Vic’s Covid outbreak worsens

The state’s health department confirmed the new local cases about 8.50am and said all were linked to current outbreaks. It came as there were no new cases in Queensland, which closed its border to Victorians.The number of exposure sites across Victoria grew to more than 160 after several venues from the tourist hot spot of Phillip Island were added.Victoria now has 43 cases linked to the two incursions that jumped the border from Sydney’s deadly Delta outbreak.The health department said all of the new cases on Saturday were also linked to known outbreaks, which have spawned from a team of Sydney removalists who transited through the state and a family that returned to Melbourne’s north from a NSW red zone.More teachers have been caught up in the state’s latest outbreak with two positive cases at Bacchus Marsh Grammar part of the state’s six new locally acquired infections on Friday.There are now four teachers at the school who have tested positive after the first case – who lived in Barwon Heads – returned a positive test when they came into contact with a friend in the locked down Ariele apartment complex in Maribyrnong.The number of infected teachers at Kew’s Trinity Grammar has risen to three after two more cases were uncovered, and Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus and Ballarat’s Clarendon College have both been linked to positive cases.The health department also confirmed no new cases in hotel quarantine, with the number of active cases in Victoria at 54, up from 36 on Friday.PM’S VACCINE PLEDGEPrime Minister Scott Morrison said the states will be seeking to involve more pharmacists into the Covid vaccination program. “Currently pharmacists are working with us to supplement GPs in rural areas where there are not sufficient numbers of GPs to support getting those vaccinations to those communities,” he said, after a meeting of national cabinet on Friday. “Already, pharmacists are being used in places like south-western Sydney where there is the demand for greater points of presence. We will see pharmacists play an increasing role in the months ahead as the supply increases. “There is no point having more points of presence with a static amounts of supply. That just increases the logistical difficulty. So at the supply increases, we can have more pharmacists come online, we can have more points of presence out there in the community.” It comes after Australia administered a record 500,000 doses of Covid vaccine in just three days.“That means that already this month there have been just shy of two million vaccines, just shy of two million already in the month of July,” Mr Morrison said.“And each month we are seeing the rate of vaccinations increase as we move towards our goal of ensuring that by the end of the year, that we can have everyone who is seeking to have a vaccination to have one.”NED-4166-Vaccination-by-percentage-of-age-bracket97 NEW INFECTIONS IN NSWNSW has seen a big spike in Covid numbers, with 97 new infections until 8pm Thursday night.And that isn’t the only number troubling NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.“Unfortunately, 29 of those we understand were infectious for all of the time they were infectious in the community. This is the number concerning. That number of people being infectious in the community keeps going up. We really want to stress to everybody, please stay at home, and follow the orders,” she said on Friday morning.She said people who had anyone in their extended family or social circle with Covid to get tested immediately.“Now we are also asking that if you have anyone in your extended family, extended social cycle or workplace that has the virus, go and get tested regardless. We are seeing cases where people don’t have symptoms and yet they are carrying the virus and don’t know it. If you know anybody in your extended family, extended social contacts, extended workplace arrangements but has a virus, please, please, make sure you get tested.”More than 77,000 tests were recorded in the state on Thursday.Dr Kerry Chant, NSW Chief Health Officer, agreed the number of people infectious in the community was damaging the state’s attempts to emerge from lockdown.“We have a number of cases under investigation and seeing the emergence of unlinked cases which is a matter for concern. Clearly, the fact 29 cases were infectious for two or more days in the community is incredibly concerning. I can’t stress to the community my absolute concern that we need to work harder at reducing mobility and reduce our interactions with others if we will bring the situation under control and to see a decline in cases infectious in the community.”Ms Berejiklian expected Saturday’s case numbers would be higher, and left the door open to even more tougher restrictions.The strategy was being reviewed “hour by hour”.There is no doubt that the numbers are not where we would like them. I am assuming because we had, in the last 24 hours, at least 29 of those 97 cases were infectious in the community, the numbers tomorrow will be greater than what we saw today,” she said.“If we need to go harder, of course we will. But we need to make sure that any measures that are put in place are going to hit the mark and I going to do the job we need them to do. Please know we review that every day, we have never ever been afraid of taking the difficult conditions to make our community say. We will not hesitate to do that even further.”VICTORIAN CLUSTER GROWSVictoria recorded six new locally acquired Covid-19 cases on Friday.The state’s health department announced 10 new local infections about 8.50am, but four of those were previously revealed by Covid-19 commander Jeroen Weimar on Thursday afternoon.Victoria now has 24 cases linked to the two incursions that jumped the border from Sydney’s deadly Delta outbreak.The health department said all of the new cases on Friday were also linked to known outbreaks, which have spawned from a team of Sydney removalists that transited through the state and a family that returned to Melbourne’s north from a NSW red zone.Premier Dan Andrews defended his decision not to name the removalists at the centre of the outbreak.