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Miles raises hopes of borders opening sooner than planned

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In signs the Palaszczuk Government is planning an early Christmas present for Queenslanders tired of border closures, Deputy Premier Steven Miles has held out the prospect of opening up the state earlier than planned.

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And Queensland is not the only state moving quickly to easing pandemic restrictions, with NSW also announcing it would bring forward freedoms for fully vaccinated residents by several weeks.

In Rockhampton to continue the government’s campaign to lift vaccination rates, Mr Miles said the state’s border could be opened up to travellers earlier than planned.

Quarantine is due to be scrapped for domestic travellers when 80 per cent of eligible Queenslanders are fully vaccinated.

However, Miles said if that target was reached before December 17, the date previous modelling has suggested, then the government will act.

“We will be opening on December 17, if not sooner,” he said.

“If we meet those targets sooner, then we will open sooner.”

In Queensland, latest figures show 64.12 per cent of people over the age of 16 are now fully vaccinated and about 77.8 per cent have had one dose.

Miles insisted there was no longer any problem with supply of vaccines or a lack of vaccination clinics, even in the state’s regions.

“Part of our message here today in Rockhampton is please go and get vaccinated. Those deadlines are racing upon us and so the sooner people get vaccinated the sooner they can protect themselves and their communities,” he said.

“I don’t think the problem here is insufficient resources … we have clinics all over and our problem now is people.

“People need to go and get vaccinated.”

Restrictions in NSW which were due to be removed in December will now be scrapped from Monday, while the unvaccinated will have to wait for longer to access freedoms.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said there would no longer be limits on home visitors from November 8, while as many as 1000 people can gather outdoors, with density limits at hospitality venues also lifted.

Stadiums, racecourses, theme parks, zoos, and entertainment facilities such as cinemas, theatres and amusement centres can also operate at full capacity.

Unvaccinated NSW residents were set to be able to access hospitality venues from December 1, but that has been pushed back until December 15 or when the state reaches a 95 per cent double-vaccination rate.

It comes as Novavax completed its submission to the Therapeutic Goods Administration to become the fourth formally approved COVID vaccine in Australia.

A review of the vaccine will be undertaken before final approval will be granted,

The commonwealth has ordered more than 50 million doses of the American vaccine, which could arrive in the country early next year.

Novavax’s chief commercial officer John Trizzino said he did not know how long the approval process would take, but hoped it would be completed soon.

“As soon as (it is approved), we have doses ready to ship,” Mr Trizzino told the Nine Network on Tuesday.

The latest national figures show 78.1 per cent of over 16s are fully vaccinated while 88.5 per cent have received a first dose.

 

There were more than 186,000 vaccines administered across the country on Monday.

NSW recorded 173 new cases in the latest reporting period, while four more people died.

Meanwhile, Victoria registered 989 new infections and nine deaths.

It’s the first time Victoria has recorded fewer than 1000 daily infections since late September.

There were eight new cases of COVID reported in the ACT.

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