Victoria records 1313 COVID cases as outdated vaccination data leaves Melburnians stranded

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Victoria has recorded 1313 coronavirus cases and four deaths amid revelations that border rules based on outdated vaccine data are preventing Melburnians from visiting South Australia.

South Australia will open up to the rest of the country on November 23 but will still require visitors from local government areas with a double-dose vaccination rate lower than 80 per cent to quarantine upon arrival.

Michael and Kristen Battistella, with their children Mia and Nina.Credit:Simon Schluter

Victoria has already surpassed that milestone and is on track to hit 90 per cent vaccination for residents aged 12 and above later this month.

However, the South Australian border rules reflect Commonwealth figures, which consider vaccination data from Melbourne that accounts for tens of thousands of international students and migrants who left due to the pandemic – putting the city’s official vaccination rate at 69.9 per cent.

Among those hoping to visit relatives in Adelaide are Melbourne couple Michael and Kristen Battistella, who want their children to see their grandmother Loretta before she starts a second round of chemotherapy.

“Loretta has a tumour behind her eye that she’s having radiotherapy on. You don’t know how it will affect her eyesight – could it be the last time she can physically see the family?” Ms Battistella said.

“It’s all adding another layer of emotional stress that I thought we were over by this stage in the pandemic.”

Meanwhile, the Victorian Opposition is gearing up to fight the Andrews government’s new pandemic laws, which will replace existing state-of-emergency powers and allow the premier and health minister of the day to declare a pandemic.

The Opposition will refuse leave to debate the new laws when they come before parliament next week, delaying debate until at least Wednesday and limiting the time crossbench MPs will have to amend the bill.

Key crossbench MPs are expected to seek amendments and the sticking point is expected to relate to the sweeping powers and their impact on human rights.

About 85 per cent of Victorians aged 12 and over are fully vaccinated against coronavirus, and more than 92 per cent in that same aged bracket have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

There were 67,105 coronavirus tests processed on Wednesday, while 13,358 people received a coronavirus jab at a state-run vaccination hub.

There are now 15,675 active coronavirus cases in the state. Of those, 457 remain in hospital with 79 in intensive care and 48 patients on a ventilator.

The majority of patients in hospital aren’t fully immunised against the virus.

Marameo cleared of wrongdoing after COVID scare

A popular Melbourne restaurant says it has been cleared of any wrongdoing following an investigation by the Department of Justice into allegations it hadn’t been using QR codes and checking the vaccination status of patrons.

Eleven patrons at one of the private dining rooms at Marameo, in the CBD, tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, a week after dining at the eatery.

The restaurant closed down the venue for a deep clean on Saturday and Monday, contacted all patrons who dined in on October 30 and requested staff members get tested immediately.

“All staff who have worked at Marameo during this period have since returned negative test results,” the restaurant wrote on social media.

Marameo said it had been cleared by the Department of Health and Human Services and informed the Department of Justice had closed the case.

“We’re hearing a lot of events like this are happening around Melbourne, and e ask you to bear with us and the rest of the hospitality community as we navigate this challenging time,” the post read.

“So do what you can: check in, mask up, sanitise and be kind – to hospitality staff, others and yourself. We’ve all been through a lot can can get through the rest of it better together.”

With Michael Fowler, Annika Smethurst and Rachel Eddie

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