As it happened: Ten police officers injured, 235 arrested in Melbourne protest, police operation stifles Sydney demonstrations

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As it happened: Ten police officers injured, 235 arrested in Melbourne protest, police operation stifles Sydney demonstrations

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The day in review

By Cassandra Morgan

Good evening, and thank you for joining us for live coverage of the day’s events. In case you are just tuning in, here’s what you’ve missed:

  • More than 200 people were arrested and six police officers were hospitalised after violent anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne’s inner east. Victoria Police Commander Mark Galliott described those who turned out as “angry, aggressive young males there to fight police”, and said while police expected up to 7000 protesters, only between 500 and 700 showed up. The CBD was blocked by checkpoints for several hours in an attempt to thwart the protest, with public transport also shut down. Commander Galliott said if those measures weren’t in place, “we could have had thousands in the city”. A gallery of photos from Melbourne’s anti-lockdown protest can be found here.
Protesters clashed with police during a violent anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne’s inner east on Saturday.

Protesters clashed with police during a violent anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne’s inner east on Saturday.Credit:Chris Hopkins

  • Victoria recorded 535 new cases of coronavirus and one death - a woman in her 70s from the regional city of Shepparton. The number of Victorians in hospital with COVID-19 continues to rise. There are now 207 people with the virus needing treatment, but as has been the story for many weeks now, the vast majority of those have not been vaccinated. Health Minister Martin Foley dropped some small clues about what tomorrow’s anticipated road map for reopening could look like, confirming that case numbers, not just vaccination rates, will play a role.
  • Meantime, planned anti-lockdown protests in Sydney fizzled out amid a massive police operation. NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Peter Thurtell hailed it a success. He said there was “no real protest activity” in metropolitan Sydney, and across the state, there were only 32 people arrested in connection with planned protests. A gallery of photos of the police presence in Sydney today can be found here.
There was a large police presence in Sydney on Saturday to thwart anti-lockdown protests. NSW Police deemed the operation a success.

There was a large police presence in Sydney on Saturday to thwart anti-lockdown protests. NSW Police deemed the operation a success.Credit:Rhett Wyman

  • NSW recorded 1331 new locally acquired coronavirus cases and six deaths. Of the people who died, there were four women and two men from western and south-western Sydney, with one person in their 40s, one in their 60s, two in their 70s and two aged in their 80s.
  • A large crowd also gathered at Perth’s Forrest Place to support anti-lockdown protests. While Perth is not in lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions in Western Australia are minimal – aside from closed borders with several eastern states – the crowd voiced support for other protests around the country. The state recorded one new case of COVID-19 in a returned traveller in hotel quarantine.
Protesters gathering at Perth’s Forrest Place on Saturday.

Protesters gathering at Perth’s Forrest Place on Saturday. Credit:Kelly Haywood/Nine News Perth

  • The ACT recorded 15 new cases of coronavirus. South Australia recorded no new cases, while the Northern Territory still only has one active case of coronavirus. Tasmania has not updated its figures, but it has been COVID-free.

Thank you again for joining us, and be sure to come back tomorrow for more live coverage.

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Childcare centres, regional businesses among new Victorian exposure sites

By Cassandra Morgan

Victorian health authorities have identified a number of new COVID-19 exposure sites, including childcare centres and regional businesses.

Bira Bira Early Learning Centre at Cheltenham in Melbourne’s south east was declared a tier-1 or close contact site over three days: between 7am and 6pm from Monday, September 13 through to Wednesday, September 15.

Little Stars at Southern Cross childcare at Docklands in the inner city was declared a tier-1 site over two days: between 11.30am and 6.30pm on Monday, September 13, and between 10.30am and 6.15pm on Tuesday, September 14.

Additionally, Tarneit Rise Primary School was listed as tier1 between 8:30am and 12:30pm on September 13, along with Great Beginnings Reservoir from 9:00am until Midday on September 10 and Kids House Early Learning in Cheltenham from 6:00am until 11:00am on September 16.

Anyone who attended the centres during those timeframes has to immediately get tested for COVID-19 and quarantine for 14 days from the exposure, regardless of whether they receive a negative test result.

The remainder of new exposure sites are tier 2 or casual contact. Good Start Early Learning Centre at North Melbourne was declared a tier-2 site between 8.30am and 3pm on Wednesday, September 15.

