The Australian Prime Minister has apologized for errors in the disastrous rollout of the coronavirus vaccine as cases in the states of New South Wales and Victoria grew further despite millions living in lockdown.
One day in particular, after refusing to apologize for a rollout that has only fully vaccinated 12% of the population since February, Scott Morrison said on Thursday: “I am certainly sorry that we have not been able to achieve the grades we had hoped for at the beginning of the year. Of course I am.”
But when the Prime Minister spoke of a new daily record of 184,000 doses administered in one day, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian delivered the grim message that the Delta outbreak is showing an infectiousness “like nothing we have seen before”, warning of low vaccination rates and the limits of lockdown measures now in their fourth week across the Sydney region.
“Our real key to freedom is to have a high percentage of vaccinations,” Berejiklian said. She had previously set an 80% vaccination target for life in the state to return to normal and invalid future lcokdowns. As of Thursday, approx. 3.2 m vaccine doses administered in a condition that will ultimately require approx. 16 m doses must be fully vaccinated.
“The last thing we want is to be in a stage where we keep going in and out of hard lock,” she said.
NSW set several new daily records on Thursday with 124 new cases in the community, detected from 85,000 tests. As many as 87 of the new cases could have been contagious in the community. Among the new cases were outbreaks of two aged care institutions where staff had not been vaccinated.
Victoria registered 26 new local cases, the highest number this year, bringing the total number linked to the latest outbreak to 133. However, the vast majority were isolated while contagious. The state is to come out of the lockdown next week. By that time, people in Melbourne will have spent about six months in the lockdown since the pandemic began.
South Australia, which began a week-long shutdown on Tuesday, has a total of 14 cases and added two on the final day.
In a strong concession, Berejiklian said the majority of infectious cases in the community were “derived from critical activity” – either important workers or people buying groceries and medicines – and said further restrictions were unlikely to reduce this type of transmission.
The major shutdown in Sydney is due to end on July 31, but she said the date probably would not include the freedom to gather with people from different areas or indoors.
“It is spreading like we have never seen before,” the prime minister said. “We find transmission in areas where people need to be where they are, and it is therefore important to ensure that if you have been asked to take a test every three days, you do so. If you have the mildest symptoms, do not go to work, ”said Berejiklian.
“I think people are quite shocked at how diverse and contagious the Delta tribe is. It’s like nothing we’ve seen before, ”she said.
Despite the gradual tightening of restrictions throughout Sydney, Berejiklian warned that the number of cases would increase further. She has consistently said that shutdowns can only be facilitated when the number of cases that are contagious while in the community drops as close to zero as possible.
Echoing Morrison, State Health Secretary Brad Hazzard, raised particular concerns about the hesitation over the AstraZeneca vaccine, noting that 9,000 Pfizer doses were administered at the Sydney Olympic Park Vaccination Center on Wednesday, compared to just 50 for AstraZeneca.
“I just think we should take a step back and say … most of us can not afford the luxury of sitting back and saying I do not want the vaccine that has actually been taken by almost all countries. in the world and kept other countries safe, ”Hazard said.
Australia has administered 6.1 million. Doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and five rare blood clots were associated with the first dose, federal health officials have said.
In addition, Berejiklian said contacts now recommended that all positive cases send a text to everyone on their phone contact lists, whether they had been in contact with them in recent days, to warn them “to say someone you know has tested positive” to Covid ”.
There are currently 118 cases in Covid at hospitals in NSW where 28 people are in intensive care and 14 of them need ventilators.