Australia news LIVE: Nation surpasses 80 per cent first dose vaccination target as COVID-19 cases continue to grow

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NSW crisis cabinet overhaul as new Premier prioritises economic recovery

New Premier Dominic Perrottet will overhaul and rename the NSW crisis cabinet to focus on economic recovery ahead of Sydney’s reopening, with the state’s chief economist set to advise the powerful committee.

Mr Perrottet also flagged changes to the NSW COVID-19 road map on Wednesday, with the former treasurer promising to prioritise business and consumer confidence in the months ahead.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet with Deputy Premier Paul Toole on Wednesday.Credit:James Brickwood

As NSW hit the long-awaited 70 per cent full vaccination threshold late yesterday, the government confirmed the crisis cabinet would be renamed to the COVID and Economic Recovery Committee, with NSW Chief Economist Stephen Walters to provide regular advice to the group.

“We must have a sharp focus on how we support businesses and ensure people return to work and give the NSW economy the best chance of bouncing back,” the Premier said.

More on the situation in NSW here.

Cancer ward of Royal Children’s Hospital exposed to virus

Child cancer patients and their families have been forced into quarantine for 14 days after a parent unknowingly infected with COVID-19 visited Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital.

Children receiving treatment in the Kookaburra cancer ward and their parents were told they must isolate for 14 days in their child’s hospital room, or at home if they were due to be discharged, after the oncology unit was deemed a tier-1 exposure site.

Royal Children’s Hospital chief executive Bernadette McDonald speaking to reporters on Wednesday afternoon.Credit:Getty Images

The hospital’s chief executive, Bernadette McDonald, said the exposure inside the hospital’s cancer ward was detected because a parent who stayed in the ward tested positive to the virus.

More on this story here.

French ambassador returning to Australia to ‘redefine terms of relationship’

France will send its ambassador to Australia back to Canberra following a bitter dispute over a new defence pact that sank a $90 billion submarine construction contract.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who last month accused the Morrison government of stabbing Paris in the back over the AUKUS deal, made the announcement while being questioned by French MPs on Wednesday afternoon, local time.

France’s ambassador to Australia Jean-Pierre Thebault has been in Paris since the spat.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“I have now asked our ambassador to return to Canberra with two missions: to help redefine the terms of our relationship with Australia in the future … and to defend our interests in the concrete implementation of the Australian decision to end the program for future submarines,” Le Drian said.

Read the full story here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for reading our live coverage.

It’s Thursday, October 7. I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll bring you some of today’s biggest stories as they unfold.

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

  • NSW has hit its 70 per cent double-dose vaccination target. This means Sydney’s lockdown is on track to end on Monday, with pubs, cafes and restaurants set to reopen and five fully vaccinated visitors allowed in the home. It comes as NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet prepares to overhaul the NSW crisis cabinet to focus on economic recovery. Mr Perrottet says NSW must have a “sharp focus on how we support businesses and ensure people return to work”. Yesterday, NSW recorded 594 new local cases of COVID-19 and seven deaths.
  • In Victoria, child cancer patients and their families are waking up in quarantine this morning after part of the Royal Melbourne Children’s Hospital was declared a tier-1 coronavirus exposure site. Meanwhile, Premier Dan Andrews has denied any wrongdoing after revelations he is being investigated by the state’s anti-corruption watchdog. The state opposition has called on the Premier to resign. Victoria reported 1420 new, locally acquired cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 11 deaths (the highest daily coronavirus death toll this year).
  • Eighty per cent of Australians aged 16 and over have now had one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. More than 350,000 doses went into arms yesterday. This means there have been 29 million jabs since the beginning of Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout. If the program continues at its current pace, 80 per cent of people aged 16 and over will be fully vaccinated by Saturday, November 6.
  • There were no new local cases in Queensland yesterday as the state once again avoids being sent into lockdown despite a string of recent cases. However, the ACT reported 28 people testing positive to coronavirus yesterday, along with six deaths.
  • And in international news, France will send its ambassador back to Australia following the fallout from the recent Australia, UK and US security pact. As you might recall, Australia cancelled its $90 billion submarine deal with France in favour of nuclear-powered vessels from America.
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