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COVID-19 LIVE UPDATES | Australian states squabble as NSW seeks vaccine priority amid Covid-19 'emergency'

COVID-19 LIVE UPDATES | Australian states squabble as NSW seeks vaccine priority amid Covid-19 'emergency'

July 23 2021 - 06:20

India reports 35,342 new Covid-19 cases in last 24 hours

India reported on Friday 35,342 new Covid-19 cases, the federal health ministry said.

The country's tally of infections now stands at 31.26 million, health ministry data showed.

Reuters

July 23 2021 — 06:15

ECB pledges low rates for longer as virus casts shadow over growth

The European Central Bank pledged on Thursday to keep interest rates at record lows for even longer to boost sluggish inflation and warned that the rapidly spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus poses a risk to the eurozone's recovery.

July 23 2021 — 06:10

'We follow the science:' Biden on mask guidance

President Joe Biden said that the CDC is ‘investigating every aspect’ and studying any necessary changes to its masking guidance as the more contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus sweeps the US.

July 23 2021 — 06:00

Australian states squabble as NSW seeks vaccine priority amid Covid-19 'emergency'

Australia's largest state of New South Wales on Friday urged the federal government to divert vaccine doses to Sydney, the epicentre of a flaring COVID-19 outbreak, raising objections from other states desperate for protection from the virus.

Australia is battling a supply shortfall of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine as its COVID-19 inoculation strategy had focused on AstraZeneca which was subsequently deemed unsafe for those under 60 years by the country's drug regulator.

That health order resulted in a glut of AstraZeneca vaccines, which many Australians are uncomfortable to take, and sparked a scramble for Pfizer which was in short supply as the government had only ordered 10 million doses for the country of 26 million.

As a result, only 15% of Australia's adult population is fully vaccinated, lagging the COVID-19 inoculation rate in other rich nations.

Now, with Sydney ailing from a relentless surge in the Delta variant of coronavirus despite weeks of lockdown, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Friday branded the situation a “national emergency”, signalling vaccination as the only solution to “our freedoms.

“The Sydney outbreak has ballooned to nearly 1,800 cases since mid-June.

“We know that in some places around Australia there are very few cases or zero cases,” Berejiklian said in a televised news briefing.

“We need to get at least the first jab for as many people as we can in those affected communities as possible, and that's why we are asking for a refocus of the national vaccination strategy.

“The comment did not go down very well with other states who are unwilling to spare Pfizer doses.

“We need to be very careful when having a discussion about who we prioritise,” Victoria Premier Dan Andrews said.

Victoria, which is in a lockdown until next Tuesday, reported 14 cases on Friday, mostly in Melbourne.

“The fact of the matter is, we don’t have enough vaccine for everyone and the virus will go to the unvaccinated. This is how it works,” Andrews said.

Reuters