Other tier-2 exposure sites include a grocery store at Ascot Vale in Melbourne’s north west, a cafe in Essendon in Melbourne’s north west, and two businesses in Wangaratta in Victoria’s north east: a service station and a butcher.

Authorities warned some people who attended the otherwise casual contact site of Grill’d at Yarraville in Melbourne’s inner west would be tier-1 contacts.

A full list of Victorian exposure sites can be found here.

Two more COVID-19 exposure sites in Yass in NSW

By Lucy Cormack

Two more venues in Yass in the NSW Southern Tablelands have been declared as COVID-19 exposure sites, with anyone who attended the sites in the relevant periods declared a close contact.

  • The Yass Soldiers Club - Saturday September 11, from 5pm to 7.30pm and Monday September 13, from 2pm to 4.20pm
  • Club House Hotel, Yass - Saturday September 11, from 3.20pm to 6pm and Monday September 13, from 1pm to 3.30pm

Anyone who attended either venue in the stated times must get tested and isolate for 14 days since the time they were at the venue, regardless of the test result.

NSW Health sends a text message to people who have checked in at close-contact venues with further information.

Authorities have also identified a number of new casual contact exposure sites, which can be viewed on this list on the state government’s website.

Anyone who attended any of these venues at the listed times is a casual contact and must immediately get tested and isolate until a negative result is received.

Malaysia warns pact could spark nuclear arms race

By Chris Barrett and James Massola

Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob fears the new three-way defence alliance between Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom will trigger a nuclear arms race in the contested Indo-Pacific.

On Saturday, Malaysia joined Indonesia in raising alarm bells about the military build-up in the region and the impact that the AUKUS pact, which includes Australia acquiring nuclear-propelled submarines, could have on regional stability.

Ismail Sabri Yaakob spoke to Scott Morrison on the phone on Friday.

Ismail Sabri Yaakob spoke to Scott Morrison on the phone on Friday.Credit:Bloomberg

Ismail spoke to Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday before on Saturday expressing concern over the establishment of AUKUS to counter a rising China, saying it would be a “catalyst for a nuclear arms race in the Indo-Pacific region”.

“At the same time, it will provoke other powers to act more aggressively in the region, especially in the South China Sea,” his statement said. “As a country within ASEAN, Malaysia holds the principle of maintaining ASEAN as a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality.”

Click here to read the full story. 

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Vaccine maker Moderna looks to tap into local research talent

By Emma Koehn

The chief medical officer of coronavirus vaccine maker Moderna says there is scope for its COVID-19 booster shots to be made onshore in future and the company will look to leverage Australia’s research talent to make new products.

Speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age hours after the first doses of Moderna’s COVID vaccine landed in Australia, Dr Paul Burton said the company was progressing talks with the federal government about domestic manufacturing and would look to recruit more local research talent.

The NSW government wants Moderna to set up a manufacturing hub in Sydney.

The NSW government wants Moderna to set up a manufacturing hub in Sydney.Credit:Bloomberg

“I think there is amazing science in Australia, really fantastic basic scientific and clinical research, I’ve seen that first hand,” Dr Burton, who is based in the US, said.

“We’re putting our head of Asia Pacific Medical Affairs in Australia – so at least for my part, I think we’re going to try to build out the team there.”

You can read the full story here. 

Women bear the brunt of lockdowns but are poised to bounce back

By Shane Wright

Women are bearing the brunt of the collapse in lockdown-affected job markets but are poised to recover strongly once restrictions lift and may even find their way back into better-paying positions.

Special research by EY shows almost 100,000 women compared with 73,000 men have left the jobs market over the past two months, during which NSW, Victoria and the ACT have been fully or partly in lockdown to deal with COVID-19 outbreaks.

Women are bearing the brunt of lockdowns, losing hours and spending time on home learning.

Women are bearing the brunt of lockdowns, losing hours and spending time on home learning.Credit:iStock

Total female employment levels have fallen by 1.4 per cent and hours worked by women by 6.3 per cent. This compares to declines of 0.4 per cent and 5.2 per cent respectively for men.

EY Oceania chief economist Jo Masters said every time a lockdown had been imposed since last year, women’s employment and working hours had taken a larger hit than those of their male counterparts.

Read the full story here.

Authorities warn of passport processing delays

By Craig Platt

With passport applications plummeting due to closed international borders, processing has recently taken as little as two days.

But authorities are warning wait times will increase when Australia’s international borders reopen.

