Sydney COVID outbreak declared 'national emergency' by Premier Gladys Berejiklian

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian says the Sydney Covid outbreak is a national emergency after the state recorded 136 new coronavirus cases, and calls for vaccines to be redirected to residents in the main hotspots. Photograph: Getty Images

After NSW had the highest daily infections during the Sydney outbreak, Australia's authorities have been encouraged to refocus the national coronavirus immunization policy.

Before meeting with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and state and territory counterparts, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian declared the situation a national emergency.

She emphasized that the rollout was critical in avoiding the virus from spreading to other states and subsequent lockdowns.

On Friday, she told reporters, "We need to have a discussion about refocusing the national vaccination strategy."

NSW wants additional Pfizer vaccine doses to vaccinate young people in the outbreak's epicenter, Sydney's west and southwest.

The state reported 136 new local instances of the contagious Delta strain, which has forced more than half of Australia's population into lockdowns.

Paul Kelly, the state's chief medical officer, told a Senate committee that the situation in NSW was "very serious."

John Frewen, the vaccine campaign's coordinator, said talks with NSW about refocusing the distribution were in the works.

“Vaccines are only one part of the response to an outbreak like this... lockdowns, testing, tracing, isolation, social-distancing, masks – all of these things are really important,” he said.

After the national cabinet meeting, Lieutenant General Frewen remarked, a revised immunization strategy would be released.

Increased coordination, public confidence, and a safe and efficient rollout will all be covered.

He told a Senate committee, "By the end of the year, I want to have maximum convenience in vaccination so that the difficulty of getting vaccines... isn't an excuse."

The deployment has increased from 5.2 million to 10.6 million doses since he took over.

However, just 15% of the country's population aged 16 and up has got both vaccines.

Brendan Murphy, the secretary of the health department, dismissed any link between the recent lockdowns and the rollout's speed.

Adults under 40 will still have to wait until September or October to get Pfizer immunizations across the country.

By the end of next week, final authorization for children aged 12 to 15 to get the Pfizer vaccine should be granted.

Prioritization will be given to those who are immunocompromised or have underlying medical issues.

According to Health Minister Greg Hunt, the government plans to begin distributing the vaccination to all children in that age group later this year, including through schools.

However, the rollout for the under the 40s, in general, is still set to begin in September or early October.

“At this point, it's a window, not a specific date,” Hunt told ABC radio on Friday.

Because of the low risk of rare blood clots, AstraZeneca remains the preferred vaccine for persons aged 60 and up.

In the 24 hours leading up to Friday, Victoria registered 14 new locally acquired cases, fuelling optimism that restrictions will be loosened next week.

The terms of reference for an updated report on the quarantining of returned overseas travelers are scheduled to be approved by the national cabinet.

On Thursday, two new instances of the Coronavirus were reported in South Australia, which is also under lockdown.

Publish : 2021-07-23 09:40:00

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