Coronavirus in Australia


Sohail Speaks Yasir's Blog Fazeer's Focus

User Tag List

Results 1 to 56 of 56
  1. #1
    Debut
    Dec 2010
    Venue
    Dubai, UAE
    Runs
    4,065
    Mentioned
    5 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Coronavirus in Australia

    Millions In Australia's Second City Ordered Into Snap Covid Lockdown

    Stay-at-home orders will apply to Melbourne and surrounding Victoria state from midnight for seven days, acting state Premier James Merlino told residents, as the cluster doubled to 26 cases.

    Australia: More than five million people in Australia's second-biggest city of Melbourne were ordered into a snap week-long lockdown Thursday, as officials blamed a sluggish vaccine rollout and hotel quarantine failures for another virus outbreak.
    Stay-at-home orders will apply to Melbourne and surrounding Victoria state from midnight for seven days, acting state Premier James Merlino told residents, as the cluster doubled to 26 cases.

    "In the last day, we've seen more evidence we're dealing with a highly infectious strain of the virus, a variant of concern, which is running faster than we have ever recorded," Merlino said.

    The variant detected is known as B1617 -- which has spread widely in India -- and is believed to have been transmitted from a traveller who returned to Australia from overseas.

    Schools, pubs and restaurants are set to close, while gatherings will be banned and mask-wearing made mandatory.

    New Zealand has already suspended its travel bubble with Victoria and while residents are now being shut out of other Australian states, prompting major airlines to slash Melbourne services.

    The "circuit-breaker" lockdown is designed to allow contact tracers to get on top of cases, with residents permitted to leave home only for essential reasons including getting vaccinated.

    Merlino said the conservative federal government's sluggish vaccine rollout was partly to blame for the latest lockdown, saying it was "not where it should be".

    "If more people were vaccinated, we might be facing a very different set of circumstances than we are today. But sadly we are not," he said.

    It is the fourth time Australia's second-biggest city has been plunged into lockdown since the pandemic began, including nearly four months of harsh restrictions last year.

    Thousands of people across Melbourne were already self-isolating after positive cases attended dozens of locations including two separate Aussie Rules football matches, a series of nightclubs and a medieval battle re-enactment.

    - Slow vaccine rollout -

    In recent months, Australians had largely been enjoying few restrictions after the country successfully contained the spread of coronavirus, but critics say a glacial vaccine rollout has left the nation vulnerable to outbreaks from hotel quarantine facilities.

    The virus has leaked out 17 times in six months, according to the federal opposition Labor party, which has slammed the conservative government for refusing to overhaul the system.

    "If we had an alternative to hotel quarantine for this particular variant of concern, we would not be here today," Merlino said.

    Also under pressure over failing to meet initial vaccine delivery targets -- with about 3.7 million vaccination doses administered so far in a population of 25 million -- the government has pledged additional batches will be sent to Victoria in the coming weeks.

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison batted away the criticisms, saying "no system is foolproof" and pointing to Australia's comparatively successful coronavirus response globally.

    "We will do everything we can to protect the lives and livelihoods of Australians, and we have lost 910 souls to Covid already during the course of this pandemic. Of course that is not anything near what we have seen in other countries," he said.

    Morrison urged eligible Australians to get vaccinated, saying the "wonderful and enviable" way of life Down Under during much of the pandemic had led to some vaccine hesitancy.

    Health Minister Greg Hunt added that first vaccine doses were now being delivered to the remaining aged care homes in Victoria, where hundreds died when the virus swept through the facilities last year.

    In Melbourne, tens of thousands joined lengthy queues to be tested for Covid-19, while others rushed to get jabbed as the state opened up mass vaccination centres to people aged 40-49 for the first time.

    Australia has recorded about 30,000 Covid-19 cases to date -- the vast majority in Victoria during last year's devastating second wave.

    https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/mill...ckdown-2450074

  2. #2
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.theguardian.com/australi...lockdown-areas

    All of greater Sydney, the Central Coast, the Blue Mountains and Wollongong regions will enter a two-week coronavirus lockdown until 9 July and new restrictions will be in place for the remainder of New South Wales.

    The NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, announced the expanded lockdown – the first lockdown of greater Sydney since last year – would commence at 6pm Saturday, following crisis talks due to the growing number of exposure sites associated with the Sydney outbreak of the Delta Covid-19 variant.

    The state recorded 29 cases up to 8pm on Friday, including 17 that had been announced Friday morning. Only 12 of those had been in isolation while infectious.

    “We’re never afraid to take a decision we need to keep our citizens safe,” Berejikilan said on Saturday afternoon. “Unfortunately this is a situation where we absolutely have to.”

    Until 11.59pm on 9 July, anyone in greater Sydney, the Central Coast, the Blue Mountains, Wollongong will only be permitted to leave their homes for essential reasons: shopping for food and essential goods and services, medical care or compassionate needs, exercise outdoors in groups of up to 10, and essential work or education where that cannot occur at home. There will be no curfew.

    Weddings will be able to proceed on Saturday 26 June up to 11.59pm on Sunday 27 June but then cannot go ahead for the remainder of the two-week period.

    Funerals can take place with up to a maximum of 100 people, with one person per four square metres and mask-wearing if indoors.

    Berejiklian also asked people to use QR codes to check-in at all venues, including supermarkets and takeaway stores, no matter how brief the visit.

    She said the length of the lockdown was necessary and flagged that support for businesses would be announced in coming days. She said the government would be pushing for commonwealth support payments for hotspots.

    “If we’re going to do this, we need to do it properly,” she said. “There’s no point doing a three-day and then having the virus continue to bubble away in the community.”

    She said if there was a dramatic change after seven days authorities would evaluate the situation but the best current advice was that two weeks was necessary “in order to make sure that we get to our target of zero community transmission, which has always been our target from the beginning of the pandemic”.

    The remainder of NSW will move to restrictions including mandatory masks in all indoor non-residential settings and at organised outdoor events, no drinking while standing at indoor venues, no singing by audiences or choirs at indoor events or places of worship and no dancing at indoor hospitality venues or nightclubs.

    Dancing will be permitted for the wedding party at weddings only, to a maximum of 20 people.

    Anyone from the greater Sydney region who has arrived in a regional area on or after June 21 must observe a 14-day stay at home order from the date they left greater Sydney.

    The lockdown was announced after crisis talks held on Saturday morning determined it should be expanded beyond the four council areas that had been subject to lockdown orders since Friday night.

    More than 55,000 people were tested on Friday but the NSW premier said on Saturday morning “that’s where the good news ends” – with only 12 of the 29 new cases in isolation during their infectious period. Berejiklian foreshadowed the lockdown due to the growing number of exposure sites beyond the Woollahra, Waverley, Randwick and the City of Sydney local government areas.

    They included a workplace outbreak associated with the retail/wholesale business Great Ocean Foods in Marrickville, with staff and their household contacts asked to immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days and customers who had not used the QR code to check in asked to come forward.

    The state’s chief health officer, Kerry Chant, said authorities were concerned that delivery drivers to that site had also become infectious, meaning anyone who received a delivery from Monday 21 June to Friday 25 June and their household contacts was also being asked to immediately get tested and isolate until further advice was provided by NSW Health.

    Two other venues of concern were the Cheers Bar and Grill on George Street in Sydney, which was attended by a case in the early hours of Sunday 20 June, and the Rebel Sport store in Bankstown, which a case attended between 3.45pm and 4.30pm on Thursday 24 June.

    “The situation overnight has highlighted that an increasing number of people have been undetected and infectious in the community,” Chant said. “Largely they were contained in the four LGAs, but now we are seeing the spread to exposure venues outside of those four LGAs, and that is the basis for my growing concern.”

    The government reiterated its advice that people who live in the LGAs of City of Sydney, Woollahra, Waverley, Randwick, Canada Bay, Inner West and Bayside were not permitted to leave metropolitan Sydney.

    The health minister, Brad Hazzard, said there was a “growing and more intense concern” from health authorities and the government about the Delta variant of Covid-19.

    “The Delta variant is proving to be a very formidable foe,” he said. “No matter what defensive steps we are taking at the moment, the virus seems to understand how to counter-attack in different locations. That’s causing us a high level of concern.

    “We had yesterday hoped to be able to continue community sport, but it’s become evident with the new cases that we’ve seen coming in today that that can’t continue.”

    Hazzard also made a new public health order on Friday night enforcing compulsory face masks and at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine for drivers transporting international arrivals, including air crew.

    Workers will have three days to get vaccinated before the vaccination order applies from 28 June. The mask order took effect on Friday night.

  3. #3
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.theguardian.com/australi...-variant-covid

    Australia is grappling with several outbreaks of the highly contagious Delta variant of coronavirus, with a wave of restrictions rolling across the country and plunging some cities into lockdown for the first time since the pandemic began.

    Residents of every state and territory in the country – except the island state of Tasmania – are again living under restrictions ranging from full-blown lockdowns in Sydney, Darwin and Perth, to mask mandates in some indoor settings in Adelaide and Canberra.

    The scale of the outbreak is tiny compared with those in some other countries, but Australians have lived a charmed life for much of the pandemic because of the rigid rules that are often implemented at the first sign of the virus. This regime is coupled with extraordinary restrictions on its citizens returning to or even leaving the country.

    The outbreak has renewed questions about Australia’s stuttering vaccination programme and limited quarantine facilities, both of which are responsibilities of the federal government.

    Australia has one of the lowest vaccination rates of any developed country, with less than 5% of the population fully vaccinated, and it has only one dedicated quarantine facility, using hotels for other returned citizens.

    On Monday the prime minister, Scott Morrison, met state and territory leaders and agreed on a raft of new measures to keep up with the spread of the Delta strain, including even more stringent quarantine rules, as well as a no-fault indemnity scheme for all local doctors administering Covid vaccines.

    The scheme in effect opens the door for Australians under 40 to now receive the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine if they request it, despite official advice recommending Pfizer for anyone aged 60 and under.

    Australians under 40 have so far been shut out from the Covid vaccine rollout as a result of concerns over blood clotting and a shortage of vaccines besides locally produced AstraZeneca jabs, in which the government has invested heavily.

    Every returned traveller leaving the strict quarantine system will be required to a take a Covid test two to three days after leaving quarantine, as will their close contacts in those days.

    After the crisis meeting with state leaders, Morrison dug in behind Australia’s strategy of suppressing Covid, insisting he was not “prepared to countenance” any reopening of Australia or relaxation of rules that would lead to deaths rates similar to those in other countries.

    “It would be, I think, unwise to surrender up that advantage at this point, and preferably at no point,” Morrison said.

    The centre of Australia’s outbreak is the Sydney suburb of Bondi, which has been linked to more than 120 cases, including some detected as far away as Perth, almost 2,000 miles away.

    That is not the only case of transmissions from one city leading to outbreaks in another: cases from Queensland have been linked to the first cases of community transmission recorded in Darwin.

    The Northern Territory chief minister, Michael Gunner, described the Delta variant as a “tricky bugger” as he decided to extend Darwin’s first lockdown for a further three days to deal with an outbreak of two cases. “The reality is we are not out of the woods yet, not by a long way,” he said.

    The territory’s fierce response to its first community cases is in part due to the vulnerability of its Indigenous population, amid fears of lower vaccination rates and poorer general health within the Aboriginal community.

    In South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, restrictions were introduced despite neither jurisdiction having recorded a case. In the latter, measures also had to be announced to limit panic-buying of household items such as toilet paper.

    As has been common throughout the pandemic in Australia, the latest outbreak has featured prominent opposition to the sledgehammer approach of crushing the virus – including, this time, from the deputy prime minister – and the emergence of strange anecdotes about people evading restrictions.

    Last week three people from Sydney left the locked-down state on a private plane, unsuccessfully tried to land in the Northern Territory, and touched down in the outback opal mining town of Coober Pedy, where they were arrested at a karaoke bar.

    On Monday police in Sydney said they had fined two men for breaching coronavirus restrictions after they were startled by a deer while sunbathing naked on a beach south of the city and ran into the bush, becoming lost and needing to be rescued.

    Police sent a helicopter to search for the pair, who were fined $1,000 for breaching public health orders. The New South Wales police commissioner, Mick Fuller, said it was “difficult to legislate against idiots”. “Getting lost in the national park and diverting important resources away from the health operation, I think they should be embarrassed,” Fuller said.

  4. #4
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.theguardian.com/australi...vaccine-advice

    Frustration is mounting in Australia over low vaccination rates and changing advice on the AstraZeneca jab after outbreaks of the highly contagious Delta variant sent more parts of the country into lockdown.

    The outbreaks have grown to about 150 cases, and have forced lockdowns in four major cities and renewed restrictions in several others.

    Queensland imposed a snap three-day lockdown in its capital, Brisbane, and some neighbouring regions from Tuesday evening. Perth, the capital of Western Australia, began a four-day lockdown on Tuesday, joining Sydney and Darwin.

    While the country has suffered 910 deaths and fewer than 31,0000 cases over the course of the pandemic – a fraction of the 181 million cases and 3.9 million deaths worldwide – the success has been hard-won. Australia closed its borders in March 2020 and has strict two-week hotel quarantine requirements for international arrivals. Melbourne, in Victoria, endured one of the world’s strictest, longest lockdowns in 2020.

    But with less than 5% of the population fully vaccinated, Australia is lagging far behind almost every other developed country, fuelling fears that these sacrifices will be wasted if vaccinations are not stepped up dramatically.

    On Monday night, the prime minister, Scott Morrison, widened the guidance on the AstraZeneca vaccine, saying those under 40, who were previously unable to access a vaccine, could receive the jab after consulting their GP.

    Australians under 40 have so far been shut out from the Covid vaccine rollout as a result of concerns over blood clotting and a shortage of vaccines besides locally-produced AstraZeneca jabs, in which the government has invested heavily.

    However, the president of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Omar Khorshid, said on Tuesday said he had been surprised by the move and did not endorse the prime minister’s announcement.

    “It took us by surprise, and it’s hard to know how to take that announcement because I think it’s going to be a limited number of people to take it up, given that they would be going against the expert Atagi [Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation] recommendation,” Khorshid told Guardian Australia on Tuesday.

    Queensland’s chief health officer, Jeannette Young, also emphasised that the position of Atagi remained unchanged, that “people under the age of 60 should preferentially get Pfizer”. On Tuesday, Victorian state premier Daniel Andrews called for even greater restrictions on international arrivals, suggesting that the current cap be halved for the next three months to reduce the risk of further lockdowns and give the Australian government more time to increase vaccination rates.

    As more than 20 million Australians, or about 80% of the population, faced lockdown and restrictions – for Darwin, the first lockdown since the pandemic began – the newly reinstated deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce, was fined $200 (£110) for failing to wear a mask inside a service station.

    One “super-spreader event” that has led to the infection of multiple people points to the effectiveness of vaccines – and how a more effective procurement and rollout strategy would have prevented the latest restrictions.

    Following a party held in western Sydney, 24 of the attendees tested positive for coronavirus. Only six people did not – and they were the only six people at the party who had been vaccinated.

    The first known local infection of the main outbreak was a driver in Sydney in his 60s who transported international airline crew but had not been vaccinated.

    The man told Channel Nine that despite his work putting him into contact with overseas travellers he had been afraid to get the AstraZeneca vaccine because of a history of blood clots in his family.

  5. #5
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.theguardian.com/australi...d-case-contact

    Hundreds of health workers have been forced to isolate after being deemed close contacts of an unvaccinated student nurse who worked across two Sydney hospitals while infectious with Covid-19, wreaking havoc on staffing levels.

    As hospitals in greater Sydney were placed on ‘red alert’ due to the latest Covid outbreak, restrictions on visitors triggered alarm among expectant mothers.

    Guardian Australia understands that more than 600 health professionals across two hospitals have been deemed close contacts.

    More than 500 staff at Royal North Shore hospital, and more than 120 staff at Fairfield hospital, are now isolating and unable to work after being identified as a close contact of the 24-year-old student nurse who worked from 24-28 June across the two hospitals while infectious. Nurses, administration staff and other healthcare workers are among the isolating workers.

    The situation is so severe at Royal North Shore hospital, where five wards are affected, that health authorities are understood to be trying to move nursing staff from nearby hospitals to help fill the shortfall in services.

    The number of isolating close contacts related to the student nurse has swelled since Wednesday, when about 100 initial staff and patients were sent into isolation after a positive result being returned late on Tuesday.

    Brett Holmes, general secretary of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, said the isolation orders have put “a large burden” on an “already strained” workforce.

    “Taking 500 staff out of Royal North Shore has a massive impact on the workloads of our members,” the union chief said.

    “Our health system was already at extraordinary high activity, and there was minimum staffing available because casual staff who might’ve backfilled absences are being absorbed at vaccination and testing centres.

    “Clearly the hospital has done the sensible thing and stopped all but emergency surgery, and has diverted patients to other facilities where possible, but nurses were already strained and have experienced for some time shortages in their normal working day.

    “The necessary steps that have been taken [isolation orders] certainly leave a large burden on the staff,” Holmes said. In a statement, NSW Health confirmed that there is “restricted movement on five wards” at Royal North Shore – renal vascular, neurology, cardiology, a general medical ward and a surgical ward.

    “These wards are not accepting any new patients and are closed to visitors. All staff working in these wards are wearing an enhanced level of personal protective equipment,” the statement said.

    For hospitals on red alert, visitors are only permitted by exception and must meet certain conditions, including seeking medical treatment, obtaining medical supplies, fulfilling carers’ responsibilities, end of life visits and attending an appointment to receive a Covid-19 vaccine. The new rules have created confusion about whether women giving birth can be accompanied by a support person.

    Western Sydney Health district has set up an online exemption form, and used its social media channels to warn that partners of women giving birth are not allowed to enter hospitals in the district without gaining an exemption.

    The strict controls in western Sydney follow the listing of a string of exposure sites across the area, including the SummitCare Baulkham Hills aged care facility outbreak. Infected residents have been transferred to Westmead hospital, which is inside the health district.

    In a Facebook post on Sunday, Western Sydney Health district said “for those who are pregnant and are due to give birth at a WSLHD facility, please fill out the exemption form and our team will reply to you as soon as possible”.

    “Exemptions will be made available in extenuating circumstances only with a centralised process in place,” the post said.

    Western Sydney Health’s post triggered hundreds of comments in response.

    “You are setting birthing mothers up for birth trauma, and postnatal depression,” one user wrote.

    Another user said: “You can’t ask a mother to birth alone leaving the father/partner of that child to stay home and watch on bloody zoom. What a joke.”

