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From Australia - News in Brief

Two more COVID-19 related deaths in Sydney

Booster Strengthens Australia’s Vaccine Capacity: Health Minister Hunt

NSW lockdown may be in place until Christmas if state can’t get to zero cases

Shorten criticises Berejiklian over Pfizer plea

NSW to broadcast COVID-19 press conferences live in Arabic

NSW adds extra $6 million to help asylum seekers

NSW Labor calls for COVID-19 economic summit

New stamps celebrate Aussie gold medals at Tokyo Olympics

Two more COVID-19 related deaths in Sydney

25 July 2021

(See Translation in Arabic Section)

Sydney - M E Times Int'l: The death toll from Sydney's latest COVID-19 outbreak has risen to 10 after two further deaths were reported on Monday afternoon. 

New South Wales Health said in a statement a man and a woman, both aged in their 80s, had died.

The woman passed away at home in Pendle Hill, Sydney's west, on Monday afternoon, while the man died in Campbelltown Hospital, in the city's southwest, earlier in the day.

"These are the 9th and 10th COVID-19 related deaths of the current outbreak, with 66 in NSW since the beginning of the pandemic," a NSW Health spokesperson said.

Police said in a statement officers were called to the Pendle Hill home about 12.50pm following a request from paramedics.

On Sunday, NSW Health had urged those who attended a gathering of 50 people grieving a family death in Pendle Hill to get tested for COVID-19 after 28 infections were identified.

 Coronavirus vaccine update Australia: Moderna deal key to booster strategy, Greg  Hunt says

Booster Strengthens Australia’s Vaccine Capacity: Health Minister Hunt

Canberra: Affirmation today by the Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt that Australia has the capability to manage booster timing requirements if recommended by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation.

The affirmation comes after the Morrison Government secured an additional 85 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, providing access to additional booster vaccinations that will protect Australians in the future.

"These additional doses further expands and strengthens Australia’s vaccine capacity,” Minister Hunt said.

“We’ve taken this step on advice from the expert Science and Industry Technical Advisory Group.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the new supply schedule that the Government had successfully negotiated with Pfizer-BioNTech would provide every Australian with a booster vaccine if required.

“We have secured an additional 85 million doses of Pfizer, which brings Australia’s total Pfizer doses to 125 million,” the Prime Minister said.  

Through continued engagement with Pfizer-BioNTech, the Government has secured 60 million doses in 2022, and 25 million doses in 2023. Delivery will begin in the first quarter of 2022 and enable booster coverage throughout the year.

Mr Hunt said the opening up of the pharmacy program is "continuing and expanding" with "251 pharmacies on board around Australia this week".

Throughout August, more than 3900 pharmacies could join, signifying a "significant expansion".

"The message is very clear. Please come forward and be vaccinated."

"Then we will have significant supplies for the next two years of Pfizer, pending all of the different possible outcomes in relation to boosters. In addition to that, there is the 51 million Novavax. Those are important developments," he said.

 Why NSW, Sydney lockdown could be in place until Christmas

NSW lockdown may be in place until Christmas if state can’t get to zero cases

Sydney: As Sydney’s Covid outbreak continues to worsen, experts are starting to think getting down to zero cases may not be possible and the city may need to be in lockdown until Christmas.

Cases in NSW have continued to increase, rising to 145 cases on Monday, which is the second worst day of cases in the outbreak despite a month-long lockdown. Eight people have now died.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian had been hoping to see a downturn in cases over the weekend and early this week due to the stricter restrictions introduced a week ago but this has not happened yet.

In fact experts note the state’s five-day average rose up to 135 cases on Sunday after there was a record 163 cases on Saturday and 144 cases were found on Sunday.

While the lockdown is helping to keep a lid on cases, there is no sign the lockdown is turning the epidemic curve downwards, which means getting to zero cases may not be possible.

Experts including Melbourne University clinical epidemiologist Professor Nancy Baxter now believe Greater Sydney may not be able to get to zero cases through lockdown.

“I hope that’s not the case but things still haven’t turned around,” Prof Baxter told

“It does make you concerned that with Delta, which is that much more transmissible, that it does make it a challenge to get under control.”

Other experts told they had also been surprised the lockdown had not made any impact yet in bringing down cases.

 Bill Shorten calls on the Australian Prime Minister to unite on immigration

Shorten criticises Berejiklian over Pfizer plea

Canberra: The Federal Opposition spokesman for Government Services Bill Shorten has criticised NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian for requesting emergency supplies of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine from other states.

