Vax rates climb, NRL decider looks hopeful

·3-min read

Australia's COVID-19 vaccine rollout is edging toward the 30 million mark with more than four million jabs administered in the past fortnight alone.

More than 79 per cent of Australians aged 16 or over have received at least one dose of the vaccine while around 56 per cent have been fully inoculated.

National Cabinet, which met on Friday, has endorsed a plan to start third-dose booster vaccines later this year.

Fears of a postponement or relocation of Sunday's NRL grand final are receding a day out from the game as Queensland reported two cases on Saturday, both linked to existing clusters.

NSW recorded 813 new locally acquired cases and 10 deaths on Saturday, while there were 1488 infections and two deaths in Victoria.

Protesters again took to the streets of Melbourne, a day after the state government announced a big expansion of its mandatory vaccination requirements.

The ACT again reported 52 new cases - an equal record - while there were two new cases in South Australia and none in Western Australia.

Late on Saturday evening, Tasmania reported a teenager who had flown into Launceston from Melbourne had tested positive to the virus.

He is currently in quarantine, along with his family close contacts.

Virgin Australia flight VA 1364, which arrived at Launceston Airport at around 11.30am on Friday has been declared an exposure site.

Anyone in the arrivals hall between 11.30am and 12.30pm on Friday are casual contacts and should immediately isolate and contact Tasmania Health.

Meanwhile, Qantas has brought forward the restart of its international flights to November 14 after the federal government announced the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

The national carrier will operate four weekly return flights between Sydney and London and three weekly return flights between Sydney and Los Angeles.

More flights will be added to meet demand.

Customers booked on the flights will have the flexibility to make 'fee free' date changes for travel until December 31, 2022, with refunds or credits available if flights are cancelled.

All passengers will be required to be fully vaccinated and return a negative test 72 hours prior to departure, and home quarantine for seven days on arrival into Australia.

China's Sinovac, and Covishield produced in India, will be recognised alongside AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

Unvaccinated people, or those without approved jabs, will require two weeks' managed isolation in hotels or dedicated facilities.

People who cannot be immunised, including those under 12 or with a medical condition, will be treated as vaccinated.

The decision comes as states and territories edge closer to 80 per cent double-dose vaccination coverage for people aged 16 and over - the threshold for reopening the international border.

States and territories will access the new freedoms at different times with vaccination coverage and home quarantine programs varying across jurisdictions.

In coming weeks, Australians will be able to access an international vaccination certificate to present at borders.

The certificate, which will meet International Civil Aviation Organisation standards and be endorsed by the World Health Organisation, will display a QR code that is as secure as a passport chip.

They are expected to become available by the end of October, digitally and in printable form, through the myGov platform.

The government is working towards quarantine-free travel with countries including New Zealand.

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