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Australia’s prime minister has apologized for the failures to launch a disastrous coronavirus vaccine as cases grew in the states of New South Wales and Victoria despite millions living in lockdown.
Significantly after a day refused to apologize “I’m certainly sorry we weren’t able to achieve the signs we were hoping for at the beginning of the year. Of course I am,” Scott Morrison said Thursday of a full vaccination of only 12% of the population since February.
However, the Prime Minister also talked about a new daily record of 184,000 doses taken in one dayAnd the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian delivered a grim message that the delta outbreak was showing infection “like anything we’ve seen before”, and warned of low vaccination numbers and limits on lockdown measures, now in their fourth week across the Sydney region.
“Our real key to freedom is getting vaccinated,” Berejiklian said. It had previously set a lifetime vaccination goal of 80% in the state to return to normal and void Lcokdowns in the future. As of Thursday, about 3.2 million doses of vaccine have been administered in a case that will eventually require about 16 million doses for a full vaccination.
“The last thing we want is to be at a point where we keep going in and out of a tough lockdown,” she said.
NSW set several new daily records on Thursday, with 124 new cases in the community, detected from a record 85,000 tests. Up to 87 of the new cases can be contagious in the community. Among the new cases is an outbreak at two residential aged care facilities where staff have not been vaccinated.
Victoria recorded 26 new domestic cases, the highest number this year, bringing the total number linked to the latest outbreak to 133. However, the vast majority were in isolation while they were infectious. The country is due to come out of lockdown next week. By then, people in Melbourne will have spent about six months in quarantine since the start of the pandemic.
South Australia, which began a week-long lockdown on Tuesday, has a total of 14 cases, adding two in the past day.
In stark admission, Berejiklian said the majority of cases that were contagious in the community were “derived from critical activity” – both essential workers and people buying groceries and medicines – and said additional restrictions were unlikely to reduce these types of transmission.
Sydney’s biggest lockdown is set to end on July 31, but she said that date was unlikely to include freedom of assembly with people from different areas or indoors.
“It’s spreading like we’ve never seen it before,” the prime minister said. “We have found transmission in areas where people should be and that is why it is important to make sure that if you are asked to get tested every three days, you do so. If you have mild symptoms, don’t,” Berejiklian said. Come to work.”
“I think people were completely shocked by how different and contagious the Delta strain was,” she said. “It’s like nothing we’ve seen before,” she said.
Despite gradually tightening restrictions across Sydney, Berejiklian warned that she expects a further rise in case numbers. She has consistently said that the lockdown can only be eased when the number of contagious cases while in the community drops as close to zero as possible
Echoing Morrison, state Health Secretary Brad Hazzard raised particular concern about hesitation toward the AstraZeneca vaccine, noting that at the Sydney Olympic Park vaccination center on Wednesday, 9,000 doses of Pfizer were given, compared to just 50 for AstraZeneca.
“I just think we need to step back and say…Most of us cannot afford the luxury of sitting back and saying I don’t want to get the vaccine that has already been taken by almost every country in the world and keep other countries safe,” Hazzard said.
Federal health officials said Australia has given 6.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and five rare blood clot-related deaths were linked to the first dose.
In addition, Berejiklian said contact trackers are now recommending that all positive cases send a text message to everyone in their phone contact lists, regardless of whether they’ve called them in recent days, to alert them “by saying that someone you know has… He tested positive for Covid.”
There are currently 118 cases of Covid in hospitals in NSW, with 28 people in intensive care and 14 of them needing ventilators.
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