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The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Thursday October 7.

Pregnant aged care nurse murdered "by someone that is known" to her.

Police are investigating the murder of a Perth nurse, Janet Dweh, who was found dead Monday evening in her Dayton home. 

Speaking on Wednesday morning, Homicide Squad detective superintendent Rod Wilde said the 36-year-old aged care nurse may have let her attacker inside, as there were no signs of forced entry.

“We don’t believe it’s a random person who has committed this offence,” Wilde said.

“We believe the person or persons that murdered Janet probably gained entry to the house through use of a key, or otherwise by Janet letting them into the house.

“That leads us to believe that it’s probably someone that is known to Janet.”

Janet was eight months pregnant, and police believe she was killed either late on Sunday or early Monday morning. Her brother found her body at 6pm that evening, after his sister failed to contact any of her family that day.

Her three children are currently in the care of family members. No one has been arrested or charged over Janet's death. 

Australia mulls coronavirus booster shots.

Australians with compromised immune systems could start receiving COVID-19 booster shots this year before third jabs are rolled out more widely in 2022.

Health authorities are closely monitoring overseas programs with the United States, United Kingdom, Israel and France among countries offering boosters.

Vaccine rollout co-ordinator John Frewen said science was not yet settled on third jabs, but the health department was working on a strategy.

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"It's possible we may see a third dose for those people who have compromised immune systems in some way, maybe later this year," he told the Seven Network on Wednesday.

"But otherwise I think that the plan for the boosters will either be later this year or more likely into next year when it will all become a bit like the flu shot."

A major US study published on Monday found Pfizer was 90 per cent effective at preventing COVID-19 hospitalisations for at least six months even against the rampant Delta variant.

But protection from infection dropped from 88 per cent within one month after receiving two vaccine doses to 47 per cent after six months.

Booster programs in rich countries have come under fire with many poorer nations still trying to vaccinate their populations.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation will in coming weeks provide updated advice about a small cohort of people that may need a third dose to complete their primary course.

Federal and state governments are planning to start a booster program in late 2021 subject to ATAGI advice and regulator approval.

Australia posts another record vaccine day.

Australia's coronavirus vaccination rates continue to surge, with another record day of doses putting major targets within sight.

But there are concerns about some states and territories that have avoided major outbreaks continuing to trail in the race to be protected as the nation eyes reopening.

In the past 24 hours, 350,856 doses were administered across Australia, pushing over-16 vaccination coverage to 58.4 per cent.

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More than 80.5 per cent have received at least a first dose, with the ACT and NSW leading the nation in both categories.

Almost 95 per cent of Canberrans have received at least one jab, while 68.8 per cent are fully vaccinated.

NSW has reached 89 per cent first-dose coverage and 69.1 per cent of people 16 and over have received two jabs, putting the 70 per cent threshold to relax some restrictions within reach.

A national agreement has set 80 per cent as a major milestone to restore a range of freedoms.

Western Australia and Queensland are the only states languishing below 50 per cent double-dose coverage.

South Australia is at 52.4 per cent two-dose coverage, while Victoria is at 54.5 per cent.

Tasmania has fully vaccinated 62.1 per cent of its over-16 population, while the NT is at 67.3 per cent.

Calls for clarity on NSW reopening roadmap as state hits 70%.

With NSW's 70 per cent COVID-19 vaccination target reached and more freedoms only days away, clarity on the rules for businesses amid the reopening is sorely lacking, the opposition says.

New Premier Dominic Perrottet confirmed in a Facebook post on Wednesday afternoon the state had reached the milestone that will trigger the easing of some restrictions on Monday.

"This is great news and big step closer to a full reopening and a proper summer," he said.

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From Monday, shops and hairdressers reopen to the fully vaccinated and the five kilometres-from-home travel limit will be ditched.

Five visitors will be allowed in homes while 50 guests will be permitted at outdoor weddings and funerals.

