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Jumat, 09 April 2021

COVID vaccines, hotel quarantine discussed at National Cabinet. Here's what you need to know - ABC News

After last night's decision to shake up the country's vaccine rollout, it's fair to say there was a bit to get through at National Cabinet.

State and territory leaders went over everything from vaccines to efforts to start opening the international border and easing restrictions even further.

Here's a quick rundown of some of the key moments from the Prime Minister's press conference afterwards.

The big vaccine news

The decision to make Pfizer, not AstraZeneca, the preferred vaccine for people under 50 was always going to be the main agenda item today.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison started his press conference by stressing that there "is no ban on AstraZeneca", and that people over 50 should feel safe getting it.

But the big news is that since last night's press conference the government's been able to secure an extra 20 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, due here in the last three months of the year.

It takes Australia's total Pfizer doses to 40 million by the end of 2021, or enough to vaccine 20 million people, given you need two shots to be fully immunised.

According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are just under 12 million people between the ages of 16 and 49 in Australia, meaning we should, by the end of the year, have more than enough for everyone in that cohort.

The government says it's trying to bring forward when we get those doses, but it's also worth remembering people under 50 are in the second-last phase of the rollout, and aren't due to start being vaccinated for months yet.

Hotel quarantine alternatives

With the New Zealand travel bubble now only a couple of weeks away, National Cabinet also used today to ask the AHPPC — the nation's health experts — to look at what would need to happen for there to be broader changes to our current quarantine system.

"What we are asking the medical expert panel to tell us is what are the thresholds that we need to be able to meet to do things such as … [have] Australians who are vaccinated being able to travel overseas and return to Australia and not go into hotel quarantine," Mr Morrison said.

He said it could also enable travel from low-risk countries with similar vaccine systems down the line.

"No-one is saying that any of those things are coming in today," the Prime Minister said.

"But what we are working and planning for … is what are the marks we have to meet to enable us to start opening up Australia more than we are now?"

A nurse holding up the Pfizer vaccine
Health experts have been asked to look at the possibility of allowing Australians who've had vaccines overseas back home without quarantining.(

AAP

)

Keeping local borders open

There was also a discussion about keeping state and territory borders open in the case of future outbreaks.

The federal government has been trying pretty much since the pandemic started to get all the jurisdictions to agree to a national COVID hotspot definition so that people have a clear idea when an outbreak happens of when borders will close, and what has to happen for them to reopen.

But some states (looking at you Western Australia) are very against the idea and want to be able to decide on their own what they do with their border.

Today, Mr Morrison said the group also agreed to "prioritise local containment measures and aim for outbreak responses that keep internal borders open".

Easing restrictions

Cabinet also agreed to take on board medical advice that restrictions on venues will be "no stricter" than having one person per two square metres.

"I know that some states have moved to make it even less restrictive than that and others will be doing so very soon," Mr Morrison said.

Large ticketed and seated gatherings can also move back to 100 per cent capacity.

A slide with an infographic showing the total vaccine doses adminstered and then a state-by-state breakdown
The government says it'll release slides like this with daily and weekly data.(

Supplied

)

Clearer vaccine data

The Prime Minister announced that the group had decided to step up how much data on the vaccine rollout was released on a daily and weekly basis.

Questions had been raised about why the government wasn't being transparent and releasing so little information.

From now, there'll be regular infographics that break down how many doses have been administered at a state level, as well as information on how the Commonwealth's doing rolling out the vaccine to aged care residences.

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2021-04-09 05:51:59Z
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