    NSW Health was contacted for clarification regarding birthing visits.

  6. Google Ad Manager-
  7. #6
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...ines-backfired

    Eight months ago, Scott Morrison faced the cameras in a laboratory in Sydney’s eastern suburbs and promised hope after a torrid year.

    “Today is another day when we can look forward to a much better 2021,” he said.

    The cause of his optimism was the belated signing of a deal for 10m Pfizer doses and an as-yet unfilled agreement to secure Novavax.

    The vaccines were to ensure Australia was “in the leading pack of the world” during the pandemic’s next phase.

    Australia was, in fact, more than four months behind its allies in securing Pfizer.

    The United States, United Kingdom, Japan and Canada had all struck agreements with Pfizer in July and August 2020, and the company was expecting to produce 1.3bn doses to satisfy global demand.

    Not only was Australia late to the party, its order was minuscule. At two doses a person, the Pfizer order was enough to vaccinate one-fifth of Australia’s population, not accounting for wastage.

    From his home in Connecticut, Pfizer’s former president of global R&D, John LaMattina, has been closely observing the global rush for vaccines, including Australia’s efforts to procure doses.

    He says Australia’s delay in securing a deal with Pfizer, while “unfortunate”, was understandable, because the success in containing Covid-19 had afforded it more time than others.

    But the amount Australia eventually secured in November was “clearly lacking” and “unconscionable”.

    “Once the amazing and unprecedented efficacy of the mRNA vaccines was established, ordering a mere 10m doses was unconscionable,” he says. “When both Pfizer and Moderna demonstrated the potent efficacy of their vaccines, every country should immediately have reached out to these companies to place their orders.

    “In the case of Australia, enough vaccine to inoculate its entire population over the age of 18 should have been done at once. Assuming that is about 20m Australians, this would have cost about US$780m … How much has Australia spent on Covid-19 relief packages?”

    Instead Australia planned to make AstraZeneca and the University of Queensland vaccine the workhorses of its rollout. Both brought the valuable option of domestic production at CSL’s Melbourne facility.

    Time casts those decisions in a poor light. The UQ vaccine failed to get out of the starting gate, scuppered due to its tendency to generate false HIV positives. AstraZeneca has had its own well-publicised problems, greatly inhibiting its use among younger Australians and sending the government scurrying for more Pfizer.

    But was this just a case of bad luck? Are critics suffering hindsight bias? Or did our procurement strategy gamble too narrowly?

    The former health department secretary Stephen Duckett believes the early procurement decisions have been one of the major, compounding failures of the rollout.

    “If you think about it in terms of what business people call ‘portfolio theory’, you have to have a mixture of investments so you can mitigate your risk if one strategy doesn’t work,” he says. “One of the failures was this failure to diversify back in July.

    “So when AstraZeneca fell over, when UQ fell over, they were stuffed.”

    Australia remains almost the worst performing OECD nation on Covid-19 vaccinations, behind countries such as Costa Rica and Latvia.

    A ‘sliding doors’ moment

    The first sign of Pfizer’s eagerness to do a deal with Australia came in the middle of last year. A letter from Pfizer, dated 30 June, invited Australian government officials for discussions about its mRNA vaccine – at that stage still in development.

    A meeting was scheduled within a fortnight. It was the first of a series of 11 formal meetings and ad hoc phone calls between Pfizer and Australian officials.

    The first, on 10 July, has been the subject of intense controversy. In the room were Pfizer’s Australian executives and a group of government lawyers and senior health officials, including Lisa Schofield, the first assistant secretary in the government’s Covid taskforce.

    “Pfizer said: ‘This is a vaccine that we are developing,’ ” Schofield told a Senate inquiry. “We said that we were interested in talking to them about potentially purchasing that vaccine, but that was it. No numbers or details were put on the table at that discussion on 10 July.”

    But a different account has emerged in the reporting of Norman Swan, the host of the ABC’s Coronacast podcast. Citing unnamed sources, he reported that one Australian official was belligerent, tried to haggle over the price, and demanded access to intellectual property. The conversations continued but no deal was struck, in his account.

    Then acting Victorian premier James Merlino has also spoken of a huge offer made by Pfizer to the Australian government at the time of the first meeting.

    “Our nation had a ‘sliding doors’ moment last July,” he said. “Last July, there was an offer of Pfizer to the commonwealth government that would be enough for our country, and they didn’t take it up.”

    The suggestion is flatly denied by the health department.

    Schofield insisted Pfizer made the Australian government no offer in “any level of detail”. The government also insists that 10m doses was all that Pfizer had available for Australia when a deal was eventually struck in November.

    Pfizer says it was responsible for proposing the 10m figure.

    “Our discussions are confidential, however the supply of vaccine in Australia was developed following consultation with the Australian government and each agreement was based on the availability of doses and earliest schedule that could be provided at that time,” it told a Senate inquiry.

    The government denies that it failed to build up a broad portfolio of vaccines, saying it secured five agreements that would provide 195m doses combined.

    It also insists it entered into an advanced purchase agreement with Pfizer as soon as it could, acting on the advice of its science and industry technical advisory group.

    “Recent media reports about the Department of Health’s engagement with Pfizer have been written without any input from the department,” the department said.

    “While these are largely commercial-in-confidence discussions, the level of engagement with the company and categorisation of those discussions has been grossly misrepresented.”

    Demand for Pfizer soars

    Wherever the truth lies, it is clear that at the time of that initial meeting, Pfizer was not shy about making deals.

    In July alone it reached agreement to supply 100m doses to the US, 120m to Japan and 30m to the UK.

    Citing internal documents, Reuters reported that Pfizer also offered 500m doses to the European Union in July, which were turned down due to cost.

    Australia eventually doubled its Pfizer order in February. By that stage global demand had gone through the roof – in November the company forecast it would need to produce 1.3bn doses, but by February that had risen to 2bn.

    Pfizer soon began warning of delays to Australia’s shipments.

    “We have had a huge number of requests for additional doses from around the world, and certainly that has scaled up even further after our clinical trials came out showing safety and efficacy,” Australian managing director Anne Harris said in January.

    Three months ago, Australia ordered 20m more doses.

    The move came late.

    The Australian technical advisory group on immunisation (Atagi) had already recommended Pfizer as the preferred vaccine for under-50s.

    Demand for Pfizer grew further when Atagi raised the age to 60, and again after a damaging war of words between the federal and Queensland governments over the safety of AstraZeneca for under-40s.

    Many younger Australians are being told by their GPs to wait for Pfizer, but there is no firm date for when that will be for under-40s.

    ‘The Hunger Games’

    Last week a nation once told it was at the front of the queue for vaccines was suddenly told it was at the back.

    It came as little surprise to a fatigued public, or to state premiers who have begged for more Pfizer as they battle outbreaks and enforce lockdowns.

    This week Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk expressed fury at the state’s supply volume, saying it would be getting only about 65,000 Pfizer doses a week until October when the bulk of the supply is expected to arrive. The state has repeatedly warned it risks running out.

    On Monday Palaszczuk told her constituents precisely where she thought the blame lay: “We’re waiting on the commonwealth supply so we can make sure that you get your dosage.”

    On the same day, NSW health minister Brad Hazzard gave an equally frank assessment of the supply failings: “Until we get enough vaccine and enough GPs actually at the frontline able to provide that vaccine into arms, we will continue to have effectively The Hunger Games going on.”

    The bulk of the mRNA vaccines Australia ordered is not expected to arrive until the third quarter of this year.

    The federal finance minister, Simon Birmingham, said European countries and drug companies were responsible for the delay because they had favoured countries with high rates of Covid.

    “[This] has put countries like New Zealand and Australia at the back of the queue in terms of receipt of some of those vaccines,” he said.

    According to the latest figures provided by the federal health department, 3.2m doses of Pfizer have been administered, and 5m doses of AstraZeneca.

    However, many more doses – 16.6m – have been “cleared” by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for distribution.

    Of these, 12.3m have been distributed to clinics for use, and 620,000 doses of AstraZeneca have been sent to Timor-Leste and Pacific nations. The health department says 2.3m doses of AstraZeneca are held in contingency to cover second dose allocations.

    That leaves 1.4m doses which are presumably about to be distributed.

    For the past three weeks that the government has provided figures on vaccine releases, the average has been about 1m new doses a week.

    The government’s recent document outlining the projected future availability of vaccines shows it plans to increase supply in July and August from about 1m a week to 2.85m of both vaccine.

    In a recent press conference health minister Greg Hunt confirmed this target, saying he expected an average of 600,000 Pfizer doses to be available “over July”, compared with the 300,000 in the past few weeks.

    On Friday, Morrison said Pfizer supplies would more than triple in the coming months.

    “We have been working with Pfizer now for quite some period of time to bring forward our supplies and I commend minister Hunt and Prof [Brendan] Murphy and Lt Gen [John] Frewen for the great job [getting] those supplies brought forward,” he said.

    “That means we’ve gone from 1.7m in June, 2.8m this month and we will rise to a million a week from 19 July and we will get to 4.5m a month next month. So that’s ramping up.”

    After Morrison’s statement, Pfizer said there had been no change to the 40m doses it planned to give to Australia.

    “The total number of 40m doses we are contracted to deliver to Australia over 2021 has not changed,” it said.

    Duckett says by October there will be about 2m Pfizer and half a million Moderna doses available each week. That is more than enough to cover the adult population, he says.

    Duckett says the next step must be to fix the logistical problems that have held up vaccines, widen the distribution channels by setting up more mass vaccination hubs, extending clinic hours and tackling vaccine hesitancy.

    “The government – and its army of rollout consultants – has had months to learn from its mistakes. The actual army has also been called in,” he and Anika Stobart wrote for the Conversation.

    “The government has no excuse not to have all arrangements in place for an efficient vaccination program when the vaccines begin rolling in.”

  8. #7
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.theguardian.com/australi...th-of-the-year

    Sydney’s worsening Covid outbreak has surged by 77 cases and led to Australia’s first locally acquired coronavirus death in 2021, with New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian warning she will be “shocked” if daily cases do not exceed 100 tomorrow.

    Chief health officer Kerry Chant is so concerned by the trajectory of Sydney’s outbreak that she is pleading for anyone who has already had one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine to talk to their doctor about cutting the interval between their first and second doses from three months to six weeks – acknowledging sacrificing “a bit of long-term protection” was warranted.

    A 90-year-old woman from south-west Sydney, who authorities believe was unvaccinated, died at Liverpool hospital on Saturday, hours after she returned a positive result.

    The woman caught the virus within her home from a family member – one of 50 of the 77 cases announced on Sunday that were close family members of existing Covid cases.

    Authorities are concerned that 33 of the 77 new cases were infectious in the community, with many of the new cases announced on Sunday described as “quite historic going back five, six or seven days” between initial infection and returning a positive test.

    There were 48,754 tests conducted in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday, a number that, while significant, has led authorities to believe that the extent of Covid across Sydney is not being recorded and its spread intercepted.

    “When you get Covid, unfortunately those most impacted are those closest to you, and tragically we’ve seen one older person die and I want to extend my deepest condolences to their families and loved ones,” Berejiklian said.

    “I can’t stress enough that every time we risk breaking the rules or even just going about our business and not getting tested when we need to, the people whose lives and health that we’re risking the most are those closest to us,” she said.

    Berejiklian said that given the number of cases that had been detected since 8pm overnight, she was anticipating the new cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday would exceed 100 tomorrow.

    “I’ll be shocked if it’s less than 100 this time tomorrow. And the few days afterwards will be worse, much worse than we’ve seen today,” she said.

    South-west Sydney continues to be the focus of authorities’ concern, with 52 of the new cases recorded in the area, while 11 were residents in the Sydney local health district, and 10 in the south-east Sydney local health district.

    The lockdown covering greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains and Wollongong has only been extended until Friday, but Berejiklian said the community should be prepared for a further extension.

    “I think it’s pretty plain to see that the numbers are not going in the right direction at this point in time … given the lockdown was supposed to be lifted on Friday, everybody can tell it’s highly unlikely at this stage, given where the numbers are.”

    Berejiklian said she would provide more details about the length of the lockdown as soon as health advice had been finalised, and appeared to suggest she may announce a longer-term path out of lockdown to provide certainty to residents and businesses.

    The premier also warned home learning for school students could be extended, not because schools were of concern for students, but because of the risk of “hundreds of thousands of people leaving home at the same time” to drop off and pick up kids.

    On Sunday night, the federal government will also begin running a “graphic and confronting” ad campaign in Sydney showing a young woman gasping for breath, designed to show residents the severe illness they risk if they don’t obey lockdown restrictions.

    Police issued 106 Covid restriction infringement notices in the reporting period to Saturday night, including a group of 15 men playing cards in a small smoke-filled Marrickville unit, an 18th birthday party with 10 guests near Sydney Olympic Park, and five people from different suburbs who gathered to play PlayStation in Merrylands.

    New Covid restrictions were also announced overnight. From Tuesday, masks will be required in all indoor common areas of residential properties in greater Sydney, in settings including lifts and lobbies of apartment blocks.

    Masks are also now required in all indoor areas of construction sites throughout NSW, with authorities strongly recommending tradespeople working across multiple sites to be tested frequently following several new cases in these types of workers.

    There are also greater restrictions on residents of NSW entering greater Sydney. They can only enter to obtain essential goods or services not available outside greater Sydney, and for a funeral or memorial service if they are one of the 10 attendees.

    There have been 566 locally acquired cases recorded in the current outbreak, with 52 currently in hospital, and within that cohort, 15 are in intensive care and five people are on ventilation. Of those hospitalised, 11 are under the age of 35, with two of those in intensive care in their teens and 20s.

  9. #8
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.theguardian.com/australi...e-rollout-bite

    At a press conference on Thursday morning, one day after a lockdown was extended by two weeks in Sydney and a few hours before a fifth lockdown would be declared in Melbourne, the premier of New South Wales grew flustered. “One question at a time. I will get to all of them,” Gladys Berejiklian said. “It is not nice being shouted at.”

    Australians have a lot of questions. After managing the pandemic better than almost any country in the world, Australians are now watching the world open up while their own borders remain strictly closed. Meanwhile, just 10% of adults have been fully vaccinated and an outbreak of the Delta variant is slowly spreading.

    The main question – and it was one a passerby shouted at the prime minister, Scott Morrison, as he addressed the country on 8 July after nearly a week of silence – is “Hey ScoMo, where’s my vaccine?” Australia’s death toll is less than 1,000 and its case total is just over 30,000 – fewer infections than the US, UK, India, Brazil, France and Italy have each reported in a day. But a much less impressive number is the percentage of its population that is fully vaccinated – putting the country last on the list of 38 OECD countries.

    While the government has attempted to shift blame on to Australians for not booking their jabs, the fact remains that Australia has too few vaccines – it recommends only Pfizer and Moderna for people under 40 – and had until recently staged a barebones campaign to encourage people to sign up.

    As the new outbreak spreads, it emerged this week that by late June, Morrison had not spoken directly to Pfizer’s global chairman and chief executive, Albert Bourla. Morrison had infamously declared earlier in the pandemic that vaccinations are “not a race” – he has been proven wrong. While Morrison’s words will “haunt him forever”, said Marc Stears, a former professor of political theory at Oxford and now director of the Sydney Policy Lab at the University of Sydney, he believes that Morrison was not alone in lacking a sense of urgency.

    Stears said public health experts and politicians in Australia had “convinced themselves that they had got on top of it and the best thing to do at that point was to wait it out. Let the rest of the world sort out the complicated stuff of inventing vaccines, working out how vaccines will be distributed, working out the efficacy.”

    He remembers hearing on the radio on his way to work, in the months after the first successful vaccine trial results were published overseas, a public health expert asked why Australia wasn’t using emergency measures to approve vaccines.

    “And they said: ‘because we’re not in an emergency’.”

    In June, at the start of the new outbreak, senior Australian Defence Force officer Lt Gen John Frewen, who was called in in June to take charge of the vaccine rollout, admitted that the government had yet to launch what he called a “rallying” national vaccination ad campaign because of the lack of Pfizer supply. “The timing of the ad campaign really was around the supply of Pfizer,” he said. The government has since released an ad in NSW encouraging people to get vaccinated: it features a woman, who looks younger than the age people are eligible to receive vaccinations, gasping for air, alone and terrified, in a hospital bed. It was widely condemned.

    “The weirdness of the ad seemed to presume that we needed to shock people into getting the vaccine,” said Stears. But supply and contrasting advice were the reasons behind low vaccinations, not a lack of motivation.

    The lack of urgency, the missteps and the complacency have taken their toll. The country’s two largest cities are now in lockdown and Australians are starting to despair. Alison Pennington, a senior economist at the Australia Institute thinktank, said the Delta variant coupled with the lack of vaccine supply means the country is now in “an incredibly dangerous position”.

    “From the outset [of the pandemic] there was the very strong opinion among the Australian public that we would do whatever was required to save lives,” she said. In return, the government needed to procure vaccines.

    To buy enough Pfizer vaccines for every Australian would have cost A$1.6bn (US$1.2bn) – a fraction of what would have been saved by avoiding repeated lockdowns, and earned by being able to reopen sooner, she said.

    On Thursday, following the announcement that Melbourne would enter its fifth round of restrictions, the Sydney lord mayor, Clover Moore, tweeted: “Our two biggest cities have been failed by the federal government, which simply did not do the work to secure the vaccines we need.”

    The sentiment has been echoed by former prime ministers and opposition leaders, who have referred to the vaccination rollout as “comprehensively botched” a “phenomenal failure” and simply a “shit show”. Australians want to be vaccinated not just so that the cycle of lockdowns can end, but so that borders can reopen.

    The debate needs to shift from “how to lock down most effectively”, said Stears, to “how do we get out of this hell that we’re stuck in” – repeated lockdowns and not being able to leave or have people visit.

    There are fears over the long-term impact of the government’s failed strategy. A May survey by Deloitte found that almost a quarter of Australian women were “considering leaving or were likely to leave the workforce altogether as a result of Covid-19”. The portion that rated their job satisfaction, motivation and productivity as “good” fell from 75% before the pandemic to 50% – and that was before the latest series of lockdowns.

    While Australians are worried and frustrated with the vaccine rollout, they are remaining compliant – for now.

    People may not be “rising up in the streets”, said Stears. But they are asking questions – above all: “How are we still here?”

  10. #9
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.theguardian.com/australi...covid-outbreak

    Lockdown restrictions in Greater Sydney will be drastically tightened after the New South Wales premier, Gladys Berejiklian, conceded measures introduced three weeks ago were failing to stop an outbreak of more than 1,000 cases.

