Australian PM admits COVID-19 vaccine rollout failures as NSW records 110 new daily cases
21 July 2021
(See Translation in Arabic Section)
Sydney - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he takes responsibility for the slow COVID-19 vaccine rollout, but that the country is now tracking well with the vaccination program.
One million Australians received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in the past seven days, placing the country on track to offer vaccines to all Australians by the year's end, Mr Morrison said.
"I take responsibility for the problems that we have had, but I am also taking responsibility for the solutions we're putting in place and the vaccination rates that we are now achieving," he said.
Speaking in quarantine from the Prime Minister's residence, Mr Morrison acknowledged the troubles with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.
He said the program was about two months behind the planned schedule at the start of the year.
"We've had our challenges with this program, we've had significant challenges with this program, as many countries have," Mr Morrison said.
"What matters is how you fix the things that need to be fixed … today, with the most recent seven day's data, we finally hit that mark of a million doses in arms in a week."
Meanwhile, NSW recorded 110 new cases in 24 hours, which were picked up from a record 83,477 tests, take the total number of COVID-19 patients since NSW’s outbreak began past 1,500.
The number of cases infectious in the community – something health authorities and Premier Gladys Berejiklian have repeatedly pointed to as being the most critical to slowing the virus's spread – reached its highest point since the outbreak began on June 16.
A total of 43 people were infectious in the community, while a further 17 people were in isolation for only part of their infectious period. The isolation status of 13 cases remains under investigation.
There are now 106 people being treated for COVID-19 in hospital and of those, 23 are in intensive care with 11 on ventilators.
The council areas of Orange, Blayney and Cabonne in the state's Central West went into a seven-day lockdown after a COVID-19 positive truck driver visited the region last week.
Ms Berejiklian's said it was still too soon to notice any difference from the tightened restrictions imposed last week.
“We need to really assess the health advice and data we get for the next few days,” she said.
Berejiklian replies to Andrews
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has replied to her Victorian counterpart after he suggested New South Wales has lost control of their coronavirus cases.
NSW recorded 110 locally acquired cases on Wednesday – a jump from the 78 infections on Tuesday – taking the state’s latest outbreak to 1,528.
The premier was then grilled during her daily COVID update over whether Greater Sydney’s lockdown was having the desired effect, with the virus hitting regional NSW and 43 of Wednesday’s cases potentially infectious in the community.
Clennell said to Ms Berejiklian: “Daniel Andrews has said that Victoria is running alongside the virus and trying to get ahead of the virus, and he says Sydney has lost control of the virus.”
“After these numbers today, does he have a point?”
Ms Berejiklian replied: “Can I say that I will leave other premiers to comment on their own states, I will comment on New South Wales.”
The outbreak also jumped the border to Victoria, with 22 new cases reported in the state on Wednesday.
NSW was long regarded as the “gold standard” state for its coronavirus response, with contact tracers typically able to control the spread and avoid lockdowns.
But Ms Berejiklian has remained adamant that the Delta strain is different with regard to the latest outbreak.
“Had we not gone into the lockdown a few weeks ago, the 110 number today would undoubtedly have been thousands and thousands. There is no doubt about that,” she said on Wednesday.
“The simple message is this is really serious. We have done well to stem the growth that other countries around the world have seen with the Delta strain.
“We've stopped the thousands and thousands of cases around the world that other countries have had.”
Greater Sydney was plunged into lockdown on June 26 and Mr Andrews on Tuesday confirmed his state’s snap five-day shutdown would be extended for at least one more week.