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Kamis, 18 Februari 2021

Coronavirus updates LIVE: Victoria records three local COVID-19 cases as Facebook news ban sparks risk of undermining Australia’s COVID vaccine rollout plan - The Sydney Morning Herald

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Summary

  • Three new local COVID-19 cases linked to the Holiday Inn cluster have emerged in Victoria a day after the state emerged from its ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown.
  • Syringes designed to extract the maximum number of doses from Australia’s shipments of coronavirus vaccines will not be available when the national rollout begins on Monday.
  • Whitten Oval could soon be converted into one of Melbourne’s first mass coronavirus vaccination hubs under a proposal that would see the sporting stadium in the city’s west host thousands of Victorians for immunisation.
  • A small army of specialised nurses will travel to 190 towns around the country to deliver the first Pfizer vaccines to residents in aged and disability care from Monday, as 16 state-run hospital hubs prepare to inoculate frontline workers.
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Watch live: Victorian COVID-19 update

Victoria’s Health Minister Martin Foley and COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar are giving a coronavirus update in Melbourne. You can watch it live here:

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A child, both parents among Victoria’s latest cases

By David Estcourt

Victoria’s three new COVID-19 cases are from the same family: a child and both its parents.

Health Minister Martin Foley has revealed the connection at this morning’s Victorian press conference.

“The three cases are from the same family, two parents and a child,” Mr Foley said.

Victoria’s three new cases completed hotel quarantine at the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport.

Victoria’s three new cases completed hotel quarantine at the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport.Credit:Getty

“Two members of that family were previous residents of level three at the Holiday Inn in Tullamarine airport.”

“One member of the household, who was not at the Holiday Inn, was considered a secondary contact, and had been isolating with the family … all have been quarantined at home during their infectious periods.”

He said interviews were continuing today with the family.

“We thank the family for ... being isolated throughout their entire infectious period” Mr Foley said.

Another doughnut day for Queensland after almost 10,000 tests in 24 hours

By Toby Crockford

Queensland has recorded no new cases of COVID-19 in the community or hotel quarantine after the state completed almost 10,000 tests over 24 hours.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young has previously set a daily target of 5000 tests. In the 24 hours to Friday morning, the state notched up 9277 tests. There are only six active cases left in Queensland.

Queensland Health data revealed virus fragments were found 110 times in wastewater across the state between July and December last year.

The top locations for positive results for SARS-CoV-2 were Goodna (11 samples) south-west of Brisbane, Coombabah on the Gold Coast (10), Loganholme (nine) south of Brisbane, Wynnum (six) in Brisbane’s bayside, Cairns North (six), Elanora on the Gold Coast (six) and Fairfield (six) in Brisbane’s south.

However, not all the results were released to the media at the time they were detected, with publication linked to “targeted public health messaging”.

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PM will have Pfizer vaccine ‘very, very soon’

By Mary Ward and Rachel Clun

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he will be rolling up his sleeve to get a coronavirus vaccine “very, very soon”, flagging he will be vaccinated early in the rollout to boost public confidence.

Mr Morrison, aged 52, does not fit into the high-risk groups in phase 1a of the federal government’s rollout strategy, who will start to receive their vaccines on Monday. Instead, Mr Morrison was slated to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine during phase 2a of the rollout.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will soon receive the Pfizer vaccine.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will soon receive the Pfizer vaccine.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

However, Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney that he and Chief Health Officer Paul Kelly would receive the Pfizer vaccine soon, while state premiers and federal Health Minister Greg Hunt will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine when it is made available from next month.

Federal Health Department secretary Professor Brendan Murphy has also previously indicated he will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“It is important for us as leaders - and this is my health advice that I demonstrate,” Mr Morrison said.

“I’m happy to get it: I think it is important people understand it is safe. There is no way I can say that more than rolling up my sleeve and getting the vaccination.”

‘Reasonable expectation’ vaccine will lead to more freedoms: PM

By Mary Ward

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he will wait for health advice before making any decisions regarding freedoms granted to Australians once the nation is vaccinated but says it is a “reasonable expectation” that mass vaccination will lead to changes.

“I think it is a reasonable expectation that as time goes on, as the vaccination rolls out across the world and here in Australia, you should rightly expect that things will change and how we manage the virus,” he said, adding that he had spoken to Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi yesterday about the implications of vaccination on movement within the Asia-Pacific region.

Asked about a vaccine passport system, the Prime Minister said it was a process Australia was still discussing with other nations.

He said he supported statements made by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian that she would be choosing workers for her state’s hotel quarantine system based on willingness to have the vaccine.

While his current health advice is to not mandate the vaccine for workers in high-risk settings, Mr Morrison said he was “strongly encouraging” Australians to get a jab.

Ms Berejiklian said “all feedback” she had received on the issue was that workers involved in the hotel quarantine system were “enthusiastic” about receiving their vaccine.

Asked if she would make this mandatory in a Public Health Order, the Premier said she would “watch and see”.

“I’m completely happy and comfortable for there to be incentives for people to take the vaccine. I think that’s a positive way to do it rather than penalising people who don’t take the vaccine.”