    Berejiklian made the changes after repeatedly denying in the past week that there was any need to harden restrictions, saying people could use their “common sense” to decide whether they were an essential workplace that had to stay open.

    But as the state recorded 111 Covid-19 cases – including 29 who had been in the community while infectious – Berejiklian said there was no choice but to pull the trigger on the toughest restrictions implemented in NSW during the pandemic. She insisted the government had not received health advice at any other time during the outbreak that had justified the measures announced on Saturday.

    The entire construction industry will be closed, essential businesses have been defined for the first time, meaning hundreds of others will have to close, and the residents of three local government areas in Sydney’s south-west will be unable to leave unless they are health or emergency services workers.

    A man in his 80s from south-western Sydney has died, the second death of the outbreak, while 75 people remain in hospital, 18 in intensive care, six requiring a ventilator.

    “We want to make sure we have a no regrets policy,” Berejiklian said. “We want to make sure we get out of this lockdown as soon as we can.”

    Berejiklian repeatedly made reference to wanting to “quash” the outbreak, and to the fact there was “no perfection during a pandemic”.

    “We have certainly prevented thousands and thousands of cases but we haven’t managed to quash the curve and that is why the New South Wales government is taking further action from today.

    “I know that many people will be very angry and upset with me, with the government, but please know that we’re making these decisions for no other reason than because they are the right decisions.

    “We want to get out of this as quickly as possible. This Delta variant has been a challenge for every single nation on the planet. We are no different from that.”

    The decision to prevent residents from Fairfield, Liverpool and Canterbury Bankstown local government areas leaving for work, unless they are health or emergency services workers, was taken after a significant proportion of the state’s positive cases were recorded there (80 of 111 on Saturday, 60 of which were in Fairfield).

    John Gilmore, the chief executive of Community First Step, a not-for-profit organisation based in Fairfield, said that while the decision was not unexpected, it still came as a shock.

    He has grave concerns about the well-being of residents in the area, many of whom come from culturally and linguistically diverse and low socio-economic backgrounds.

    Food insecurity was an increasing problem and there remained concerns about the ability for some school children to learn remotely, with Gilmore hearing stories about multiple children in the same household only being able to access a single smartphone to do their schoolwork. He said communities who may have already felt isolated because of their ethnic backgrounds or language barriers were feeling more alone than ever.

    “I am absolutely in favour of lockdown and advocating that it should go ahead, but the longer it goes on the more it impacts on our communities,” Gilmore said.

    The Unions NSW secretary, Mark Morey, said that the decision to shut down construction and non-essential work meant the federal government’s jobkeeper wage subsidy had to be revived.

    The shutdown of the construction sector is expected to cost $800m to $1bn per week.

    “The combined effect of closing retail, construction, hospitality, events and other industries is a mammoth hit to household incomes,” he said. “While lockdown is now the only option, the onus is on the state and federal governments to provide economic security.”

    The Business NSW chief executive, Daniel Hunter, said he supported the need for a tougher health response but said the economic fallout would be immense.

    “There’s no sugar coating that it will have a huge impact on all businesses right across NSW,” he said.

    The NSW chief health officer, Kerry Chant, said on Saturday that the 81,928 tests received was a record.

    She urged people throughout the state to be vigilant, as there had been sewage detections of the virus in suburbs without a positive case, and a group of workers from Sydney who later tested positive had been permitted to work in regional areas in the state’s west and north.

    In Victoria, the state recorded 19 new cases, all of which were linked to existing cases. The Victorian health minister, Martin Foley, said that on average each new case spent 1.5 days in the community.

    The state is in the second day of a five-day lockdown.

    “Our public health team is responding quicker than they ever have before because this virus is moving quicker than it ever has before,” Foley said. “It shows the value of going hard, and going early to make sure that we get our arms around this as quickly as we possibly can.”

    Victoria’s Covid-19 testing commander, Jeroen Weimar, said there were more than 10,000 primary close contacts who have been identified and 165 exposure sites, with significant outbreaks linked to the MCG, an apartment complex, and a school.

  11. #10
    Debut
    Feb 2019
    Runs
    1,465
    Mentioned
    12 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Lots of animosity between state premiers in Australia. They literally fight like school children.

    Sydney lockdown is extending from initial 2 weeks and cases are not coming down. Probably went in a bit late favouring the economy more

  12. #11
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.theguardian.com/australi...cases-recorded

    Victoria’s snap lockdown will be extended for a further seven days and its New South Wales border restrictions tightened to get the Delta variant outbreak under control, as the state recorded 13 new cases on Tuesday.

    Nine of the 13 cases were in isolation for the entire time of their infectious period, with the remaining four in the community for less than one day.

    The premier, Daniel Andrews, said the state needed to get the latter number down to zero and announced the extension beyond the initial planned five-day lockdown for another week, until midnight on Tuesday 27 July.

    “That is really how we will know that we have brought this under control,” Andrews said. “We don’t have that residual risk of it running again, of it flaring up once with open up. We just can’t run that risk.”

    There are 320 exposure sites across the state, with 18,000 close contacts identified for the outbreak’s 85 cases to date.

    The close contacts are spread across the state, with a case in Mildura, meaning the lockdown will continue across all of Victoria. Victoria’s chief health officer, Prof Brett Sutton, said the spread was in large part due to the outbreak at the MCG members’ stand at the Geelong v Carlton AFL game on 10 July.

    “We have seen significant and stand-alone outbreaks in regional areas in Phillip Island, in Bacchus Marsh, Barwon Heads and as far away as Mildura,” he said. “Around a third of all of our primary close contacts are right across regional Victoria.”

    About 90,000 businesses in the state have received support payments from the Victorian government, and Andrews indicated that further support would be announced on Wednesday.

    Beyond the border bubble for border communities between NSW and Victoria, red zone permits allowing entry from NSW into Victoria will be further limited from midnight on Tuesday, meaning residents trying to return to Victoria will only be allowed in with an exemption, in limited circumstances.

    Aircrew and other specified workers or those transiting through Victoria to another jurisdiction will still be allowed in.

    Those who try to enter from NSW without an exemption will either be returned or will be placed in hotel quarantine for 14 days, and could face a fine of $5,452. Andrews said the tighter rules would be in place for at least two weeks and were needed as the state worked to get the Delta variant under control.

    “Things are too unstable, too uncertain and frankly out of control from a virus point of view in Sydney. We need to protect Victoria and Victorians and indeed, beyond that, the rest of the nation.”

    The red zone rules will also apply to the Australian Capital Territory but Andrews said the chief health officer would continue to consider the status of the capital, which has recorded no cases of community transmission in more than a year.

    Of the 13 cases reported on Tuesday from nearly 50,000 test results, seven are linked to the Ms Frankie restaurant in Cremorne, Melbourne; three of them are staff members. Two are connected to an outbreak at Trinity Grammar – a staff member and a student at Ruyton’s girls’ school.

    There were two more household contacts of someone connected to the MCG outbreak who tested positive, and a member of the group who travelled to Phillip Island.

    The final case is a woman in her 20s in Roxburgh Park who has not yet been connected to any outbreak but is believed to be connected to the City of Hume family who tested positive at the start of the latest Victorian outbreak.

    There were also detections of viral fragments in wastewater in Roxburgh Park on Monday night.

    Sutton said health officials would review the cases day by day, and did not rule out ending the lockdown earlier if few cases were reported over the next few days. Andrews stressed the importance of putting out the spotfires of cases.

    “We have done extremely well to avoid a Sydney-style outcome,” he said. “We just now need to finish this job and it does take a bit more time.”

  13. #12
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.theguardian.com/australi...es-in-lockdown

    The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, has refused to apologise for his government’s handling of the coronavirus vaccine rollout, amid testy exchanges during a radio interview as more than 13 million Australians – or half of the population – awoke in lockdown conditions.

    Morrison carried out a whistle-stop tour of radio stations on Wednesday as Covid measures spread further into the state of New South Wales, while Victoria reported a record one-day increase in cases and South Australia began its first full day of a week-long lockdown.

    The opposition Labor party has ramped up its pressure on the government, saying the latest restrictions were only necessary because of a lack of vaccine supplies.

    Despite repeatedly being pushed to apologise for the “nightmare” vaccine rollout during an interview on Kiis FM, Morrison refused, saying only that the government was focused on “fixing the problems”. To date just over 11% of Australians are fully vaccinated.

    “We have had our problems, there is no doubt about that, and they are problems that are not always things within our control, that is the nature of Covid 19,” Morrison said.

    The host, Jason Hawkins, said: “I’m not trying to have a go, I think it is just frustration, we are in lockdown. Can you just say ‘sorry Jase’? It will make me feel so much better and then I feel like I can move on.”

    Later, that frustration was not helped by a request that only vaccinated reporters attend the prime minister’s afternoon press conference.

    In New South Wales, the state premier, Gladys Berejiklian, announced 110 further cases, crediting the high number to a record 84,000 tests being carried out in the state, where the Greater Sydney region is in lockdown until at least the end of July.

    “We’re scooping up all the cases we can find and making sure we get to those chains of community transmission. Thank you. Thank you again,” she said.

    On Tuesday night, the state’s lockdown area grew, with the regional shires of Orange, Blayney and Cabonne added to the list, affecting about 50,000 people.

    Pressed on whether the government was aiming to have zero cases before lifting restrictions, New South Wales authorities stressed the transmissibility of the Delta variant, saying that whereas in the last outbreak, one infected person in a household had, on average, infected 30% of the household, the Delta variant meant every household member was becoming infected.

    The number that the state government wanted to see was zero cases who were infectious in the community. On Tuesday, 60 people were not in isolation for at least part of their infectious period.

    The state of Victoria also saw record testing, and announced its highest one-day case total in 10 months, with 22 infections confirmed in 24 hours. Victoria extended its lockdown this week until at least midnight 27 July. “We could not be more thankful and with could not be more indebted to you,” said the Victorian health minister, Martin Foley.

    South Australia’s Covid cluster grew to five, and the state premier, Steven Marshall, thanked the people as the state entered a week-long lockdown.

    Later on Wednesday, Morrison was pressed on the vaccine rollout, and in particular hesitancy among Australians to get the AstraZeneca vaccine. Asked whether he would consider appealing to experts at the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation to change their advice and allow under-40s to receive AstraZeneca, he responded: “It’s a constant appeal. I can assure you: it’s a constant appeal.”

    Australia hit 1m vaccine doses in seven days for the first time on Wednesday, he said. The US, by comparison, hit one million doses a day in January.

    Earlier, on another radio station, Morrison was asked if he regretted saying “it’s not a race” in March, when asked about vaccines. In response he claimed that he had been talking about approving the vaccines. “I don’t think Australians wanted us to cut corners when it comes to the vaccines that were put in people’s arms that affect their health, I think they would have wanted us to have followed every proper process.”

    However, Morrison’s comments about the vaccine program not being a race were made after the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines were approved in January and February respectively.

  14. #13
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...tbreak-worsens

    New Zealand is shutting down the quarantine-free travel bubble with Australia for two months, as the country grapples with a number of serious outbreaks of Covid-19.

    The country had already paused travel with the states of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. The new pause applies to all of Australia for the next eight weeks.

    At a press briefing on Friday, prime minister Jacinda Ardern said because of the Delta variant there was “greater risk now … than when we opened the travel bubble”.

    “Covid has changed and so must we.”

    Ardern said that she wanted to “acknowledge the impact it is having very directly on people’s lives. Covid-19 is devastating”.

    Ardern said the government “remains committed” to the travel bubble and hoped it would reopen at some stage.

    The New Zealand government held an urgent cabinet meeting on Thursday to discuss the decision.

    On Friday, New South Wales reported a record-breaking 136 new infections and on Thursday premier Gladys Berejikilian warned that Covid case numbers will continue to rise in Sydney.

    Victoria recorded 14 new locally acquired cases in the 24 hours to Friday, raising hopes restrictions could be eased next week.

    Australia’s national cabinet was expected to meet on Friday and to endorse the terms of reference for an updated report into the quarantining of returned overseas travellers.

    South Australia, which is also in lockdown, recorded two new cases on Thursday.

    The lockdown restrictions in place in all three states mean that more than half of Australia’s population of 25 million people were in lockdown on Friday.

    A release from the Ardern’s office said: “For the next seven days there will be managed return flights for New Zealanders from all states and territories that will require proof of a negative pre-departure test.

    “Additionally, those who have been in NSW will still have to go into MIQ for 14 days. And those who have been in Victoria must self-isolate upon return and have a negative day 3 test.”

    New Zealand has not had a community-acquired case of Covid-19 since February. As of this week, 15% of New Zealand’s 16+ population was fully vaccinated, and 22% had had a first dose.

    Ashley Bloomfield, New Zealand’s director-general of health, said the outbreak in NSW was “clearly not under control”. He said the pause in travel would allow time for Australia to get its outbreaks under control, and for New Zealand to continue strengthening its own response.

    “I do want to emphasise the significance of this [Delta] variant, which is showing itself to be much more transmissible than earlier variants of concern. The experience in New South Wales makes it clear that even jurisdictions with very strong public health capability and capacity for testing and contract tracing have been unable to get ahead of this variant.”

    Ardern said, “My strong message to every New Zealander who is in Australia right now, who has no intention of staying there long-term is: come home.”

    She said she had told Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison on Friday that New Zealand did want the bubble to resume. “We remain committed to it,” she told Morrison.

  15. #14
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Venue
    Toronto
    Runs
    17,678
    Mentioned
    536 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Australia didn't have too many cases. I am quite surprised.

    They handled it really well.

  16. #15
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by sweep_shot View Post
    Australia didn't have too many cases. I am quite surprised.

    They handled it really well.
    The Australians have mastered hysteria, they start claiming it's the end of the world after a handful of cases and impose hard lockdowns. That kind of behaviour is key to curtailing the spread of the virus.

    Their vaccine rollout hasn't been that efficient which has caused the latest political scandal, but that's quite par for the course. If it wasn't the vaccine, they would have found something else to be outraged about.

  17. #16
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Venue
    Toronto
    Runs
    17,678
    Mentioned
    536 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Last Monetarist View Post
    The Australians have mastered hysteria, they start claiming it's the end of the world after a handful of cases and impose hard lockdowns. That kind of behaviour is key to curtailing the spread of the virus.

    Their vaccine rollout hasn't been that efficient which has caused the latest political scandal, but that's quite par for the course. If it wasn't the vaccine, they would have found something else to be outraged about.
    LOL. Yes. They generally get very dramatic about almost everything.

    With COVID-19, their dramatic approach helped.

  18. #17
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.theguardian.com/australi...vels-in-sydney

    Anti-lockdown protesters have marched in major Australian cities, as Covid cases spiked to record numbers in Sydney and authorities warned of a “continuing and growing problem”.

    Thousands of angry, unmasked people marched through the Sydney central business district on Saturday afternoon demanding an end to the city’s lockdown, which is entering its fifth week.

    After protesters were dispersed, the New South Wales police minister, David Elliott, announced the formation of a strike force to identify each of the 3,500 protesters at the “super spreader” event.

    Elliott said 57 people were arrested and several police officers had been assaulted.

    “If we don’t see a [Covid] spike in the areas these protesters came from in the next week I’ll be very, very surprised,” Elliott said.

    “It was just a whole lot of halfwits.”

    Demonstrators broke through barriers in the Sydney CBD and threw plastic bottles at police.

    Similar scenes unfolded in Melbourne and Adelaide, which are both in lockdown, and Brisbane, which is not.

    As demonstrators were gathering in Sydney, the New South Wales health minister, Brad Hazzard, revealed a record number of new coronavirus cases had been detected – 163 in the previous 24 hours – and pleaded with people to stay at home.

    “We really need our community, particularly in south-western and western Sydney, to stay at home, to hear the message and stay at home,” Hazzard said. The NSW police said officers from across central metropolitan region, assisted by specialist resources, were deployed in response to the unauthorised Sydney protest.

    “The NSW police force recognises and supports the rights of individuals and groups to exercise their rights of free speech and peaceful assembly, however, today’s protest is in breach of the current Covid-19 public health orders,” it said.

    “The priority for NSW police is always the safety of the wider community.”

    Hazzard condemned the planned protests as “really silly” on Saturday morning.

    “We live in a democracy and normally I am certainly one who supports people’s rights to protest ... but at the present time we’ve got cases going through the roof and we have people thinking that’s OK to get out there and possibly be close to each other at a demonstration.”

    NSW police deputy commissioner Gary Worboys said police wanted to work with the organisers to make sure people were complying with public health orders and that it did not turn into a “disastrous” mass spreading event.

    In Melbourne, thousands of protesters turned out in the central business district chanting “freedom”.

    An AAP photographer on scene described the rally as initially “eerie” with the crowd maskless and verbally aggressive, but said the atmosphere later mellowed. Some protesters lit flares as they gathered outside Victoria’s Parliament House.

    Protesters held banners, including one that read: “This is not about a virus it’s about total government control of the people.”

    The protest was brought to a violent end by police. An AAP photographer wearing visible press accreditation was pepper sprayed as police cleared the rally, as were other photographers.

    The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, had labelled the idea of protesting against the lockdown as “ridiculous”.

    “Protest against this virus by staying at home, following the rules and getting out of lockdown,” he said.

    Victoria recorded 12 new locally acquired Covid-19 infections on Saturday, 10 of which were in quarantine throughout their entire infectious period. All infections are linked to current outbreaks. Victoria has been in lockdown since 16 July.

    A car rally is also planned for locked-down Adelaide, the state capital of South Australia, with police warning they will make arrests over unlawful activity.

    On Saturday, the South Australian premier, Steven Marshall, has reported one new case of Covid-19, linked to the Tenafeate winery cluster.

    The state is in the middle of a seven-day lockdown, which Marshall says is on track to be lifted on Tuesday.

    The slow rate of Australia’s Covid vaccine rollout has been heavily criticised, with only 12.4% of the population fully vaccinated so far.

    Australia’s deputy chief medical officer, Michael Kidd, said the protests were putting lives at risk.

    “I’m very concerned if people are not following those restrictions ... When that happens, there is the risk that we’ll get spread of Covid-19,” he said on Saturday.

    “This is even more imperative during this outbreak with the Delta variant than it was during the times last year when we saw similar protests.”

  19. #18
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-57960044

    Australian politicians have condemned protests against coronavirus restrictions amid a rise in cases.

    Thousands marched through Sydney on Saturday to demand an end to lockdown measures, with smaller demonstrations taking place in Melbourne and Brisbane.

    At least 57 people involved in the Sydney protest have been charged, while more than 500 have been fined.

