Another lockdown and boiling frustrations
About half of Australia’s population – 12 million people – are locked down today after Queensland became the 4th state to ask some of its residents to stay at home. The 3-day stint kicked off last night covering the state’s southeast corner, Townsville, Palm Island and Magnetic Island. Queensland recorded 2 new local cases, including an unvaccinated healthcare worker who was potentially infectious for more than a week. Elsewhere in Oz, new local cases were reported in NSW (19) and the Top End (2). And as far as our state and territory leaders are concerned, several made it clear yesterday that there are 2 ongoing sources of frustration: international arrivals/hotel quarantine and the COVID vaccination rollout. Which is to say, they’ve taken aim at the Morrison Government…
LET’S START WITH #1…
Queensland and Victoria yesterday called for a reduction in international arrivals until more Aussies are vaccinated because hotel quarantine breaches pose too much risk. Queensland Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk yesterday said the hotel quarantine system was “not the answer” because the “overseas arrivals are bringing in these contagious strains”. And Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says capping the numbers of returning travellers would take the pressure down. “If we have to make a choice between more people coming here or reducing those numbers for the next 3 months, which will make lockdowns less likely, I don’t think that’s a very difficult choice to make,” he said.
AND ON THE VACCINATION PROGRAM?
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said COVID normal won’t be reached until at least 4 in 5 adults are vaccinated. And she says the state will “step it up” to help the Federal Government distribute vaccines. But as things currently stand, there is confusion about who gets what jab after PM Scott Morrison said adults of any age could get the AstraZeneca shot. That’s despite the vaccine being recommended for over 60yos because of the risk of rare blood clotting disorders. The PM’s announcement has split the medical community with the Australian Medical Association not onboard, but the College of General Practitioners welcoming it. Still, GP’s phones ran hot yesterday with people under 40yo wanting their jab, reports say. This morning, The Australian (paywall) says pharmacists want a big role in the rollout, while the Sydney Morning Herald/Age (paywall) says big business could be asked to help get their staff vaccinated as some do with flu shots.
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