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Sydney to get extra vaccines as Covid cases mount

MELBOURNE: Sydney will receive an additional 50,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine this week to combat the escalating Covid outbreak, Canberra said Saturday, canceling a call for increased supplies by the Australian government and other states the previous day.

Australia on Saturday reported 176 new coronavirus cases domestically, the third consecutive daily record for nearly all cases in New South Wales, centered in the country’s largest city, Sydney.

Officials fear the outbreak could threaten the rest of the country.

However, despite a statewide order to stay at home, 3,500 protesters, mostly without masks, clashed with police in central Sydney, denouncing the month-long isolation. pandemic.

“You don’t need to be an epidemiologist to understand that if this is an ultra high-profile event, we can forget about lifting restrictions next week,” New South Wales Police Minister David Elliott told reporters.

The police have arrested 57 people, even more are under investigation, they face heavy fines and penalties.

Protests took place in Melbourne and Adelaide, which are also isolated, and in Brisbane, where there are no restrictions. Police arrested six people in Melbourne, including one for assaulting an emergency worker, and fined dozens of others for failing to comply with orders to remain within 5 kilometers of their home.

NSW Health Secretary Brad Hazzard highlighted the state’s urgent need for additional vaccine supplies, adding that with so many people disregarding the housekeeping order, this was the only way to stop transmission of the virus.

“At the moment, it’s like a war with both hands behind our back,” he told reporters.

New South Wales reported 163 local cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, up from 136 a day earlier, with 37 patients in intensive care.

Hazzard reiterated his call on other states to phase out some of Pfizer’s vaccines so that younger people can be vaccinated in Sydney’s hot spots, reminding neighboring states of the help New South Wales has provided during other crises.

“I don’t really see the difference between fighting backfires and repelling … floods and countering this Covid virus, which in fact could, if it gets worse here in New South Wales, create huge problems for the entire country,” he said.

Victoria’s Health Secretary Martin Foley said he did not have a spare vaccine for New South Wales, but was fully supported by the federal government in sending them additional doses from the national stock as they are clearly in greatest need.

Of the new cases in New South Wales, at least 45 have become infected in the community, according to state health authorities. This figure is being watched closely as the state is weighing whether to extend the isolation, which is due to end on July 30.

The spread of the virus through family visits was a particular problem, Hazzard said. In one case, 18 infections were linked to a single congregation following a family tragedy, NSW health director Jeremy McAnulty said.

Victoria, which includes Melbourne, reported 12 local coronavirus cases on Saturday, up from 14 a day earlier, in what Foley described as an encouraging sign as the second-most populous state is weighing whether tough isolation should be lifted from Tuesday evening.

South Australia, also in isolation, has reported one new case associated with a known outbreak.

Despite battling outbreaks of infections, mostly Delta, Australia has managed to keep its epidemic largely under control, with a total of about 32,600 cases and 916 deaths. – Reuters

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