    On Sunday, New South Wales (NSW) premier Gladys Berejiklian said the protesters "should be ashamed".

    "Millions and millions of people across our state are doing the right thing, and it just broke my heart that people had such a disregard for their fellow citizens," she told reporters.

    The state recorded 141 new infections on Sunday, the second-highest daily increase of the year. There are fears of a further rise in cases following Saturday's protests.

    Authorities in NSW are expected to extend the current lockdown, which is set to end on 30 July.

    Some 13 million Australians are back in lockdown after state governments re-imposed restrictions in recent weeks to combat the highly contagious Delta variant, which has driven up cases across the country.

    Fewer than 14% of the population have been fully vaccinated, a far lower percentage than most European countries and the US.

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has been criticised for Australia's vaccine programme, has promised more doses to NSW.

    But he said that they could not disrupt the rollout nationwide, and stressed that the lockdown in the state would only end when it brought case numbers down.

    He also branded those who took part in Saturday's demonstrations "selfish" and "self-defeating", saying the protests "only risk the lockdowns running further."

    Meanwhile, police in Sydney announced on Sunday that two men had been charged with hitting police horses during the protest.

    A 33-year-old and a 36-year-old will appear in court today.

  20. #19
    Debut
    Feb 2019
    Runs
    1,465
    Mentioned
    12 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    One guy has been arrested during protests in Sydney on charges of animal cruelty. He fisted a police horse in the face. The protest did get a bit violent in the end.

  21. #20
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...rge-in-numbers

    Tens of thousands of Covid nasal test swabs are being put on planes and flown from hotspots in New South Wales to be processed in Brisbane and other cities, with labs in Sydney still “drowning” from record testing turnouts that have led to result wait times of up to 10 days.

    As daily testing numbers hover around 100,000 in NSW, a backlog in processing swabs in Sydney continues to force people into isolation, with Guardian Australia aware of an essential worker abandoning their vaccine appointment as they await a negative result.

    Laverty Pathology, which runs drive-through Covid testing clinics, including one in Fairfield at the heart of Sydney’s outbreak, last week acknowledged a “huge surge” in testing had pushed turnaround times to 72 hours, however there have been reports of some Laverty patients waiting more than four days for a result.

    Laverty’s testing turnaround appears to have worsened, with Guardian Australia aware of one resident tested at one of the company’s clinics in Surry Hills on 17 July still waiting for their result on Monday afternoon. More generally, there are consistent reports of four-day waits for results.

    To cope with the influx of tests, Guardian Australia understands Laverty Pathology has begun taking swabs from its Covid clinics in Sydney and flying them to its sister pathology labs in other states.

    Matthew, who is under lockdown in Wollongong, went to a drive-through Covid testing clinic run by Laverty on the afternoon of 21 July after developing a sore throat and cough. Despite being fully vaccinated, he got a test as a precaution against spreading the virus.

    He isolated for about four days, until he received a negative result on the afternoon of 25 July, but noticed the results were sent by QML Pathology, a sister company of Laverty’s based in Brisbane.

    Matthew said it was “annoying being stuck at home for a bit longer waiting” for test results from interstate.

    A health worker involved in private pathology told Guardian Australia “tens of thousands” of tests were being put on planes and flown to labs in Brisbane and other cities as “Sydney is still drowning in tests each day”.

    Healius, the pathology network that incorporates Laverty and sister companies in other states, did not respond to specific questions, saying they were “extremely busy” with the current situation. A spokesperson confirmed tests from Sydney were being sent interstate.

    The spike in testing is in part due to the requirement for essential workers in areas of south-west Sydney to take Covid surveillance testing every 72 hours, with workers allowed to leave their respective LGAs for work without isolating while they wait for results.

    Last week, some workers were turning up for tests having not yet received the results of a test taken three days earlier.

    However not all essential workers are exempt from isolating while waiting for a result. Anyone in Sydney who gets a Covid test because they are symptomatic, or because they are a close contact, must still isolate until they return a negative result.

    Besides Laverty pathology, testing times are varying between other private providers and hospital-run clinics from as little as a few hours to in excess of three days.

    Amtul, a teacher who lives in north-west Sydney, got tested at a local clinic run by a separate private pathology company after developing symptoms.

    She works at a school caring for children of essential workers, but had to isolate while waiting for her result. Despite having her first Covid vaccine appointment booked in coming days, she knew she had to “do the right thing and have the test”. Her husband had a test from the same clinic last month, and got his result in 12 hours. On the morning of the third day of waiting, she telephoned the pathology clinic and said she was an essential worker and had a Covid vaccine booked that afternoon, but was told they couldn’t guarantee a result in time.

    Her result ultimately arrived around midnight that night. She called the Homebush vaccine hub to move her booking, and was told they could not delay it by a few days, but instead the appointment had to be cancelled.

    Her August second-dose appointment became her first, and she had to book a second-dose appointment weeks after that.

    “This is really, really ridiculous,” she said.

    Last week, NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant acknowledged delays with “one of the private labs” that processes more than 10,000 tests a day, but noted providers had the capacity to expedite test results for anyone who announced they were a close contact.


  22. #21
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...ch-record-high

    New South Wales reported a record high number of covid cases on Tuesday despite more than four weeks of lockdown for the Sydney region, with signs tough measures could extend until September.

    “Vaccination is the key to our freedom. Getting jabs in arms is a key part of our strategy,” said state premier Gladys Berejiklian. “I want August to be the month where everyone comes forward to get the jab. That is key to us being able to see what September looks like. I don’t think anyone can deny that the vaccination rate is absolutely key to how we live life in NSW.”

    The lockdown had been due to end on Saturday but with less than 13% of the state’s population fully vaccinated, curbs in some form were expected to remain.

    More than half of Australia’s population of nearly 26 million has been in lockdown after an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant took hold in the state of New South Wales and spread to three others.

    New South Wales reported 172 Covid cases in the past 24 hours, up from 145 a day earlier, with at least 60 in the community while infectious. Two more deaths were also reported: both were unvaccinated women in their 80s, said Berejiklian.

    The centre of the outbreak in Sydney has now shifted towards the city’s west. One block of 50 flats was locked down and placed under police guard after six residents across several households tested positive. All residents of the block in Blacktown are being tested, with food and other services being provided for the 14-day quarantine period.

    The cases had been linked to a funeral gathering a week ago, attended by about 50 people. It has led to at least 28 infections.

    Measures have also been taken at two Sydney hospitals, after two nurses and a student nurse tested positive. Eight patients have since been diagnosed with Covid-19. The nursing staff were partially vaccinated.

    On Tuesday, tens of thousands of Covid nasal test swabs were being flown from hotspots in Sydney to be processed in other states, with labs in New South Wales “drowning” from record testing turnouts, according to a health worker involved in private pathology.

    There are also concerns about a potential rise in cases as a result of the weekend’s anti-lockdown protests – fomented by German-based conspiracy group. State health official Jeremy McAnulty saying on Tuesday: “Whenever we get people in crowds who shouting or yelling, no social distancing that is a very dangerous situation for the transmission of Covid.”

    The state did however lift lockdown for three regional areas, starting on Wednesday.

    In another blow for Australia’s bungled rollout, it was revealed that one of the federal government’s key vaccine deals has been hit with major delays, with 51m doses of Novavax originally due to arrive in the second half of this year now not expected until 2022. The doses will now form part of the government’s booster strategy.

    Elsewhere, the states of Victoria and South Australia announced that they would lift their own lockdowns after bringing smaller outbreaks under control.

    Victoria said most of the restrictions it imposed on 15 July would be removed from Wednesday after recording just 10 infections of people already in quarantine. “All in all, this is a good day,” state Premier Daniel Andrews said in Melbourne. He said that lifting the lockdown “sends a clear message that we have seen off two Delta outbreaks. I don’t think there’s a jurisdiction in the world that has been able to achieve that.”

    Victoria’s 5 million residents will now be allowed to leave home freely and schools will reopen, though households will not be permitted to have visitors, Andrews said.

    Lockdowns have raised the prospect of Australia recording its second recession in as many years, though treasurer Josh Frydenberg said on Tuesday talk of this was premature. Frydenberg said last week the country’s $2tn (US$1.5tn) economy is expected to shrink in the latest GDP figures, with lockdowns costing about $300m daily.

    Swift contact tracing, tough social distancing rules and lockdowns have helped Australia to keep its case numbers low, with just under 33,100 cases and 920 deaths since the pandemic first appeared.

  23. #22
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.theguardian.com/australi...39-daily-cases

    Thousands of police officers and hundreds of troops will be deployed across greater Sydney to help enforce new rules in eight hotspot local government areas as New South Wales desperately tries to curb growing Covid case numbers that have jumped sharply to a daily record of 239.

    Two more people have died – a woman in her 90s and man in his 80s, both from south-west Sydney – taking the death toll for the outbreak to 13.

    The NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, warned on Thursday that because at least 66 of the cases were infectious in the community, the numbers were expected to rise further.

    She denied the NSW lockdown was failing or that tougher rules were needed Sydney-wide.

    Instead, she pleaded for all citizens in greater Sydney to further reduce their mobility and announced new rules for the eight local government areas (LGAs) in western and south-west Sydney, designed to further dampen the spread of Covid-19 in the hotspots.

    These include wearing a mask at all times outside the home and not travelling more than 5km from home for shopping, exercise or visits under the “single bubble” rules.

    The penalty for not wearing a mask where required will be increased from $200 to $500.

    The eight LGAs – Blacktown, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool and Parramatta – are already under a much stricter lockdown, including the closure of construction, tougher restrictions on who can leave to work, and in some cases, surveillance testing for essential workers who must leave.

    The location of the cases reported on Thursday shows why the government is tightening rules further. Of the record 239 cases, 199 were in those eight LGAs, with Canterbury-Bankstown accounting for 53 and Fairfield 45.

    This snapshot of where the cases are located highlights why authorities are desperate to see mobility further reduced in these areas.

    There is also growing concern about the number of young people contracting the disease. Fifty-nine cases were under 19, 47 were aged 20-29, 50 were aged 30-39, 31 were 40-49 and 52 cases were over the age of 50.

    New powers have been granted to the NSW police commissioner to shut down businesses, construction sites and public premises where there is a risk to public health.

    Mick Fuller said on Thursday afternoon he had also requested the assistance of the Australian Defence Force.

    “The NSW police force is significantly expanding its enforcement activities in Sydney over the coming days and has requested 300 ADF personnel to boost its operational footprint,” the commissioner said.

    “The assistance of the ADF has been essential over the past 18 months – particularly during last year’s border operation, the ongoing hotel quarantine operation and the assistance provided with logistics support in the police operations centre.”

    The state’s police minister, David Elliott, said “support from the army will add another line of defence to the NSW government’s crackdown on Covid-19 compliance”.

    The defence minister, Peter Dutton, said “up to 300 Defence personnel” would be deployed in the coming days for training “and commence working under the direction of NSW police on Monday 2 August”.

    Dutton said 229 ADF personnel were already working in NSW “supporting state police quarantine, reception and repatriation efforts at Sydney airport and hotels”.

    The federal health minister, Greg Hunt, said the commonwealth would “willingly comply” with the NSW request for boots on the ground.

    “The ADF played a critical role in Victoria, the boots on the ground were here to help people, they assisted with compliance, they actually provided confidence,” Hunt said on Thursday. “That will provide additional support to the police and additional help for the people of NSW.”

    Hunt said the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee – all of the state and territory chief health officers – would be holding an emergency meeting on Thursday night to determine how other states could help NSW battle the current Delta outbreak.

    “They are doing a Herculean job, and they are doing it with the support of the nation, and as part of that, the support for tracing and the capacity of other states and territories and the commonwealth to assist is on the table,” the federal minister said.

    But Liverpool councillor Charishma Kaliyanda said sending in the troops was “troubling” and she argued that “reinforcing fear won’t be effective”.

    The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue executive director, Adam Leto, said the stricter rules imposed on the eight LGAs risked creating resentment and generating frustration.

    “The government is justified in identifying hotspots and in making the necessary calls … but I’m not too sure what the driver is behind the outdoor masks, because we haven’t heard that outdoors is a transmission risk,” he said.

    “If there’s a good reason for it, the government should make it clear why. Otherwise, they should apply them across Sydney. If it’s good for us, why not for them.”

    Fuller said earlier on Thursday there had been 15,000 complaints to Crime Stoppers and police were using those complaints to target people breaking the rules.

    “From an emergency management perspective, we’ve been on the journey the whole way but we’re seeing noncompliance at a level that is impacting on the virus and impacting on NSW coming out of lockdown,” the commissioner said.

    Elliott said: “The time for warnings is over. I know 99% of the population are furious with the minority who continue to disregard the health orders and put the safety and livelihoods of families at risk.”

    The state’s chief health officer, Dr Kerry Chant, said there were still issues with people not coming forward quickly enough for testing.

    “We are still finding that people are delaying getting a test and that means that by the time we find them, everyone in the household is positive and then, unknowingly, everyone is actually out in the community infectious. We have to break this cycle,” she said.

    “The other message I would like to say is, I urge all shopkeepers, pharmacists – we are working with pharmacies – to make sure that you have processes to minimise the number of people in your shop.”

    But there is growing evidence that the Sydney lockdown will be prolonged.

    University of Sydney modelling released on Thursday found that even if 40% of the greater Sydney population is vaccinated by mid-September, a stricter lockdown must continue until then.

    The modelling analysed the period from 16-25 July 2021, finding that although the actual incidence growth had reduced from 10% to 3.7%, social distancing currently sits at around 60%, which is still too low to control the outbreak.

    “The accelerating vaccination rollout will begin to make a difference in a few months, but at this stage, a tight lockdown makes a larger impact and needs to continue,” the researchers said.

    They said Sydney needed to achieve 80% compliance with social distancing, meaning four out of five people must drastically reduce their contact with others. That is, they needed to reduce their activities outside of households to just 10% of their normal interactions.

  24. #23
    Debut
    Oct 2004
    Runs
    166,747
    Mentioned
    2899 Post(s)
    Tagged
    22 Thread(s)
    Australia has deployed hundreds of soldiers to Sydney to help enforce a Covid lockdown.

    A Delta outbreak which began in June has produced nearly 3,000 infections and led to nine deaths.

    Australian Defence Force soldiers will undergo training on the weekend before beginning unarmed patrols on Monday.

    But many have questioned whether the military intervention is necessary, calling it heavy-handed.

    The lockdown - in place until at least 28 August - bars people from leaving their home except for essential exercise, shopping, caregiving and other reasons.

    Despite five weeks of lockdown, infections in the nation's largest city continue to spread. Officials recorded 170 new cases on Friday.

    Soldiers will join police in virus hotspots to ensure people are following the rules, which include a 10km (6.2 miles) travel limit.

    State Police Minister David Elliott said it would help because a small minority of Sydneysiders thought "the rules didn't apply to them".

    Information provided by health officials indicates the virus is mainly spreading through permitted movement.

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance, a civil rights group, called the deployment a "concerning use" of the army in a liberal democracy.

    The outbreak has largely affected critical workers and large family groups in the city's poorer and ethnically diverse west and south-west suburbs. About two million people live there.

    Critics say those areas have already faced "targeted" policing measures. They point out restrictions there are harsher than for the rest of Sydney.

    "Our people are one of the poorest demographics, and as it is, they already feel picked on and marginalised," said Steve Christou, one local mayor.

    "They can't afford to pay the mortgage, the rent, the food or work. Now to throw out the army to enforce lockdown on the streets is going to be a huge issue to these people," he told SBS.

    Others have called for the government to increase its vaccine drive and support services for the affected communities.

    Australia's rate of vaccination - 17% of the adult population - remains one of the lowest among OECD nations.

    BBC


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  25. #24
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.theguardian.com/australi...break-will-end

    After five weeks of a tightening lockdown, they were not the words Sydney residents wanted to hear: the leader of New South Wales announcing another month of restrictions and telling the state to prepare for things to get worse, not better.

    There was further anguish prompted by the daily Covid case numbers, which were rising daily, despite strict stay at home measures.

    As Gladys Berejiklian, the premier of New South Wales, told Sydney its lockdown would continue until the end of August, many residents of Australia’s largest city wondered if life would return to normal before Christmas.

    “We know we’ve put in the hard yards for five weeks and we don’t want to waste all the good work that we’ve done by opening too early and then having the virus spread again,” said Berejiklian.

    The complex, changing rules have added to a sense of confusion and exhaustion across the city. The Delta variant is proving enduringly difficult for Australia to suppress with restrictions, and now the path out of Covid restrictions seems to lie with vaccines.

    “I don’t think anyone can deny that the vaccination rate is absolutely key to how we live life in NSW” Berejiklian said on Tuesday.

    Unfortunately, the vaccination rate in Australia is the second slowest in the OECD. Due to a series of mis-steps by the government, Australia has stockpiles of AstraZeneca that many citizens are reluctant to take, and not enough Pfizer to go around.

    On Wednesday, economists at ANZ bank predicted that the lockdown would continue “at least until September”, Business Insider reported. The prime minister, Scott Morrison, aimed lower, saying he hoped that enough people would be vaccinated by Christmas that “we would be seeing a very different Australia to what we are seeing now”.

    “Lockdowns become a thing of the past when you are at that level,” he predicted.

    But in the meantime, thousands of police officers and hundreds of troops have been deployed across greater Sydney to enforce tighter restrictions.

    Currently, the rules include leaving home only to buy food or essential goods; exercise; essential work and medical care, as well as wearing masks indoors. People are not allowed to travel further than 10km from their homes.

    For 2 million Sydneysiders in eight “local government areas of concern” in the city’s west, there is a 5km travel limit and masks are required outdoors – additional restrictions brought in this week.

    Yet over the course of a month, restrictions have not worked to bring down case numbers. Expert opinion is split on whether adopting rules used during Melbourne’s long lockdown in 2020, including a city-wide outdoor face masks mandate and curfews, would work to limit the spread in Sydney, or whether its geography, demographics and the infectiousness of the Delta variant would blunt the benefit of some measures.

    On Friday, with a slightly lower case total, Berejiklian warned infections would continue to “bounce around” and again encouraged people to get vaccinated.

    “It’s really important for us to get as many jabs in arms as possible because more jabs in arms means more freedom for all of us in the quicker we get vaccinated, the quicker we can live more freely,” she said.

    Just under 18% of Australians have had two doses of a Covid vaccine. The country of 25 million is vaccinating only 200,000 people a day.

    The Grattan Institute, a Sydney thinktank, said this week that Australia could not abandon its strategy of bringing cases down to zero until 80% of the population was vaccinated – something it said was possible by the end of the year only if vaccine supply issues were resolved by October.

