Australia’s prime minister apologized for the failures in the disastrous launch of the coronavirus vaccine, as cases in the states of New South Wales and Victoria grew further despite millions living locked up.
A day after notably refusing to apologize for a release that has fully vaccinated only 12% of the population since February, Scott Morrison said Thursday: “I certainly regret that we were unable to achieve the milestones that we hoped for at the beginning of the year. Of course, it’s me.”
However, as the prime minister spoke of a new daily record of 184,000 doses administered in one day, New South Wales Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian delivered the grim message that the Delta outbreak shows contagion “like nothing we’ve seen before”, warning of low vaccination numbers and the limits of lockdown measures. , now in its fourth week in the Sydney region.
“Our real key to freedom is having a high vaccination rate,” Berejiklian said. Previously, she had set an 80% lifetime vaccination goal for the state to return to normal and cancel future outages. As of Thursday, about 3.2 million doses of vaccine have been administered in a state that will ultimately require about 16 million doses to get fully vaccinated.
“The last thing we want is to be in a stage where we keep going in and out of a tough lockdown,” he said.
NSW set several new daily records on Thursday, with 124 new cases in the community, detected from a record 85,000 tests. Up to 87 of the new cases could have been infectious in the community. Among the new cases were outbreaks in two residential care centers for the elderly where staff were not vaccinated.
Victoria recorded 26 new local cases, the highest number this year and bringing the total number linked to the latest outbreak to 133. However, the vast majority were isolated while infectious. The state will come out of the lockdown next week. By then, Melbourne residents will have spent about six months locked up since the start of the pandemic.
South Australia, which began a week-long lockdown on Tuesday, has a total of 14 cases, adding two the day before.
In a stark admission, Berejiklian said that most of the cases that were infectious in the community “stemmed from a critical activity,” be it essential workers or people buying food and medicine, and said new restrictions are unlikely to reduce this type of transmissions.
Sydney’s closure is scheduled to end on July 31, but he said that date was unlikely to include the freedom to meet with people from different areas or indoors.
“It is spreading like we have never seen it before,” the prime minister said. “We are finding transmission in areas where people need to be where they are and so it is important to make sure that if you have been asked to have a test every three days, you do so. If you have the mildest symptoms, don’t come to work, ”Berejiklian said.
“I think people are quite surprised at how different and contagious the Delta strain is. It’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before, ”he said.
Despite increasingly stringent restrictions in Sydney, Berejiklian cautioned that he expected the number of cases to rise further. She has consistently said that the lockdown can only be alleviated when the number of cases that are infectious while in the community falls as close to zero as possible.
Echoing Morrison, State Health Minister Brad Hazzard expressed particular concern about doubts about the AstraZeneca vaccine, noting that at the vaccination center in Sydney’s Olympic Park on Wednesday, 9,000 doses of Pfizer were administered, compared to just 50 for AstraZeneca.
“I just think we have to step back and say… most of us cannot afford to sit down and say that we don’t want to have the vaccine that has actually been taken by almost every country in the world. world and kept other countries safe, ”Hazard said.
Australia has administered 6.1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and five rare deaths from blood clotting were linked to the first dose, federal health officials said.
In addition, Berejiklian said contact trackers now recommended that all positive cases send a text message to everyone on their phone contact lists, regardless of whether they had contact with them in the last few days, to alert them “to say someone you know has tested positive for Covid. “
There are currently 118 cases of Covid in hospitals in New South Wales, with 28 people in intensive care and 14 of them require ventilators.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism