COVID-19

NSW records 136 new cases as Pfizer approved for kids

The state government is understood to be considering an overhaul of its lockdown strategy.The move could see southwestern Sydney placed into a harder lockdown while restrictions would be relaxed in communities barely affected by Covid-19, The Australian reports.NSW Health earlier put out an alert for residents around Byron Bay after coronavirus fragments were found at the sewage treatment plant in the area.The plant serves about 19,000 people in Byron Bay, Wategos, Suffolk Park, Sunrise, and Broken Head.“There are no known cases in this area, which is of great concern,” a spokeswoman for NSW Health said. “Everyone in the area is asked to be especially vigilant for symptoms.”VICTORIAN OUTBREAK GROWSIt comes as Victoria reported 14 new locally acquired Covid-19 infections on Friday.The state’s health department confirmed the number of new local virus cases about 9am, but in a positive sign for Victoria’s lockdown, it said all were linked to existing outbreaks that have stemmed from NSW.The health department said 10 of the 14 cases were in quarantine throughout their entire infectious period, comprising 71 per cent of the new infections.That figure had been as low as 6 per cent on Monday but has risen significantly across the week.The health department said one of the four cases not in isolation was still to be interviewed by contact tracers.Victoria has now recorded 147 cases linked to the two outbreaks that jumped the border from Sydney’s deadly Delta cluster – one from a team of Sydney removalists that transited through the state and the other a family who returned to Melbourne’s north from a NSW red zone.More than 19,000 primary close contacts have been identified during the state’s latest outbreak, with 6800 of those linked to the MCG, AAMI Park and Trinity Grammar.Victoria’s fifth lockdown is set to last another six days until 11.59pm on July 27.The number of active cases in Victoria at 160 — up from 146 on Wednesday.PFIZER APPROVED FOR KIDS Kids in Australia are set to get the coronavirus vaccine, with the country’s drug regulator green-lighting Covid-19 vaccination for children as young as 12.The Therapeutic Goods Administration will today announce it has approved Pfizer’s application for a licence for its vaccine to be given to children aged 12 to 16, according to an exclusive report in the Daily Telegraph.Health Minister Greg Hunt said “protecting children would be an important and welcome additional step in the national vaccination program”.“Significantly we planned for this outcome and acquired the vaccines in the event of eligibility,” he said.The nation’s expert immunisation panel must now consider how children over 12 will be included in the roll out.Senior government sources are confident the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation will fast-track approval for children with underlying health conditions within days.ATAGI approval for the Pfizer vaccine for all children aged between 12 and 16 is likely to take at least a month.Poll: Aussie kids jabsPressure to protect high school-aged children from coronavirus has been growing amid a spate of cases across Victorian campuses.The TGA granted provisional approval for the Pfizer vaccine in January but until now it has only been approved for people over the age of 16.Regulators around the world have been split on whether the Pfizer vaccine should be given to children under the age of 16.So far Pfizer is the only company with a vaccine approved for use in Australia to have applied for a licence to jab children as young as 12.But in the US Moderna and Pfizer are both undertaking trials of their Covid-19 vaccines for children under 12 with results expected this year.PM ‘SORRY’ FOR JAB DELAYS, CHEMISTS GET JABSThe Prime Minister revealed Australia has hit 184,000 Covid vaccinations a day, as he apologised the country had missed its jab targets.“As I said yesterday, I take responsibility for the vaccination program. I also take responsibility for the challenges we’ve had,” he told a media conference in Canberra.“Obviously some things are within our control, some things that are not. And I am keen to ensure as we have been over these many months that we’ve been turning this around. I’m sorry that we haven’t been able to achieve the marks that we had hoped for at the beginning of this year. Of course I am. But what’s more important is that we’re totally focused on ensuring that we’ve been turning this around.”Mr Morrison said a new record of 184,000 vaccines a day had been reached.“That is the equivalent per head of population of 2.36 million doses in the United States a day or 481,000 in the United Kingdom when you express it as a per head of population. So we are really hitting these marks now.”The prime minister announced an “acclerating” pharmacy program that would see “three times” as many offering vaccines in the coming weeks.