'Vaccine passports' will be available this week. Here's what you need to know

Australians are a step closer to resuming travelling overseas as the Federal Government starts to roll out technology that proves your COVID-19 vaccine status around the world.

'Vaccine passports' will be available this week. Here's what you need to know

Australians are a step closer to travelling overseas as the Federal Government starts to roll out technology that proves your COVID-19 vaccine status around the world.

From tomorrow, any Aussie who is fully vaccinated can access the digital certificate – sometimes referred to as a "vaccine passport" - allowing them to travel in and out of the country.

The new technology is compatible with COVID-19 travel apps and based on a person's vaccination records.

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How will the vaccine passport work?

The new certificate contains a secure QR code and can be downloaded from the MyGov website to a smartphone or printed off.

To be eligible. you need to have proof of COVID-19 double vaccination and a valid passport.

The certificate will be scanned by border officials on arrival into a country if requested.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the anti-forgery visible digital seal technology within the certificate was among the world's most advanced.

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"Australia will share the visible digital seal technology, building a curated library of technical documents to assist interested countries develop their own vaccination certificates," Senator Payne said in a joint statement.

"The launch of the international proof of vaccination is a key step towards safely reopening international borders and supporting Australia's COVID-19 economic recovery."

The new international certificate meets the new global standard specified by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and conforms with World Health Organisation guidance.

When can Australians travel overseas again?

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Australia's international border restrictions would start to ease from the beginning of November for fully vaccinated Australians. 

It is expected at this point the country will hit a double vaccination rate of 80 percent.

Last week, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet announced all quarantine will be scrapped for fully vaccinated international arrivals entering New South Wales from November 1.

The surprise move is a radical change to Australia's management of COVID-19 and leaves NSW on its own as it prepares to welcome overseas visitors.

The decision eliminates the need for travellers to quarantine in a hotel, which has caused tens of thousands of Aussies to become stranded overseas because of strict flight caps.

There are 45,000 registered with DFAT as wanting to get back, with mandatory hotel quarantine starting at $3000.

Do I have to be fully vaccinated to travel overseas?

Come November, only fully vaccinated Australians will be able to travel overseas without getting an exemption.

Children under 12 and those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons will also be able to travel overseas without an exemption, according to the Department of Home Affairs.

While many countries are likely to require travellers show proof of vaccination status, some may not.

Employment Minister Stuart Robert said the vaccine passport would help Australians have ready access to the documentation should they need it.

"You may not have to use it — there may be many countries you'll visit that have no requirement to demonstrate you've been vaccinated.

"But the last thing the government wants for Australians when they travel overseas is to be stuck overseas because they can't prove they've been vaccinated."

Source : 9 News More   

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Unvaccinated woman in her 30s among five new COVID-19 deaths in NSW

COVID-19 daily cases in New South Wales have dropped below 300, with the state recording 265 today.

Unvaccinated woman in her 30s among five new COVID-19 deaths in NSW

COVID-19 daily cases in New South Wales have dropped below 300, with the state recording 265 today.

Five more people have died with the virus, while 606 people are in hospital and 132 are in intensive care.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said modelling was predicting a case surge as restrictions ease and mobility increases.

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"We expect hospitalisations to increase as well," the NSW premier said.

He did not detail what kind of case peaks NSW could expect, other than to say: "That will be a challenge for our state."

A woman in her 30s was among the COVID-19 deaths reported today.

The woman, from the Cessnock area in the Hunter Valley, was not vaccinated and had underlying health conditions. She died at John Hunter Hospital.

A man in his 50s from Sydney's Inner West died at Concord Hospital. He was not vaccinated and had underlying health conditions.

A woman in her 60s, also from the Inner West, died at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. She was not vaccinated.

A woman in her 70s from Sydney's south-west died at Concord Hospital. She had received one dose of the vaccine and had underlying health conditions.

A woman in her 80s died at Wollongong Hospital. She had also received one dose of the vaccine and had underlying health conditions.