    Questions remain as to what the government is doing to increase the number of vaccinations. A coalition of nursing organisations said on Friday that were nurse practitioners enlisted in the rollout, all Australians could have a first dose of the vaccine within just under nine weeks, and a second dose in just under 11 weeks depending on the varying interval periods for the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines. The group urged the federal health minister, Greg Hunt, to include nurses in the vaccine rollout.

    “We have the nurses, we have the expertise. Include us in your rollout Minister Hunt and we will provide your solution,” they said in a statement.

    While the rollout remains slow and the lockdown in place, employment in the state “could fall by 300,000 in a couple of months”, a Commonwealth Bank economist told the ABC.

    On Thursday, the federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg warned that the country could fall back into recession, months after recovering from its first recession in nearly 30 years.

    “My expectation is that the September quarter will be negative,” said Frydenberg. “But with respect to the December quarter, that does depend to a large extent how successful NSW, our largest state economy, is in getting on top of this virus.”

  26. #25
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...urne-lockdowns

    Australia was hit by the pandemic in what seemed a moment of national unity. Large stretches of the east coast had been on fire all summer and the nation had pulled together to help. Volunteers – from firefighters to helicopter pilots to fence-fixers – drove across state lines to the areas of greatest need.

    Eighteen months later, the nation – or at least its two largest cities – appear to be pulling apart. Requests for additional vaccines, first from Victoria, then from New South Wales, were rejected. The political rhetoric is pernicious.

    On Twitter the debate has become toxic. Friends and colleagues in different states are in open argument. Beloved broadcasters have joined the fray. Reactions – both the frustration of Victorians and the upset of their NSW counterparts – are being policed. No other state can get a look-in.

    Many Victorians scarred from a 15-week-long lockdown in 2020 are seething that NSW was slow to lock down against an outbreak of the Delta variant.

    The NSW government has rejected suggestions it mishandled the outbreak by not introducing a snap lockdown, and dismissed calls to copy the Victorian rules, citing a lack of evidence that measures such as a curfew curbed virus spread.

    This week the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, has urged NSW to learn from Victoria’s “bitter experience” and introduce in full the harsh measures imposed in Melbourne’s hard lockdown, brushing off questions about the efficacy of individual rules by saying they worked as a package: “All I’m doing is telling others what worked here and it’s through painful, tragic, bitter experience that we are able to advise what actually works.”

    The NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, claimed on Thursday that new rules she had introduced “are the harshest measures any place in Australia has ever faced”, despite them being less restrictive than those imposed in Victoria’s second wave.

    Only when discussing the failures of the federal government’s vaccine rollout do Andrews and Berejiklian, and their supporters, see eye to eye.

    Cracks aren’t new

    Animosity between Australia’s two biggest states is not new. The six independent colonies of settler Australia may have formed a federation, but the cracks remain.

    “The pandemic is exposing the nature of Australia’s social fabric,” says senior researcher Mark Duckworth.

    “There has been this veneer of a single Australian set of values, which works at certain times of sporting triumph or something. But underneath it, there are these divisions which have existed for the last 150 years.”

    They existed in the bushfires, leaving communities along the NSW-Victorian border in danger because state emergency management information and radio networks did not extend beyond the borders.

    And the pandemic has forced a significant improvement in interstate cooperation and effective national coordination, even as the feeling of national solidarity has dropped away.

    “In many ways, a pandemic is about the only truly national emergency that Australia is likely to face,” Duckworth says. “Every part of Australia is to one extent or another having to work on preventing, responding to, or recovering an outbreak.”

    As in a bushfire, communities have rallied.

    “But one of the paradoxes of that process in which people kind of circle the wagons is that they look inward,” Duckworth says. “In a pandemic where the impact is much broader, that can be accompanied by scapegoating and othering processes as well.”

    The wagons were circled in Victoria during the second wave and have not yet broken formation.

    In October last year, around week 11 of the 15-week lockdown, Melbourne writer Dave Milner wrote: “I’ve never felt more Victorian and less Australian.”

    There is a strong feeling in Victoria that the federal government distanced itself from Melbourne crisis.

    Victorians have not forgotten that last year the prime minister, Scott Morrison, described the Melbourne outbreak as the “Victorian wave” and praised the NSW government’s contact tracing system as the “gold standard”. The hashtag #PMforSydney now trends whenever Morrison does a press conference.

    They also haven’t forgotten the headline in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph after NSW closed its border to Victoria, which read “Mexicans locked out”, or the cover story on the Australian Financial Review magazine – also, like most of Australia’s national media, based in Sydney – which called Berejiklian “The woman who saved Australia”.

    It was a hubristic portrait. Any wonder that on Twitter a Greek chorus waited for her fall.

    NSW did remain open and economically active for much of 2020 – which is why both the AFR and Morrison branded Berejiklian a saviour – and the NSW contact tracing system did set the standard. Victoria based many of the changes in its contact tracing system, which helped the state shut down two outbreaks in two months, on the NSW model.

    Still, as the state which has to date sacrificed the most to keep outbreaks contained, is it any wonder that Victorians felt a sense of vindication when NSW tripped?

    Andrews, the most ruthless and effective political communicator in the country, has returned some of the barbs he was dealt last year. On Thursday he levelled up from the gold standard to describe PCR Covid tests as the “diamond standard” compared with rapid antigen tests, in response to NSW announcing it may use it to test year 12 students so they can return to school.

    The Victorian government has paid for TV and radio ads on NSW channels warning people not to travel interstate, in a campaign that has drawn comparisons to national anti-asylum seeker campaigns.

    The Australia Institute’s Bill Bowes says to the extent that parochialism has risen in the pandemic, it has been driven by politicians.

    “The federal government, if it’s concerned about parochialism, could do a lot more to create a national spirit,” he says.

    When Queensland went into a snap lockdown in April, Queenslander and defence minister Peter Dutton accused Labor premier Annastacia Palaszczuk of being a panicker. The Liberal premier for South Australia, Steven Marshall, was not accused of panicking in response to his snap lockdown this month.

    The Nationals senator Matt Canavan called the second wave a “Dan-made disaster”.

    When Victoria went into its fourth lockdown in May, the federal government initially resisted providing income support saying it did not want to incentivise lockdowns. Under pressure from the Victorian government it then announced a $500 a week Covid disaster payment, which was raised to $600 in a deal negotiated with NSW. It increased that to $750 a week on Wednesday.

    The federal treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, whose electorate is in Melbourne, last year described Victoria’s extended lockdown as “the biggest public policy failure by a state government in living memory”. He did not bite when Melbourne-based ABC host Patricia Karvelas asked him this week if that mistake was now rivalled by what NSW was doing, and if Victoria was now the gold standard.

    “You need to lock down fast when you get the outbreak of the Delta variant,” Frydenberg said. “Victoria has done that.”

    Bowes says it is “hard to imagine a circumstance where the federal government would be identifying Dan Andrews’ Victoria as the gold standard, regardless of what kind of approach they took”.

    Backing their premiers

    Polling conducted by the Australia Institute shows that 42% of Australians think their state or territory government is doing better at responding to the pandemic than the federal government, with the gap narrowest in Victoria.

    “It’s not simply the case that people are backing their own state, but rather that people in general support the premiers’ approaches, and the premiers’ approaches have been fairly consistent – at least, compared to what the federal government would prefer,” Bowes says. “States have had a popular authority that’s come from the pandemic.”

    The state and territory governments seized control of the pandemic response over a single weekend in March last year when Andrews and Berejiklian pressured the federal government into implementing a national shutdown by releasing coordinated statements in favour of tougher restrictions, and the leaders of five other states, led by Tasmania, closed their borders.

    They have maintained that control in the absence of stronger federal leadership.

    The federal government had an opportunity to reclaim the narrative with a successful vaccine rollout, says Bowes, but that failed. Instead it was again the states that proved successful, running mass vaccination hubs that have delivered the bulk of the doses.

    But the rise of state governments does not explain why NSW and Victoria are scrapping, while the other states and territories remain unbothered.

    The perception in Victoria that NSW is the federal favourite has some truth to it that goes beyond political allegiance and the electorate of the prime minister, says Duckworth.

    “Going back to my days working in government relations, there was a basic view which is that the interests of NSW and the national interest are always the same thing,” he says.

    Sydney was the biggest city, the international city. But Melbourne has caught up.

    “Sydney and Melbourne are basically exactly the same size cities, if it weren’t for the statistical anomaly that I think Gosford is included in the statistics for the size of Sydney,” he says. “Sydney and its role is obviously going to remain very important, but compared to other parts of Australia it is no longer as important as it was, and I don’t think the federal government has actually caught up with that.”

    Part of that bias is geographical: Canberra picks up NSW broadcasts.

    “If you work in Canberra you get a lot of your news from Sydney,” Duckworth says. “So what’s going on in Sydney tends to be your view of what’s going on in Australia.”

  27. #26
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.theguardian.com/australi...-six-new-cases

    South-east Queensland will enter its strictest lockdown of the pandemic for three days, starting at 4pm on Saturday, after the state recorded six new locally acquired cases of Covid-19.

    The stay-at-home orders will apply across 11 local government in the south-east, including Brisbane City, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

    The deputy premier, Steven Miles, said the lockdown was necessary due to the transmissibility of the Delta strain, with authorities warning there would be an “enormous number” of exposure sites from the current outbreak. It is believed the outbreak is linked to a leak from hotel quarantine.

    “We received the advice of the chief health officer, and the premier has ordered that we move strongly and implement all of the restrictions advised by the chief health officer,” Miles said. “We must go hard and go early.

    “This will be the strictest lockdown that we have had.”

    Under the lockdown, people in the affected LGAs will not be permitted to have visitors to their homes and non-essential businesses will close. Hospitality venues will be restricted to takeaway only.

    A 10km radius limit will apply for people leaving home for shopping or exercise and for the first time in Queensland masks have been mandated for students and staff at high school.

    Those under lockdown can only leave home:

    • to obtain essential goods such as groceries and medications
    • for essential work, school or childcare
    • to exercise with a maximum of one other person from another household
    • to get health care or provide care to another person
    • or get vaccinated or tested.

    The six new cases recorded on Saturday take the current outbreak in Queensland to nine cases of the Delta strain.

    The new cases reported on Saturday are linked to a 17-year-old female Indooroopilly State High School student who tested positive on Thursday.

    The student’s parents and two siblings have also contracted the virus, as has a medical student who tutors her. The sixth new case is a staff member at Ironside state school, where one of the siblings is a student.

    The chief health officer, Jeannette Young, said she expected “an enormous number of exposure sites all through Brisbane and probably as well through the Sunshine Coast and further”.

    Young said the medical student had attended Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, at the University of Queensland, and the the Translational Research Institute at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

    “And also she has a sibling who works in a hospital so we are urgently working through all of those,” Young said.

    Schools, as well as childcare, will only be open for the parents of essential workers during the lockdown.

    Young said genome sequencing pointed to a leak from hotel quarantine.

    “I still don’t have the direct link from one of those two cases through to these new seven cases, but I know through whole genome sequencing that that is where the transmission has occurred,” she said.

    Miles flagged the government would provide further support for businesses, but said the lockdown was necessary to avoid broader damage to the economy.

    “We know that that’s the best way for businesses to recover, the best way to keep people in work, the best way to keep our economy going,” he said.

    “But we also acknowledge that this lockdown has come not long after the last one, and that’s why for this lockdown we will seek to have a compensation package in place. We will work through the details of that today.”

    Brisbane only ended its last lockdown at the start of July.

    Saturdays’s lockdown came only a day after national cabinet agreed that short, sharp lockdowns would be required to combat the Delta strain.

    “We have seen from the experience in other states that the only way to beat the Delta strain is to move quickly, to be fast, and to be strong,” Miles said. “That is now the nationally agreed approach.”

    Miles said he hoped the lockdown would be short.

    “It is our intention that this is a short lockdown and that we can deal with this outbreak within days,” he said.

    He also urged residents against panic buying.

    “Grocery stores will stay open throughout the lockdown,” he said. “So, please don’t think that you need to rush to get essential items. You will be permitted to leave your homes for essential items. Please don’t rush out to grocery stores.”

    Those who do not live within 10km of a supermarket will be able to travel beyond the travel limit to go shopping.

    The 11 LGAs affected by the lockdown are: Brisbane City; Moreton Bay; Gold Coast; Ipswich; Lockyer Valley; Logan City; Noosa Shire; Redland City; Scenic Rim; Somerset and Sunshine Coast.

    Three AFL games that were scheduled in Queensland this weekend have been postponed following the lockdown announcement. St George Illawarra’s NRL clash with South Sydney, which was to have been played in Rockhampton on Saturday at 3pm, will also be rescheduled.

    The Super Netball competition is also facing issues with three games scheduled for Monday and Tuesday that will have to be rescheduled.

  28. #27
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.theguardian.com/australi...s-in-their-20s

    Gladys Berejiklian has said New South Wales plans to break vaccination records this month in an effort to control Covid-19, as the state recorded 239 new cases – the equal-highest daily figure in the current Delta outbreak.

    The NSW premier on Sunday said higher vaccination rates were the “only way to live with Delta or any other horrific strain that comes along” and urged people in NSW to make August their month to come out and get vaccinated.

    “If you look at other states in Australia, if you look at the restrictions that are in place, life with Delta means lockdowns one way,” she said.

    “That is not a way to live, which is why we have been saying in NSW we would like this to be our last lockdown, so long as people get vaccinated.”

    It comes as Queensland completes its first day of a three-day snap lockdown which was called in response to an outbreak of the Delta variant in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, which has grown to 18 cases, including nine reported overnight.

    Meanwhile, Victoria recorded four new cases – all of which were in quarantine for their entire infectious period – at the tail end of an outbreak which was contained after a two-week lockdown.

    Asked by reporters in Sydney if she thought NSW government could gain control of the outbreak before the four-week extension to the lockdown is up, Berejiklian said: “Of course we can.”

    Provided, she said, there were high rates of vaccination in south-western and western Sydney and continued strong testing numbers.

    “It is 1 August today,” she said. “I am an optimist, it is a month for all of us to come forward and get the vaccine. The more we get vaccinated, the more jabs in arms, the greater our pathway to having an easier life moving forward.”

    Only eighty of the 239 cases in NSW are confirmed to have been in isolation for their entire infectious period, and 35 were isolated for part of their infectious period. Twenty-six were infectious in the community and the remaining 98 are under investigation.

    The source of 125 of the new cases is also under investigation.

    There are currently 222 people with Covid-19 in hospital in NSW, including 54 in intensive care and 25 on ventilators. Of those in ICU, seven are aged in their 20s.

    “It shows that the disease can be very serious in younger people as well is older people,” said Dr Jeremy McAnulty from NSW Health.

    McAnulty confirmed that four people with Covid-19 in NSW have died in their homes since the latest outbreak began in mid-June.

    In a bid to drive further uptake of the vaccines, Australia’s acting health chief officer, Prof Michael Kidd, revealed on Sunday a breakdown of all recent Covid-19 cases acquired in NSW by vaccination status.

    Kidd said of the more than 2,700 locally acquired cases of Covid-19 in NSW between 16 June and 28 July, 93% of those people had not yet been vaccinated, and 6% had been vaccinated with only one of the two doses.

    He said there had been no notified cases of fully vaccinated people who had required admission to hospital, apart from a small number of aged-care residents who were moved out of their facility as a precaution.

    “No fully vaccinated people have been admitted to intensive care units,” Kidd said. “No people who are fully vaccinated have died from Covid-19 during this current outbreak. Four percent of people admitted to ICU with Covid-19 have received one dose of a vaccine; 96% of those admitted to ICU are currently unvaccinated.”

    When asked if she underestimated the Delta variant or should have acted quicker to call a snap lockdown, Berejiklian did not agree, saying “there is no roadmap for the Delta variant”.

    “The benefit of hindsight is a great thing to have but other states might be facing regular lockdowns, in and out all the time.

    “What I am saying for NSW is we want this to be – yes it is painful – but we want this to be the last lockdown we have, and we can make that happen if we get vaccinated. Because other states have shown, yes they are going in and out of lockdown but that is no way to live.”

    NSW is aiming to have 80% of the state vaccinated, but Berejiklian said even having 60% of eligible adults vaccinated “gives you a whole lot more options”.

    McAnulty urged those with any symptoms to get tested and “if you have a diagnosis of Covid-19 and are deteriorating, don’t hesitate to call 000 if you need to go to hospital or make contact with a health provider”.

    In Queensland, genomic testing has linked the outbreak which was first detected in a 17-year-old student from Indooroopilly state high school to two people who arrived in the state from overseas. One of those people was treated at the Sunshine Coast University hospital on 17 July, and the state’s chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young, said she suspected that may be the source of transmission into the community.

    Young said anyone on the Sunshine Coast who had any symptoms should get tested, “because I suspect that is where this outbreak started and then has reached a critical level where it has started to escalate and we have picked up at the escalation point”.

    “I still think there will be cases there in the Sunshine Coast that we don’t know about and if we don’t find them, they will continue to spread,” she said.

    Greater south-east Queensland went into a snap 72-hour lockdown at 4pm on Saturday after recording six new local cases linked to the Brisbane high school.

    The deputy premier, Steven Miles, said it was the highest daily case increase in Queensland since August 2020.

    Four of the new cases are linked to a karate school run out of a Brisbane high school. There are now five schools which are considered exposures sites: Indooroopilly state high school, Ironside state school, St Peters Lutheran College, Brisbane Grammar School and Brisbane Girls Grammar.

    Miles said the 11,468 tests conducted on Saturday was not good enough, and urged everyone to get tested. Young said the state should be aiming for 40,000 tests per day.

    On Sunday evening it was confirmed that a contractor working on the Rookwood Weir west of Rockhampton had tested positive to Covid. The woman is believed to have been infectious when she took a Qantas flight from Brisbane to Rockhampton on 28 July and a return flight on 30 July.

    Health authorities were urgently testing workers at the weir work camp, who are in their rooms for 14 days’ quarantine. The woman was an external contractor at the site and tested positive on 31 July. Authorities were on Sunday also contacting people who were on QF2362 at 8.30am on 28 July and QF2365 at 6.40pm on 30 July.

    Meanwhile, authorities in Victoria and Queensland are also pushing for more people to be vaccinated. From Monday, second doses for Pfizer shots in Victoria will be pushed out from three weeks to six weeks in order to ensure more people have at least one shot.

