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A few new cases emerged in Victoria overnight, but Prime Minister Daniel Andrews declined to say when the rules would be relaxed further. It comes as Anthony Albanese unveiled a plan to stimulate a vaccine.
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Four new locally acquired coronavirus cases were detected in Victoria on Tuesday.
Each case has been epidemiologically linked to the state’s current outbreaks, and all have been in isolation for the duration of the infection.
One new case of Covid-19 was also detected in hotel quarantine, bringing the total number of active cases across Victoria to 124.
Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said it was too early to ensure that restrictions were eased further next week.
“We are pleased that we have seen very low numbers of cases and they have all been turned away,” he said.
“Hopefully this trend will continue and if it happens we will get advice from the chief health officer and hopefully he can take some positive steps.
“If we continue to follow these rules, even though they are difficult, there is every chance of keeping those numbers low, and with the low numbers you have more options.”
It comes as opposition leader Michael O’Brien has stood by the steps of the state parliament to call on the government to adopt rapid Covid tests more widely.
The party leader showed the tests by taking a swab of the nose and throat, and the negative result came back 15 minutes later.
Liberals would like to see tests used at major events and access to visiting people in hospitals and hospice care.
But when asked about the tests, Andrews said the current advice is not to use them in these situations
He said it works best when used frequently, like a daily test.
I will not take advice from the people at the front steps of Parliament, if all is well with you; “I’ll take from the experts,” said Mr. Andrews.
“You won’t see me abandon advice in favor of political stunts.”
O’Brien said the rapid test was already in use in the system and was a good tool for avoiding restrictions.
“It should be used across Victoria to keep us safe and keep us open,” he said.
“We need to be able to go back to our lives…and a quick test is a way we can do that.
The accuracy of the rapid test ranges from 95 percent to 99 percent.
“Right now when we have people going to major events, the choice for testing is zero.”
The Queensland Delta problem is getting worse
The delta outbreak in Queensland worsened overnight, with the state reporting 16 new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday morning.
The current group, which was first discovered at Indooroopilly State High School last week, is now 47.
All 16 new cases have been linked to the high school. Among the new cases, one is a student from Indooroopilly State High School, two are Brisbane Girls Grammar students, three are from Ironside State School, and five of the new cases are family contacts of previously confirmed cases.
Dozens of new exposure sites were listed late Monday, as health authorities urged all residents of southeast Queensland to regularly check the list and get tested.
Australian Gabid Payment Plan
All Australians fully vaccinated by December 1 will receive $300 under the action plan to speed up the start-up process and start the economy.
The money will be paid to anyone who has received both vaccines, including adults who have already been vaccinated and children under the age of 12 who will be able to get the vaccine from next week.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese will unveil a $6 billion plan on Tuesday. If an election is held before December 1, the new Labor government will hand out the payments, but Labor will not send the money if it is elected on the ballot likely to be held next year.
“The government failed in its two jobs this year, to introduce the vaccine and establish the quarantine,” said the opposition leader.
“She needs to use every measure at her disposal to protect Australians and our economy.”
The opposition will push Scott Morrison to introduce the stimulus by December 1, arguing that the government’s vaccine roll-out plan shows that enough vaccines will be available to vaccinate 80 percent of the eligible population by then.
Last Friday, the prime minister said the national cabinet had agreed 70 per cent would be the minimum to reduce reliance on lockdowns and ease restrictions on vaccinated Australians.
Once the country reaches 80 per cent, the lockdowns will only be used in “highly targeted” circumstances and vaccinated Australians will be exempted from all local restrictions.
The National Cabinet has approved the possibility of offering incentives in the phase between 70 and 80 per cent.
But in a statement, Albanese – along with shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers and opposition health spokesperson Mark Butler – said the $300 offer “would be an additional incentive for Australians to be fully vaccinated and would provide a much-needed injection into the business arm. And workers struggling from shutdowns”.
“Vaccinations are a race that Australians can no longer afford to lose,” they said.
“The faster this is achieved, the faster the recovery will be as we come out of the lockdowns that are bleeding hundreds of millions of dollars daily from the country’s finances.”
“Labour will continue to propose constructive solutions to protect Australians’ health and the economy.”