Front-line workers first in line to receive vaccine in Victoria

By David Estcourt

It’s all about the vaccine rollout today.

The Victorian government has also revealed that front-line workers who are most likely to come into contact with COVID-19 will be the first in line to be vaccinated in Victoria.

Trained health professionals will administer doses of the Pfizer vaccine to hotel quarantine and health hotel workers, airport and port workers, high-risk frontline health staff and public sector residential aged care staff and residents from Monday, a health department statement said.

Health ‘hubs’ will deliver the vaccine at dedicated sites throughout the state. These include hospital facilities, hotel quarantine settings, Melbourne Airport, and other mobile outreach teams.

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said the state government’s priority was supporting the Commonwealth project to ensure the vaccine is deployed “as quickly and safely possible”.

“Whether they work in hotel quarantine, at the airport, or a specialist COVID ward, we need to keep Victorians most at risk of infection safe, while they continue to keep Victorians safe.”

The hubs will also deliver the vaccine to residential aged care patients and workers in public aged care facilities, while the Commonwealth is responsible for providing the vaccine to residents and workers in private sector aged care and disability care.

Mr Foley and COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar will be providing a coronavirus update at 10.30 AEDT today.

NSW has done ’best job in the world” in pandemic: PM

By Mary Ward

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has given a glowing review of NSW’s pandemic management as he speaks at Royal Prince Alfred, where some of the state’s first coronavirus vaccinations will take place on Monday.

Mr Morrison said he had “never felt more proud to be an Australian” but was “very proud” of his home state.

“NSW have done, I’ve got to say, I think, the best job in the world,” he said.

“You think about a city as sophisticated and amazing as my home city of Sydney and what Sydney, in particular, has been able to achieve when you compare it to places like New York, London, Paris and so many of the great cities of the world.”

After watching how NSW residents will receive the vaccine at the RPA hub from Monday, the Prime Minister said he was most impressed by how “sympathetic” the workers and process was.

“I know, for many, this may be a very anxious process and I think the plans here have taken that into account: to reassure, to calm, to encourage, to observe, to make sure everybody is OK,” he said.

Reflecting on the past year of pandemic management, Mr Morrison said the national vaccination program worked to alleviate the early fears of the pandemic: that hospitals would be overrun with the seriously ill and Australia would be faced with a high death toll.

“This vaccination deals with that risk and as a result, that changes how we can confidently go ahead managing the virus in Australia into the future.”

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Berejiklian warns against complacency as NSW vaccine program begins

By Mary Ward

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard have completed their walk-through of a coronavirus vaccine hub at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, in Sydney’s inner-west, and are now speaking to reporters.

Ms Berejiklian said she was “extremely pleased and excited” that 35,000 frontline workers will receive their vaccines in hubs at RPA, Liverpool and Westmead hospitals from Monday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian during a national cabinet press conference in December.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian during a national cabinet press conference in December.Credit:Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

“It is no doubt going to change the way in which we live with COVID,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“It does change the way in which we will think about the restrictions and life. However, in the meantime, until there’s a critical mass of our population who have been vaccinated, we all have to stick to the rules as strictly as ever.

“We can’t be complacent during this time. We’re in a transition phase ... the second that we’re complacent, community transmission will occur and we’ll go backwards and that’s something we don’t want.”

The Premier stressed that NSW residents needed to continue to get tested for coronavirus even as the vaccine is rolled out.

Andrews says three new cases were in isolation; ‘very disappointed’ by Moomba call

By Paul Sakkal

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has confirmed the three people who tested positive to COVID-19 on Thursday were all in isolation days before they tested positive.

“They were all iso-d away,” he said. “We’re very grateful to them.”

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.Credit:Chris Hopkins

Mr Andrews, who will leave today’s daily coronavirus briefing to Health Minister Martin Foley and COVID-19 commander Jeroen Weimar, spoke to reporters briefly this morning as is customary for MPs to do during sitting weeks.

Mr Andrews also said the decision by the City of Melbourne to cancel Moomba was “very disappointing”.

He said he was not criticising the City of Melbourne council but hoped the event would still go ahead.

Talk to your GP about vaccines, Deputy CMO says

By Rachel Clun

Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd says people should go to trusted medical providers or the health.gov.au website rather than Facebook for vaccine information, after Facebook blocked all news websites yesterday.

The social media giant also blocked public health pages, sparking fears misinformation could spread in the absence of legitimate information.

“Eighty per cent of Australians, at least, are intent on getting the vaccine at the moment, and a number of other people are still wondering or wavering,” he said on ABC News Breakfast this morning.

“And it’s very important that people get as much information as they can so that they can make an informed decision.

“So, yes, access to social media sites, the health.gov.au website, the sites for the states and territories, is very important.

“But also if people need to talk to somebody, talk to your trusted medical adviser, talk to your GP about the vaccine, and get their advice about whether it’s appropriate and safe for you.

“What we know is these vaccines are both safe and effective in adults. And we are encouraging everybody to get the vaccine, and obviously to have a talk to your GP if you have any residual concerns.”

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2021-02-18 23:28:23Z
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