“We will be bringing further forward the pharmacy program and accelerating that…Right now there are 118 community pharmacies currently vaccinating around the country. Particularly in rural and regional areas where they’re supplementing the GPs, where there’s a shortage of GPs in particular areas. By the end of this month there’ll be 470. For every pharmacist that’s out there, doing vaccinations right now, there’ll be three timings as many by the end of this month.”Pharmacies will be able to register from Monday to administer AstraZeneca vaccines.Dumped cabinet minister Darren Chester reiterated Mr Morrison’s apology on his Facebook page by saying: “And I’m sorry that some people have lost confidence in our government and our world-class health system as a result.” NED-4166-Vaccination-by-percentage-of-age-bracketIt came as two people have died and four have had blood clots after getting the AstraZeneca vaccine.The Therapeutic Drug Administration has confirmed the two Australians who have died from blood clots after receiving the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine include a 44-year-old man from Tasmania and a a 48-year-old woman from Victoria.The four other people who have had blood clots linked to the vaccine were a 76 and 77-year-old men and a 79-year-old woman from NSW.Tasmanian Health Minister Jeremy Rockliff said the man from the state was included in the latest statistics of adverse events produced by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.“This report included confirmation that a Tasmanian man in his 40s has passed away following a first vaccination with the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine,” Mr Rockliff said.Mr Rockliff said the cause of death would be a matter for the coroner.The man died from a rare complication associated with the vaccine known as Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), Department of Health Secretary Kath Morgan-Wicks said.In its vaccine weekly safety report released on Thursday, the medicines watchdog said: “Sadly, this week we were notified that two confirmed cases of TTS after the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine were fatal.“One was in a 44-year-old man from Tasmania and the other was in a 48-year-old women from Victoria (this case was reported as probable TTS in last week’s report).“The TGA extends its sincerest condolences to their families and loved ones.”Since the beginning of the vaccine rollout in Australia, a total of seven deaths from TTS have been reported out of 6.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. All of them were related to a first dose of the vaccine.Health experts have said that for most patients, the risks of Covid-19 far outweigh the risks posed by the vaccine.NSW HITS 124 CASES AS COVID ‘SPREADS LIKE NEVER SEEN BEFORE’NSW has recorded 124 new local cases of Covid-19 with a record turnout of 85,185 people tested.At least 48 of these cases were infectious while in the community. Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said she expects the case numbers to go up even higher from where they are as the spillover from southwestern parts of Sydney continues. She said the infectious Delta strain was “spreading like it has never been seen before”. “Given the number of infectious (people) in the community, I’m expecting case numbers to go up even higher,” she said.“Please get vaccinated. The vaccine is key to our freedom. The more people we have vaccinated, the quicker we can live life as freely as we would like.“Please know that if you’re over 60, obviously, AstraZeneca is available. If you’re over 40, New South Wales Health can provide you with AstraZeneca but even if you’re under 40 and you really want to get the vaccine, please ask your GP. Your GP may give you the green light and people of any age can get the vaccine.“Please, please, come forward and get vaccinated.”NSW Health’s Dr Jeremy McAnulty said 67 of the locally acquired cases are linked to known cases or clusters. There were no new overseas-acquired cases on Wednesday. “There have been now 1,648 locally acquired cases linked to this outbreak since the beginning of… Since 16 June when this began,” he said.He said they are currently concerned about those living in the Cumberland LGA, including Merrylands and Guildford, Toongabbie, Seven Hills, Pendle Hill, Mount Druitt and Rooty Hill, Wollongong, Fairfield LGA, Liverpool and Bankstown, Lakemba, Narwee, Campsie and Earlwood, Georges River, Bayside, Sutherland, Haymarket and Orange and Coffs Harbour.COVID-19 Australia: Cumulative vaccinations by stateNSW Covid Exposure SitesSA COVID CASES RISE It comes as South Australia has recorded two new locally acquired Covid-19 cases on Thursday.Premier Steven Marshall confirmed the new infections, with the South Australian cluster rising to 14 cases.He said the new cases, being a brother and sister both aged in their 20s, were both at Tenafeate Creek Winery. It comes after six new cases were linked to two “super-spreading” events on Wednesday — five