NSW sounds the alarm as a result of the shortage of Pfizer doses... and the Minister of Health criticizes the leaders of other states
25 July 2021
(See Translation in Arabic Section)
Sydney - M E Times Int'l: NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has blasted the rest of the nation for not immediately sending Pfizer vaccine supplies to Sydney as the state plunges deeper into a Covid crisis.
Shortly after announcing 163 new cases on Saturday, Mr Hazzard said he was disturbed by how other leaders had responded to the state’s plea for help on Friday.
“I want to remind those other states and territories that last time I looked, we were a Commonwealth, we worked together,” he said.
Mr Hazzard likened the Covid crisis to bushfires and floods, saying he “can’t quite see the difference” between states working together to address natural disasters and doing the same with the virus.
“If it gets worse here in NSW, (the virus) could create massive problems for the whole country,” he said.
Mr Hazzard appealed for vaccines to be administered to young people in southwest and western Sydney, saying “we need them to have the Pfizer”.
On Friday afternoon, national cabinet knocked back a proposal from NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian for vaccine supplies to be redirected to Sydney.
Instead, it was decided NSW vaccine centres would extend the second dose of Pfizer from three weeks out to six, allowing for more first jabs in arms as soon as possible.
Across the border, Victoria Health Minister Martin Foley also said his state would not send NSW any of its allocated vaccine.
“This is one of the problems of a relative scarcity of supply,” he said.
“The real question is, how do we all support NSW and any other state or territory while also making sure that the fundamental positions of our primary obligation to the protection and wellbeing of Victorians is managed in that context – the two go together.”
Thousands of Protesters shouting “freedom” cause chaos in Sydney CBD
Sydney: Protesters have been slammed as inherently selfish.
NSW Police have arrested multiple people after thousands gathered for an anti-lockdown protest which breached COVID-19 restrictions in Sydney’s CBD.
A Delta outbreak has forced millions in Greater Sydney under lockdown restrictions for the past four weeks amid escalating daily case numbers.
It comes as New South Wales saw a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases on Saturday recording 163 new to 8pm on a fourth consecutive record-breaking day.
Law enforcement rejected the application put forward by protest organisers in Sydney to hold the rally but the event went ahead anyway.
Caroline Kennedy set to become US Ambassador to Australia
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President Joe Biden plans to nominate Caroline Kennedy as part of his envoy for Australia.
Ms Kennedy served as ambassador to Japan during the Obama administration.
NZ suspends all travel with Australia for two months over Covid-19 outbreaks
The New Zealand government has suspended the travel bubble with Australia, saying the threat from Delta COVID-19 outbreaks is now too great.
From 11:59pm tonight (Friday, July 23), Australians will be unable to travel to New Zealand on quarantine-free flight and New Zealanders returning home will face quarantine and self-isolation measures.
This suspension will be in place for at least eight weeks.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said “the Delta variant has materially changed the risk profile”.
“Now is the time for a suspension to ensure New Zealanders aren’t put at undue risk from COVID-19,” she said.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the move was a reasonable one.
Ms Ardern stressed New Zealanders returning home would not face any new hotel quarantine requirements due to today’s announcements.
Quarantine-free travel had already been suspended from NSW so anyone returning to New Zealand from Sydney will have to go into hotel quarantine for 14 days.
Berejiklian expressed her strong disgust with the illegal protesters
Sydney: I am utterly disgusted by the illegal protestors in the City today whose selfish actions have compromised the safety of all of us.
The protestors have shown utter contempt for their fellow citizens who are currently doing it tough.
I want to thank the brave Police officers who put their own safety on the line to ensure the protest action ceased.
This type of activity during lockdown will not be tolerated and the full force of the law will be brought against anyone who engages in this type of illegal activity.
Police minister slams protest against lockdown, calls for "Strike Force Seasoned"
Sydney: Police Minister David Elliott has denounced the 3,500 “very selfish boofheads” who attended an anti-lockdown protest in Sydney on Saturday.
More than 57 people have been charged, some of them with multiple offences.
Mr Elliott also announced the formation of Strike Force Seasoned which will see 22 detectives work to identify as many people as possible who attended Saturday’s protest and have them charged.
He implored everyone who attended the protest to get tested for COVID-19.