    The head of Australia’s vaccine response, Lt Gen John Frewen, said that every Australian “who wants access to a first dose [of a Covid-19 vaccine] will have that opportunity this year”.

    “People who are eligible for Pfizer should should get out and get Pfizer but for everybody else they should go and make an informed choice now,” he told Sky News. “And if AstraZeneca is available they should get the AstraZeneca. I mean, one dose is better than none but two doses is the best is the best path out of that this.”

  29. #28
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.theguardian.com/news/dat...t-hit-by-covid

    Younger Australians have borne the brunt of the Covid pandemic with people aged in their 20s hit by more cases than any other age group, according to a Guardian Australia analysis of department of health data.

    But, while the number of coronavirus cases was highest among those in their 20s, followed by those in their 30s and 40s, the severity of the illness was far worse among older Australians.

    Australians aged over 80 had a disproportionately high number of cases and deaths, with most of these occurring during Victoria’s extended outbreak last year.

    Professor Marylouise McLaws, an epidemiologist at the University of NSW, says 20-39-year-olds have been at severe risk of infection throughout the pandemic.

    “We have seen young people having 40% of the burden even before Delta. They are lower socioeconomic [status]. They often work in multiple jobs or live in crowded households because they either like it or they need to do that. So it’s not a surprise that 20-39 year olds are at an enormous risk,” McLaws said.

    “And yet they have been neglected because [they] can’t get in for love or money to get a vaccine”

    Those aged in their 20s and 30s have had a significantly higher percentage of Covid cases than would be expected given their share of the population.

    On a per capita basis, Australians aged over 90 have had significantly more cases than any other age group.

    Despite the case load skewing overwhelmingly younger, older Australians have borne the brunt of deaths. Those aged over 80 are a relatively small proportion of the Australian population, but more than 40% of deaths in the pandemic have been in the 80-89 age group.

    To date only one person in their 20s has died. Five people in their 30s or 40s have died. These three age groups account for about 40% of the population.

    Adjusting the number of cases and deaths to a rate per 100k population shows that those over 90 have been hit much harder than any other age group.

    There have been more than 400 cases and 150 deaths per 100k people over the age of 90. For people in their 80s, the figures drop to almost 50 deaths and more thn 150 cases per 100k people.

    Data published by the health department at the beginning of March last year shows cases skewing slightly to older demographics. 50-59 year olds made up 20% of new cases at that time, with those in their 40s and 30 year olds accounting for 15% each. But this was likely biased by early infections in overseas travellers.

    Most of the infections in Australians aged over 70 occurred during Victoria’s extended second wave last year. The number of Covid cases per 100k people aged over 80 jumped from 64 at the beginning of August 2020 to over 140 by month’s end.

    McLaws says many of the infections in older Australians were in aged care facilities, where residents were a “captive audience”.

    “When you are looking at the older group it’s really confounded by the fact they were a captive audience, with hospital in the home. So they didn’t have a chance of escaping someone who was positive in the household. And that’s what we are seeing with Delta now.

    “The biggest two categories of risk are not socialising anymore, they are workplace and households. And residential aged care facilities are households. They are just shared households.”

    By the beginning of November 2020, more than 390 people per 100k aged 90 or over had contracted Covid. But since then the proportions of infections in these age groups has largely remained stable – whether there is an outbreak or not.

    Those over 60 were also prioritised early in the vaccine rollout.

    Australians aged 40 and under have consistently made up around 60% of new infections every fortnight, according to the fortnightly epidemiology reports released by the department of health. But relatively few of these are aged under 10 – around 5% of all cases. This is less than half their proportion of the population.

    The federal epidemiology reports do not include current data on the latest outbreak in Sydney. Data scraped from the department of health website by Ken Tsang shows those under 40 have continued to make up the majority of new cases over the past two months.

    Most younger Australians have been ineligible for vaccines, unless they fall into a small number of jobs or have pre-existing medical conditions. New South Wales and Victoria have recently relaxed vaccine eligibility slightly, but many are still having trouble booking shots.

    McLaws says the vaccine priority needs to change, given what we’ve seen in the community as well as overseas.

    “The epidemiology is screaming to me that we have been neglecting our young. Apart from the fact that they are our next generation … they are also at the greatest risk of transmitting. Just like carers in residential aged care facilities are the greatest risk of transmitting to our elderly,” McLaws says.

    “They have to open up right now the vaccine to anybody that turns up. But give priority, have a special queue, for the 20 to 39 year olds.”

  30. #29
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...erstate-travel

    Scott Morrison has suggested vaccination passports may not be necessary for interstate travel because there would be no need for border restrictions when Australia has achieved its targets of 70% or 80% vaccination.

    Morrison made the comments on Friday after a national cabinet meeting that noted work health and safety regulators can provide protection to employers who do not mandate vaccines, but has decided against protecting employers who do.

    Friday’s meeting took place as New South Wales recorded 390 new Covid-19 cases in its Delta wave, which has triggered a lockdown in the Australian Capital Territory and fresh border restrictions by Western Australia.

    The WA premier, Mark McGowan, announced a new “extreme high risk” category that will require travellers from Covid hotspots to show proof they’ve had at least one vaccine dose, as well as a negative PCR test in the previous three days. They would still need to quarantine for 14 days.

    After the meeting, Morrison said he “[welcomed] the requirement for vaccination” introduced by WA which he described as consistent with the national plan.

    “That is not unlike the sorts of things we have been talking about for some time, where people are vaccinated, and an exemption has been granted, the vaccination aids that exemption being given on public health grounds,” he told reporters in Canberra.

    Asked if the development could mean Australians will require vaccination passports to travel interstate, Morrison suggested that once Australia meets the 70% and 80% vaccination targets such restrictions may not be necessary.

    “The whole point of getting to higher and higher levels of vaccination, particularly once you go past 80%, is that is when we are saying goodbye to lockdowns, and where there are no lockdowns, they should be no borders,” he said.

    “So it is a decision for now, because borders exist now. But in the future, the whole point of getting a 70% and 80% is to say, ultimately, goodbye to those arrangements as well.”

    Earlier, the Victorian premier, Dan Andrews said national cabinet had commissioned state governments to develop a vaccine passport.

    Andrews also warned that the Doherty Institute modelling underpinning ending lockdowns at 70 or 80% “isn’t based on hundreds of cases per day” – it is based on a “very small amount” of coronavirus circulating in Australia.

    Asked if Sydney’s outbreak threatened those targets, Andrews replied “no” – because lockdowns would end – but added “I think the outbreak in Sydney means we’re smart to have the border closed”.

    “The issue in relation to the border, that’s a lockout, it’s not a lockdown. And that will be there for so long as we believe Sydney, New South Wales, or any other part of the country or any other part of the world … [is a threat] because the case numbers are too high.”

    The Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, told Guardian Australia that “until New South Wales gets on top of its outbreak, the hard border remains”.

    Before the meeting, Palaszczuk told reporters she wanted to “hear very clearly from New South Wales what their clear plan is for containment”.

    “The last thing we want to see is this virus spread north, the virus spread south, and spread across the nation. So, it’s absolutely imperative that New South Wales contains this virus.”

    The issue was not directly addressed at national cabinet, at which Gladys Berejiklian sought to reassure her colleagues about efforts to contain the outbreak, but no commitments were made about a ring of steel around Sydney or what would happen when NSW reached a 70% vaccination target.

    Guardian Australia understands Queensland is in talks with NSW to make the Tweed River a temporary Covid border, to ease enforcement of border restrictions while allowing the Tweed border community in NSW greater freedom of movement into Queensland.

    The national cabinet meeting also discussed the issue of employers requiring staff to get vaccines, which the Fair Work Ombudsman has advised it is more likely to be reasonable for employers to demand staff get the vaccine if they work in high-risk environments such as border control or health care.

    Employers have called for more extensive public health orders to allow them to require vaccines and an indemnity if they do, but Morrison has refused, arguing this amounted to mandatory vaccination mandates by stealth.

    On Friday Morrison said he had advised national cabinet on how to protect employers in the event an employee catches Covid and sought to sue them for failing to put a vaccine mandate in place.

    Morrison said that work health and safety regulators at the state level “can provide a statement of regulation intent that a business that does not mandate is not in breach of workplace health and safety laws”.

    “We’re not running a mandatory vaccination program and it is not reasonable that an employer may feel they have to put some sort of mandate in place to protect themselves potentially from some health and safety laws.

    “I think that is a very practical way to deal with the issue and premiers and leaders will be looking at it.”

    Morrison revealed that South Australia and Western Australia had enacted public health orders requiring aged care workers to be vaccinated and that all other states and territories are working towards the same, ahead of a mid-September deadline agreed by national cabinet.

  31. #30
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.theguardian.com/australi...-80-vaccinated

    Scott Morrison has rejected modelling that warns Australia could face 25,000 deaths and 270,000 cases of long Covid if lockdowns and public health restrictions end once 80% of the adult population is vaccinated.

    Morrison told 3AW radio on Tuesday the modelling by researchers at three leading Australian universities was “not realistic” because public health measures would continue after lockdowns ended and vaccination rates would continue to climb.

    Expert views on the modelling exercise led by Dr Zoë Hyde, an epidemiologist from the University of Western Australia, were mixed.

    The chair in epidemiology at Deakin University, Prof Catherine Bennett, told Guardian Australia the modelling proved Australia’s national plan was a “sensible way” out of Covid restrictions because the aim was “to get cases back under control in Sydney and Melbourne” before reopening.

    But the Grattan Institute’s health and aged care program director, Dr Stephen Duckett, backed the new modelling, arguing it supported Grattan’s conclusion Australia should only reopen once 80% of all Australians were vaccinated or risk higher reproduction rates of Covid.

    The Doherty modelling, which underpins the plan adopted by national cabinet, looked at the number of deaths in the first 180 days of reopening at the 70% and 80% vaccination thresholds that lead to phase B and C – when lockdowns would be “less likely” and then “highly targeted”.

    The latest research models total cumulative deaths over a longer timeframe during phase D of the national plan – when no restrictions remain.

    The Doherty modelling suggests that in the first 180 days after Australia reopens at an 80% of adults vaccination rate, there would be 761 deaths with partial testing, tracking, tracing and quarantine (TTIQ), or 1,457 at 70%. Deaths would fall to as few as six with “optimal” TTIQ and 80% of adults vaccinated.

    In their paper, published on Tuesday but not yet peer-reviewed, Hyde and her co-authors suggested that once 80% of adults were vaccinated, which translated to 65% of the population overall, there could be approximately 25,000 fatalities.

    Ensuring all children were vaccinated could reduce the death count to 19,000, or to 10,000 if 90% of adults were vaccinated.

    Morrison said he didn’t “agree with that assessment” because “they assume that … vaccinations don’t continue to rise” beyond the 80% target.

    “They assume there’s no other public health measures in place and all of that,” he told 3AW. “So, I mean, that’s, that’s not a realistic scenario and that’s not what is going to happen.”

    Morrison said the Doherty Institute was “one of the most significant scientific agencies in the world” and had concluded Australia can “move ahead” safely once the 70% and 80% targets were reached “with appropriate public health measures, which doesn’t mean lockdowns”.

    The Doherty Institute director, Professor Sharon Lewin, told ABC’s 7:30 that deaths could reach 25,000 “if we have no public health measures” and “just rely on vaccination”.

    But Lewin said public health measures – such as masks, checking in, testing, tracing and isolating, and “limited” lockdowns – were “a key part of the model”.

    “The short answer is there is no freedom day here.”

    Bennett told Guardian Australia that at the start of the most recent Delta outbreak, New South Wales had reduced reproduction to 1.3 through soft lockdown measures despite low vaccination rates.

    Once vaccination rates reached the 70% and 80% targets, Bennett said the reproduction rate would “be able to be kept below one” – meaning each person infected with Covid passes it on to less than one other person on average.

    Bennett said the new modelling suggested “we do nothing and continue to do nothing as cases rise”. “But it’s not all or nothing, which is what they’ve modelled.

    “People are fearful of starting to ease off restrictions. But we’ll start to see it in our numbers, start to see that control come in [as vaccination rates rise].

    “There might be some easing of restrictions along the way to help people’s mental health that doesn’t undermine what we’re trying to achieve.”

    The Grattan Institute’s modelling found that with 70% of the total population vaccinated and a starting reproduction rate of six, Australia could expect 15,900 deaths.

    Duckett said the new modelling was “not inconsistent” with Grattan’s conclusions because they had asked the same question “what do you need to do to live without lockdowns”.

    “We found it is probably safe to open at 80% of the whole population, which is not out of whack with what that new modelling shows: they said 90%, we said 80% growing to 85% and 90% over time.”

    Duckett said the government had asked the Doherty Institute “the wrong question”, by seeking criteria to move to phase B when lockdowns were “less likely”.

    He said the national plan was “completely and utterly vague” because “the prime minister is saying the states signed up to this national plan, but they signed up based on the particular situation at the time”.

    The Australian Greens leader, Adam Bandt, has written to Morrison asking for children above the age of 12 to be included in the national cabinet’s vaccination targets.

    The federal government was preparing a school-based vaccination rollout for children aged 12 to 15, but Morrison had ruled out counting them in the national plan targets.

    On Tuesday, the Australian Capital Territory chief minister, Andrew Barr, said the 70% and 80% targets were “important milestones but they reflect the opportunity to take gentle and measured steps forward in the national plan”. Barr announced the ACT would count children aged 12 to 16 in its vaccination targets.

  32. #31
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.theguardian.com/australi...ate-exceeds-70

    The federal finance minister, Simon Birmingham, has acknowledged that targeted lockdowns could still happen once 70% to 80% of adults are vaccinated, and has moved to reassure Australians “we are not about to walk away from them” in terms of providing ongoing hardship assistance.

    Birmingham’s more nuanced tone on Wednesday followed recent declarations from the treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, that the Morrison government could withdraw economic support if state premiers failed to phase out lockdowns once vaccination rates exceeded 70% of Australians over the age of 16.

    Leaders in the federation have been roiling for the best part of a week about whether or not Doherty Institute modelling underpinning Australia’s national plan for reopening was emphatic that lockdowns would end once the vaccination targets were reached.

    Scott Morrison has been preparing Australians for a step down in public health restrictions. But the prime minister has been under pressure because of a sustained pushback from some of the states and territories about the risks associated with moving too quickly given major cities are now battling substantial Delta outbreaks.

    It comes as Morrison confirmed in parliament that school children aged 12 and older would be offered a Covid-19 vaccine before the end of the school year.

    Morrison had previously said he was keen for the vaccination of this age group to start this year, flagging interim advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (Atagi) was “imminent”, possibly by the end of this week. National cabinet was expected to agree to this on Friday.

    The Atagi co-chair Allen Cheng had previously indicated a decision on opening up the program to 12- to-15-year-olds would be made “in coming months”, building on the agency’s recommendation for 220,000 vulnerable people already in this age bracket.

    On Wednesday, New South Wales reported 919 cases – a new daily high for the pandemic – and two deaths. Large hospitals in Sydney’s west were now under significant strain, although the state health minister said the system was coping.

    Queensland, fearing another outbreak, restricted movements across the border. The ACT recorded another nine new infections, bringing the total of the current Delta outbreak in Canberra to 176.

    The Doherty Institute work suggests that lockdowns are less likely to be necessary once vaccination rates increase, but it also says if an outbreak is substantial enough to render testing and contract tracing efforts only “partially effective” then “light or moderate restrictions will probably be insufficient to regain control of epidemics, even at 70% [vaccination] coverage”.

    It says “prolonged lockdowns would probably be needed to limit infection numbers and caseloads”.

    On Wednesday Frydenberg repeated his warning that “there should be no expectation on behalf of state and territory leaders that the scale of our economic support would continue in the same way” if they failed to phase out lockdowns at the 70% and 80% vaccination targets in the national plan.

    Frydenberg told Sky News that “zero Covid forever is not realistic”, so Australia would have to get used “to illness, death and more cases” once restrictions were eased.

    But in a separate interview on the ABC, Birmingham’s tone was significantly more measured.

    The finance minister acknowledged what the Doherty work said. “The Doherty Institute modelling, scientifically based, independently undertaken, show[s] that as we hit fully vaccinated targets of 70% and then 80%, we will be able to step down from some of the restrictions that are impeding people’s lives at present.

    “It won’t be a singular freedom day, no one is suggesting that, there will still be a place for targeted restrictions and indeed, perhaps in some circumstances, targeted lockdowns,” he said.

    Birmingham was pressed during the interview, given his acknowledgment that lockdowns could persist, whether or not the Morrison government would withdraw economic support as Frydenberg had signalled.

    The finance minister said: “Australians should know that we are not about to walk away from them, but we also want the states and territories to uphold their end of the bargain.”

    He said right now people in the community wanted leaders to honour agreements to wind back restrictions. People needed to know “that there is a light at the end of the tunnel”.

    But Birmingham said if lockdowns were imposed “consistent with what has been agreed and where the evidence stacks up” the commonwealth would continue to provide economic support “as we always have done”.

    Phase B of the national plan, at the 70% vaccination rate, envisages that lockdowns will be used “only in extreme circumstances” while border controls will also be “eased” for vaccinated people.

    But the premiers of the three Labor-led states of Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia have all warned they reserve the right to use their borders to limit their exposure to the ballooning case numbers in the greater Sydney and regional NSW outbreaks.

    Frydenberg said on Wednesday that small business owners in Victoria and NSW had closed their doors due to lockdown and “need hope”. “You need to know there is a plan to open up the economy in a Covid-safe way.”

    “That’s why Australians are rolling up their sleeves, they’re holding up their half of the bargain – now it’s up to premiers and chief ministers to uphold theirs.”

  33. #32
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-p...gh-2021-09-10/

    Australia's third most populous state said on Saturday it may order a snap lockdown after a cluster of COVID-19 cases, as the country posted a record one-day rise in daily infections.

    Queensland state, home to more than 5 million people, said it had detected five new infections in the past 24 hours after a family tested positive. The next few days would be critical to see if a lockdown was warranted, authorities said.

    "If we start seeing any seeding, then we may have to take very quick, fast action. But at the moment, it’s contained to the family," said state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

    The family lives in Brisbane, the state's capital. It was not clear whether a lockdown would be limited to some parts of the state like previous orders.

    New South Wales, home to Sydney and Australia's most-populous state, is under lockdown as are the cities of Melbourne and Canberra. A lockdown for Queensland would be another blow to Australia's A$2 trillion ($1.5 trillion) economy, which could slip into a second recession in as many years.

    Australia on Saturday posted 2,077 infections, surpassing the previous day's record of 1,903. New South Wales, which has been under strict stay-at-home orders for nearly three months, said it detected 1,599 new infections.