“What I would say to you is that police in three states are looking into those matters so I will leave that work to them,” he said.“Police don’t brief me on what they are looking at.“Certainly in Victoria, police are looking at it.“They were referred to the Victoria Police by us … They are not here now and they are not coming back in so there is no purpose served and we have no purpose to prevent the community from using that company.“I don’t want to come across what is an active police process and I don’t know what the outcome of that will be.”It comes as Victoria was plunged into a fifth Covid-19 lockdown overnight as case numbers continue to rise.Victorians can only leave home for five reasons – shopping for essential food and the supplies, exercise for up to two hours no more than 5km from home, care or caregiving, work or education if it can’t be done from home or to get vaccinated at the nearest possible location.The lockdown is expected to last for at least five days.The health department also confirmed one new case in hotel quarantine, with the number of active cases in Victoria at 36, up from 26 on Thursday.NED-4142-Vaccine-StatsDEAL STRUCK BETWEEN PM AND ANDREWSPrime Minister Scott Morrison has done a deal with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, which will see financial support provided to some Victorian workers during the state’s five-day lockdown.It comes as Queensland has recorded a new local case.Mr Morrison and federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg issued a statement late last night, revealing they had agreed with Mr Andrews and his Treasurer, Tim Pallas, on a long-term national cabinet deal.It will see Victorian workers – in areas declared a hotspot by the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer – get federal support through the Covid-19 disaster payment, even where a lockdown has been set in place by a state or territory government for a period of less than seven days.“The entitlement to income support will be for those who have lost between eight and less than 20 hours for a payment of $375 and for 20 or more hours for a payment of $600, during the period of the lockdown,” Mr Morrison and Mr Frydenberg said in a joint statement.“There will be no liquid assets test applied to eligibility for these payments.”State and territory governments must also agree to provide significant economic support, for the same lockdown period, “to ensure burden sharing between the commonwealth and the state or territory government”.The deal with Mr Andrews will see workers in Greater Melbourne, as well as the local government areas of Moorabool, Greater Geelong, Queenscliff and Surf Coast qualify for federal support for the five days of Victoria’s lockdown from 11.59pm last night.Victoria entered a snap five-day lockdown at midnight after a jump in Covid cases.The state recorded two more new Covid cases in addition to two announced earlier on Thursday bringing the total to 18, after the virus jumped the border from NSW.“We have 75 exposure sites, 1500 primary close contacts and 5000 secondary close contacts and 5000 secondary close contacts. That is how fast this moves,” Mr Andrews said. The Herald Sun earlier on Thursday reported authorities were trying to control the outbreak without a lockdown, but case numbers are climbing quickly, as are exposure sites.In announcing the lockdown with a “heavy heart”, Mr Andrews said the state had “no choice”. “We have to do this otherwise it will get away from us and as we know more than any other part of our nation, we don’t want this getting away from us and being locked down for months.”The premier alluded to the fact that there would be a deal struck with Mr Morrison to offer financial support for Victorians.“We expect the Commonwealth government will step up and help those people who need the help,” Mr Andrews said.NED-3889-Melbourne-lockdown-restrictionsMORE BLOOD CLOTS LINKED TO AZSeven more rare blood clots have been linked to AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine, the nation’s medicines watchdog has revealed.Four of the clots are confirmed cases of the rare Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) that have been linked to the jab. Another three cases were classified as probable cases.The confirmed cases were in a 67-year-old man from NSW, 67 and 70-year-old women from Victoria, an a 71-year-old man from Western Australia.The probable cases were in a 48-year-old woman from Victoria, a 61-year-old woman from Western Australia and a 66-year-old woman from the ACT.The total number of confirmed cases has now risen to 83 from 5.4 million doses administered to date, with 51 cases confirmed and 32 probable.As reported by South Australian Health authorities on Monday, a 72-year-old woman from South Australia died from TTS following a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Her death is the fourth in Australia linked to the AZ vaccine.NED-3619-AstraZeneca blood clots-What we knowAnyone who has received the AstraZeneca vaccine is urged to consult their doctor if they develop any of the following symptoms after vaccination: severe or persistent headache or blurred vision shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or persistent abdominal pain unusual skin bruising and/or pinpoint round spots beyond the site of vaccination.The most common time period for onset of TTS symptoms is 4-30 days after vaccination.The TGA said with the ongoing risk of Covid outbreaks in Australia and the potential for severe long-term effects or fatal consequences of infection, the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine continue to outweigh the risks.

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