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  • DEC

    Returned Tassie traveller from Vic dodges quarantine

    A construction worker at Hobart's Derwent Entertainment Centre who skipped home quarantine having been in Victoria, has escaped with just a caution. His Tas e-Travel application stated he had simply transitted through the COVID "high-risk" state, when in fact…
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    Vic scramble to find Delta virus link

    A man who was infected with the Delta COVID-19 strain mistakenly opened his room door soon after entering hotel quarantine in Melbourne. But Emma Cassar, the head of COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria, says this incident is unlikely to be the reason for the Delta…
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    NSW locations declared "high-risk" by Tas Health

    Victoria's coronavirus cluster is now threatening to impact New South Wales, after confirmation an infected person with the highly infectious Indian variant visited several sites in the state's south. It's prompted a swift high-risk declaration of five…
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    Ardern, Morrison writing COVID rules in NZ

    The Australian and New Zealand leaders say they'll write new pages in the COVID-19 rulebook when they meet for formal talks on Monday. Scott Morrison and Jacinda Ardern are in Queenstown for the annual Australia-New Zealand Leaders Forum. Mr Morrison is…
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    Victoria to enter 7 day circuit breaker lockdown from midnight

    Victoria will begin a seven-day lockdown from midnight, in an effort to contain a COVID-19 outbreak in the northern suburbs that has grown to 26 cases. One of those infected people is in intensive care and Acting Premier James Merlino said they are "not in a…
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    Melbourne set to learn COVID lockdown fate

    Melbourne residents are about to find out if a growing coronavirus cluster in the city's north will trigger another lockdown in the Victorian capital. Acting Premier James Merlino raised the prospect of a shutdown on Wednesday after the so-called Whittlesea…
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    Victorian outbreak sparks vaccine calls

    All eligible Australians are being urged to get vaccinated against coronavirus as a fresh outbreak threatens to spread across Melbourne. Victoria's cluster of cases has climbed to 15, with authorities naming dozens of exposure sites including the MCG where an…
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    Pfizer vaccine coming for 40-49s in NSW

    Around a million people in NSW aged between 40 and 49 could get a Pfizer COVID-19 jab at the new purpose-built vaccination hub at Sydney Olympic Park within weeks. Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the "exciting" development at the opening of the…
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    Vic plane passengers wait for test results

    About 15,000 people are isolating in Victoria, including 38 in hotel quarantine, as the state continues to deal with the fallout from Western Australia's coronavirus outbreak. Victoria's testing commander Jeroen Weimar has revealed it took more than half a…
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    Bubble not burst yet

    Tasmanian and New Zealand Health officials will meet on Wednesday to discuss any possible implications of a new coronavirus case at Auckland airport. It comes only a day before the first direct flights between Hobart and Auckland begin again after 20 years.…
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    US reviews J&J COVID-19 vaccine

    The United States is reviewing reports of a handful of potential cases of severe side effects among people who received Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, as well as those that led to a pause in its use, a top US public health official says. US health…
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    National cabinet meets to discuss vaccine

    The meeting of the national cabinet will aim to get the nation's vaccine program back on track and discuss ways to ease international border restrictions, perhaps later in the year. One route in and out of the country has already eased, after restrictions on…
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    PM, premier urge calm after NSW clot death

    Scott Morrison and Gladys Berejiklian have warned against rushing to conclusions after the death of a NSW woman who developed blood clots a day after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. The NSW premier also reiterated her enthusiasm to receive her second…
  • PA Hospital

    COVID-19 found in Brisbane hospital ward

    Engineering consultants are inspecting a Brisbane hospital's infectious diseases ward after traces of coronavirus turned up in testing there, one week after it was deep cleaned. The Princess Alexandra Hospital's Ward 5D was shut from March 30 and deep cleaned…
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    Qld man aged in his 80s dies from COVID-19

    Australia has recorded its first COVID-19 death for 2021 after a man in his 80s died in a Brisbane hospital. Health minister Yvette D'Ath said the Australian man succumbed to the disease on Monday night after returning from the Philippines. It follows the…
  • coronavirus update