    Authorities warned people on Saturday to continue social distancing, but hot weather across Sydney saw scores of people head to the beach.

    New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard said police would be out checking whether people were within 5 km (3 miles) of their homes, as permitted under emergency rules.

    Police and military personnel have for weeks been patrolling the streets of Sydney, issuing fines to those contravening health orders, such as wearing masks.

    One person fined was former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who confirmed on Saturday he had been ordered to pay A$500 after being pictured not wearing a mask.

    "I believe that I was well within the law, reasonably interpreted. But I'm not going to challenge the fine because I don't want to waste the police's time any further," Abbott told reporters in Sydney.

    "I never thought that dobbing and snitching was part of the Australian character and I think that the sooner we can leave this health police-state mindset behind us, the better for everyone."

    In neighbouring Victoria, authorities reported 450 new locally acquired cases, the biggest one-day rise in locally acquired cases in more than a year.

    Australia has now recorded nearly 73,000 COVID-19 cases and a death toll of 1,084.

  34. #33
    Debut
    Mar 2010
    Venue
    US
    Runs
    8,811
    Mentioned
    38 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I feel sorry for Australians and other people living there. I would never want to live in such a police state.

  35. #34
    Debut
    Feb 2019
    Runs
    1,465
    Mentioned
    12 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Australia has been locking down due to double digit case growth, and its been really frustrating

  36. #35
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-p...al-2021-09-14/

    A curfew imposed on more than two million people in the 12 Sydney suburbs hardest hit by the spread of the coronavirus Delta variant will end on Wednesday night, authorities said, stopping short of easing more lockdown restrictions.

    Officials said first-dose COVID-19 vaccination levels have reached 80% of the New South Wales (NSW) adult population, while the dual-dose rate in Sydney's home state stands at 48% now. That's above the national average of 43%, but well below the 70% level that will trigger the easing of other curbs first imposed three months ago.

    Authorities expect to achieve the 70% rate around the middle of next month, and plans to relax more restrictions once it has climbed to 80%.

    "The stabilisation and decline in some areas of concern are pleasing and we are at a critical stage ... but the best advice we have is that it's too early and too risky to do anything further today," Premier Gladys Berejiklian said during a media conference in Sydney.

    Despite recent Delta outbreaks, Australia's coronavirus numbers remain low compared with many other countries, with some 78,600 cases and 1,116 deaths.

    Berejiklian warned it would be against the law for the unvaccinated to attend any public venues once the state hits 70%, when the fully vaccinated are promised more freedom.

    "It's black and white. If you're not vaccinated, you can't go to a restaurant, you can't go to a cafe," she said, urging the unvaccinated to get their shots soon.

    New South Wales, the epicentre of Australia's Delta outbreak, reported a slight rise in new infections to 1,259, the majority in Sydney, from 1,127 on Tuesday, and 12 deaths.

    Australia is struggling to quell a third wave of infections that has hit its two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, and the capital Canberra, forcing nearly half the country's 25 million people into strict stay-at-home restrictions.

    Neighbouring Victoria state on Wednesday said new cases fell for the second straight day to 423 new cases as its first-dose vaccination rate neared the 70% level, about a week ahead of schedule, where some curbs on travel limit and outdoor exercise will be eased.

    Meanwhile Ballarat, a regional town 115 km (71 miles) northwest of Melbourne, will enter a one-week lockdown from Wednesday night after four new cases were detected, authorities said.

    Melbourne, the state capital, is in an extended lockdown while most regional areas in Victoria came out of strict stay-at-home restrictions last week.

  37. #36
    Debut
    Oct 2004
    Runs
    166,747
    Mentioned
    2899 Post(s)
    Tagged
    22 Thread(s)
    Australia will reopen its international border from November, giving long-awaited freedoms to vaccinated citizens and their relatives.

    Since March 2020, Australia has had some of the world's strictest border rules - even banning its own people from leaving the country.

    The policy has been praised for helping to suppress Covid, but it has also controversially separated families.

    "It's time to give Australians their lives back," PM Scott Morrison said.

    People would be eligible to travel when their state's vaccination rate hit 80%, he told a press briefing on Friday.

    Travel would not immediately be open to foreigners, but the government said it was working "towards welcoming tourists back to our shores".

    Australia will reopen its international border from November, giving long-awaited freedoms to vaccinated citizens and their relatives.

    Since March 2020, Australia has had some of the world's strictest border rules - even banning its own people from leaving the country.

    The policy has been praised for helping to suppress Covid, but it has also controversially separated families.

    "It's time to give Australians their lives back," PM Scott Morrison said.

    People would be eligible to travel when their state's vaccination rate hit 80%, he told a press briefing on Friday.

    Travel would not immediately be open to foreigners, but the government said it was working "towards welcoming tourists back to our shores".

    At present, people can leave Australia only for exceptional reasons such as essential work or visiting a dying relative.

    Entry is permitted for citizens and others with exemptions, but there are tight caps on arrival numbers. This has left tens of thousands stranded overseas.

    n Friday, Mr Morrison said Australia's mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine - which costs each traveller A$3,000 (£1,600; $2,100) - would be phased out.

    It will be replaced by seven days of home quarantine for vaccinated travellers. When unvaccinated travellers are later given permission to enter, they must do 14 days.

    Demand for flights is expected to be high and airlines have already warned of delays in resuming services.

    Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra are currently in lockdown due to outbreaks of the virus.

    That has helped prompt a surge in the vaccine uptake in recent months.

    New South Wales - which includes Sydney - is on track to be first state to cross the 80% threshold, in a few weeks. Victoria - containing Melbourne - is not far behind.

    But states such as Queensland and Western Australia have threatened to keep their borders closed until vaccine rates are even higher.

    These states have managed to maintain Covid rates at or near zero, after shutting their borders to states with infections.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-58757888


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  38. #37
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-p...es-2021-10-03/

    Australia's Delta outbreak appears to have levelled off, with more than half the country in extended lockdowns and vaccination rates starting to approach national targets, Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Monday.

    Hunt said 80% of Australians will have had their first COVID-19 jabs this week, while the overall battle against the virus has been boosted by the arrival in recent days of 15,000 additional doses of treatment drug sotrovimab.

    The Australian government wants all COVID-19 restrictions, including travel bans, to be lifted when 80% of the population above 16 is fully vaccinated. It expects that target will be reached in mid-November.

    "There are important reasons for hope," Hunt told reporters in a televised press conference, pointing to a steep fall in new cases in New South Wales state, home to Australia's biggest city Sydney.

    "Victoria, yes, it is a big challenge ... But we are beginning to see the flattening of the curve in Victoria," he said.

    New South Wales on Monday reported 623 new cases and six deaths, down from more than 900 cases a day a week ago.

    Victoria state reported 1,377 new COVID-19 infections, up from 1,220 on Sunday, but off a record high of 1,488 on Saturday. There were four new deaths.

    Officials have blamed a recent spike in Victoria's cases on Australian Rules football final parties, in breach of strict lockdown rules the previous weekend. Nearly half of the new cases on Monday were people between the ages of 10 and 29.

    The state's capital Melbourne, in the midst of its sixth lockdown, on Sunday reached a cumulative total of 245 days of restrictions since March last year, overtaking Buenos Aires as the city under the longest lockdown, according to local media.

    Despite the current downtrend, experts have warned that cases are likely to rise again once the country emerges from lockdown, replicating the experience in other countries that vaccinated earlier.

    New South Wales is due to start easing curbs from Oct. 11, the first Monday after it expects 70% of its population over 16 to be fully vaccinated, up from 67% now.

    Victoria hopes to reach the 70% target, up from about 52% now, by Oct. 26.

    GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology's sotrovimab has been shown to be effective in reducing hospitalization and death among high-risk COVID-19 patients when given early in the disease.

    Hunt said he hoped another COVID-19 drug, a pill being tested by Merck & Co Inc, would be available in Australia in the first quarter of 2022.

  39. #38
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-p...ll-2021-10-04/

    Australia will buy 300,000 courses of Merck & Co's experimental antiviral pill, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday, as Victoria logged the highest number of daily COVID-19 infections of any state in the country since the pandemic began.

    Molnupiravir, which would be the first oral antiviral medication for COVID-19 if it gets regulatory approval, could halve the chances of dying or being hospitalised for people most at risk of contracting severe COVID-19, according to experts.

    "These treatments mean that we are going to be able to live with the virus," Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Nine News on Tuesday as Australia aims to reopen its borders next month for fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents.

    Molnupiravir capsules have to be taken twice a day for five days by adult patients for a course of 10, Morrison said.

    The drug is expected to be available in Australia by early next year if approved by the country's drug regulator, Morrison said. Merck expects to produce 10 million courses of the treatment by the end of 2021. South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and Malaysia have all said they are in talks to buy the potential treatment, while the Philippines is running a trial on the pill.

    Australia, meanwhile, is stepping up its vaccination rate, with Sydney and Melbourne, its largest cities, and the capital Canberra enduring a weeks-long lockdown to combat the highly infectious Delta variant. The national first-dose rate in the adult population topped 80% on Tuesday morning.

    A total of 1,763 new infections were reported in Victoria, exceeding the previous daily high of 1,488 on Saturday, with the state looking to start reopening once full vaccination levels in its adult population reaches 70%, expected around the end of October, from 53% now.

    Dominic Perrottet, who was elected as the new premier of New South Wales on Tuesday, said the state was on track to exit lockdown on Oct. 11, the first Monday after it expects 70% of its population over 16 to be fully vaccinated.

    Daily infections in the state fell to the lowest in seven weeks on Tuesday at 608 new cases, the majority in state capital Sydney, down from 623 on Monday. Seven new deaths were recorded.

    Even with the Delta outbreaks, Australia still has relatively low coronavirus numbers, with around 115,800 cases. Total deaths stood at 1,357, with the mortality rate from the current Delta outbreak lower than during last year due to higher inoculation among the vulnerable population.

  40. #39
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-p...se-2021-10-18/

    Australia's COVID-19 cases remained subdued on Tuesday as its largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, gradually move towards normality amid a surge in vaccinations, after being rocked by a third wave of infections from the Delta variant.

    Sydney and the national capital Canberra exited a months-long lockdown last week after racing through its inoculation targets while Melbourne is on track to lift its strict stay-home orders later this week as double-dose rates in the adult population pass 70%, 80% and 90%.

    Authorities in Queensland, which on Monday became the first COVID-free state to outline its reopening plans, urged the state's 5 million residents to get vaccinated ahead of opening its state borders a week before Christmas - when its double-dose vaccination rate is expected to reach 80%.

    Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the opening of borders should act as an "incentive" for residents to get inoculated. Queensland has so far only fully vaccinated 57% of its population above 16, well below the national average of 68%.

    Some states and territories have mandated inoculation of frontline workers with offenders facing up to A$5,000 ($3,718) fine in the remote Northern Territory.

    Michael Gunner, the territory's chief minister, on Monday blasted Texas Senator Ted Cruz who labelled the territory's vaccine mandate as "Covid tyranny".

    "We don't need your lectures, thanks mate. You know nothing about us. And if you stand against a life-saving vaccine, then you sure as hell don't stand with Australia," Gunner said in a tweet.

    Texas has seen nearly 70,000 deaths from the virus, compared with just 1,558 in Australia and none in the remote Northern Territory.

    A total of 1,749 new cases were reported in Victoria, the majority in Melbourne, down from 1,903 on Monday. Daily infections in New South Wales, home to Sydney, rose slightly to 273, still well down from its pandemic high in early September.

  41. #40
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-p...ia-2021-11-13/

    Several thousand people rallied in Melbourne against new vaccination mandates on Saturday, with a few comparing the state government to Nazis and calling for violence against politicians, local media said.

    In Australia, where 83% of people aged 16 and above have been fully inoculated against the coronavirus, nationwide vaccinations are voluntary. But states and territories have mandated vaccinations for many occupations and barred the unvaccinated from activities such as dining out and concerts.

    The Melbourne demonstration against the vaccination mandate that came into effect on Saturday - requiring construction workers in Victoria state to be fully inoculated - was peaceful, with no immediate reports of unruly behaviour or arrests.

    But a reporter at The Age posted video on Twitter of a protester carrying a mock gallows with three nooses hanging from it, and the newspaper showed a protester carrying a poster depicting Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews with a Hitler moustache and the hashtag #DictatorDan.

    "We're being governed by insane medical bureaucrats," Craig Kelly, former Liberal Party member of parliament and now the leader of United Australia Party, told the rally, media reported.

    The Age said some protesters called for violence against politicians but did not offer specifics.

    An Australian singer Claire Woodley dedicated a song to "victims of satanic ritual abuse" - a rhetoric common in the QAnon conspiracy theory about abducting children for satanic rites.

    Andrews' office and protest organisers could not immediately be reached for comment.

    Australia has seen frequent, occasionally violent, anti-vaccine rallies in recent months, though the movement remains small, with polls showing nationwide opposition in the single digits.

    Victoria, the second-most populous state with a quarter of Australia's 25 million people, has an 87% vaccination rate and has endured six COVID-19 lockdowns totalling nearly nine months.

    There were 1,221 new infections reported on Saturday in Victoria and four deaths, and 250 daily cases in New South Wales.

    Despite Delta outbreaks that led to months of lockdown in the two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, the national tally of just under 190,000 infections and 1,591 deaths is far lower than that of many developed nations.

    Neighbouring New Zealand, which is also learning to live with the coronavirus through high vaccination rates, reported 175 new cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic to 8,121. There have been 33 deaths in total.

    In major cities across New Zealand, several anti-government protests against COVID-19 measures took place, with people driving slowly on main roads to cause traffic congestion.

    "Crass and stupid but what else would you expect!" Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said in a message on his Facebook page.

  42. #41
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-p...ge-2021-12-21/

    Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday ruled out a Christmas lockdown, saying hospitals were coping well with a record surge in COVID-19 cases fuelled by the Omicron variant.

    Australia is grappling with the more transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus as restrictions ease ahead of the Christmas holidays after higher vaccination levels were reached.

    "Despite these rising cases, hospitals and health systems remain in a strong position but of course they will be tested," Morrison told reporters in Canberra after an emergency Cabinet meeting.

    Even as daily infections surge to record tallies, hospitalistation and death rates remain low compared with those seen during a wave of cases from the Delta wave and Morrison said there would be no more lockdowns.

    "Australians have worked very hard to have this Christmas together and we want to protect that. One of the things we agreed today is, we are not going back to lockdowns. We do not want to go back to lockdowns," Morrison said.

    Morrison insisted that limiting the spread of the virus comes down to personal responsibility. No national mandatory rule to wear masks indoors would be introduced, although it would be "strongly recomended," he said.

    However, residents of most states, except the most populous New South Wales, have been ordered by their state governments to wear masks indoors in public buildings.

    Australia's federal and state leaders held an emergency meeting of national Cabinet on Wednesday to discuss rising cases, which are severely stretching testing facilities.

    After the meeting, Morrison announced new vaccination funding for clinics and pharmacies. He also urged the country's states to reopen hundreds of vaccination hubs, to accelerate a booster rollout, which were shut down when double-dose rates in adults topped 80%. read more

    Morrison said vaccination hubs were accelerating the rollout of boosters but any decision to shorten the waiting time for the shots would be taken by vaccination experts.

    "That is not a decision for myself as prime minister or the premiers and chief ministers," Morrison said.

    Australia on Wednesday reported more than 5,000 daily infections for the first time during the pandemic, eclipsing the previous high of about 4,600 the previous day. About 95% of new cases were New South Wales and Victoria states.

    Australia's tally of 265,000 infections and 2,162 deaths since the pandemic began is far lower than that of many countries.

  43. #42
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-p...ds-2021-12-29/

    Australia will seek to make urgent changes to COVID-19 testing rules to ease pressure on test sites as infections surged and the country's most populous state reported a near doubling in daily cases.

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday Australia needed "a gear change" to manage overburdened laboratories and get people out of isolation. He called a snap meeting of the national cabinet on Thursday.

    "We just can't have everybody just being taken out of circulation because they just happen to be at a particular place at a particular time," Morrison said during a media briefing.

    Morrison's plan would prioritise clinically urgent cases, in a bid to cut long lines at test sites and waits for lab results, which can currently take three to four days.

    The proposed rules would rely more on rapid antigen tests, redefine close contacts of confirmed cases to those who live in the same household, and only require PCR tests for people with symptoms. Close contacts would have to isolate for seven days.

    A growing number of countries, including the United States and Britain, have shortened the recommended isolation time for asymptomatic cases.

    The proposed new testing requirements comes as Queensland promised to relax rules for interstate travellers with domestic arrivals needing only a negative rapid antigen test to gain entry from Jan. 1 rather than the PCR test.

    Morrison said A$375 million ($271 million) will be used to buy millions of additional rapid antigen test kits.

    Queensland's so-called "tourism tests" came under severe criticism from New South Wales after holiday travellers crowded its testing hubs, causing delays in results of several days.

    Even with soaring infections, some testing centres in Sydney were closed following the public holidays and those that were open had long walk-in and drive-in queues.

    "It's insanity," 44-year-old Hayden Anderson, who is battling liver cancer, told Reuters. "Why are all the testing centres shut?"

    Anderson had a PCR test after a friend he caught up with just before Christmas tested positive. When he went for a follow-up test, the site was closed.

    After seeing long lines at other testing hubs, he settled for a rapid antigen test at home, but with soaring cases he is concerned he might struggle to get a PCR test, as required, ahead of his next chemotherapy appointment on Jan. 11.

    "It's like walking a tightrope right now," he said.

    Australia is in the grip of an outbreak of the highly infectious Omicron variant, with the country's new daily infections spiking to nearly 18,300, eclipsing the previous pandemic high of around 11,300 hit on Tuesday.

    Cases in most states climbed to one-day records with New South Wales, Australia's most populous state and home to Sydney, reporting a near doubling in infections to 11,201.

    Despite the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, Morrison has so far ruled out lockdowns, urging people to focus on the number of patients admitted to hospitals.

    While hospitalisations have crept up, they are still off the peak of the Delta wave.

    Despite the Omicron and Delta waves, Australia's COVID-19 numbers are still among the lowest in the world with about 341,500 cases and 2,210 deaths, thanks to strict social distancing rules and tough border restrictions. But most states have now begun to live with the virus after higher inoculation levels.

  44. #43
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-p...es-2022-01-01/

    Australia started 2022 with a record number of new COVID-19 cases as an outbreak centred in the eastern states grew, and New South Wales eased its isolation rules for healthcare workers as the number of people hospitalised with the virus rose.