There have been 475 COVID-19 related deaths in NSW since June 16, and 531 in total since the start of the pandemic.

Today's COVID-19 vaccination numbers for NSW have reached 80.76 per cent double dose, 9News reporter Chris O'Keefe has revealed.

First doses are at 92.1 per cent.

Mr Perrottet is adamant NSW will lead Australia out of the pandemic, by pushing ahead with its no quarantine plan for fully vaccinated travellers.

The premier said the NSW plan was an "important first step" to get Australia reconnected with the world, and he foreshadowed international students could potentially be welcomed back before Christmas.

Last week Prime Minister Scott Morrison cautioned NSW that the federal government controlled which demographics would be welcomed back to Australia first.

Tens of thousands of Australians have been stranded overseas since the pandemic started.

Mr Perrottet said he was eager to get tourists and international students into the state as quickly as practically possible.

Today's drop in cases comes as schools across the state begin their staggered re-opening.

Remote learning has been in place for 17 weeks in locked-down regions across NSW.

"Many of our children have gone through a very difficult time, not being able to interact and play with their friends," Mr Perrottet said.

"To be back in the classroom is an exciting day for kids and teachers and particularly for parents as well."

Mr Perrottet thanked teachers for their efforts in getting schools open.

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Schools in NSW will continue the state's "very successful" school tutorship program into 2022, because children have been kept out of school so long.

Mr Perrottet said the program would run throughout 2022 at a cost of $383 million.

"We do not want any kids across our state to fall behind in what has been a very difficult educational year," he said.

"We want to put as much investment as we can to make sure that kids who maybe are struggling, who may have slipped through the cracks during what has been a challenging educational year."

NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said more than 100,000 school staff have been vaccinated.

"We're sitting at about a 90 per cent vaccination rate for our school and admin staff, which is great."

Ms Mitchell said the tutorship program would help those in literacy and numeracy.

She said there would be "a real focus" on schools in southwestern and western Sydney.

The tutorship program means 7500 extra staff on NSW school sites.

Those jobs would go to casual teachers, retired teachers, final year university students and some student learning and support officers.

Ms Mitchell said mandated mask rules in schools would be reviewed regularly, but she would not be drawn on an end date.

The next level down in COVID restrictions means masks do not need to be worn by kids in classrooms, an environment she conceded was "challenging" and not ideal for learning.

Ms Mitchell said that change would happen "as soon as we're able" and that officials would be closely monitoring cases and any outbreaks.

Currently, masks are compulsory for all teachers and high school students and "recommended" for primary students.

Not all students returned to school today, with kindergarten, year one and year 12 students being the first to attend face-to-face classes.

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https://twitter.com/NSWHealth/status/1449857773286477833

The aim is to have the rest of the state's students back in classrooms by November 1.

But some parents say they are concerned that their unvaccinated kids are at risk of contracting COVID-19.

Rapid antigen testing testing has been flagged to check students before they walk in.

Face-masks will remain mandatory for teachers.

There will be extra protocols in place to increase safety for students and teachers, including staggered start times.

Parents are also encouraged to "kiss and go", and drop their students at the school gates without entering the grounds.

Non-urgent elective surgery will be discussed by the NSW cabinet this week.

Mr Perrottet said it was necessary to allocate health resources "in a safe way" but he wanted it to happen "quickly as possible".

"We'll be having a discussion about that this week."

More freedoms for NSW

Mr Perrottet previously announced a further easing of NSW's ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, to start from today.

These include changes to how many people you can have in your home, the number of clients at hairdressers and beauty salons, and capacity limits in venues.

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Regional travel has been pushed back until November 1, the same day the state will scrap quarantine requirements and welcome fully vaccinated travellers in.

"Hotel quarantine will be a thing of the past," Mr Perrottet said last week.

"Working with the Commonwealth Government, people coming into here, you'll need to do a PCR test before you board the flight stop you will need to show proof of your double vaccination. 

Source : 9 News More   

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