Australia Covid update: woman who lied on border form is source of NT outbreak as Katherine moves to ‘lockout’ | Northern Territory

A Covid-positive woman who lied on her border entry form when entering Darwin has been identified as the source of the three-person cluster which triggered a lockdown in Katherine.

Restrictions for fully vaccinated people in Katherine will lift Sunday afternoon, but unvaccinated people will remain subject to stay-at-home orders until midnight Monday.

Chief minister Michael Gunner said the 21-year-old was issued with a $5,024 infringement notice after she was questioned by Northern Territory detectives for five hours.

“Don’t lie, don’t be selfish, think of others,” Gunner said on Sunday.

“She will pay because she lied to officials.”

He said her actions had “put the Territory at risk”, prompting the three-day lockdown for Katherine, 320km south of Darwin, where a close contact travelled and tested positive.

There has also been a “lockout” for greater Darwin, which Gunner expanded for an extra 24 hours to midnight on Monday.

Gunner said on Sunday there had been no new cases overnight and the cluster remained at three.

Before arriving in Darwin the woman spent time in Melbourne, where Gunner said she “almost certainly” contracted Covid before spending time in Adelaide and Cairns.

She arrived in Darwin from Queensland on 29 October.

“While there were compassionate reasons for her decision to visit Victoria there were not compassionate reasons for lying to the Territory in coming here from a hotspot,” Gunner said.

The woman is a close contact of the index case, an unvaccinated man in his 20s who worked at RAAF Tindal, near the town of Katherine.

They spent last weekend at the Mantra hotel in Darwin together after she arrived from Cairns, before he tested positive for the virus on Thursday.

NSW’s mass vaccination hub closes

In New South Wales, Sydney’s mass Covid vaccination hub at Qudos Bank Arena will be closed ahead of restrictions further easing across the state.

NSW premier Dominic Perrottet announced the centre would shut its doors on Sunday, after delivering more than 360,000 vaccine doses since 9 August.

The arena will return to hosting sport and entertainment events from Monday.

Perrottet said it was an important milestone in the state’s vaccination program, as it transitions to giving booster shots to adults who received their second jab six months ago.

“It is very clear that this booster program here in our state is going to be critical in order to keep people safe and ensure we can keep NSW open,” he told reporters while touring the new Granville Centre vaccination clinic.

The centre in Sydney’s west can deliver up to 1,000 vaccine doses a day and will open on Monday, when restrictions ease across the state for vaccinated people.

Under the previously flagged changes, there will be no limit on home visitors and as many as 1,000 people can gather outdoors.

Hospitality venue density limits move to one person per two square metres, while stadiums, racecourses, theme parks, zoos, cinemas and theatres can operate at 100% of their fixed-seated capacity.

Unvaccinated NSW residents, meanwhile, have to wait until 15 December or when the state reaches a 95% double-vaccination rate to enjoy roadmap freedoms.

NSW is on the brink of hitting 90% full vaccination of people aged 16 and over, with 89.7% now double-dosed.

It comes as another 244 local Covid cases were reported in NSW along with one death, an unvaccinated man in his 60s from Albury who died at Melbourne’s Box Hill hospital.

Covid continues to spread in regional NSW, with more than half of new infections outside Sydney.

Of the 244 local cases reported to 8pm on Saturday, 77 were detected in the Hunter New England health district, 20 on the mid-north coast, 17 in Murrumbidgee and nine in western NSW.

Melbourne dining vouchers

In Melbourne, diners will be able to claim up to $150 in meal vouchers as part of a $44m package to revitalise the CBD after the city’s sixth lockdown.

Victoria recorded 1,173 new locally acquired cases and nine more deaths on Sunday, as the state forges ahead with reopening and recovery.

The state government and City of Melbourne have agreed to jointly fund a number of targeted initiatives to bring the city centre back to life, including a $5m midweek dining rebate scheme.

From 15 November, diners can claim up to $150 off their food bills between Monday and Thursday each week.

More than 200,000 rebates will be up for grabs at restaurants, cafes and bars which serve food in the CBD, Carlton’s Lygon Street, North Melbourne, Southbank, South Wharf and Docklands.

Diners will be refunded 30% within five business days of uploading a photograph of their bill online.

The package also includes $10.4m to help businesses trade outdoors and at night, $15.7m to boost the city’s events calendar, $14m to revitalise public areas and $3.6m for an enhanced business concierge service.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the package, the first part of a $200m city revitalisation fund, was designed to help Melbourne recapture its vibrant food, wine and coffee culture.

“This is about getting people back to the CBD,” Andrews told reporters at Italian restaurant Becco in Melbourne’s CBD.

“It’s all about recovering what we lost.”

Lord mayor Sally Capp said midweek foot traffic in the CBD remains down 50% but the dining rebates would spur a rebound.

“The first time we did it, people came back three times faster than previous bounce-backs,” she said.

The city’s annual Christmas festivities will also begin from Friday, two weeks earlier than usual, to lure back more shoppers.

It comes as organisers of protests against vaccine mandates and proposed pandemic laws vowed to return to the streets of Melbourne every week until their demands are met.

A crowd marched through the CBD on Saturday to protest against a bill heading for the upper house that would give the Victorian government specific pandemic powers.

The bill needs the support of three of the 11 crossbenchers to pass, granting the premier the power to declare a pandemic and extend emergency conditions for three months at a time, for as long as considered necessary.

Andrews suggested there were a “wide range of views” among Saturday’s protesters but their efforts would be for nought.

“Protesting doesn’t work,” he said.

“The bill that’s in the parliament … builds on what happens in New Zealand, builds on what happens in NSW and is absolutely consistent with the powers that various people within government have held.”

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