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Coronavirus victim Martin Blight’s family make vaccination plea

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Another family is grieving a loved one taken too soon in the pandemic, and they want the death to serve as a reminder of the importance of getting vaccinated.

Victorian man Martin Blight never made it to his upcoming vaccination appointment before his workplace became a Tier 1 exposure site.

On September 9, Mr Blight took to Facebook to tell his friends of his illness: “Covid sux guys look after yourselves plz do what ever you can to self distance that’s one thing I would say that works…..”

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The 46-year-old died in hospital on Monday night after saying goodbye to his young son over FaceTime.

His aunty wrote on Facebook that he was meant to get his first dose last week but could not get to the appointment because of his illness.

Australian Services Union (ASU) said Mr Blight had developed symptoms and was had been identified as a close contact of a positive case at Serco Mill Park.

Martin Blight, a dad to a teenage son and a keen fisherman, died of coronavirus on Monday. Photo: ASU

“The Union has been speaking with Marty’s family directly and both the ASU and Marty’s family would like to take this opportunity to encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible so that no one else has to go through the trauma of losing someone to COVID-19,” the ASU said.

The plea from the family comes as states are on track to reach vaccination milestones.

  • Know someone who is hesitant about getting a vaccine? Read these tips on how to chat to them – and what not to say.

Here’s a quick wrap of everything else you need to know on Wednesday morning about each state under lockdown orders.

NSW

Four out of five NSW residents aged over 16 are likely to have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Wednesday.

The achievement all but guarantees NSW will meet the reopening target of 80 per cent double-dose coverage.

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Some 79.5 per cent of the over-16 population in NSW had come forward to get at least one jab by Tuesday, and 47.5 per cent were fully vaccinated.

Under the NSW government’s roadmap, vaccinated people will be released from lockdown when the state reaches 70 per cent double-dose coverage.

More changes will be triggered at 80 per cent, including to international travel and large events.

Meanwhile, some suburbs in Sydney’s west and southwest remain under heightened restrictions despite having some of the highest vaccination rates in the country.

Schofields, Marsden Park, The Ponds and Toongabbie are among the suburbs to have seen at least 90 per cent of residents vaccinated.

Because their council areas are still labelled hotspots, residents in those suburbs are subject to a curfew. Unlike other NSW residents, they can only picnic with their households.

The future of southwest and western Sydney will be debated during a two-hour economic recovery summit hosted by the NSW Opposition.

Around 20 speakers from industry groups, arts organisations, business groups, social services organisations and unions are slated to address the Zoom summit on Tuesday morning.

Labor says it’s looking for positive ideas to get the region booming again once lockdown ends, and it wants to bridge the gap between the west and the rest of Sydney.

NSW reported 1127 more locally acquired COVID-19 cases and two deaths on Tuesday.

There are 1253 COVID-19 patients in the state’s hospitals, including 231 in intensive care.

NSW Health’s Jeremy McAnulty said on Tuesday it was “too early to know” if the curve of case numbers was flattening, after the state recorded its lowest daily total in almost two weeks.

“We’re seeing…that cases haven’t been increasing as fast as they have been, but that may be an effect of the weekend,” he told reporters.

“We’ll look to see what’s happening throughout the rest of this week to know how we’re going.”

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Victoria

Victorians await details of their path out of lockdown as most of the state’s regional trains remain offline, following another COVID-19 case detected among rail staff.

Coaches will continue to replace the majority of V/Line services on Wednesday after a seventh worker tested positive for the coronavirus, with up to 300 frontline staff continuing to isolate.

Two deaths were reported on Tuesday, a Hume man aged in his 20s and a Brimbank woman in her 80s.

Authorities were unaware the man had the virus before he died at home on Monday. It is not yet known if he had underlying health conditions, whether he was vaccinated or if he lived alone.

It came as Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the state’s roadmap out of lockdown would be released on Sunday.

Mr Andrews said the roadmap, which will outline restrictions through to November, would rely on Burnet Institute modelling of vaccination and hospitalisation rates.

In the meantime, Melburnians will get an extra hour of outdoor activity and the five-kilometre travel radius will be expanded to 10km when 70 per cent of eligible Victorians have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

This is expected to occur on Friday.

The Victorian government also announced it will spend another $22 million on mental health, including pop-up clinics across the state.

ACT

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says he respects the decision of the ACT government to extend the national capital’s lockdown for another four weeks.

Over the past week the ACT has recorded an average of 18 extra cases a day, with 22 recorded on Tuesday.

The extension was advised due to too many people being infectious in the community, and the return of nearby Yass Valley to lockdown.

Mr Hunt backed the territory government’s decision to extend the lockdown until October 15.

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“We do respect their decision and not to engage in debate is an important part of the national cabinet process,” he said.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr is a member of the national cabinet, which involves the premiers, territory leaders and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Mr Hunt praised the ACT for its high vaccination rates, which he said was moving Canberrans closer to the 70 and 80 per cent targets which would allow for restrictions to lift.

The latest figures show 52.1 per cent of ACT residents have had both doses, while 75.9 per cent have had one vaccination.

The ACT government has made some minor changes to its restrictions which will come into effect from 11.59pm Friday.

Small businesses currently permitted to operate a click and collect or click and deliver service can admit up to five people at any one time, or one person per four square metres (whichever is lesser).

Social and recreational sport such as tennis and golf will be allowed to go ahead with up to five people permitted to gather together.

And from October 4, year 12 students can return to the classroom if the situation does not deteriorate.

Year 11 students will follow from October 18.

With school holidays due to start this weekend, police have issued a warning to Canberrans not to go to closed nature reserves and campgrounds.

“It’s still not OK to have visitors to your home. It’s not OK to visit closed reserves,” Detective Superintendent Naomi Binstead said.

“Trips should still only be taken for essential purposes. You must check-in and remember, with a few exceptions, masks must be worn whenever you leave home.”

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