associated with the winery on Sunday afternoon from 1.45pm to 4.30pm, and an additional case from The Greek on Halifax restaurant on Saturday night.VICTORIA RECORDS 26 NEW CASESVictoria has recorded 26 new locally acquired Covid-19 infections on Thursday.The state’s health department confirmed the new local virus cases about 9am but in a positive sign for the Victoria’s lockdown, they said all 26 were linked to existing outbreaks that have stemmed from NSW.The health department also said 24 of the 26 cases were in quarantine throughout their entire infectious period.Victoria has now recorded 133 cases linked to the two outbreaks that jumped the border from Sydney’s deadly Delta cluster – one from a team of Sydney removalists that transited through the state and the other a family who returned to Melbourne’s north from a NSW red zone.More than 18,000 primary close contacts have been identified during the state’s latest outbreak, with 6800 of those linked to the MCG, AAMI Park and Trinity Grammar.Health Minister Martin Foley said the lockdown was working despite the spike in cases.Two days ago, only 6 per cent of new daily cases were fully isolating in quarantine during their period of infectivity, Mr Foley said. Now, it is 73 per cent.“This means our contact tracers and our restrictions are working in tandem as part of the public health team’s tool kit to beat this virus back and to beat this outbreak back, step by step,” Mr Foley said.Victoria’s fifth lockdown is set to last another six days until 11.59pm on July 27.Health authorities also confirmed there was two new cases in hotel quarantine, with the number of active cases in Victoria at 146 — up from 118 on Wednesday.NED-3869-Covid-19-Exposure-Sites-VictoriaNED-3889-Melbourne-lockdown-restrictionsQLDERS URGED TO GET JAB, RESTRICTIONS CHANGE Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pleaded with Queenslanders who are eligible for AstraZeneca to get their vaccine now. “Queensland – don’t wait for what’s happening in another state to potentially happen in your state,” Mr Morrison urged listeners on 4BC on Thursday.The Prime Minister insisted AstraZeneca was “totally safe”, highlighting it had been given the “seal of approval” from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).“The TGA approved it – the same body that approves the immunisation for your children is the same body that approved these immunisation vaccines for you.”“It’s really important to get vaccinated now,” Mr Morrison insisted.“Please, Queensland, particularly if you’re in the older population – please go and get that AstraZeneca.”The risk of Covid-19 transmission at stadiums has resulted in major changes to restrictions in Queensland, including an extended mask mandate.While density limits will ease across southeast Queensland on Friday morning, masks will remain mandatory for another seven days. Indoor gathering caps will be increased from 30 to 100, and no cap will be enforced on outdoor gatherings, but stadiums greater than 20,000 seats will now only be able to operate at 75 per cent capacity and patrons must wear face masks at all times. Before the last lockdown, Queenslanders only had to wear masks when entering and leaving the stadium. But, having seen the transmission of the virus from the MCG in Melbourne, chief health officer Jeannette Young said punters would now need to wear their mask at all times, unless they are eating or drinking while seated. “We know with our stadiums throughout Queensland, people can come from a long way away, go to the stadium and then disperse,” she said. “That’s a real risk. The reason Victoria closed down their entire state is a result of the risk of the virus coming out of that stadium and people going back home.”Dr Young said she was sure the reason Covid-19 hadn’t spread further in the community is because people have been wearing their masks, and said she wanted that to continue for at least another week. “Although we believe we’ve found all the contacts (linked to the two recent cases of Delta in Queensland), because the Delta variant can spread with just moments of exposure, there might be some we haven’t picked up,” she said. Acting Premier Steven Miles said the trade-off in easing Queensland’s restrictions was slamming the border shut to the entire state of NSW. The state recorded no new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday. Queensland restrictions from 6am FridayAll indoor settings: one person per 2 square metresPrivate indoor gatherings: maximum of 100 peoplePrivate outdoor gatherings: no upper limitIndoor wedding ceremonies and funerals: 1 person per 2 square metres or 200 people or 100 per cent capacity with ticketed and allocated seating, with unlimited dancing restrictions at weddings.Masks required in all indoor venues, except when in own home, car, or engaging in strenuous exercise.NED-3869-Covid-19-Exposure-Sites-Qld – with Maria Bervanakis, Jack Paynter

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