/ 16 July 2021

Victoria joins the lockdown gang

Almost 7 million Victorians start their 5 days in lockdown this morning after 2 more local COVID cases were recorded yesterday, bringing the state’s outbreak to 18. Victorians are required to stay at home except for essential work, shopping, exercise, caregiving, or to get a COVID jab – the standard… In NSW, 65 new local cases were recorded, but Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned the number would likely be higher today. That brings the state’s outbreak total to 864 cases since 17 June. And in Queensland, 3 new local cases saw restrictions extended for residents of Brissie and surrounds for another week. Which means a lot to talk about at today’s National Cabinet meeting…

WHAT’S ON THE AGENDA?
PM Scott Morrison’s plan for more financial support for locked down states. He proposes to give affected individuals and businesses earlier access to payments than in previous lockdowns. Premier Andrews accused the PM of giving NSW preferential treatment over a $5.1 billion package announced on Wednesday. But overnight, he reached a deal with the PM to give financial support to workers affected by the state’s 5-day lockdown. Those who have lost between 8 and 20 hours of work will be eligible for a payment of $375, and workers who have lost more hours will be eligible for a payment of $600. Victoria is also putting its hand in its pocket to help fund the package. Morrison said he hopes the deal will be a model for other short lockdowns. “COVID-19, particularly the Delta variant, tends to be re-writing the rules and all the way through this pandemic, we’ve had to try to learn with the new strains.”

CAN YOU REMIND ME WHY DELTA IS SUCH A THING?
It’s a monster… First identified in India in December, Delta is the most transmissible COVID strain researchers have identified yet. This year, experts say Delta is likely to become the dominant strain. The World Health Organization this week reported an uptick in deaths and cases globally after 2 months of decline thanks to vaccination efforts. So it’s not just Oz that is scrambling to get on top of it – officials in the US, UK, Indonesia, Japan, and so many more are attempting to fight it off. As for what it means to you: Is it a bigger danger to your health? Possibly… And are vaccines effective against it? If you’re fully vaccinated, yes. For those who have had one shot, apparently less so. But like a lot in the pandemic, there are many outstanding questions…

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