/ 05 July 2021

Phasing out the COVID recovery

Fifty-eight new local cases of COVID were added to Australia’s tally over the weekend taking the total number of active community-acquired cases nationwide to 320. NSW accounts for 250 of those after 35 new local cases were reported on Saturday – the state’s biggest daily rise in infections this year – and 16 more were added yesterday. With Greater Sydney and surrounds passing what’s hoped to be the halfway mark of its lockdown, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the next few days would be “absolutely critical” to what happens next. And she hasn’t let up on pushing her federal colleagues on the vaccination front…

You mean at the National Cabinet meeting on Friday? It saw leaders agree on a 4-phase “pathway out of COVID-19” that lists what needs to be done to get to a point when there are no lockdowns, the international border opens, and COVID is treated as an infectious disease “like any other in our community,” PM Scott Morrison said. We’re still in phase one, and suppressing the virus is the name of the game. According to the plan, Australia can shift gears “once we reach a threshold of vaccination”. Those numbers are TBC and Berejiklian says a timeline and hard targets are essential. Morrison maintains that every Australian who wants a vaccine should be able to receive at least their first jab by the end of this year.

Our leaders and health officials will go on managing things as they currently are. One change: the number of international arrivals into Australia will be halved nationwide. That will see a maximum of 3,035 allowed into Oz each week by 14 July. And with 34,000 Australians registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as wishing to return from overseas, the Federal Government will “ramp up” the number of people arriving on repatriation flights in the coming weeks. It’s in response to the Delta strain – the Meadow Lea of COVID (aka easily spread…). And there is some good news for the vaccination rollout with 500 GP clinics around the country starting to offer Pfizer vaccine doses from today. Under-40yos (unless they’re in a high-risk category) need not apply…

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