Australia Covid live update: NSW reports 24 local cases, Qld two and NT one; second Sydney hospital worker tests positive

By Amy Remeikis (now) and Matilda Boseley (earlier)

22:24

NT records one new Covid case

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22:20

Victoria reported no new cases on Thursday, so the press conference was quite short, but here are some quick stats from the Victorian press conference from the head of contact tracing, Jeroen Wiemar:

  • 12,500 out of the 19,000 vaccinations yesterday were second doses.
  • 31,500 of the 50,000 vaccinations this week were second doses.
  • There are 36,000 second dose Pfizer vaccinations booked for next week, and 22,500 first dose Pfizer.
  • There are 2,000 first dose AstraZeneca, and 2,000 second dose AstraZeneca booked for next week.
  • 37,000 people have returned from Australian orange zones, 39% of whom have tested negative so far.
  • 10,400 people have returned from Australian red zones, 38% of whom have tested negative so far.
  • In the first month the Service Victoria QR code check-in app was mandatory there were 100m check-ins, at over 218,000 businesses. For comparison, the last time we checked in early June, it was 39m check-ins since the app was launched late last year.

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22:15

Victorian premier calls for massive reduction in hotel quarantine numbers

When national cabinet meets on Friday, the Victorian premier Daniel Andrews will argue for up to an 80% reduction in the hotel quarantine capacity for the next three to four months until the vaccination rollout reaches mass scale.

He told reporters that the capacity needs to be reduced by more than half:

It really needs to be more than 50% in my judgement ... well I’ve spoken about 75-80%.

Again, we need to have some capacity for a whole range of reasons, there might be workers who are critical to a particular asset or particular industry where things would shut down if we didn’t have them come in there.”

Andrews said it was the best lever the government had in preventing more outbreaks and lockdowns:

I’ve called for a debate and a discussion about how many people are allowed. In my view, every Victorian should be really clear on this. My view is that it is better to lock some people out than to lock everyone down. That is my view.

And the only way to pull up a Delta variant outbreak is to lock everyone down. We’re seeing that across the whole country. We have it within our power to dramatically reduce the number of people who are coming back just for these next three or four months until we get a critical mass of people with a jab, protection for the community, including the vulnerable. And then we have more tools, we have more options.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (right) addresses the media during a press conference in Melbourne, Thursday, July 1, 2021.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (right) addresses the media during a press conference in Melbourne, Thursday, July 1, 2021. Photograph: James Ross/AAP

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21:43

No new Covid cases for South Australia

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21:42

Young Australians who decided to get the AstraZeneca vaccine are sharing their experiences with us. Celeste Blewitt, from Melbourne, said she is 36 and “technically ineligible for the vaccine”. She is one of many who managed to get the vaccine before the prime minister Scott Morrison’s comments on Monday about opening the AstraZeneca vaccine up to under 60s.

She said:

I got AstraZeneca nearly a month ago at a vaccine hub here in Melbourne.

I’ve had many discussions about this and was scared and confused as to whether I was jumping the queue, going to get a blood clot and become seriously ill or be turned away. None of these have happened. I have siblings in the health and finance industries, so there’s much meaty discussion about the safety of getting AZ as well as the supply/demand situation. Ultimately after much discussion I decided to try informed consent and it worked.

My mum is a polio survivor and my dad recently had a below the knee amputation. Given the Melbourne winter and the current outbreaks occurring, we decided as siblings that it was important to be able to do the right thing to be able to not only look after our family and parents, but also those in more vulnerable positions in the community. After seeing the effect of polio and the benefits of the polio vaccine, it was a no brainer.

I know everyone needs to make their own decisions and be aware of the health risks, but if we are ever going to be able to open international borders, become a country of tourists and buzz of activity again, the vaccine is the only way to go. I’m concerned that the current in-fighting in politics is causing such confusion and I’ve realised it’s making me angry.

Australia is lucky to be in such a safe position, yet this current situation is of our own doing, there were and are other options. We had an opportunity to come out of the pandemic differently, yet here we are.

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21:40

Victorian premier says he won't lock down to protect those refusing vaccinations

Just a bit more from the Victorian premier Dan Andrews earlier. Andrews was asked at what point in the vaccination rollout we would stop having lockdowns.

He said the number was not determined, but it would more likely be determined on the basis that everyone who wanted to get vaccinated could get vaccinated:

To put it another way – anyone, everyone who wants to be vaccinated has been given an opportunity to do that. And then that’s on them if they don’t choose to get vaccinated. Well, we wouldn’t be having lockdowns to protect people who weren’t prepared to protect themselves.

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