When asked about the Federal Labor Party’s proposal to offer $300 incentives to those who have received a jab, Andrews said the offer remains the biggest problem facing the startup.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Simon Birmingham has criticized the idea, calling it “unnecessary and unlikely to succeed”.
“We’ve looked at it, and the evidence says it’s unnecessary and unlikely to work,” he told ABC.
“It’s clearly unnecessary in the sense that Australians are responding… they want to get their vaccines.”
Birmingham said Labor’s plan was an “insult” to Australians who were already doing the right thing and getting vaccinated, accusing Mr Albanese of “pushing cash and hoping for the best”.
The head of vaccine launch, Lieutenant General John Froen, met with business leaders last month and discussed incentives for vaccines, such as airlines offering free frequent flyer points.
But he said such incentives are not “necessary” at the moment because there is “high community interest in vaccination”.
“I think maybe later in the campaign when we start to get to those people who are less persuasive or more hesitant, that might be a better time for incentives,” General Frewin said.
Mr Morrison stepped in last month to support the Prince Alfred Hotel in Port Melbourne, after the country’s medical regulator tried to block its campaign to give free beer to its vaccinated patrons.
A range of incentives have been tried abroad, including a vaccination lottery, while US President Joe Biden has encouraged state governments to offer $100 payments to people who are vaccinated.
Traveling with a passport for the main Australian vaccine
Today the federal government is taking the first tentative step towards introducing the Covid-19 vaccination passport in a move welcomed by many industry groups to reopen society for business.
But some said they wanted to be protected from allegations of discrimination from potential clients who refused to show evidence of the Covid-19 hit.
Australian services, in a deal with Apple and Google, will allow digital certificates to easily show Covid vaccination records on both iPhones and Android devices.
Read the The full story is here.
The VIC tightens the border with New South Wales
Victoria will tighten its border restrictions with New South Wales, and introduce rules for people in the interstate travel bubble, although there are no cases in the region.
It comes as the Herald Sun can reveal new details of the government’s plan to ease corporate rents, with support for start-ups for those whose turnover has fallen by at least 30 per cent.
There were two new cases of coronavirus in Victoria on Monday; Both are linked to current outbreaks and to quarantine during infection.
Health Minister Martin Foley announced on Monday that border residents can now only travel between NSW and Victoria for six basic reasons. These include access to goods and services, including medical care and Covid testing, and for reasons of care and kindness.
Crossing the border is also allowed for work, education, vaccination appointments, sports and exercise.
Residents cannot travel further than is necessary for these activities, which means they must use the closest possible location.
Mr Foley said that under previous rules, residents of the NSW border bubble could vacation in Lorne and shop on Bourke Street. He said there had been no cases in the area but the stricter rules were based on predictions of the outbreak in NSW being “worse before it gets better”.
The authorities have also lifted restrictions on group bookings in hospitality, venues, tours and gyms.
More than 38,000 people are booked to get the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at state centers this week, with 3,000 more appointments available.
Chasing rapid test supports
Australians may soon be able to get Covid-19 checks straight away in pharmacies or even at home as the federal government supports the expanded use of a rapid antigen test.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said he was “very supportive” of the technology and wanted it to be used more widely, eventually including self-diagnostics.
It comes as the Australian Immunization Commission has cleared the way for around 220,000 children aged 12 to 15 to receive the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine from next Monday.
The vaccine will initially be available to children in that age group who have certain medical conditions — such as asthma, diabetes and obesity — who live in a remote community or who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.
Mr Hunt said the country’s immunization experts are likely to approve the Pfizer vaccine for all children over 12, possibly by the end of the month, once they receive more data from abroad.
18 rapid antigen tests are currently approved for use in Australia and can provide results in about 15 minutes. The Therapeutic Goods Administration said a PCR test that includes swabs from the throat or nose remained the “gold standard” because rapid antigen tests were usually less accurate, especially for asymptomatic patients.
Scott Morrison on Tuesday will release forms from the Doherty Institute and the Treasury that informed the national cabinet’s decision last week to set vaccination targets of 70 per cent and 80 per cent to reopen Australia and reduce reliance on lockdowns.
The lockdown in southeast Queensland was extended to Sunday, as authorities scramble to contain a new outbreak in a widening delta with 13 new cases, including 10 children.
The death toll from the outbreak in Sydney reached 15, as the death toll in a nursing home rose to 20 after a “widespread event” at a “Christmas in July” party.
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