Australia news LIVE: Three-week COVID-19 vaccine blitz starts in Melbourne’s north and west; outdoor restrictions ease in NSW for fully-vaxxed as infections rise

As we foreshadowed earlier this morning, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has done an abrupt about-face and will appear at a press conference in Sydney at 11am this morning.

Ms Berejiklian flagged last week that daily COVID-19 press conferences would stop from today and would be replaced with online videos provided by NSW Health.

She said she would appear intermittently on a “needs basis”.

“That could be seven days a week; some weeks it could be three times a week. It depends on what’s going on,” she said on Sunday.

Well, it appears today is a day for a press conference. The premier’s office has now confirmed that she will provide the COVID-19 update today at 11am with NSW Health’s Dr Jeremy McAnulty.

That rather takes the wind out of the sails of NSW Opposition leader Chris Minns, who had seized on the absence of the press conference today to announce his own 11am appearance.

University of Melbourne epidemiologist Tony Blakely says he believes NSW and Victoria can tolerate up to 2000 COVID-19 cases a day “but not comfortably”, and it is important the states do not go over that number.

He said coronavirus restrictions should be eased when the numbers were as low as possible. At present, NSW is set to lift some restrictions for fully vaccinated people in mid-October. Modelling by the Burnet Institute suggests case numbers in NSW local government areas of concern will peak in coming weeks.

Professor Blakely told ABC Radio National this morning that “I think we might need to pivot to a different way of thinking about this and actually start thinking about what is our ceiling” of infections.

We need to start thinking about the headroom we’ve got … Any alterations or openings up that we want to do – and that’s going to be the tricky part – is going to require clarity and honesty from politicians that when they open up, we’ll have to monitor and we may need to retreat, as we start threatening that limit.

“You want to open up with the numbers as low as possible, and going down, because if you open up when the numbers say going for 1000 are still going up very fast, it’s not a good scenario to be in.”

Victoria’s current Reff rate – a measure of how many people an infected person will pass the virus on to – is at 1.7.

Professor Blakely said current mobility data is showing there is more movement in Victoria’s current lockdown than there has been previously.

“There’s fatigue, and on your hour or two of exercise each day, you only need to walk around to see the number of people hanging outside cafes chatting to their mates and jabbering in parks,” he said.

“I don’t wish to be critical, because as human beings, we crave that social connectedness. I think we are all over lockdown here in Victoria, so it’s been hard to maintain compliance of the public health orders basically.”