Andrews Demands More Vaccines, Says Quick Shuts New Normal
The prime minister said Victoria would seek additional doses of vaccines from the Commonwealth after more supply was provided for New South Wales and Queensland. The government requested 7,500 doses from the Commonwealth last week to help vaccinate supermarket workers, but this request was rejected, he said.
“We don’t want to make a request that has no chance of the answer being yes,” Andrews said.
To help speed up the vaccination program, the government will imminently announce that Victorians under the age of 60 will be able to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine at state-run locations after receiving advice from their GP. The move is designed to increase demand for the jab that exists in abundance but causes one person in a million to die from a rare blood clot disorder.
Andrews said the state may need to house many close contacts in quarantined hotels and that further cuts to international arrivals may be needed to free rooms. The number of flights was cut in half in July.
Six cases were recorded Thursday and two more were detailed later in the day to be included in Friday’s numbers. Of the six, three were linked to the Delta outbreak that the state has been handling for weeks, while the others were linked to the new group.
The outbreak evolved rapidly this week. On Wednesday night, public health officials were not considering further restrictions, though they feared more cases after a teacher from Al-Taqwa College in Truganina and her husband, who live in the council area of the western suburbs of Hobsons Bay, tested positive.
These dreaded cases were confirmed on Thursday, when two relatives of the teacher’s husband, a soccer player, tested positive. Concerns were compounded when a COVID-positive man in his 20s emerged from the city of Maribyrnong, with no ties to the Hobsons Bay cases or the known outbreak.
On Thursday morning, the government began to reflect on the stay-at-home orders.
The senior cabinet ministers met at 3 p.m., after parliamentary question time, and decided to close at 8 p.m. instead of midnight to prevent people from gathering in large numbers at night.
The government decided to act quickly after learning the lesson of last month’s shutdown, in which many cases were triggered by people mingling at the Ms Frankie restaurant in Cremorne the night before the shutdown took effect.
The Maribyrnong man, who works in a factory in Derrimut, visited people who had recently entered Victoria after spending two weeks in a quarantine hotel in New South Wales. These people from New South Wales are being tested and so far there is no evidence that they have tested positive at any time.
The prime minister urged workers to get tested and reminded casual workers that they were entitled to a $ 450 payment from the government if they needed to miss a shift to do so.
He also justified the closure of regional areas by saying that sewage testing at Wangaratta in northeast Victoria had indicated that COVID-19 could be present in the community.
The list of exposure sites has passed 80 and health authorities will work through the night to try to find out how three of the new cases contracted the virus.
About 2,500 Al-Taqwa students and teachers are in isolation. A coronavirus testing site was set up on the school grounds Thursday morning and anyone at the school who has received a test will also be offered a Pfizer hit.
Health Minister Martin Foley said health authorities expect more than 10,000 people to become close contacts of the cases in the new outbreak and will be asked to isolate themselves.
More than 40 new exhibition sites stretching from southwest to northwest Melbourne were added to a growing list of high-risk locations on Thursday.
There are now 24 top-tier spots among the new sites listed in the Victoria Government Coronavirus Exposure Sites, which include doctor’s office, pharmacy, cafes, supermarkets, gymnasium, and optometrist’s office.
27,279 tests were processed while 17,229 doses of vaccine were administered in state centers. With the addition of the two cases to be included in Friday’s figures, there are now 82 active cases statewide.
NSW on Thursday reported 262 new local COVID-19 cases and five deaths, the highest number of local cases recorded in the state in a 24-hour period.
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed that three 60-year-old men, a 70-year-old man and an 80-year-old woman had died.
“Unfortunately, four of those five people were not vaccinated at all,” Ms. Berejiklian said. “I can’t stress enough how important it is for everyone, of all ages, to come forward and get vaccinated,” he said.
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