Australia says Italy’s block on the AstraZeneca vaccine is frustrating but not crucial | Instant News

CANBERRA, March 5 (Reuters) – The Australian government on Friday expressed frustration over Italy’s decision to block deliveries of the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca, but stressed it would not affect the launch of Australia’s inoculation program.

Italy, supported by the European Commission, blocked plans to export around 250,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine after drug manufacturers failed to meet EU contractual commitments.

“The world is in uncharted territory at the moment, it’s no surprise that some countries will tear up the rule book,” Australian Finance Minister Simon Birmingham told Sky News.

“This shows how well Australia continues to do compared to the desperation of other countries.”

Health Minister Greg Hunt said Australia had received 300,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which will last until local vaccine production increases.

“This is a single shipment from a country,” Hunt said in an emailed statement. “This shipment is not factored into our distribution plans for the coming weeks.”

AstraZeneca did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Australia started an inoculation program two weeks ago, vaccinating frontline health staff and the elderly with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine despite limited doses of the vaccine amid tight global supplies.

Officials on Friday administered the first AstraZeneca vaccine to a doctor in the state of South Australia.

Australia has ordered 53.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was developed in conjunction with the University of Oxford. Local pharmaceutical company CSL Ltd has secured the rights to produce 50 million of these doses in Australia.

The doses will form the backbone of Australia’s inoculation program, which is expected to be completed in October.

Australia is under less pressure than many other countries, recording just under 29,000 cases of COVID-19 and 909 deaths. Lower infection and death counts have been aided by tight lockdowns, rapid tracking systems and border closings. (Reporting by Colin Packham; editing by Jane Wardell)


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Victoria Australia is ‘well placed’ to begin easing restrictions on COVID-19, said the prime minister | Instant News

SYDNEY, February 16 (Reuters) – Australia’s state of Victoria is well positioned to begin reducing its five-day coronavirus lockdown on Wednesday, said Prime Minister Daniel Andrews, as it reported only two new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday.

Victoria, the country’s second most populous state, has been on lockdown since midnight on Friday following a new outbreak linked to quarantine hotels.

The state’s more than six million residents are required to stay at home except for shopping and essential work, care and outdoor sports.

Andrews reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the current cluster to a total of 19 people.

“This strategy is working,” Andrews told reporters. “We are in the right position to be able to make changes tomorrow night. As I said yesterday, I am not in a position to commit definitively to it, because the next 24 hours will be very important, “Andrews said.

The Australian Open tennis tournament, which is held in the state capital Melbourne until February 21, has banned spectators until the end of the lockdown.

New South Wales, the country’s most populous state, on Tuesday recorded 30 consecutive days without local cases of COVID-19, the first time since the pandemic began. The virus has been effectively eliminated in other states and territories.

Australia has reported a total of just under 29,000 COVID-19 cases and 909 deaths, with border closings and rapid tracking systems helping to keep the numbers relatively low compared to other developed countries.

Australia will begin inoculation of its population of 25 million starting February 22 after receiving the first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday. (Reporting by Renju Jose; editing by Jane Wardell)


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Australia may see the first week of no local transmission of COVID-19 | Instant News

MELBOURNE, November 14 (Reuters) – Australia’s three most populous states recorded at least a week of no local transmission of the new coronavirus on Saturday, boding well for the country’s recovery from the pandemic after turmoil undermined an impressive initial response.

Victoria, the epicenter of the virus’ resurgence in recent months, recorded a 15th straight day of no new infections and no associated deaths, two weeks after the state emerged from one of the world’s longest and tightest lockdowns.

The deputy head of health for the second most populous state, Allen Cheng, said at a press conference that case zero was executed “almost as well as possible”.

Neighboring New South Wales, the state’s most populous, experienced seven days without local transmission, while Queensland had no new community infections for two months. The two states are seeing several new cases in managed quarantine among travelers from abroad.

The latest data may mean Australia could record the first week of no local transmission since the start of the pandemic because in other countries there have been no cases for weeks or months.

Australia’s swift closure of borders and stringent and economically costly measures kept the pandemic from spreading largely, but a revival in July in Victoria sent the state into a tough 111-day lockdown that ended in late October.

Victorians still have to wear masks and public gatherings are limited, but more easing is expected in the week. Western Australia, whose borders have been closed with the rest of the country for seven months, reopened on Saturday.

The country has seen more than 27,700 new coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic – about the daily number of illnesses recorded in Britain in recent days. Australia has recorded 907 deaths from COVID-19.

Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Edited by William Mallard


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Australia to relax on some domestic travel restrictions | Instant News

MELBOURNE, May 20 (Reuters) – Australians in the country’s most populous country will be able to vacation within its borders next month, when art galleries and museums will also be reopened, as officials try to improve the economy hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The move will allow the state of New South Wales, home to Sydney, to open a tourist area on its south coast that was badly damaged by massive forest fires before the virus caused further chaos. NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian said people still need to adapt to the “new normal” because officials maintain some social measures that have been credited with maintaining both COVID-19 cases and relatively low deaths. “We want people to enjoy themselves, feel free, but at the same time know that nothing we do is the same during a pandemic,” he told a television news conference. “We want people to feel motivated and hopeful about the future, but we also want people to be realistic, that a safe environment of COVID will look and feel very different from what happened before the pandemic.” Australia has reported more than 7,000 infections, including 100 deaths, among its 25 million population. NSW, the hardest hit country, recorded only four new cases during the past 24 hours, all international travelers have been quarantined. More than 7,000 test results during the same period did not show community transmission, said Berejiklian. Australia’s states and territories implement a three-step federal government plan to loosen locking measures with staggered steps, which means different regions in the country have different boundaries. In the state of Victoria, authorities used a controversial smartphone contact tracking application for the first time to track the movements of someone who was confirmed on Monday to have the disease. Nearly 6 million Australians have downloaded the application, still less than 40% of the population according to the government will make it an effective tool, amid privacy concerns about data usage. Reporting by Melanie Burton; editing by Jane Wardell Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. .

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