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  • Australia reaches 95pct vaccination target

    Author: AAP

Almost all Australians are now partially protected against COVID-19, with the country reaching a 95 per cent milestone in first doses.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the achievement puts the country "right at the front of the highest global vaccination rate".

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He said 95 per cent of Australians aged 12 and over have had at least one dose of a vaccine, as of Saturday.

"Very significantly, over the course of today we will also pass one million children between five and 11 years of age having had a vaccination," he said.

Mr Hunt said this rate of vaccination for children was one of the highest in the world.

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The health minister thanked Australians for getting vaccinated, adding the government was now seeing a "decrease in pressure on ICU".

It comes as an estimated crowd of more than 2000 protested vaccination mandates in Canberra on Saturday, flanked by police.

The group marched from Glebe Park in Canberra's city centre to Old Parliament House before moving to the Federation Mall.

A spokesman for ACT Police said by mid afternoon the majority of the group had left, the crowd reduced to a handful of demonstrators.

ACT Police and the AFP on Friday moved on protesters who had allegedly illegally camped and parked cars on lawns across from the National Library.

A 44-year-old man was charged with possessing an unauthorised weapon and ammunition after officers allegedly found a loaded rifle in his vehicle on Friday.

He appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday and was granted bail on the condition he does not re-enter Parkes.

Saturday was also meant to mark the lifting of Western Australia's hard border, before the date was scrapped by Premier Mark McGowan.

It is still not known when WA will open for free travel with the rest of the country.

However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he could understand the reasons behind the WA government's decision.

"When the Western Australian government makes a decision not to reopen that border because of their concerns about how it will impact their hospital systems ... then I can absolutely understand the decision of the premier," Mr Morrison said.

WA reported 26 new cases on Saturday, including one case of a traveller in quarantine.

The Northern Territory government will remove an outdoor mask mandate from 6pm on Saturday, after Territorians showed "high levels of personal responsibility" with mask wearing.

The government is urging people over 12 to still wear a mask outside when they cannot physically distance, while an indoor mask mandate remains in place.

The announcement comes as the territory reported 968 new cases, including 122 cases still under investigation.

NSW reported 18 deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday, and 8389 new positive cases, as the state continues to show signs it is beyond the peak of cases.

Victoria reported 7809 new cases and 41 deaths, while the ACT reported 372 new cases and one death, taking the territory's toll to 27.

Tasmania reported 483 new cases and the ACT reported 372 new cases in the past 24 hours, and one death.

Some 8508 new cases were reported in Queensland along with 21 deaths.

South Australia reported 1289 new cases, and two deaths.

There were 83 COVID-related deaths across the country reported on Saturday, with 41 in Victoria, 18 in NSW, 21 in Queensland, two in SA and one in the ACT.

Nationally, there were more than 27,000 new infections reported on Saturday.

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