But NSW Labor says it is fielding questions from businesses that are still confused about their responsibilities.

Leader Chris Minns called for the government to urgently provide business with more clarity.

"What's the protocol and procedure for business?" he told reporters on Wednesday,  

"What are the rules that will be in place to make sure that they've got the tools they need to make sure that their place of business is safe, their employees are protected and that their customers are able to come into their shop?"

Mr Perrottet said on Wednesday that he would be discussing the matter at crisis cabinet that evening.

Also on the agenda for the crisis cabinet meeting was potential changes to the state's roadmap out of lockdown. He has ruled out bringing the October 11 reopening forward, but any further changes will be announced today.

Perrottet did confirm 11am press conferences would be scrapped, and numbers would instead be released at 9am. 

The state reported 594 new locally-acquired cases and 10 more deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday.

Race to trace Vic kid's hospital outbreak.

Authorities are racing to identify all vulnerable young patients who were exposed to a COVID-19 outbreak at a Melbourne children's hospital cancer ward.

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A patient's parent spent at least four days at the Royal Children's Hospital in Parkville while infectious, with the exposure period stretching from October 1 to October 4.

A hospital spokeswoman said contact tracing was still underway on Wednesday night, and as a result these dates may change.

The hospital's Kookaburra cancer care ward has been identified as a tier one exposure site, and its main street walkway has been listed as a tier two site for September 26.

RCH chief executive Bernadette McDonald said all affected patients, parents or carers have been placed into single rooms at the hospital to quarantine for 14 days, with contact tracing for all others underway.

No children in the cancer ward had tested positive as of Wednesday evening, but the hospital has 12 COVID-positive patients in its care, four in other wards and eight being treated at home. 

It comes as Victoria recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic's third wave, after 11 people were reported to have died with COVID-19 on Wednesday. The state also reported 1420 new locally acquired cases.

The state government has announced Victorians stranded in the ACT and NSW will be able to return home as border restrictions eased overnight. 

Areas considered red zones in NSW and the ACT have been downgraded to orange zones, allowing residents and non-residents to enter Victoria if they take a test within 72 hours of arrival and isolate until receiving a negative result. 

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Meanwhile, extreme risk zone classifications for locked-down areas such as Greater Sydney have been downgraded to red, meaning people can return if they isolate at home for 14 days.

Jab mandate starts for SA-bound truckies.

South Australia has moved to impose tighter restrictions on truckies and other freight workers coming into the state after a spate of COVID-19 cases linked to drivers.

Close to a dozen infections reported in SA in recent weeks have involved truckies who have passed through the state.

From Thursday, any such essential workers entering South Australia from NSW, Victoria or the ACT must show proof of having at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

The documentation will only need to be provided once with each person's status to be updated on their cross-border permit.

With the deadline looming on Wednesday, Premier Steven Marshall said the change was necessary following the number of recent cases linked to freight operators.

"We've had seven, eight, maybe nine truck drivers bring the Delta variant into South Australia just in the last couple of weeks," he said.

"So this is a major priority. We hope that all drivers comply with that direction."

From next week, the new rules will also apply to other categories of essential travellers including emergency service workers, remote and specialist workers and diplomatic and consular staff.

The new measures come as concern continues over the case of a woman from Mt Gambier who tested positive for the virus this week after spending time in Victoria.

The case prompted tough new restrictions for Mt Gambier and two other council areas in SA's southeast.

So far, South Australia has not reported any further infections linked to the woman.

Meanwhile, SA has diverted from the national plan for international travel, announcing they may not open up when they hit 80 per cent.

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Qld following national COVID plan says premier.

Queensland's premier insists she is still following the national COVID-19 plan after revealing she may not open the state's borders once vaccination coverage hits 80 per cent. 

The state is close to suppressing a third multi-case outbreak of the Delta variant, recording no new locally acquired cases on Wednesday after 12,829 tests.

