Senin, 22 Februari 2021

Coronavirus updates LIVE: US COVID death toll surpasses 500,000 as second Pfizer vaccine shipment arrives in Australia; JobSeeker payment set for increase - The Sydney Morning Herald

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  • Australia’s coronavirus vaccine rollout is ‘going to plan’, says Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd. Flying squads of nurses are travelling around the country to immunise aged care residents, as healthcare workers and quarantine and border staff roll up their sleeves in hospital hubs. Our online calculator will tell you where you are in the vaccine queue.
  • The second batch of Pfizer vaccines - 166,000 doses - arrived in the country on Monday night. Listen to our latest Please Explain podcast: Is the COVID-19 vaccine the beginning of the end?
  • Victoria has recorded no new COVID-19 cases for the fourth day in a row. New South Wales reached its 36th day without a local case on Monday, while Queensland also recorded no new locally acquired cases.
  • The coronavirus death toll in the US has passed 500,000, the highest reported of any nation in the world. The lives lost, as recorded by Johns Hopkins University, match the number of Americans killed in World War II, Korea and Vietnam combined.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has unveiled a four-step plan to ease England’s lockdown by June and also touted plans for a possible ‘vaccine certificate’ to allow entry into pubs, restaurants and offices. 

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Queensland’s Anzac Day parade a ‘priority’: Palaszczuk

By Lydia Lynch

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says her state will host traditional Anzac Day marches during the pandemic because she has made it a “priority”.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said it was too early for his state to make a decision about whether it would allow mass gatherings to commemorate Anzac Day on April 25.

Brisbane’s Anzac Day parade in 2015.

Brisbane’s Anzac Day parade in 2015.Credit:Michelle Smith

Asked what made Queensland different, Ms Palaszczuk said, “well we have sat down and we have got on with it”.

“We have been making this a priority, I tasked this to my Assistant Minister, he reported back to me, we talked with [the Chief Health Officer] and today we are able to make this announcement.

“People have got to put plans in place, Anzac Day is not too far away.”

‘No community transmission in Australia today’: Queensland CHO

By Lydia Lynch

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer says there is probably no community transmission of COVID-19 circulating in Australia today.

Explaining why she had decided to recommend that Anzac Day marches were safe to go ahead this year, Dr Jeannette Young said Queensland had seven active cases, compared with more than 270 on April 25 last year.

“We do not have community transmission here in Queensland today, and we probably do not have community transmission anywhere in the country today,” she said.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young.Credit: Supplied

“That is what the difference is, that is why we can move forward and, quite rapidly really, return to normal.”


Why are politicians getting vaccinated?

By Rachel Clun

Politicians and high profile Australians have been getting vaccinated around the country.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison got his first dose, alongside Chief Health Officer Professor Paul Kelly and Chief Nursing Officer Professor Alison McMillan. Yesterday, South Australia’s premier Steven Marshall also received the vaccine in front of a pack of journalists and cameras.

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly receives a dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Sunday.

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly receives a dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Sunday.Credit:Edwina Pickles

And this morning Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and Greens leader Bandt were the latest in a string of high profile Australians to receive the vaccine.

But why are politicians getting vaccines already?

Health Minister Greg Hunt explained the thinking yesterday. He said it was not about politicians skipping the queue, but rather about showing confidence in the vaccines.

“There is a reticence about being seen to seek a priority and none of us have wanted to do that,” he said.

“But equally, there’s a duty to provide that confidence, and so what we’re doing is showing, if we think it’s safe, if we’re willing to do this, then it’s safe for every Australian.”

Breaking: JobSeeker to rise permanently by $25 a week

By Jennifer Duke and Shane Wright

As we flagged earlier today, the government has committed to increasing the JobSeeker payment.

Unemployed Australians will be given a permanent $25 a week rise to the JobSeeker payment when the coronavirus supplement ends in March, following months of speculation about the future of the dole.

The dole is increasing by $25 a week.

