/ 02 July 2021

Frustrations as millions await lockdown lift

As millions of Aussies wait to see if lockdowns will end as planned, new local cases of COVID were reported yesterday in NSW (24), Queensland (2) and the Northern Territory (1). The locked-down parts of Queensland and the Northern Territory will find out today if they are free to roam, while residents of Western Oz’s Perth and Peel region will stay at home until at least Saturday. Soz Greater Sydney and surrounding regions, you’re in lockdown until 9 July… As for our state and territory leaders, they’ve continued to vent their frustration, and that could make for a tense conversation when they get together for another National Cabinet session today…

WHAT’S ON THE AGENDA?
Cutting the number of people coming to Oz from overseas despite more than 34,000 Aussies still trying to get home. The current cap is 6,370 arrivals a week, with NSW accounting for almost half. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has been vocal about it this week. He says the threat of lockdowns will remain as long as international arrivals keep funnelling through hotel quarantine – the source of several COVID outbreaks. He is pushing for a cut of up to 80%. Queensland’s Annastacia Palaszucuk is calling for its cap to be halved, and Western Oz Premier Mark McGowan has voiced similar concern over the “large group of people” leaving the country to travel overseas. Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews has said the “first response should not be to close down our borders”. But this morning, The Australian Financial Review (paywall) says the Morrison government is considering calls to cut the current international arrivals cap, and The Australian (paywall) says Morrison will seek a new deal with state leaders on vaccination thresholds to end lockdowns.

AND WHERE DID THE GREAT ASTRAZENECA VACCINE DEBATE GET TO?
There are still differing opinions and confusion after PM Scott Morrison said that under 40yos could get the AstraZeneca shot after consulting a doctor. In a neat piece of timing, the Therapeutic Goods Administration yesterday reported 5 new cases of blood clots linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. That brings the nation’s total of clotting cases to 69 out of 4.8 million doses administered. And if you’re up for some more stats, 161,390 doses were put in arms on Wednesday – a single-day record. That takes us to 7.8 million shots done, and 7.9% of the population fully vaccinated. Not good enough, said former PM Malcolm Turnbull. “Governments make lots of mistakes of course, as we all do, but this is something that was very doable.”

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