The news comes nine days after the first case emerged in a cluster involving workers at an aviation company, which swelled to nine cases.

The premier said there was ongoing risk of the Delta getting into the state so it was crucial for people to keep getting vaccinated.

She said vaccination coverage in parts of Brisbane was already above 70 per cent, but she was concerned about lagging vaccination rates in Ipswich, Beaudesert, Logan, the Sunshine Coast and central Queensland.

The premier said booster shots, protecting children and dealing with hospital capacity issues were all part of the national reopening plan.

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She strongly denied she was shifting the goalposts or deviating from the national plan.

"That's not correct, no, don't put words in my mouth. That's not exactly what I was saying, though, I said very clearly, we're in stage A of the national plan. We are following that national plan," the premier said.

"Part of that national plan is booster shots, so ask the prime minister the plan for the booster shots, because that's in the plan as well.

"So, you know, don't just cherry pick parts of the national plan, when you're not cherry picking other parts of the national plan."

Meanwhile, Health Minister Yvette D'Ath has announced a trial that will allow Queenslanders stuck interstate to return and quarantine at home.

It follows the successful use of home quarantine for boarding school students and unaccompanied minors.

The trial will begin with 1000 returning Queenslanders, who'll start arriving on Monday.

Schools discouraged from outright nut bans in new guidelines.

New guidelines from The National Allergy Strategy could see the end of nut bans in Australian schools, with the new report warning blanket bans don't work.

The number of Aussie school-aged children with allergies has risen in the past decade and is now estimated to affect one in 20 children. 

But the guidelines read, "It is NOT recommended that schools ‘ban’ food and as such schools should not claim to be free of any allergen e.g. ‘nut free’."

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Instead it promotes an “allergy aware” approach which focuses on implementing a range of appropriate risk minimisation strategies like having special zones which are allergen free.

Indigenous Australian health gap narrows.

The health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is narrowing as fewer Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are losing years of their lives to premature death or illness.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on Thursday released a report based on statistics from 2018, which found that while Indigenous Australians continue to experience higher rates of "disease burden", the gap is narrowing.

"Disease burden" measures an illness or injury's impact in terms of the number of years of healthy life lost through living with the ailment.

Overall, Indigenous Australians experience 2.3 times more disease burden than non-Indigenous.

The report found Indigenous Australians born after 2018 can expect to live around 80 per cent of their lives in full health.

The absolute gap in disease burden between Indigenous and non-Indigenous dropped by 16 per cent between 2003 and 2018.

This was largely driven by a narrowing of the gap in "fatal burden", which decreased by 28 per cent. 

Mental and substance use disorders accounted for 23 per cent of disease burden, followed by injuries at 12 per cent, cardiovascular disease at 10 per cent, cancer at 9.9 per cent and musculoskeletal conditions at eight per cent.

France sends ambassador back to Australia.

France will send its ambassador back to Australia after withdrawing the envoy in a row over a submarine supply deal, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says.

"I have asked our ambassador to return to Canberra... to redefine the terms of our relations for the future," Le Drian told French MPs on Wednesday.

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Paris had pulled the ambassador out of Canberra in protest at a defence pact negotiated between the United States, Australia and Britain. Known as AUKUS, the pact is intended to counter Chinese military power.

Under the pact, Australia committed to buy US-designed submarines, and pulled out of an existing supply deal with a French manufacturer. 

Paris was incensed, saying the deal had been done behind its back.

Around the world.

- Routine maintenance on Facebook's network stitching together its data centres caused a collapse of its global system for more than six hours, the company says.

- The world's first malaria vaccine that could save hundreds of thousands of lives in Africa, has been recommended by WHO for widespread use. 

- The ruler of Dubai hacked his wife's phone using multimillion-pound spyware in a total abuse of trust and power, a British High Court has found. 

- With AAP

Feature image: Facebook/Mamamia/Darrian Traynor/Getty.

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