The Victorian Premier has blasted the Prime Minister for a vaccine blindside that resulted in 15k cancellations. Follow us live.
Here is a wrap up of today’s Covid-19 news.
You can follow our live blog here.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has blamed the prime minister for the cancellation of 15,000 vaccinations after the federal government annouced an influx of the Pfizer jab.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison annouced yesterday all Australians aged 16-39 would be eligible for a Pfizer vaccine from August 30.
Mr Andrews said thousands had cancelled their AstraZeneca appointments on Monday after realising they would soon be eligible for Pfizer instead, following the government annoucement.
‘I did not make announcements about Pfizer last Thursday that saw some 15,000 AstraZeneca appointments cancelled yesterday,’ Mr Andrews said.
Flood of Pfizer for Victoria
Daniel Andrews has announced that young people in Victoria will be eligible for Pfizer from tomorrow morning -when some 830,000 first dose appointments will be opened up.
It comes as the state recorded 50 new cases today – which is a welcome drop from yesterday’s 71 – but 10 new mystery cases were picked up and 39 were in the community while infectious.
Of the 50 local cases recorded, 40 are linked to current outbreaks and 10 are under investigation. 11 cases have been in quarantine throughout their infectious period.
Despite today’s drop, there has been a fourfold rise in mystery cases in the past week and hundreds of infected children – meaning the planned end of “short and sharp” lockdown on September 2 now looks very unlikely.
What the vax expansion means for Victorians
The expansion means that all Victorian adults can get Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines at the state’s vaccine hubs from tomorrow.
“The change means that from Wednesday 25 August, anyone aged 18 to 59 will be eligible to receive either Pfizer or AstraZeneca — with people aged 16 to 17 able to receive the Pfizer vaccine,” the government said in a statement.
“Those aged 60 and over will continue to receive AstraZeneca.
“Anyone aged 18 to 39 who has a current booking for AstraZeneca from Wednesday 25th August who would prefer to receive Pfizer, will not need to cancel or change your booking – you will be offered Pfizer when you arrive for your appointment, unless you would prefer to receive AstraZeneca.”
AstraZeneca will still be available for those who choose to provide consent and discuss the vaccination with a medical professional, the government said.
Mr Andrews has also committed to giving all Victorian high school students at least one Covid jab by the end of this year.
The state has expanded its vaccine program, making every Victorian over the age of 16 eligible for a coronavirus vaccine at state-run vaccination centres.
Where the new cases have been found
Of the 50 new cases today:
• Seven are linked to the Shepparton cluster, which has now been genomically linked to the Glenroy outbreak – meaning it’s not from NSW
• Six are associated with the childcare centre in Broadmeadows
• 12 are associated with the Newport Altona North and Wyndham outbreak areas
• Six are day 13 tests from the Hobsons Bay cluster, including Al-Taqwa college
• Four are associated with the Royal Melbourne outbreak.
• Two are existing primary close contacts with the Royal Children’s Hospital and three are known contacts of earlier household cases.
Updates from NSW
QLD’s swipe at Gladys
Annastacia Palaszczuk criticised the NSW approach to containing its Covid-19 crisis after Gladys Berejiklian said driving infections down to zero was “completely unrealistic”.
Ms Palaszczuk also defended the approach to go hard and early to suppress virus threats in response to a swipe from the Prime Minister, where he declared “we can’t stay in the cave forever”.
“Have a look out in Queensland at the moment,” she said.
“You can go to work, you can go school, you can go and watch sport, you can play community sport, you can go to a restaurant, you can go out.“We haven’t given up.
Good news as cases drop
There were 753 cases picked up in NSW and zero deaths.
Of the locally acquired cases, 134 are linked to a known case or cluster – 108 are household contacts and 26 are close contacts – and the source of infection for 619 cases is under investigation.
Seventy-three cases were in isolation throughout their infectious period and 22 were in isolation for part of their infectious period.
Forty-nine cases were infectious in the community, and the isolation status of 609 cases remains under investigation.
Six Sydney suburbs have been singled out as areas of particular concern as the city’s coronavirus outbreak continues to spread.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told residents in Auburn, Merrylands, Yagoona, Guildford, Punchbowl, Blacktown, and the areas surrounding those suburbs to be on their watch.
‘God help us if we have another variant’
NSW CHO Dr Kerry Chant has given a sobering assessment of what the years ahead could bring, insisting that Covid was an unpredictable beast.
She said a mandate on mask wearing could be in place “for years” as the nation plans its path out of the coronavirus crisis.
“The world is grappling with how we coexist with Covid and the virus may throw us curve balls,” she said.
“You know, we’ve got the Delta variant. God help us if we have another variant.
“This is not a one-size-fits all.”
“It may be that we actually have indoor mask-wearing for years in certain settings,” she said.
“We may have factors that you’re only permitted to go to certain high risk venues if you’re vaccinated and show proof of vaccination.”
Premier’s warning over dropping cases
The premier Gladys Berejiklian had some words of caution for those who might see today’s drop in case numbers as a sign the crisis is on its way out.
“We always say there is no way you can get a trend from a day,” she said.
“What we are focused on is, I don’t want people to ride the rollercoaster of emotions on the case numbers every day.
“Let’s focus on the vaccine rates because that is what will determine how we can live moving forward.”
NSW hits six million jabs
Ms Berejiklian kicked off her presser by praising residents who helped the state hit its six million jabs target.
“I’m so pleased and grateful New South Wales has had 6 million jabs. Dr Chant and our team had conversations because we have hit the milestone and I look forward to making the announcement on Thursday or Friday this week as to what fully vaccinated people will be able to do from the month of September because of the target we have set,” she said.
“Thank you to everybody who has stepped up and got the jab. That equates to 60 per cent of our population across the state with at least one dose. And around 30 per cent of the population double dosed.
“It is amazing milestones. I’m deeply grateful.”
There are currently 608 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital, with 107 people in intensive care, 34 of whom require ventilation.
There were 138,472 COVID-19 tests reported to 8pm last night, compared with the previous day’s total of 311,083.
Ms Berejiklian said unvaccinated residents should be prepared to not be able to enjoy post-lockdown freedoms – whether government mandated or imposed by private organisations.