    Second case of rare blood clots identified

    Australia's medicine regulator has identified a second case of rare blood clots believed to be linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. The Therapeutic Goods Administration released a safety alert announcing the possible link on Tuesday. The blood clots affected a…
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    US breaks daily vaccine record with 4.6m

    The US continues to make rapid strides with its vaccination programme, announcing that health care workers have carried out more than 4.6 million vaccinations in one day. "A new record," Cyrus Shahpar, the person responsible for vaccination data at the White…
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    Under-50s AstraZeneca jabs on hold in Tas

    Tasmania has halted first-dose injections of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for people aged under 50 years, following federal health advice. The decision comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison late on Thursday received recommendations from the Australian…
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    Australia's vaccine rollout plans in chaos

    Australia is facing a major delay in its coronavirus vaccine rollout after new bombshell advice plunged the program into chaos. Health supremos have recommended not administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to people under 50 because of an extremely rare but…
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    Aus monitoring AstraZeneca concerns

    The Morrison Government is now considering next steps in regard to the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine rollout, after the UK began offering people aged under 30 an alternative formula. It comes after the European Medicines Agency confirmed the jab can cause…

Victoria to enter 7 day circuit breaker lockdown from midnight

James Merlino 20210504001539619705 600x400

Victoria will begin a seven-day lockdown from midnight, in an effort to contain a COVID-19 outbreak in the northern suburbs that has grown to 26 cases.

One of those infected people is in intensive care and Acting Premier James Merlino said they are "not in a good way".

Mr Merlino confirmed the state will enter the "circuit breaker" lockdown at midnight on Thursday.

"Unless something changes, this will be increasingly uncontrollable," he told reporters.

He added the spread of the outbreak was causing great concern, with more than 10,000 primary and secondary contacts.

People will only be able to leave home to shop for food and essential items, provide or receive care, exercise, work or study if they are unable to from home, and get vaccinated.

The 5km travel limit will also be reimposed for exercise and shopping, as will compulsory use of masks indoors and outdoors.

All non-essential retail will close but essential stores including supermarkets, bottle shops and pharmacies will remain open.

Cafes and restaurants will only be able to offer take-away.

Childcare and kinder will stay open, but schools will close.

Professional sports events such as the weekend's AFL games in Melbourne will continue, but without crowds.

Mr Merlino also announced the state's vaccine program will expand, with people over 40 now eligible for the Pfizer jab.

In his media conference, Mr Merlino highlighted the slow rollout of the Commonwealth vaccine program and continued problems with hotel quarantine.

"We are not through this pandemic until we have had the successful rollout of the federal government's vaccine programs and we have safe alternatives to hotel quarantine," he said.

He also noted the current outbreak originated from South Australian hotel quarantine.

"It's not a criticism, it's just a fact," Mr Merlino said.

While the lockdown could be shorter than seven days, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton is doubtful.

"We have to ready ourselves for seven days of this lockdown," Professor Sutton said.

He added all the active cases remain linked.

Prof Sutton said the Indian B1.617.1 variant of the virus that has caused this outbreak is particularly concerning.

"It really is rapid and that's led to the exponential increase (of contacts)," he said.

There are now 79 exposure sites across Melbourne and regional Victoria, including the MCG and Marvel Stadium.

There were infected people at AFL matches at the weekend, while another visited three bars in Prahran and South Yarra, which is of concern to authorities.

Prof Sutton strongly defended Victoria's contact tracing efforts as the outbreak spreads, saying it is an "absurd proposition" that the system is not working properly.

Genomic sequencing shows the outbreak is linked to the case of a Wollert man, with an official SA report on Wednesday suggesting he caught the virus from aerosol transmission in an Adelaide quarantine hotel.

But a definitive link between the Wollert man and the Whittlesea outbreak has not been established.

There are now 34 active cases in total in Victoria, including cases in hotel quarantine, with more than 40,411 tests conducted in the 24 hours to midnight Wednesday.

Some 12,677 vaccine doses were administered during the same period.

The lockdown is Victoria's fourth.

The state's most recent was the five-day "circuit breaker" lockdown in February when the virus escaped hotel quarantine and infected more than a dozen people.

The second lockdown was during 2020 and lasted 112 days.

© AAP 2021

Photo: Victorian Acting Premier James Merlino (AAP Image/Luis Ascui)

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