The Informer: Positive signs from ACT, NT as territories edge forward through pandemic

Pharmacist Nick Trevethan administering a COVID vaccine to Molly Chesher, 14. Picture: Elesa Kurtz
Pharmacist Nick Trevethan administering a COVID vaccine to Molly Chesher, 14. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

Australia is on track to be one of the most vaccinated countries, having passed the 80 per cent milestone already. On Sunday, the nation's two most populous territories had some good news to tell as they pushed ahead through the pandemic.

The ACT's vaccination rate for its population over 12 hit 95 per cent on Sunday, consolidating the territory's status as one of the world's most vaccinated jurisdictions.

That makes the city safer from COVID-19 but it brings another benefit: The ACT government cabinet will meet on Monday to consider fast-tracking freedoms, which were originally slated for November 26.

Limits on household and outdoor gatherings would be scrapped and capacity restrictions at hospitality venues further eased, under the next stage of Canberra's road out of lockdown.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr expects the territory's vaccination rates have higher to climb yet and will rise to 99 per cent later this month.

"This is another important milestone on our pathway towards a fully vaccinated population," he said.

There were some good signs, too, for the Northern Territory on Sunday. NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner said there had been no new COVID cases overnight and the territory's cluster remained at three.

He was confident the Top End's outbreak was now under control, and that from 3pm on Sunday the lockdown in Katherine would be scaled back to a lockout and "if all goes well" the town would exit lockout at the same time as Darwin.

Meanwhile, a COVID-positive woman who lied on her border entry form when entering Darwin has been fined $5024 after she was questioned by Northern Territory detectives for five hours.

"Don't lie, don't be selfish, think of others," Mr Gunner said on Sunday.

"She will pay because she lied to officials."

While Australia's vaccination rollout is going from strength to strength, the death toll from the coronavirus continues to climb.

In NSW there were 244 new cases and one death.

The state will mark a milestone in its reopening on Monday, when restrictions ease for vaccinated people.

Under the changes, there will be no limit on home visitors, as many as 1000 people can gather outdoors, and hospitality venue density limits move to one person per two square metres.

Stadiums, racecourses, theme parks, zoos, cinemas and theatres can operate at 100 per cent of their fixed-seated capacity.

It's a different story for unvaccinated NSW residents, who have to wait until December 15 or when the state reaches a 95 per cent double-vaccination rate to enjoy roadmap freedoms.

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

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This story Positive signs as we edge forward through pandemic first appeared on The Canberra Times.