News Coronavirus Three capital cities in lockdown as PM announces major changes to vaccine rollout
Updated:

Three capital cities in lockdown as PM announces major changes to vaccine rollout

Watch: Everything you need to know about the coronavirus vaccines
Share
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email
Voiced by Amazon Polly

All mainland states and territories are living under coronavirus restrictions ranging from full-blown lockdowns to mask mandates.

Three capital cities are in COVID-19 lockdown with Perth joining Sydney and Darwin after a second locally acquired case late on Monday.

Fears of a large-scale nationwide outbreak have prompted Prime Minister Scott Morrison to announce major changes to the coronavirus vaccine program.

Young Australians will be able to request the AstraZeneca shot from their doctor, and aged care and quarantine workers will be compelled to get a COVID-19 jab.

Just hours after Mr Morrison announced the new measures, Perth and the neighbouring Peel region were sent into a four-day lockdown.

Here’s what you need to know about the latest announcements and lockdowns:

PM widens bungled vaccine program

Until now the advice from medical experts had been not to force workers to be vaccinated.

Less than 5 per cent of Australians have received both doses of AstraZeneca or Pfizer.

It’s hoped Monday’s rule changes will speed up the rollout.

Mr Morrison said advice about workers had changed and state public health orders and Commonwealth measures would be used to enforce mandatory shots for residential aged-care staff.

It’s expected all workers will have had their first dose by mid-September.

Vaccination and testing of quarantine workers will also become mandatory, including for those who transport people to quarantine.

The states and territories will be in charge of the program and no timeframe has been set for its completion.

National cabinet also agreed to compulsory post-quarantine testing for returned travellers, which must occur two to three days after they leave.

There will also be a ban on accommodating low-risk domestic travellers next door to high-risk international arrivals.

Travellers who have done a 14-day quarantine in one jurisdiction will be able to enter other jurisdictions without having to quarantine for a further 14 days.

And in a bid to encourage broader vaccination, the federal government will provide a no-fault indemnity scheme for GPs who administer COVID-19 vaccines.

The scheme will enable, for example, a person under-60 who is happy to get the AstraZeneca vaccine – currently only recommended for over-60s – to do so if their doctor considers it is the best option.

Perth in lockdown

Meanwhile, people in Perth have begun another snap lockdown after Western Australia confirmed its third locally acquired case of COVID-19 within days.

A man in his 30s, who is thought to have contracted the virus at the Indian Ocean Brewery at Mindarie is the latest case.

“We’re hopeful a four-day lockdown and all of the measures we’re putting in place will be enough to crush and kill the virus in its tracks,” Premier Mark McGowan said of the stay-at-home order, which was announced at 8pm Monday and came into effect at midnight.

The man dined at the brewery last Tuesday. He sat at a different table to a woman who returned from Sydney and subsequently tested positive to the Delta strain of the virus.

Another woman, aged 32, also tested positive after contact at a Perth gym with the Sydney visitor.

Everyone who was at the brewery last Tuesday night is in isolation.

Under the lockdown rules for Perth and the neighbouring Peel district, face masks are compulsory outside the home. Residents must stay at home except for the usual essential reasons to leave.

Schools and childcare centres will remain open.

New exposure sites in NSW

Virus infections in Sydney, which is in its first days of a 14-day lockdown, have ballooned to 130.

NSW reported 18 new coronavirus cases on Monday, with all but one linked to existing cases.

More alerts were added on Monday night for six lines and bus routes.

Meanwhile, more than 500 school students from South Coogee Public School are isolating after four of their classmates acquired the virus.

Another student, at Emanuel School in Sydney’s east, attended school whilst infectious, Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.

Queensland on the brink of lockdown

Queensland authorities are anxiously waiting to learn if 169 workers from a Northern Territory mine have brought COVID-19 home with them.

One miner is already confirmed to have the Delta variant. She spent a day out and about in the Sunshine Coast region while infectious.

Health authorities are waiting on test results for the other workers, who are in isolation.

On Monday, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk warned Queensland was on the verge of another lockdown, and Tuesday and Wednesday’s test results would determine what would happen.

There’s also high level concern about passengers who travelled with an infected Virgin crew member on flights from Sydney to Brisbane and the Gold Coast at the weekend.

On Monday night, six Virgin flights into and out of Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin and the Gold Coast on June 25-26 were added as COVID-19 exposure sites by Queensland Health.

“We will not hesitate to take action,” Ms Palaszczuk said after mandating face masks in 11 local government areas across south-east Queensland for a fortnight.

Northern Territory lockdown extended

The Northern Territory’s snap lockdown was extended on Monday after a seventh COVID-19 case was reported from an outbreak linked to a central Australian mine.

The lockdown that was expected to end on Tuesday would instead last until 1pm on Friday, Chief Minister Michael Gunner said.

Health officials have confirmed the outbreak is of the Delta variant.

The most recent case is a man in his 50s, who left Newmont’s Granites Mine about 540 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs, on Friday.

He returned to Darwin, where he travelled to multiple venues while infectious in the community for about 36 hours, Mr Gunner said.

The newest case was moved to the Howard Springs quarantine facility but authorities fear he may have come into contact with about 150 people while in the community.

Public exposure sites include the Buff Club, Darwin International Airport departure lounge, the BWS bottle store in the Parap, Bunnings Darwin, Corner Store Friendly Grocer in Stuart Park and the Commonwealth Bank on Smith Street in the CBD.

-with AAP