elimination final.

Just four of the new cases were in quarantine for their entire infectious periods, and at least eight were in the community while infectious. 

Seven of the new cases have been linked to an existing case or cluster and six are currently unlinked.

The ACT’s lockdown was due to end on September 2, but Chief Minister Andrew Barr today extended it until 11:59pm on Friday, September 17.

The lockdown began on August 12.

Wilcannia covid sign
The Wilcannia community have been asking government authorities for more protection since the start of the pandemic 18 months ago.(

ABC Broken Hill: Jonathon Poulson

)

The federal government was warned 18 months ago about the serious threat of a COVID-19 outbreak in remote NSW communities when a local Aboriginal health body pleaded for “urgent and drastic action”.

In leaked correspondence obtained by the ABC, the Broken Hill-based Maari Ma Aboriginal Health Corporation wrote to Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt in March 2020 to express concerns about how unprepared western NSW was for a COVID-19 outbreak.

“While the alarm has recently been sounded about the serious threat a COVID-19 outbreak poses to remote Aboriginal communities in Australia, the current focus appears to be more on Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Far North Queensland, not western NSW,” the letter read.

Six nurses wearing personal protective equipment.
As many as 15 per cent of nurses in some hospitals remain unvaccinated.(

Supplied: Alyssa Currie

)

The nation’s leaders should mandate COVID-19 vaccination for doctors, nurses and hospital cleaners, according to Australia’s peak medical body, with the federal government declaring the issue is “very high on the agenda” of all state and territory chief health officers.

The Australian Medical Association has been concerned by the number of frontline workers infected with COVID-19, and wants mandatory vaccinations in hospitals to prevent any more clusters at vital medical facilities.

AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid said hospital workers should be prioritised, with any worker in the healthcare sector subsequently included in the mandate. 

Tennis player walking off, looking disappointed after losing match
Nick Kyrgios is out of the US Open after a first-round defeat.(

Getty: Matthew Stockman

)

Nick Kyrgios has lost in the first round of the US Open in all-too-familiar fashion, losing his cool in a lively straight-sets defeat to 18th seed Roberto Bautista Agut

Struggling to adjust to New York’s intense humidity and tennis’s strict COVID-19 protocols, Kyrgios overheated in more ways than one during a 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 loss to the Spaniard.

Kyrgios also took aim at “bogans” in his players’ box for being “the only ones in here (Louis Armstrong Stadium) wearing masks”.

But Kyrgios’s biggest gripe was the placement of the towels inside the vast Louis Armstrong Stadium, and needing to walk “too many steps” to wipe down as he sweated profusely in the stifling heat.

You’re all caught up

We’ll be back tomorrow with more top headlines. See you then.

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