It’s still a couple of weeks until Australians start to get vaccinated against Covid-19, and health minister Greg Hunt has flagged the government will be developing communications to ensure everyone in Australia is able to receive the vaccine, AAP reports.
Hunt said it is critical that communications around the vaccine program are also targeted for culturally, ethnically, and linguistically diverse communities.
“The government recognises that people from multicultural communities are a significant part of the health, aged care, child care and disability workforce and will be among the first people in Australia to receive vaccinations,” Hunt said in a statement on Sunday.
Australia’s shadow federal treasurer, Jim Chalmers, is concerned that Australia is languishing in rolling out the vaccine program which he says is creating uncertainty in communities and the economy more broadly, AAP reports.
He said some 90 countries have their vaccinations program under way.
“After the prime minister said we were at the front of the queue, 160m people have been vaccinated around the world, while zero Australians have been vaccinated,” Chalmers told Sky News on Sunday.
The Australian rollout is not due to begin until later this month.
Good morning and welcome to the Guardian’s global coronavirus live blog.
I’m Josh Taylor, reporting to you from Melbourne where we are in day two of a five-day snap lockdown, following an outbreak from the Holiday Inn Melbourne airport quarantine hotel.
As of Sunday morning, there are now 16 cases associated with the outbreak, with two new cases reported today, with one other case in hotel quarantine.
Here’s the latest from the rest of the world at a glance:
- UK prime minister Boris Johnson has said he is “optimistic” he will be able to begin announcing the easing of restrictions when he sets out his “roadmap” out of lockdown in England on 22 February.
- Australia’s Victoria state is gearing up to rethink its hotel quarantine programme, as the state enters its second day of a five-day “circuit-breaker” lockdown in response to an outbreak of the more infectious UK variant at a Melbourne airport quarantine hotel, and two new locally acquired cases of Covid-19 and one in hotel quarantine were reported.
- Iran is heading towards a “fourth wave” as cases rise in certain areas, its president has warned.
- Talking about UK pubs reopening in April is “premature” and pub bosses need to realise there is a danger of going “back to square one”, an expert has said.
- Uptake of the coronavirus vaccine among care home staff in the UK remains “far too low”, according to the deputy chair of the government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), who said only 66% of care home staff had taken up the offer of the jab.
- A coronavirus strain found on a Polish mink farm can be directly transmitted from the animals to humans and vice versa, the country’s agriculture ministry said on Saturday.
- Venezuela has received the first 100,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine on Saturday.
- Lebanon on Saturday received its first coronavirus vaccines, a day before an inoculation drive is set to launch.
- Infections in Germany continue to fall nationwide, as the country reported 8,354 new infections on Saturday, around 2,100 fewer than a week earlier.
- South Africa will reopen 20 of its land borders to allow normal travel after restrictions were implemented to control rising Covid-19 infections last month, the Home Affairs ministry said on Saturday.
- China refused to hand over data on early Covid cases to the investigation into the origins of the pandemic, a member of the member of the World Health Organization-led team has said.
Let’s get into it.
Victoria adds new Covid exposure sites; Greek tennis player tests positive hours after leaving Melbourne
In Victoria overnight, four new Covid exposure sites were added:
- Elite Swimming, Pascoe Vale, Monday 8 February, 5pm – 6pm
- Woolworths Broadmeadows Central, Broadmeadows, Tuesday 9 February, 12.15pm – 12.30pm
- Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses, Broadmeadows, Tuesday 9 February, 12.30pm – 12.45pm
- Oak Park Sports and Aquatic Centre, Pascoe Vale, Wednesday 10 February, 4pm – 7.30pm
The Australian health minister, Greg Hunt, has reportedly rejected suggestions from Victorian premier Daniel Andrews, that hotel quarantine numbers should potentially be slashed to only those on compassionate grounds, stating Victoria should return to its pre-outbreak numbers at the end of the five-day lockdown.
It comes as Greek tennis player Michail Pervolarakis has tested positive for Covid-19 after leaving Melbourne following the Australian Open, he flew on a 24-hour flight to South Africa, where he is now in isolation and asymptomatic.
The number 463 in ATP rankings has clarified he tested negative prior to leaving Melbourne, and believes he was infected on his flight or at his stopover in Doha.