Labor NSW condemns protesters and supports police: “HUNT THEM DOWN”
Sydney: NSW Shadow Police Minister, Walt Secord today condemned anti-lockdown protestors in Sydney – saying the NSW Police had his full support.
“I hope that every single protestor’s image is captured on CCTV and the police hunt them down.”
“No one should be allowed to swarm, assault, threaten or throw items at the police who are out there enforcing public health orders aimed at saving lives. Those illegal protestors deserve to feel the full brunt of the law.”
“I stand with our brave police officers and they have my full support.
“This disgusting display was an attack on every single person working to save lives in the current COVID outbreak – from every single police officer to our nurses to doctors to paramedics to hospital cleaners working their guts out to protect the community.”
If Berejiklian can’t ‘share the suffering’ she must ‘forfeit the right to lead’: Alan Jones
Sydney: If NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian can’t “share the suffering” of the public then she has “forfeited the right to lead and the right to be believed”.
“I am saying this to you, Premier Berejiklian, in your brazen, defiant, ego-driven, thoughtless, careless, indifferent, selfish, dogmatic, dictatorial, unbending, I’m always right approach,” Mr Jones said.
“I know you don’t like Cabinet meetings and you don’t conduct them because you won’t tolerate disagreement, even in relation to the construction industry, because – as I have said – you know everything, you’ve never been wrong.”
Mr Jones called on the Premier to call a Cabinet meeting and propose all the politicians and bureaucrats “share the suffering” felt by those upon which they are “imposing trauma”.
“Cut your parliamentary salaries immediately to $600 a week, which is what you’re asking people in these circumstances to live on,” he said.
“And if you can’t do that, don’t ever again suggest you are a leader or that you should be listened to.”
Not extra Pfizer for NSW despite 136 new cases
Canberra: The Prime Minister has announced NSW will not receive additional Pfizer doses, despite the worsening Delta outbreak in the state.
“We’ve already given NSW an additional 150,000 doses,” Scott Morrison told reporters on Friday.
“That was in immediate response to the request the (NSW) Premier made of me on the 7th of July.”
NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said on Wednesday she was “recommending strongly” the country’s Covid-19 efforts be refocused so that ”all vaccine initiatives” were redirected to southwest Sydney.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she would appeal to national cabinet to throw more resources behind helping contain the Sydney outbreak.
“I will be taking to national cabinet … that consideration be given to at least having more people having at least one dose of the vaccine, which reduces transmission,” Ms Berejiklian said.
But the head of the national Covid-19 task force, Lieutenant General John Frewen, said he had not received a formal request for extra Pfizer doses from Ms Berejiklian.
NSW recorded 136 new Covid-19 cases on Friday. This is the highest number of daily cases recorded since the Delta outbreak in the state began.
While the PM said no extra Pfizer would be sent to NSW, he did announce a major change to Pfizer administration to the NSW community.
Second doses of Pfizer will now be administered six weeks after the first dose for NSW residents.
At present, Pfizer doses are administered three weeks apart.
“We will be confirming over the next 24 hours the ability for NSW state vaccine centres to do greater amounts of first doses, by saying … that second doses of Pfizer can be extended out to six weeks.”
Mr Morrison said this would increase the amount of first doses by freeing up vaccine centre capacity.
But the PM made it clear this was not a nationwide policy.
“We are not going to disrupt the vaccination program around the rest of the country,” he said.
Lockdown encourages home buying outside Sydney
Sydney: realestate.com.au’s John Healy says buyer demand in the outer suburban areas and the regions have been “strong” throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
“That demand has helped drive value rises in many of those areas as well, as more people work from home and look to work more flexibly on a permanent basis,” Mr Healy told media.
“It really has opened up a whole new range of areas for potential buyers to look at when making their next move.
“Data for the first half of this year has really shown there is those scenic and coastal areas in our capital city regions which have proven really popular.”
Mr Healy also said with lockdowns in place across half the country in Sydney, Victoria and South Australia the scheduled auction numbers have “subdued”.
‘Really worried’: AMA president says lockdown not working against Delta
Sydney: The president of the Australian Medical Association has warned that current lockdown measures are “simply not strong enough” to contain the highly-transmissible Delta variant of Covid-19.
Omar Khorshid said doctors at the AMA were “really worried” the current lockdown, affecting 14 million Australians, was not working, as he called for a rethink on the country’s vaccine rollout strategy.
