Sydney could be here for a while…
NSW recorded a significant jump in local COVID cases adding weight to the theory that the lockdown of Sydney and surrounds will last beyond Friday, and could be extended for some weeks. Premier Gladys Berejiklian wouldn’t nominate a timeline for easing restrictions yesterday, saying it was “not the time to cut any corners”. The state recorded 112 new local cases yesterday – the overwhelming majority are close family or friends of previously announced cases, and at least 34 were in the community for part or all of their infectious period. The outbreak is now the biggest NSW has seen and yesterday was the first time the state has recorded triple digits for new local daily cases since the start of the pandemic.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
It could take another fortnight for the number of new cases to peak, experts say. And officials say the main area of concern continues to be the southwestern suburbs of Sydney where testing rates need to pick up. On the vaccination front, NSW Health is making the AstraZeneca vaccine available to consenting/informed residents over 40yo, and pharmacists across the state are being prepped to deliver jabs. And, Sydneysiders have been urged to fast track their 2nd dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine to 6 weeks instead of 12 – which is the current federal health advice. And when it comes to financial support for those impacted by the lockdown, the NSW and Federal Governments are set to announce some details today. And Melbourne is on high alert after an “incursion” of cases from its northern neighbour.
AND WHAT’S NEW WITH THE PFIZER VACCINE?
Well, now that you ask… The Morrison Government yesterday said claims that Kevin Rudd brokered a deal to get doses to Oz more quickly are ruddiculous. The former PM received a pat on the back yesterday after it became known that he held a Zoom meeting with Pfizer’s global boss last month that was “purely in my private capacity as an Australian citizen”. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt denies the lobbying was behind last week’s announcement that some of Australia’s doses would be express mailed. Pfizer says reports “suggesting that any third party or individual has had any role in contractual agreements are inaccurate”. For Rudd’s part, he says he never claimed to have played a part in negotiations. And they say that pandemics and politics don’t mix…
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