Health Minister Greg Hunt
Source: The Canberra Times
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  • COVID-19 restrictions continue to lift across the nation as Australia once again brings the coronavirus under control
  • From Friday morning, rules in South Australia and Queensland will change, with gathering caps raised and rules around masks easing
  • On top of this, Tasmania is reopening its border to travellers from Greater Brisbane, meaning these Queenslanders will no longer need to quarantine when travelling to Tasmania
  • New South Wales is, at this stage, keeping restrictions in place until January 27 given its most recent locally-transmitted cases are from less than a week ago
  • Still, Tasmania will downgrade 24 Greater Sydney local government areas to low-risk, with 10 other areas remaining medium-risk

COVID-19 restrictions continue to lift across the nation as Australia once again brings the coronavirus under control.

From Friday morning, coronavirus rules in South Australia and Queensland will change, while Tasmania will reopen its borders to travellers from Greater Brisbane.

At the same time, Health Minister Greg Hunt said hospital staff and doctors will start training in how to administer the coronavirus vaccine over the next two weeks, with the first doses of the jab to go out in mid-February.

To assist with the beginning of the vaccine rollout, Minister Hunt said more than 500 extra workers will be added to the task force for vaccinating Australians.

“Hospital staff, our cornerstone general practices, state vaccination clinics, all of those groups are already in place. This is to provide the additional support either within any of those or in particular with the outreach to Indigenous communities, aged care centres,” Minister Hunt said.

The vaccine update and easing COVID-19 restrictions come as New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria each report zero new locally-transmitted coronavirus cases for the last 24 hours.

Changing rules

In South Australia, the limit on private gatherings will lift from 50 to 200 people, though events with more than 50 people need to follow strict coronavirus guidelines.

These guidelines include having a trained COVID marshall on site, having a QR code sign-in function for guests, and keeping a full guest list of all attendees.

People will also need to stay two square metres away from each other.

However, while South Australia’s restrictions are lifting, Premier Steven Marshall said there will be no changes to border restrictions with New South Wales given six new local cases were announced last Saturday. However, he said the state will look to lift travel restrictions at the end of January if all goes well.

As far as New South Wales‘ restrictions are concerned, nothing is changing just yet. With the last recorded cases coming less than a week ago, Premier Gladys Berejiklian has confirmed that the restrictions in Greater Sydney will stay in place over Australia day.

As it stands, restrictions will be lifted on January 27 if the state continues to record no new cases every day until then.

In Queensland, the state will return tomorrow to the level of restrictions that were in place over Christmas after going 14 days without a locally-acquired coronavirus case.

This means people in Greater Brisbane will no longer need to wear face masks in public except will in airports or on aeroplanes. On top of this, up to 50 people will be allowed to gather in homes and 100 in public spaces.

Restaurants, cinemas, and bars will also ease their distance limits to two square metres per person.

Finally, Tasmania has reopened its border to Queensland, meaning those travelling to Tasmania from Queensland no longer need to quarantine.

Tasmania will also downgrade 24 Greater Sydney local government areas to low-risk, with 10 other areas remaining medium-risk.

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