The dole is increasing by $25 a week.Credit:Jason South

The government’s expenditure review committee met on Friday to discuss the rate of JobSeeker and held a cabinet meeting on Monday night. A proposal to increase the unemployment benefits to $615.70 a fortnight or about $44 a day after March 31 – up from the base rate worth $565.70 a fortnight – is set to be taken to the party room this morning.

The new rate would be equivalent to an increase of just under $4 a day.

At the moment, with the $150 supplement, unemployed households are receiving $715.70 a fortnight. The supplement is also paid to those on other government payments, such as Youth Allowance, Austudy and Parenting Payments.

The extra supplement was worth $550 at the height of the pandemic when the unemployment rate spiked in July at 7.5 per cent but was tapered down as the economy recovered.

Read more here.

No new cases in Queensland

By Lydia Lynch

Queensland had recorded its 47th consecutive day of no locally acquired COVID-19 cases.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said no new cases were detected in hotel quarantine on Tuesday either.

There are seven cases active across the state and 6176 tests were conducted in the past 24 hours.

Watch live: Queensland COVID update

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk provided an update on COVID-19 in her state this morning. You can watch her press conference, below:


Where are you in the vaccine queue?

Once the highest priority Australians are vaccinated, attention will turn to rolling out the vaccine, in several stages depending on age and other risk factors, to the rest of the population.

The plan is to vaccinate enough people by October that herd immunity is reached, meaning that the spread of coronavirus will be stopped in its tracks.

So where in the vaccine queue are you? Fill out this short form, and we will tell you which group you have likely been assigned to for receiving the jab.

You can also explore our vaccine tracker, which shows how many people in each country have received two doses of the vaccine.

‘We’re not at the end yet’: Andrews

By David Estcourt

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said it will take until the end of the year – when the COVID vaccine is rolled out to enough people – for rules governing the pandemic to “completely change”.

“It’s going to take us the rest of this year to get enough people with a jab to completely change things,” Mr Andrews said.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says coronavirus restrictions may change, but will not disappear completely before the end of the year.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says coronavirus restrictions may change, but will not disappear completely before the end of the year.Credit:Chris Hopkins

“It’s not a matter of will the rules be off by the end of the year – I think probably the better way to look at it is there may be an opportunity to change some of the rules as we progressively get more and more people [vaccinated].

“We’re at the beginning of the end of this pandemic. We’re not at the end of it yet.”

In photos: Australia’s second vaccine shipment arriving

These photos are from the federal government, showing Australia’s second shipment of the Pfizer vaccine (166,000 doses to be specific) arriving last night:

166,000 doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

166,000 doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

The second shipment of Pfizer vaccines arrived on Monday night.

The second shipment of Pfizer vaccines arrived on Monday night.

And they’re off

And they’re off

Victorian government working to have ‘close to normal’ ANZAC Day

By David Estcourt

The Victorian government is now working towards holding a COVID-safe Anzac Day event this year, Premier Daniel Andrews says.

Earlier this month (as we mentioned this morning), the RSL said Melbourne’s traditional Anzac Day parade had been called off. The organisation said the dawn service at the Shrine of Remembrance would go ahead with “a limited number of attendees” and would be streamed live online.

But Mr Andrews said the government was now looking at different options for the march.

Paul and Maria Hanson and their children Tom and Jack observe a minute silence in their driveway on Anzac Day last year.

Paul and Maria Hanson and their children Tom and Jack observe a minute silence in their driveway on Anzac Day last year.Credit:Getty

“It’s too early for us to be definitive about it, but obviously the march is an important part of that day,” Mr Andrews said.

“And we’re all working as hard as we can to have a day that is as close to normal as possible, not just at the Shrine but a whole range of other events out in suburbs and regional communities.

“We’re all working as hard as we can to make sure that it’s a day where we appropriately commemorate those who made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. And to those who this day, serve in the defence of our freedom, it’s a very important day, and we’ll make sure it’s as close to normal as possible and no one should underestimate the amount of work that’s going on to try and achieve that.”

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2021-02-22 23:20:50Z

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