'Biggest week' for vaccines to come as Delta source mystery continues

'Biggest week' for vaccines to come as Delta source mystery continues

Coronavirus
A fourth Covid lockdown has emptied Melbourne's usually busy streets. Picture: Getty Images

A fourth Covid lockdown has emptied Melbourne's usually busy streets. Picture: Getty Images

Aa

Authorities say they are confident there will be enough supply of vaccines to meet increased demand.

Aa

Australia is set to have its "biggest week" so far in the vaccination rollout, with the government projecting the next million vaccine doses will be administered in fewer than nine days.

Victoria is leading the charge when it comes to getting the jab, but authorities in that state are warning there will be no "snap-back" to fully eased restrictions when Melbourne's lockdown does end, despite the new cases announced on Monday being close contacts of existing cases.

Victorian cases up to 81

Victoria recorded 11 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases on Monday, including two linked to the Arcare Maidstone aged care facility reported on Sunday.

The new cases are all linked to current outbreaks and bring the total number of local active cases to 81.

With no new exposure sites linked to the 11 new cases, Victoria's chief health officer, Brett Sutton, said Melbourne's lockdown was on track to end on Thursday night, though he ruled out a return to the relaxed restrictions in place before the outbreak.

"It is certainly not a snap-back to large gatherings and a full MCG," he said.

Asked what restrictions would look like come Friday, he said: "It's not something I can speak to now. It's early days still".

Acting Premier James Merlino had previously flagged Melbourne would move to a similar set of restrictions to that of regional Victoria, with people unable to travel during the Queen's Birthday long weekend.

'Biggest week' for vaccines on the way

Australia passed the 5 million-dose mark for vaccines over the weekend, with Eric Young, operations co-ordinator at the Vaccine Operations Centre, saying it took just nine days for the most recent million doses to be administered.

"For our next million, despite having a national public holiday and additional weekends, we'll be focused on continuing to do what we can to increase the speed of the rate of vaccination," he said.

More than one-third of the doses administered last week were in Victoria.

Commodore Young said more than 800,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine would be released by the Therapeutic Goods Administration this week, with another 500,000 expected to arrive in the country on Wednesday night. Just under 250,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be released this week, as the manufacturing site undergoes routine maintenance.

ACM launches VAXTHENATION campaign calling for eligible Australians to get vaccinated.

ACM launches VAXTHENATION campaign calling for eligible Australians to get vaccinated.

Delta source could remain a mystery

Chief medical officer Paul Kelly said the source of a cluster in West Melbourne could remain a mystery. The family who were first diagnosed with the virus had travelled to popular NSW holiday destinations including Jervis Bay, and were confirmed to have the Delta variant, which has not been seen elsewhere outside of hotel quarantine in Australia.

"We have the very best genomic analysis here in Australia, but there's sometimes technical reasons not every positive case is able to be genomically analysed," Professor Kelly said.

There was no link to any particular hotel breach, he said, and no known link to diplomats who are given exemptions to quarantine at home due to international conventions.

"I'm assured by my colleague Kerryn Coleman, the chief health officer in the ACT, there's been no positive cases."

Professor Sutton said authorities were combing through genomic sequencing data from across the country for answers.

"All jurisdictions are still looking to see if they can re-sequence any of their partially sequenced cases to see if anything can come up as a match, but nothing thus far," he said.

Asked if a foreign diplomat may have spread the virus, given they are exempt from hotel quarantine, Professor Sutton replied: "We simply don't know. I wouldn't rule anything in or out."

Morrison wants Victoria to open up

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters he wants Victoria to reopen as soon as possible, citing the impact of lockdowns on families.

"Kids have lost enough time out of school over the course of the last 18 months and it's very important we get those kids back to school as soon as possible," he said in Sydney.

"I am hopeful these restrictions in Victoria will be lifted as soon as possible. I would be urging that we move to lift those restrictions as soon as possible."

  • with AAP
Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by