Victorian child becomes youngest Australian to die with Covid as NT cases rise | Victoria

A Victorian child under 10 has become Australia’s youngest person to die with Covid-19.

Victoria reported 1,166 new coronavirus infections on Saturday and five new deaths, including the child. Victoria’s health department said the child had “other serious comorbidities”.

Previously, 15-year-old Osama Suduh from south-west Sydney was the youngest known person in Australia to die with the virus.

The teenager from south-west Sydney died in August after contracting pneumococcal meningitis, and while he was also Covid-positive it was not the reason for his hospitalisation or death.

The news came as New South Wales reported 182 new Covid cases, the ACT 14 and the Northern Territory one.

The NT’s new case was a 31-year-old Indigenous woman from Robinson River. She was the 22nd case of the territory’s current outbreak.

The NT chief minister, Michael Gunner, said the woman had been moved into quarantine at Howard Springs, south of Darwin, and was not infectious in the community.

A 59-year-old woman whose case was reported on Friday had also been confirmed as having been fully vaccinated, Gunner told reporters on Saturday.

Michael Gunner
The Northern Territory chief minister, Michael Gunner, announced one new local Covid case. Photograph: Aaron Bunch/AAP

From Monday, new NT rules for interstate arrivals will come into effect, including a reduction of the home quarantine period and a requirement that all arrivals are fully vaccinated.

“Unvaccinated people from green zones are more risk to us than fully vaccinated people from red sides,” Gunner said.

Following a month-long trial of 111 people in Darwin and Alice Springs, the home quarantine period will be reduced from 14 days to seven. Arrivals need a negative PCR test within the previous 72 hours, a negative rapid antigen test and negative results on their fifth, eighth and 14th day in the territory.

For the week after home quarantining in a house, unit or hotel in either Darwin or Alice Springs, arrivals can move around the community they isolated in but must avoid high-risk areas such as aged care, health and correctional facilities, as well as remote communities.

The territory-wide mask mandate has been lifted in most public places – excluding Robinson River and Katherine.

The chief minister said 3,083 results were processed across the territory on Friday, 512 of them in Katherine. He praised the “extraordinary effort” of workers who spent the 42C day in full PPE testing all 230 residents in nearby Binjari, finishing at 2am on Saturday.

“This is a pretty good day,” Gunner said. “We are feeling more confident. We are not complacent although we are feeling better today about releasing lockdown from Monday.”

The NT’s outbreak came from an unvaccinated, untested Queensland woman who visited Victoria and did not declare it.

NSW reported 182 new Covid cases on Saturday and zero deaths. The number of people seriously ill with the virus continued to fall, with 191 people hospitalised with the virus, 28 of them in intensive care.

The state is inching closer to the 95% mark for first-dose vaccinations, with 94.3% of residents over 16 having stepped forward for at least one jab and 91.7% two doses.

Of the 12- to 15-year-old age group, 74.9% are fully vaccinated and 80.9% have received at least one vaccine.

Senior government minister Victor Dominello on Friday suggested QR codes could soon be retired in lower risk settings such as coffee shops and shopping centres.

“If the vaccination rates maintain a high trajectory and we see lower case numbers, we can retire them in low risk settings but as we’ve seen in Europe you might need to turn them back on,” he told the ABC.

The government is also considering requirements for close contacts of Covid-19 cases, to avoid schools opening and closing.

The NSW premier, Dominic Perrottet said the crisis cabinet – now called the Covid Economic Recovery Committee – would review the issue next week.

Victoria announced it would join NSW in allowing fully vaccinated international students to fly into the state without quarantining.

The state government has clarified international students can skip quarantine if they are double-dosed and provide a negative test 48 hours before departure, as per requirements for all international travellers.

The first planeload of international students is expected to touch down in Melbourne next month under a plan approved by the federal government

It is the first step in the state’s bid to reboot its $13.7bn education industry.

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