Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

Here’s what you need to know this morning.

Berejiklian back in the witness box

a woman looks stern
The ICAC hearing continues today, with Mrs Berejiklian returning for another day.(Delivered to: ICAC)

Former Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian is back in the witness box at the Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC) today.

It will be Mrs Berejiklian’s second day at the booth after a barbecue party on Friday, where she was played a series of intercepted phone calls between herself and her former secret boyfriend, the disgraced MP Daryl Maguire.

The phone tapping, text messages and emails revealed that she provided assurances of multi-million dollar financing to Mr Maguire for his Wagga Wagga electorate.

In a call, she boasted of securing him $ 170 million for hospitals in five minutes.

Ms Berejiklian denied any wrongdoing, maintaining her relationship with Mr Maguire was not serious enough to reveal and that she had not given him special treatment.

The investigation is investigating whether she broke public confidence or turned a blind eye to corrupt behavior during her secret relationship with Mr Maguire, which began in 2015.

It is also being considered whether she has violated the Minister’s Code of Conduct by failing to report the matter.

International travel resumes

outside of an empty airport
An exemption from leaving the country is no longer required.(AAP: Bianca De Marchi)

Fully vaccinated Australians can travel abroad from today without exception and those in other countries can finally return home.

The revocation of health orders after more than 20 months of closed borders due to COVID-19 also means scrapping of quarantine rules.

Instead, those flying in or out of Australia will now be asked to show proof of their vaccination status and perform COVID testing before the flight.

To qualify as fully vaccinated, according to the Federal Department of Health, people must have had two doses of a COVID-19 jab approved or approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Currently this includes: AstraZeneca Vaxzevria, AstraZeneca Covishield, Pfizer / Biontech Comirnaty, Moderna Spikevax, Sinovac Coronavac and Janssen-Cilag COVID vaccine.

The new rules also apply to international students and tourists.

Fourteen international flights are expected to arrive at Sydney Airport today.

Booster shots at state clinics

a person walking along a fence
The vaccination center at Macquarie Fields is among the clinics that offer boosters to eligible individuals.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

As of today, booster COVID-19 shots are available from state-run clinics for eligible individuals.

Pfizer is the only vaccine offered, but NSW Health said it could be used no matter what jab people had received as their first or second dose.

They also said that the third dose was important to strengthen protection against the COVID-19 virus, including the Delta variant.

At this stage, only people aged 18 and over qualify, and they must have received their second dose at least six months ago.

The mass vaccination centers in Sydney Olympic Park and Macquarie Fields in southwestern Sydney are among the participating clinics.

Doctors and pharmacies can also administer booster doses to eligible individuals.

Yesterday, 87.7 percent of those over 16 were fully vaccinated in NSW, and 93.5 percent had received at least one dose.

Regional travel is back

a giant guitar outside a store
Travel to the regional NSW was delayed by two weeks until today.(Delivered: Visit NSW)

Vaccinated Sydney residents are now able to travel anywhere in New South Wales.

Today’s reopening was delayed twice due to the regional vaccination rates lagging behind in Sydney.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said vaccination rates have improved over the past fourteen days.

“But even in some of the areas in the regional NSW where prices are lower, they are still significantly higher than elsewhere in the country, so we are very safe,” Perrottet said.

“I know it was an unpopular decision to postpone regional travel by two weeks, but it was the right decision, it’s about building trust.”

The local government of NSW remains concerned about the spread of vaccination rates in some regional areas.

In the state’s central west of Orange, more than 91 percent of people over 16 are fully vaccinated.

But in the state north of Byron Shire, only 63 percent are double-dosed.

Fatal boat accident investigated

a capsized boat in the sea
Special officers from the Marine Area Command are investigating what caused the boat to capsize.(ABC News)

Investigations continue of a fatal boating accident off the NSW South Coast that left a 37-year-old man dead and three in a critical condition.

Seven men were rescued from a boat that capsized off Waniora Point in Bulli after emergency services were called around 6 p.m. 10:20 yesterday.

Some of the men swam to safety, but others were caught under the boat and were left unconscious.

They were picked up by surfers performing CPR, but one man was unable to be resuscitated.

A surfer who had paddled out to the boat to help got chemical burns on his face.

NSW police said the boat’s skipper was interviewed as part of the investigation conducted by specialist officers from the Marine Area Command.

Last night, three men remained in critical condition at hospitals in Sydney and Wollongong.

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