Despite claiming the public was “over the squabbling” between state premiers, Mr Shorten suggested it was rich for the NSW government to ask Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to “come rescue us” with additional Pfizer doses after “sneering” at his lockdown measures during Melbourne’s outbreak last year.

With NSW’s COVID outbreak steadily worsening by the day, with 141 new cases on Sunday, Health Minister Brad Hazzard requested additional Pfizer supplies be given to NSW from other states and territories.

But Mr Shorten, appearing on ABC Insiders on Sunday, said an SOS for more Pfizer seemed ironic when he was asked if Victoria should send spare vaccines to NSW.

“Last year the NSW government was sneering at Dan Andrews, now they are saying, ‘Hey, Dan, rescue us’,” Mr Shorten said.

“The truth of the matter is we make AZ (AstraZeneca) in Australia, and there has been so much mixed messaging over AZ, now it has got back on track in my opinion, we should use AZ. There is just also not that much Pfizer in Australia.”

About 50,000 additional Pfizer doses are set to land in Sydney this week after the NSW government requested them.

However, the doses will not be taken from allocations already made to other states and territories after that request from NSW was rejected.

 SBS Language | 'Stay home': Muslim leaders urge followers to follow  lockdown laws during Eid al-Adha

NSW to broadcast COVID-19 press conferences live in Arabic

Sydney: The NSW Government has announced an Australia-first program to deliver daily vital public health messages in Arabic through live interpreting.

NSW Minister for Multiculturalism Natalie Ward announced the pilot program, in partnership with the Special Broadcasting Service, would support live translation of the daily COVID-19 press conference into Arabic.

“The NSW Government is exploring every avenue to ensure our public health messages are reaching our culturally and linguistically diverse communities,” Mrs Ward said.

Minister for Digital and Customer Service Victor Dominello said the NSW Government would share and promote the live interpreting feed over its social media channels.

“The service will also be able to be shared by other multicultural and community broadcasters for wider dissemination,” Mr Dominello said. “It’s critically important we reach as many people as possible so we can work together to help keep each other safe.”

The Middle East Times website will also carry the link to the NSW Government’s translated information about COVID-19 in NSW. Click here to visit the site:

 Natalie Ward - Legislative Council | Liberal Party NSW

NSW adds extra $6 million to help asylum seekers

Sydney: Asylum seekers in NSW needing emergency support during the pandemic will be the focus of a $6 million funding boost by the state government.

Minister for Multiculturalism Natalie Ward said the money would be used by non-government organisations (NGOs) which provide food, housing, medical care and other essentials to temporary visa holders.

“This funding represents an emergency safety net for members of our community who may be on the brink of homelessness and financial destitution,” Ms Ward said. 

NSW Coordinator General for Settlement Professor Peter Shergold said specialist migrant and settlement NGOs had experienced a sharp rise in the number of temporary visa holders who needed support with emergency relief.

The funding is in addition to a $6 million NSW Government crisis package provided from June 2020 to support temporary visa holders, including asylum seekers, which finished last month.

 NSW cannot have an extended lockdown without JobKeeper in place - Minns -  Central Coast Community News

NSW Labor calls for COVID-19 economic summit

Sydney: NSW Labor is calling on NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to urgently convene a health and economic Zoom summit to help tackle the escalating COVID-19 crisis.

The summit, which could be held as soon as Monday or Tuesday, would attempt to ensure the government received the buy-in, feedback and support from all parts of the community.

The Premier would be able to present a roadmap for the next three months based on the best advice of NSW Health and the NSW Treasury, according to a Labor spokesperson.

Labor proposes that the the summit should include epidemiologists, health experts, community organisations and leaders, unions and business peak bodies, as well as parliamentary representatives.

“Right now, we all need to work together to get through this crisis and we need the Premier to take us all into her confidence,” the spokesperson said.

 Tokyo Olympics 2020: New stamp series released celebrating Aussie women's  gold medallists in 100 metre freestyle at Tokyo Olympics

New stamps celebrate Aussie gold medals at Tokyo Olympics

Sydney: Australians who win gold at Tokyo 2020 will feature on a new series of stamps released by Australia Post.

The first athletes to feature on the stamps will be the winning women's 100 metre freestyle relay team.

Albury-born Meg Harris wins Olympic gold for Australia in the 4x100m  freestyle relay | The Border Mail | Wodonga, VIC

Olympians Bronte Campbell, Meg Harris, Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell took home the title after setting a World Record time of 3:29.69.

The group beat their closest competitors Canada and the USA to take home the gold for the fourth consecutive year.

The first set of stamps will be available participating Australia Post outlets from Wednesday July 28.


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