Australia news LIVE: NSW COVID-19 cases continue to soar as outbreaks worsen in Victoria, New Zealand; Afghanistan evacuations halted

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NSW to trial the reopening of industries for fully vaccinated people

The NSW government will soon trial reopening one-on-one industries such as hairdressing for fully vaccinated people to prepare for the easing of most restrictions once inoculation rates reach 70 per cent in mid-October.

Small-scale trials of service industries where both parties are vaccinated will begin in the coming weeks and act as a litmus test for other sectors like hospitality, which could then reopen with capacity limits within two months.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian addresses the media on Thursday.Credit:Janie Barrett

The trials will build on freedoms to kick-in across NSW next month, allowing outdoor gatherings of up to five people in non-COVID hotspots and an extra hour of outdoor recreation for households in hotspots.

The government is working on a reopening date of October 18.

Read the full story here.

Victorian Premier says rule-breakers lengthen lockdown; cases hit 11-month high

Premier Daniel Andrews has warned strict lockdown measures will stay in place as long as Victorians continue to visit friends and family and wait days to get tested for coronavirus.

Mr Andrews’ stern message, directed particularly at young Victorians, came on Thursday as fully vaccinated people in NSW were promised outdoor gatherings with up to four friends by September 13, even though the state hit a record 1029 new COVID-19 cases.

Australia Defence Force troops are doorknocking Shepparton residents asked to self-isolate.Credit:Justin McManus

“The longer people break the rules, the longer these rules will be on,” Mr Andrews said.

While 80 new locally acquired cases were recorded in Victoria yesterday, Chief Health Officer Sutton said it was too early to discuss whether the state’s lockdown would continue in its current form beyond its slated end date towards the end of next week.

It’s also still uncertain if schools in Victoria will return to face-to-face learning before public school holidays begin on September 18.

Read more about the situation in Victoria here.

US troops among dozens killed in Kabul airport attack, officials say

Dozens of people, including at least 12 US soldiers, are dead after two suicide bombers set off explosives outside the international airport in Kabul, plunging the US-led withdrawal effort into chaos.

The deadly attacks, which the US has attributed to terrorist group ISIS-K, came just days before the scheduled withdrawal of all US troops from Afghanistan. The violence will likely imperil efforts to evacuate as many people as possible before US President Joe Biden’s August 31 departure deadline.

Smoke rises from an explosion outside Kabul airport on Thursday.Credit:AP

General Kenneth McKenzie, who leads the US Central Command, said that 12 US service-members had died in the attacks and 15 were injured.

Read the full story here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for your company.

It’s Friday, August 27. I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day.

Here’s everything you need to know before we get started.

  • Two bomb blasts have rocked Afghanistan’s Kabul airport in what’s been labelled a terrorist attack. Around 60 people are dead. Among them are women, children and US troops. Yesterday, Australia warned its citizens and visa holders to stay away from the airport.
  • From the middle of next month, fully vaccinated people who don’t live in Sydney’s hotspot suburbs will be able to gather outside in groups of up to five people. That’s despite NSW’s 1029 cases yesterday – a national record for daily coronavirus infections. There are currently 116 coronavirus patients in NSW intensive care units.
  • Victoria recorded 80 new infections yesterday. That’s the highest daily caseload the state has seen since September 2020. Around half of yesterday’s cases were out and about in the community for at least some of their infectious period. Premier Dan Andrews says people flaunting coronavirus restrictions are only extending the state’s lockdown (currently scheduled to end at 11.59pm on Thursday, September 2).
  • The ACT recorded 14 new cases of coronavirus yesterday. Just one person was infectious in the community. Chief Minister Andrew Barr says it shows that lockdown measures in Canberra are working.
  • And national cabinet will meet today to discuss the Doherty Institute’s modelling to reopen Australia, as well as the vaccination rollout for 12- to 15-year-olds. Nationally, 32.3 per cent of Australian adults are fully vaccinated.
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