The Passport Office issued just 603,464 passports over the past year, compared with more than 1.7 million in the previous year. The means a large number of Australians have allowed their passports to expire, which could result in long wait times once borders reopen.

Qantas has scheduled international flights to start from December 18.

Qantas has scheduled international flights to start from December 18.Credit:James Brickwood

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson said that wait times are currently short, but applications had been gradually increasing since August.

“Once international borders start to reopen, the department expects there will be high demand for passports,” the spokesperson said.

“Recent experience in the United States and the United Kingdom has shown that there was a significant increase in applications ahead of international travel restrictions being lifted in these countries, resulting in long wait times for passports.”

Reports from the US put the wait time for processing at up to four and a half months, as Americans look to travel internationally again.

Click here to read the full story. 

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Gallery: Sydneysiders rejoice with picnics in the park

While a picnic seems like a meagre reward for enduring Sydney’s gruelling lockdown, many in the city rejoiced at the eased restrictions on Saturday, flocking to parks and enjoying one another’s company until the rain came.

New rules came into effect on Monday allowing Sydney residents who do not live in the 12 local government areas of concern to gather outdoors in groups of five.

The five-person limit does not include children under 12, but people must be within their local government area or five kilometres of their home.

Herald photographers on Saturday captured people at Sydney’s parks lapping up the change.

You can view a full gallery by clicking here. There are also some photos below.

A picnic is disrupted due to heavy rain at Rushcutters Bay.

A picnic is disrupted due to heavy rain at Rushcutters Bay.Credit:Rhett Wyman

A group of kids having fun jumping their bikes in Rushcutters Bay Park.

A group of kids having fun jumping their bikes in Rushcutters Bay Park.Credit:Rhett Wyman

Picnics are packed up as the rain begins to fall at Centennial Park.

Picnics are packed up as the rain begins to fall at Centennial Park.Credit:Steven Siewert

NSW Police anti-lockdown protest operation deemed a success

By Lucy Cormack

NSW Police have described a major police operation targeting a planned anti-lockdown protest on Saturday as a success, with “no real protest activity” in metropolitan Sydney.

Across NSW there were 32 people arrested in connection with planned protests, while police issued 265 penalty infringement notices. More than 60,000 vehicles were checked at 19 traffic points on major roads.

Police patrolling Sydney’s Hyde Park on Saturday.

Police patrolling Sydney’s Hyde Park on Saturday. Credit:Rhett Wyman

Police were also stationed on the rail networks where a number of the arrests were made for breaches of the public health order and possession of knives.

More than 1700 police were involved in the operation across the state, of which 1500 were deployed across Sydney. The remainder targeted small protests in regional NSW, including in including Tweed Heads, Byron Bay, Central Coast, Wollongong and on the South Coast.

Assistant Commissioner Peter Thurtell on Saturday said the aim of the operation was to prevent protest activity and to enforce the public health order.

“And if you have a look at today’s results I think you’ll find that our actions have been very professional, very well received by the public.”

Police at Sydney Park checking IDs at the entrances.

Police at Sydney Park checking IDs at the entrances.Credit:James Brickwood

He said he believed many people who were previously supportive of anti-lockdown protests appeared to have “changed their mind” about participating, following the first large scale protest and police operation on July 24.

“They saw it was not only enforced on the day, but there were follow-up operations to identify those that were in breach not only of the public health order, but more importantly those that assaulted police horses and assaulted police officers,” he said.

“We’ve all been in lockdown for quite some time now and the fact that others are prepared to put that at risk means that we need to enforce the health order.”

Throughout Saturday’s operation 20 people were arrested in Greater Sydney and 236 PINs were issued. In Byron Bay 11 people were arrested and 28 PINs were issued and one person was arrested and later issued with a PIN in Tweed Heads.

Yass pub declared a close contact exposure site

By Cassandra Morgan

A pub in Yass in regional NSW has been declared a close contact COVID-19 exposure site.

Anyone who attended the Australian Hotel Motel on Comur Street in the town on Saturday, September 11 between 6.45pm and 9.20pm is now considered a close contact.

They must immediately get tested for COVID-19 and quarantine for 14 days from the exposure, regardless of whether they receive a negative result.

NSW health authorities have also identified a number of new casual contact exposure sites, which can be viewed on this list on the state government’s website.

The Yass Valley Council local government area was placed back under stay-at-home restrictions on Tuesday for two weeks after a positive case was confirmed in the area.

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