Australia Covid live news update: Victoria records 603 cases and one death as state braces for construction industry fallout

1 hour 11 minutes ago

Victoria’s highest number of cases for this outbreak; no opportunity to meet with French president, Scott Morrison says; Daniel Andrews orders two-week construction industry pause. Follow all the day’s news live

1.04am BST

Protesters and police gathering outside the CFMEU building ahead of a 10am protest.

1.03am BST

Annastacia Palaszczuk is speaking now.

She has confirmed the state has recorded no local Covid-19 cases, although she noted that the Byron Bay case just south of the border is concerning.

Tuesday 21 September – coronavirus cases in Queensland:

0 new locally acquired cases.

1 new overseas acquired case - detected in hotel quarantine.#covid19

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Matilda Boseley

New Zealand police arrest pair trying to enter Auckland with ‘large amount’ of KFC

1 hour 16 minutes ago

Two men tried to reach city – where Covid restrictions banned takeaways – with $100,000, three buckets of chicken and an undisclosed quantity of fries, police say

Two men have been arrested after police said they found them with a car boot-full of Kentucky fried chicken and over $100,000 in cash as they tried to cross the border into Auckland despite New Zealand’s strict Covid-19 lockdown.

The men were arrested after allegedly trying to flee from police near the Auckland border. When their car was searched, police said they found a large quantity of KFC, as well as the cash and a number of empty ounce bags.

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Tess McClure in Wellington

Frustration for New Zealand returnees as Covid quarantine waiting list hits 30,000

1 hour 20 minutes ago

Demand for MIQ spaces is vastly outstripping supply, with spots snapped up in just two hours

Overseas New Zealanders trying to return home are facing a queue tens of thousands of people long, as the country reopens bookings to cross the border.

The country’s borders have been strictly controlled since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic – only citizens, permanent residents and a handful of essential workers can enter, and all of them must make a booking to spend two weeks in government-controlled quarantine (MIQ).

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Tess McClure in Wellington

UK records 36,100 new cases – as it happened

1 hour 59 minutes ago

Thanks for following along – this blog is now closed. You can catch up with the latest coronavirus coverage here.

12.16am BST

Thanks for following along – this blog is now closed. You can catch up with the latest coronavirus coverage here.

11.09pm BST

Here are the key developments in today’s Covid news:

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Robyn Vinter (now); Harriet Grant, Sarah Marsh, Tom Ambrose and Helen Sullivan (earlier)

Boris Johnson refuses to rule out Christmas Covid disruption

2 hours 11 minutes ago

PM declines to guarantee there will be no restrictions but says he does not expect anything like last year

Boris Johnson has refused to guarantee that he will not have to disrupt Christmas gatherings for a second year running by imposing Covid restrictions, though he insisted it was “very much not the plan”.

Last year the prime minister repeatedly struck an upbeat note about Christmas before imposing stringent last-minute conditions preventing many people from seeing friends and family as the Alpha variant spread rapidly.

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Heather Stewart

Global markets fall sharply despite boost from US plan to relax Covid travel

7 hours 29 minutes ago

Concerns grow over rising inflation and possible contagion in China’s property market from debt-stricken developer Evergrande

Global financial markets have fallen sharply amid concern over rising inflation and the threat of contagion in China’s property sector from the debt-stricken developer Evergrande, despite a boost from the relaxation of US travel rules.

Markets around the world came under selling pressure, with the FTSE 100 in the UK slumping by 60 points, or 0.9%, to 6,903.

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Richard Partington and Graeme Wearden

More than 45,000 Australians stranded overseas registered for government help

7 hours 46 minutes ago

The tightening of arrival numbers and the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan have seen the number balloon in recent months

The number of Australians stranded overseas who need government help to return home has surged to more than 45,000, after a further tightening of arrival caps and the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.

While the register of stranded Australians was initially set up by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for those requiring assistance because of Covid-related travel issues, registrations from Australians left behind in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan have increased significantly since the evacuation mission ended late last month.

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Elias Visontay

Australia’s lockdown rules ease for boarders but Indigenous students still face barriers

7 hours 46 minutes ago

The pandemic has only made worse the sense of isolation felt by boarding students from remote communities

Tallen Robinson’s 14th birthday fell the first weekend of the school holidays but he spent it away from his family in Wee Waa, in the north-west area of NSW, and away from his Indigenous community.

Robinson is one of 3,744 Indigenous students attending boarding schools in Australia, according to the Australian Boarding Schools Association’s 2021 census, many of whom have found the pandemic has created barriers of access to educational opportunities and to their families.

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Natasha May

Roadmaps out of lockdown: why NSW and Victoria are taking different paths to Covid normal

7 hours 46 minutes ago

Vaccination targets are key to easing restrictions, but both states have different targets and timelines. Here is what you need to know

The two jurisdictions grappling with the most severe Covid outbreaks, New South Wales and Victoria, have revealed their plans for reopening, providing those living with lockdown with some sense of what the future may hold.

Both states will ease some restrictions once 70% of the eligible population age 16 and above are fully vaccinated, with further easing at 80%. But when will those targets be reached, and how and why do the plans differ?

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Melissa Davey Medical editor

UK gas supply robust and talk of three-day week ‘alarmist and misguided’, says business secretary – as it happened

8 hours 12 minutes ago

This live blog is now closed. You can find our latest story here: No 10 dismisses ‘winter of discontent’ warnings amid energy crisis talks

6.03pm BST

Related: Covid live: UK records 36,100 new cases; Pfizer vaccine safe for children aged 5-11, company says

5.52pm BST

The Labour for a Green New Deal campaign has welcomed a decision from Labour’s conference arrangements committee that its green new deal motion can be debated at the party conference. Originally CAC blocked the motion on the grounds that it was too wide-ranging. The motion is strongly backed by the pro-Corbyn group Momentum and includes proposals like universal free broadband and the repeal of all anti trade union laws.

Labour for a Green New Deal co-founder Chris Saltmarsh said:

Conference next week will now be a chance for the whole party to come together and embrace a green new deal which is built on public ownership and mass investment, and spans right across our economy, from green technology to universal basic services such as transport and care.

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Andrew Sparrow

Inability to enforce face masks leaves London mayor frustrated

9 hours 49 minutes ago

Sadiq Khan calls for government measures to help ensure coverings are worn on public transport

London cannot stop “significant numbers” of people from travelling without masks, Sadiq Khan has admitted, as he appealed to the government to restore the law or assist the capital in passing a bylaw to ensure face-coverings are used.

The London mayor spoke of his “frustration” at the reduction in compliance on the tube and buses since national rules changed on 19 July. Mask-wearing to tackle Covid transmission remains a condition of carriage on Transport for London services, but is no longer mandatory nationwide.

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Gwyn Topham Transport correspondent

‘I’ve missed going to gigs’: UK under-30s on why they got double-jabbed

10 hours 7 minutes ago

Four people on what convinced them to have a second Covid jab – and why there may have been a slow uptake among peers

A hesitant uptake of second Covid vaccine doses among people under 30 in parts of the UK has given the government concern for months.

As of 18 September, data shows that the proportion of fully vaccinated under-30s is 54.6% in England and 55.3% in Scotland (the government dashboard doesn’t provide detailed age breakdowns for Wales and Northern Ireland) based on ONS population figures as opposed to counts by GP records, which are a more volatile denominator.

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Jedidajah Otte, Pamela Duncan and Alfie Packham