An estimated 1700 people currently have the virus in Australia, where an additional 154 locally acquired cases were recorded in the past 24 hours, according to federal government data.
”Australia’s lockdown strategy – that’s worked so well with all the previous outbreaks we’ve had – is simply not strong enough, not fast enough, to deal with Delta,” Dr Khorshid said.
“And it’s possible a new approach, in particular for Sydney but possibly for the rest of the country, will be required.”
The vast majority of new cases are in Greater Sydney, which recorded 111 new cases of the virus, as well as the death of an 89-year-old man, in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday.
Overall, NSW recorded 136 new cases.
Health officials are grappling to bring the Delta variant – which can be spread through even fleeting airborne contact – under control in the nation’s largest city, which is now in its fourth week of lockdown with no definite end in sight.
Dr Khorshid, speaking in Perth on Thursday afternoon, called Australia’s Delta outbreak a “national emergency” and said the AMA was alarmed case numbers were not yet decreasing in Sydney.
Lockdowns are also in place for South Australians and Victorians who, like people in Greater Sydney, can only leave home to exercise, buy food or medicine, or for a few other essential reasons.
Dr Khorshid said the peak medical body had been in contact with the country’s expert immunisation panel, ATAGI, to ask them to reconsider their advice around the AstraZeneca vaccine “given the reality in Sydney”.
ATAGI has recommended that Pfizer, which is in short supply and extremely high demand in Australia, be the preferred vaccine for people under 60.
NSW Premier Gladys on Thursday morning pleaded with the state’s residents to get vaccinated against the virus as a matter of urgency.
She indicated that NSW would seek doses of the Pfizer vaccine from other states.
But Dr Khorshid said it was unlikely that large amounts of Pfizer would “find their way” into NSW “any time soon”.
National cabinet met later on Thursday afternoon and knocked back the request from the NSW government to allocate the state more doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
New driving force for Electricity Roadmap
Sydney: The NSW Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap has appointed AEMO Services Ltd, a subsidiary of the independent Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), as the NSW consumer trustee.
Energy Minister Matt Kean said the appointment would unlock the expected $32 billion of private sector investment needed to deliver the next generation of electricity infrastructure to “keep the lights on and prices down”.
“The consumer trustee will play a vital role in delivering our Electricity Roadmap, acting as the custodian of the long-term financial interests of NSW consumers,” Mr Kean said.
The consumer trustee will oversee planning and investment in electricity generation, storage and transmission in NSW; authorise network infrastructure projects; administer tenders to identify the best generation and storage projects; and design long-term energy service agreements to encourage new generation and storage investment.
Mr Kean said the appointment of AEMO was made following a rigorous evaluation and consultation process.
Pfizer vaccine deemed safe for children
Canberra: Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for children aged 12 to 15 by Australia's medical regulator.
“The decision has been made on the basis of short-term efficacy and safety data,” the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) said.
Determining how to include children in the vaccine rollout will be left to the government's immunisation advisory panel which is expected to make its decision late next week.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said those conversations were well advanced within the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).
“Our plans are in place to roll out what is more likely, on the early advice I have, is that they will fast-track vaccines for 12 to 15-year-olds for those with underlying health conditions,” Mr Hunt said.
“If ATAGI gives a second green light for the immunocompromised and kids with underlying medical conditions, they would be added to what’s called phase 1B.”
Andrews opposes sending vaccines to NSW
Melbourne: Mr Daniel Andrews has opposed the idea of sending any of Victoria's allocated vaccine supply to NSW.
"We have barely enough vaccine allocated to any of us so the notion we would be sending it away from here – we all have got need, all of us," he said.
"They have been allocated fairly. If there is additional supply, I don't hold – I am not opposed to New South Wales receiving more and in fact they have received more in the most recent forward because of the difficult circumstances they face.
"Look, I think I don't want to be interpreting what the New South Wales government strategy is, but if it is lockdown until we all got vaxxed, that is October or November.
"If that is the strategy, fair enough. But lock that strategy in. Right? Don't have that become the national strategy because it is not the agreed national strategy. It is simply isn't.
"I make decisions for Victoria, but I am a member of National Cabinet and I will be making the point very clearly today, we need to contain this so we don't have a national emergency in every part of our nation."