    New South Wales, the most populous state, and Victoria both posted daily record case numbers of 22,577 and 7,442 respectively on Saturday, health department figures showed.

    There were four deaths due to COVID in New South Wales and nine in Victoria, taking the national death toll from the pandemic to more than 2,250.

    Including cases in Queensland, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory, Saturday had already set a national record of 33,161 cases, topping Friday's 32,946, even before numbers from South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory were released.

    All Australian states, except for Western Australia, have begun to live with the virus after higher vaccination levels, and the easing in restrictions has pushed cases higher.

    The New South Wales government changed its self-isolation rules for asymptomatic healthcare workers who had been classified as a close contact of a COVID case, giving them an exemption if they are considered critical to their workplace.

    Over the week since Christmas Day, cases in New South Wales have more than tripled from 6,288. Hospitalisations due to COVID have more than doubled to 901 from 388, while the number of people in intensive care units has risen by around 50% to 79.

    The outbreak has affected sporting events. Australia batsman Travis Head will miss the fourth Ashes cricket test against England in Sydney next week after testing positive for COVID.

  45. #44
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-p...sw-2022-01-03/

    Australian COVID-19 cases soared to a pandemic record on Tuesday as the Omicron variant ripped through most of the country, driving up hospitalisation rates as the once-formidable testing regime buckled under lengthy wait times and stock shortages.

    The country which for a year and half used a system of constant testing, contact tracing and lockdowns to squash most outbreaks, clocked 47,799 new infections, up nearly a third on Monday's number which was also a record.

    Political leaders have pointed to a largely successful, if slow, vaccination rollout and few deaths, relative to new case numbers - four on Tuesday. But hospitalisations, another closely watched measure, are higher than at any other time in the pandemic: 1,344 in the most populous state New South Wales.

    In Victoria, the second state, the authorities said one in four people showing up for a swab test was returning a positive result. Almost everyone in that state's intensive care units was unvaccinated, the authorities said. Victoria had 14,020 new cases, nearly double the previous day's count.

    Other states which had spent much of the pandemic with domestic borders closed and long stretches without a new case, showed similar numbers. A month ago, Queensland reported a day with six new cases; on Tuesday it recorded 5,699.

    Across the country, political leaders have been re-shaping their messaging for a population that is more than 90% vaccinated and a variant that some medical experts say is more transmissable but less virulent than previous strains.

    After nearly two years of campaigning for widespread testing, the authorities want asymptomatic people to bypass government-funded clinics, where high volumes have blown out turnaround times to several days, and take their own rapid antigen tests.

    But that has brought a new pressure point: an explosion in sales of home testing kits, resulting in reports of stockpiling, empty shelves and inflated prices on the few kits which have not yet been sold. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has ruled out subsidising the personal testing kits, citing a heightened role for "personal responsibility".

    "The problem at the moment is that the lack of (rapid antigen tests) is completely hampering 'personal responsibility' and it is a frustration that is a glaring hole in the current management of COVID," Chris Moy, vice president of the Australian Medical Association, told ABC Radio on Tuesday, using Morrison's phrase.

    Opposition leader Anthony Albanese, who most polls suggest will defeat Morrison at an election due within months, said that "when it comes to healthcare, and rapid antigen testing, the prime minister has said that you are on your own".

    The country's competition regulator said it would set up a team to look into complaints about allegations of price gouging for the at-home rapid antigen tests.

    Despite the spike in infections fuelled by Omicron, dual-dose vaccination levels of nearly 92% in people above 16 have helped Australia to keep the death rate lower than the previous virus outbreaks.

    Authorities do not specify the coronavirus variant that caused the deaths, although New South Wales officials said 74% of patients in the state's intensive care units since Dec. 16 were infected with the Delta variant.

    The record spike in infections and hospitalisations comes as 2 million more Australians became eligible for their COVID-19 booster shots from Tuesday after authorities shortened the wait time between second and third shots to four months.

    Just over 2.5 million Australians have so far received their booster shot, which health officials hope will keep rates of death and serious illness low.

    Australia crossed half a million coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, with nearly 50% in the last two weeks. Still, its 547,160 cases and 2,270 deaths, from a population of 25 million, are lower than numbers seen in many developed countries.

  46. #45
    Debut
    Oct 2004
    Runs
    166,747
    Mentioned
    2899 Post(s)
    Tagged
    22 Thread(s)
    Australians have reacted angrily to news that tennis player Novak Djokovic will play in the Australian Open, after he was exempted from vaccination rules.

    All players and staff at the tournament must be vaccinated or have an exemption granted by an expert independent panel.

    Organisers said the defending champion had not been given special treatment.

    But Australians - some of whom still cannot travel interstate or globally - have criticised officials, politicians and Djokovic himself.

    Australian Open chief Craig Tiley said 26 athletes had applied for medical exemptions and "a handful" had been granted, under guidelines set by federal regulators.

    "We made it extra difficult for anyone applying for an application to ensure it was the right process and to make sure the medical experts deal with it independently," he told Channel 9 on Wednesday.

    The tournament begins in Melbourne on 17 January and Djokovic said on Instagram on Tuesday: "I've spent fantastic quality time with my loved ones over the break and today I'm heading down under with an exemption permission.

    "Let's go 2022. I am ready to live and breathe tennis in the next few weeks of competition."

    He has not spoken about his vaccination status, but said publicly last April: "Personally I am opposed to vaccination and I wouldn't want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel."

    The decision is highly controversial in a country that is seeing tens of thousands of Covid cases for the first time after enduring some of the world's strictest restrictions.

    Many have previously accused the government of allowing the rich and famous to do as they please while ordinary people remain separated from sick and dying loved ones.

    "I don't care how good a tennis player he is. If he's refusing to get vaccinated, he shouldn't be allowed in," A&E doctor Stephen Parnis tweeted on Tuesday.

    "If this exemption is true, it sends an appalling message to millions seeking to reduce #COVID19Aus risk to themselves & others. #Vaccination shows respect, Novak."

    Australian player Alex de Minaur told a press conference: "I just think it's very interesting. That's all I'm going to say."

    Britain's Jamie Murray added: "I think if it was me that wasn't vaccinated I wouldn't be getting an exemption. You know, but well done to him for getting clear to come to Australia and compete."

    BBC


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  47. #46
    Debut
    Aug 2013
    Runs
    841
    Mentioned
    18 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The whole situation with Djokovic has blown up to a massive level. Of course fans like me will be glad he's playing but the public are not happy over in Aus and around the world.

  48. #47
    Debut
    Aug 2010
    Runs
    1,167
    Mentioned
    17 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    In a country with 90% vaccination rate, having someone not vaccinated and has covid once that we know about. How can he be a threat in a state with 14k caes that we know of daily. Our government has always treated the rich, famous, sports people differently through out the last 2 years, no real difference!

  49. #48
    Debut
    Aug 2013
    Runs
    841
    Mentioned
    18 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Salma_T View Post
    In a country with 90% vaccination rate, having someone not vaccinated and has covid once that we know about. How can he be a threat in a state with 14k caes that we know of daily. Our government has always treated the rich, famous, sports people differently through out the last 2 years, no real difference!
    Have you read about how he was exempted or are you just going off headlines? Apparently his application went through a board anonymously.

  50. #49
    Debut
    Aug 2010
    Runs
    1,167
    Mentioned
    17 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Yes I have read it, he was always going to be allowed. It doesn't bother me, I suspect he used previous infection and possible heart damage (career ending) as an exemption. I am triple vaxxed but still feel everyone should be free to chose if they want to be vaxxed.

  51. #50
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-p...rt-2022-01-06/

    The Omicron outbreak in Australia's most-populous state could peak by the end of January, official modelling showed on Friday, as authorities reinstated some restrictions in a bid to slow the record spike in infections.

    After containing the virus through lockdowns and tough border rules earlier in the pandemic, Australia is now suffering infection rates far higher than elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region.

    New South Wales (NSW) state Premier Dominic Perrottet postponed non-urgent surgeries and reinstated a ban on singing and dancing in clubs and pubs including in Sydney, the state capital and home to more than 5 million people.

    "This is a challenging time, not just in New South Wales, but around the world," Perrottet said during a media briefing on Friday, as people admitted to the state's hospitals with COVID-19 nearly doubled to a record 1,738 in just over a week.

    This could rise to around 6,000 by the end of this month under a worst-case scenario, but that would be still below hospital capacity, a modelling by NSW Health department showed. The hospitalisation numbers are expected to fall from February. NSW has clocked more than 100,000 cases over the past three days, higher than the total Delta infections reported between mid-June and late November, when the first Omicron case was detected.

    Daily cases in NSW shot up to 38,625 on Friday, exceeding the previous pandemic high of 35,054 on Wednesday, from around 250 a month ago.

    Omar Khorshid, the head of the Australian Medical Association, accused the premier of having a "let it rip" policy and criticised his decision to ease almost all tough curbs about a month ago after higher inoculations.

    "There is no way they will turn this curve around until everyone is either immune or have caught the virus," Khorshid told the Ten Network on Friday.

    Australia reported record cases for the fifth straight day on Friday, with more than 78,000 infections. Thursday's cases stood at 72,401. Since the pandemic began, Australia has recorded more than 762,000 cases and 2,321 deaths.

  52. #51
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-p...rd-2022-01-07/

    Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he tested positive to COVID-19, joining other top government officials in contracting the disease as the daily infection rate surpassed 100,000 for the first time amid an outbreak of the Omicron variant.

    "Like thousands of Australians, I tested positive today to COVID-19," Frydenberg wrote in a short message which he posted to Twitter and Facebook late on Friday.

    "I have the common symptoms and am isolating with my family," he added without elaborating or disclosing which variant he had.

    Other high-ranked Australian lawmakers including Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Defence Minister Peter Dutton have contracted and overcome the illness.

    Under current Australian COVID-19 guidelines, people who return a positive test and those deemed "close contacts" must isolate for seven days.

    Australia has been posting successive record numbers of new daily infections, with another surge on Saturday.

    The country reported 116,025 new cases, smashing the previous day's record of just over 78,000. Nearly 100,000 of the new cases were in the most populous states Victoria, which is home to the upcoming Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, and New South Wales.

    Victoria noted that its daily caseload, which more than doubled the previous day's to 51,356, included the results of rapid antigen tests taken up to a week before that could only be tabulated after being submitted on a website starting from Friday.

    The country reported 25 new COVID-19 related deaths, its highest since the peak of the Delta wave in October 2021.

    Australian leaders, including Frydenberg, have been urging the country to move on from a strategy of stop-start lockdowns now that more than 90% of the population aged over 16 is fully vaccinated.

    But state leaders have been reintroducing restrictions amid exploding case numbers, mostly of the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Several states have reintroduced mask mandates and suspended non-urgent elective surgery, while New South Wales on Friday resumed bans on dancing and drinking while standing up in bars.

  53. #52
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-p...nt-2022-01-09/

    Australia's most populous state, New South Wales, recorded its highest number of daily COVID-19 deaths on Saturday as the Omicron variant sweeps the country and lawmakers face pressure to close widening supply chain gaps.

    The home to Sydney and a third of Australia's 25 million people reported 16 deaths from the coronavirus in the previous day. New South Wales reported 30,062 new infections, near record levels.

    The second-largest state, Victoria, which hosts the Australian Open tennis tournament this month, reported 44,155 new COVID-19 cases and four deaths.

    The country reported just under 100,000 cases overall, down from a record 116,025 the previous day, but still surpassing most previous peaks. Total deaths for the day were 36.

    With the surge bringing a rush for government-funded pop-up testing clinics, the authorities have shifted their messaging and urged people to instead take rapid antigen tests at home, then report positive results to their doctor, who enters it into a database.

    Authorities are calling for calm amid reports of bare supermarket shelves as people stay home to avoid infection and delivery personnel self-isolate due to virus exposure.

    "We have seen very low rates of significant illness," federal Health Minister Greg Hunt told reporters. "It is the workforce furloughing which remains the principal challenge at this point in time."

    The government and its health advisers have cut mandatory isolation times for close contacts and narrowed the definition of close contacts but were still reviewing the rules for furloughing workers, Hunt said.

    Australia meanwhile plans to start vaccinating children aged 5 to 11 on Monday. Most states said they would begin the new school year as scheduled at the end of January but Queensland, the third most populous state, said it would postpone the return to school by two weeks to give children time to be vaccinated.

    Despite the outbreak, political leaders have cited Australia's high vaccination rate - more than 90% of people over 16 are fully vaccinated - to justify a reopening plan. But several states in recent days have postponed non-urgent elective surgery to clear hospital beds for COVID-19 patients and reintroduced mask mandates.

    New South Wales, which emerged from more than 100 days of lockdown late last year, has reinstated a ban on dancing and drinking while standing up in bars.

  54. #53
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-p...ds-2022-01-15/

    Australia has likely neared the peak of its Omicron wave, authorities said on Saturday, but warned daily infections will linger near record levels for "the next few weeks" after more than 100,000 cases were reported for a fourth straight day.

    Having limited the spread of the coronavirus through tough restrictions earlier in the pandemic, Australia is now suffering record caseloads from the Omicron variant. Most parts of the country have shifted to a strategy of living with the virus as they reached higher vaccination rates.

    More than 1.2 million infections have been recorded this year, compared with 200,000 for 2020 and 2021 combined.

    "We are not through it yet and I think there are still going to be large number of cases diagnosed in Australia over the next few weeks," Chief Health Officer Paul Kelly told a news briefing, referring to the Omicron outbreak.

    But modelling from some states "leads me to believe that we are close to the peak of this wave in terms of cases," he said.

    Infections have dipped over the last three days while the rise in hospitalisations in worst-hit New South Wales, Australia's most populous state, has slowed slightly, official data showed.

    Most states are battling record hospitalisations during the Omicron wave, with authorities saying unvaccinated younger people forming a "significant number" of admissions in Australia.

    "We are seeing an epidemic of the unvaccinated in young people, we are seeing that in intensive care admissions," Kelly said.

    Australia is among the most heavily vaccinated countries against COVID-19, with more than 92% of people above 16 double-dosed, and with a booster drive picking up pace.

    A medical exemption for tennis star Novak Djokovic from vaccination was met with uproar in the country.

    The federal government of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, fielding criticism for his handling of the Omicron wave in an election year, on Friday cancelled Djokovic's visa for the second time over COVID-19 entry rules. Djokovic is seeking a court ruling to stop his deportation.

  55. #54
    Debut
    Nov 2006
    Runs
    2,689
    Mentioned
    19 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    Scomo is the biggest joke

    Aus gov is the laughing stock of the world with their flip flopping and unfathomable insanity fueled decisions on covid/travels.

    Absolute hot mess with the vaccine situations and pcr/rat testing.

  56. #55
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-p...es-2022-01-18/

    Australia suffered its deadliest day of the pandemic on Tuesday as a fast-moving Omicron outbreak continued to push up hospitalisation rates to record levels, even as daily infections eased slightly.

    Australia is dealing with its worst COVID-19 outbreak, fuelled by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus that has put more people in hospitals and intensive care than at any time during the pandemic.

    A total of 77 deaths was recorded, exceeding the previous national high of 57 last Thursday, official data showed.

    "Today, is a very difficult day for our state," New South Wales (NSW) Premier Dominic Perrottet said during a media briefing as the state reported 36 deaths, a new pandemic high.

    Only four of those who died in NSW had received their booster shot, prompting the state's health officials to urge people to avoid delays and get their third dose soon. Thirty-three were double-dosed.

    "There needs to be a sense of urgency in embracing the booster doses," NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said. "For Omicron, we know that the protection is lower and we need that next boosting to get that higher level of protection."

    The surge in case numbers battered consumer confidence last week, an ANZ survey on Tuesday showed, triggering self-imposed lockdowns and stifling spending even as states looked to avoid lockdowns and keep businesses open.

    Omicron also dented Prime Minister Scott Morrison's approval ratings, according to a widely watched poll on Tuesday, putting opposition Labor into a leading position months out from a federal election.

    Amid rising hospitalisations, Victoria on Tuesday declared a "code brown" in hospitals, usually reserved for shorter-term emergencies, that would give hospitals the power to cancel non-urgent health services and cancel staff leave.

    To help public hospitals cope, the federal government has activated a plan for private hospitals to provide up to 57,000 nurses and more than 100,000 staff to Omicron-affected areas around the country, Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

    While authorities usually do not specify the coronavirus variant that leads to deaths, officials have said most patients in intensive care were infected with the Omicron strain, with unvaccinated young people forming a "significant number".

    Queensland said none of Tuesday's record 16 deaths in the state had received booster shots. Of the 45 people who have died in the state due to COVID-19 since Dec. 13, only one had received their third dose.

    "Please come forward and get your booster, we know that it makes a difference," state Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said.

    About 73,000 new infections were reported on Tuesday, down from a high of 150,000 last Thursday. So far, Australia has reported about 1.6 million infections since the pandemic began, of which around 1.3 million were in the last two weeks. Total deaths stood at 2,776.

  57. #56
    Debut
    Mar 2016
    Runs
    7,795
    Mentioned
    98 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-p...ay-2022-01-22/

    Australia reported 64 deaths from COVID-19 on Saturday, as the most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), said the Omicron COVID-19 variant would not delay the start of the school year.

    NSW reported 30 deaths of patients with COVID-19, while Victoria state saw 20 deaths, and Queensland reported 10 deaths.

    The national toll of 64 was down from its deadliest day since the start of the pandemic on Friday, when 86 people died.

    The school year starts in just over a week for the two biggest states, NSW and Victoria, which are preparing plans for students to return to classrooms.

    A NSW health official urged parents to vaccinate children before they return to school. Vaccination bookings for 5 to 11 year olds have only been available in Australia for two weeks, a schedule that means most children will not have had two doses before classes start.

    "There is no doubt there are going to be challenges as we open schools," NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said on Saturday.

    Queensland, recording 15,050 new cases, said it was two weeks behind NSW which is believed to have reached a peak in the Omicron outbreak, recording 20,148 new cases on Saturday.

    Queensland health officials said the data affirmed a decision to delay the start of school in the northern state by two weeks to avoid the peak of COVID-19 cases.

    A day earlier, the vast mining state of Western Australia cancelled plans to reopen its borders on Feb. 5, citing health risks from a surge in COVID-19 in eastern states.

    Nationally, around 55,000 new cases were reported on Saturday, compared to seven in Western Australia.

    All states and territories, except Western Australia, have reopened their internal borders under a policy of living with COVID-19, despite a record surge in cases. Western Australia had been due to follow suit next month.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •