COVID-19

One new local Covid case recorded in Victoria

In a tweet this morning, the Victorian Department of Health said the state had recorded three new cases acquired overseas, who are all currently in hotel quarantine.Investigations are continuing in relation to the source of the local case.Victoria has entered its second day out of lockdown, although with restrictions still in place. A raft of new public exposure sites were also announced.Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk also released the state’s latest Covid statistics via Twitter.The state has one new case acquired overseas, who is currently in quarantine.PM TO GIVE 20M JABS TO WORLD VACCINE EFFORTScott Morrison will commit 20 million doses to assist the British effort to vaccinate the world by the end of 2022 with the Prime Minister saying Australia was playing its part on the global stage to combat the pandemic. Mr Morrison made the announcement after touching down in the UK at the RAF Brize Norton base in Oxfordshire after his flight was diverted four hours north of Cornwall due to heavy fog.Ahead of the G7 leaders’ meeting, Mr Morrison flagged he would be advocating for a free and open Indo-Pacific and provided an assurance the 20 million vaccines being committed by Australia would be rolled-out in the immediate region.“These 20 million doses will go to support doses in our region, to ensure that we continue to exercise our responsibility,” he said.Mr Morrison said Australia had the capacity to make the commitment because it had put in place supply contracts “many times over what is needed for the Australian population.”“That puts us in a very strong position,” he said. “I’ve had discussions in recent weeks with Pacific leaders and leaders in South-East Asia and I know that’s greatly appreciated that Australia will be doing its bit in our region, but also as part of a global effort.”“I really do commend Prime Minister Johnson for bringing us together to put even more effort into this area because the virus doesn’t know boundaries … the virus goes where it will.” Mr Morrison said the extra doses came on top of Australia’s $100 million commitment in support for the COVAX initiative aimed at ensuring equitable access for vaccines across the globe, including for lower and middle income nations unable to pay for jabs themselves. The key issues on the agenda at the G7 identified by Mr Morrison included the Covid-19 pandemic, the recession, the global recovery, climate change, the transition to new energy sources and stability in the Indo-Pacific and the world.Amid reports that Joe Biden plans to use the G7 meeting to lobby the group against Chinese economic coercion and its treatment of Uighurs in XinJiang, Mr Morrison said that Australia always welcomed the “great friendship and support that we have from our ally the United States.”He said Australia would discuss defence and technology co-operation at the G7, as well as the importance of maintaining strong supply chains across the globe, arguing the meeting was about “ensuring a world that favours freedom.”Mr Morrison said that all nations should be able to “trade with each other and all countries, wherever they are, whoever they are … without coercion.”He said there was “no substitute for leaders getting together” but noted the pandemic was raging outside Australia, noting that the UK was recording 7,000 cases a day despite having a vaccination rate on first doses of well over 70 per cent.However, Mr Morrison said there was a “bit of work to do yet” on finalising a free-trade agreement with the UK. VIC TOLD TO BRACE FOR MORE CASESVictorians have been told to brace for more Covid-19 cases over the coming days.The state’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said more virus cases were expected over the next week“The week ahead probably won’t be all zero cases,” Prof Sutton told reporters on Friday.“We have thousands of primary close contacts, some of which will become positive. It is not a concern as they are in quarantine for the entire period.”He said the Reservoir family who were Thursday’s positive cases were carrying the Kappa variant of the virus, and not the more infectious Delta strain of the West Melbourne cluster.Prof Sutton said health officials were still looking for the source of exposure for the two Queensland cases in Melbourne.“They have gone through a long interview process with us,” Prof Sutton said.“We have been looking quite a bit earlier than June for that acquisition, where they may have picked it up, whether or not they were infectious through that.”Prof Sutton said the state would not ease restrictions sooner than planned, after the emergence of the Reservior family cases.He said he “wasn’t surprised” by Friday’s zero cases.“We are going to get days of zero, I expect they will be more, and I also expect there will be days we have new cases each day. It isn’t over yet. We are on the right track.”Prof Sutton said mystery cases would mean restrictions would remain, but he couldn’t say if they would mean a lockdown was needed.More than 17,000 Victorians were vaccinated on Thursday and 17,604 tests were processed.Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino said testing numbers in Craigieburn were lower than expected.“In some areas we would like to see an uplift because of community transmission.“It was lower than we would have liked in some parts of Melbourne.“I am asking Victorians that if you live in the Craigieburn area and did not get tested yesterday, please go out and get tested today,” he said.Mr Merlino revealed elective surgery would return next Tuesday, saying hospitals would “clear the backlog as quickly as possible”.“It is not as simple as flicking a switch. Hospitals need time to scale up,” the acting Premier said.“They need staff and resources available to ensure that Victorians needing surgery will receive world-class care that our health services have always provided.“DUTTON CALLS FOR CALM AFTER BLOOD CLOT CASEThe second Australian fatality from blood clots likely linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine needs to be kept in perspective, Defence Minister Peter Dutton has said.A 52-year-old woman from NSW has died after a “severe form” of blood clotting in the brain after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.“As tragic as clearly it is for that family, we have seen circumstances where in Canada 23,000 people have died from Covid and there have been some devastating numbers right around the world,” Mr Dutton told Channel 9.“We haven’t had that here and we don’t want it, which is why the vaccine rollout is important. I think as you have seen in Victoria people have lined up in huge numbers to get the vaccine because they know this is our only pathway out of Covid.”Chief health officer Paul Kelly said it’s only the second death after 3.6 million doses administered across Australia.“My heart goes out to the family, and all the friends and colleagues of this particular person,” Mr Kelly said on Thursday.“In terms of the AstraZeneca rollout … it remains an incredibly important part of our vaccine rollout. The AstraZeneca vaccine, with our large numbers of doses that are available here in Australia … is absolutely key in relation to us becoming safe from Covid as a population here in Australia, and that remains the case.”He revealed there were also four news cases of blood clots linked to AstraZeneca.In total there have been 15 cases of serious blood clots out of 3.6 million doses.There were another 33 confirmed or probable cases that were less serious.“These events remain concerning and we are looking at them very closely, we are looking at it with concern including this unfortunate event in New South Wales,” Mr Kelly said.A NSW woman, 48, died after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine in April. The medicines regulator said her death from rare blood clots was “likely” linked to the vaccine.NED-3619-AstraZeneca blood clots-What we knowThe Therapeutic Goods Administration says it reviews all deaths reported after a vaccination is administered and compares them with expected natural death rates.“To date, the observed number of deaths reported after vaccination is actually less than the expected number of deaths,” the TGA said in a statement.“Each year in Australia, there are about 160,000 deaths, equating to 13,300 a month or 3050 each week. In the most recent reporting year, two-thirds of these deaths were in people aged 75 years and over.”CRUCIAL 48 HOURS IN QUEENSLAND OUTBREAK Queensland has a nervous 48 hours ahead as it awaits results from more coronavirus tests as the Premier scolds an infected Melbourne couple for leaving Victoria during lockdown.Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk appeared delighted to announce no new cases had been recorded on Friday morning, after 5953 tests were conducted on Thursday.There were also 11,348 vaccines administered. However, she warned Queensland was unlikely to be out of the woods until Sunday.“We would have expected to see a couple of community cases from that, if it was going to be in the community,” Ms Palaszczuk told reporters on Friday.“So the next 24 to 48 hours we‘ll be monitoring that very closely.”The Victorian couple escaped lockdown and drove into Queensland via NSW. The trip has sparked a huge number of exposure alerts across the two states, and forced 17 close contacts into isolation. The tests and inoculations come after a 44-year-old woman tested positive on June 8, with her husband then quarantined at Sunshine Coast University hospital. His positive test result was announced on June 10.The woman and her husband left Victoria on June 1, four days after a statewide lockdown had come into force.Ms Palaszczuk said the couple should have obeyed Victoria’s lockdown and not travelled to Queensland.“Police are reviewing that issue, but look honestly, people need to do the right thing,” she said.“There was a lockdown on in Victoria, they shouldn’t have left Victoria, and it just puts people at risk,” she said.“There’s an investigation into that. I don’t want to jeopardise that investigation, but we want to make our country and especially I want to make sure we are keeping Queenslander’s safe.”The pair travelled by car through regional NSW and into Queensland, stopping at multiple venues along the way and eventually settling with relatives at Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast. Queensland’s chief health officer said the woman had been experiencing symptoms since at least June 3.Of the couple’s 17 close contacts, three have so far tested negative to the virus, two of which were the parents the couple were staying with.NED-3986-Qld-covid-mapVICTORIA RECORDS NO NEW CASES AS 25 SUBURBS ON ALERTVictoria has recorded no new local cases of coronavirus as Melburnians ease out of a two-week lockdown on Friday.There are now 75 active cases and 180 exposure sites across the state.Melbourne’s two-week lockdown ended at 11.59pm on Thursday, but harsh Covid-19 measures remain in a bid to keep the community virus-free.Acting Premier James Merlino confirmed the new changes on Wednesday.It comes after state health authorities have uncovered three more concerning sewage detections of Covid-19 as Melbourne emerges from tough lockdown restrictions.The health department said there had been three new positive detections of coronavirus viral fragments in wastewater samples taken in the Pascoe Vale, Scoresby and Vermont areas in a statement late on Thursday.“These new detections are of interest as there are currently no confirmed Covid-19 cases in those areas,” the health department said.“While the unexpected detections may be due to someone who has had Covid-19 that is no longer infectious continuing to shed the virus or it may be due to an active but undiagnosed infectious case.”Residents and recent visitors to the following suburbs between June 3 and 7 have been urged to monitor for symptoms and get tested if any develop:Glenroy, Hadfield, Oak Park, Pascoe Vale;Burwood East, Forest Hill, Glen Waverley, Scoresby, Vermont South, Wantirna South, Wheelers Hill;Balwyn, Balwyn North, Blackburn, Blackburn, North, Box Hill, Box Hill North, Bulleen, Doncaster, Doncaster East, Donvale, Mitcham, Mont Albert, Mont Albert North, Nunawading.It comes just a day after viral fragments were discovered in a wastewater sample in Bendigo in regional Victoria where there are also no active positive cases.Residents and recent visitors between June 3 and 7 to the suburbs of California Gully, Eaglehawk, Epsom, Huntly, Jackass Flat, Maiden Gully, Marong, North Bendigo and Sailors Gully are also urged to monitor for symptoms and get tested if any develop.“The wastewater testing program is designed as an early warning system and a cautious approach is always taken when these detections are found,” the health department said.There are 78 active cases in Victoria, with 64 locally acquired and 14 in hotel quarantine.Melbourne’s lockdown restrictions were eased overnight with people able to move around freely within 25km of their home and the five reasons to leave removed.But face masks must still be worn indoors and outdoors in metropolitan Melbourne.LOCKDOWN DODGERS COULD FACE PROSECUTIONThe Melbourne couple who fled the city’s lockdown and travelled to Queensland could face prosecution in three states and possible jail time.Police are waiting until it is considered safe to interview the infected couple, who have no both tested positive to Covid-19 and are in isolation at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, the Courier Mail reports.Police are working with counterparts in Victoria and NSW to track the movements of the couple who drove to Caloundra, via Goondiwindi and Toowoomba, after entering Queensland on June 5.They visited a string of venues including McDonalds at Goondiwindi, a Toowoomba service station, shopping centres at Caloundra and Kawana and several Sunshine Coast cafes.The couple are believed to have been relocating to Queensland for work but police are investigating whether they lied on border declarations and why they did not go into mandatory hotel quarantine. – with Jack Paynter, Darren Cartwright

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