Victoria celebrates 11 days with ZERO new coronavirus cases – but millions are still forced into hotel quarantine in one stateVictoria has now gone 11 days without Covid community transmissionAstraZeneca vaccine joined Pfizer vaccine in being approved in AustraliaConcerns Australian vaccine rollout hampered by EU block of 250,000 AZ doses
Victoria has recorded 11 days without a locally-acquired COVID-19 case as it readies to administer the first of the state’s AstraZeneca vaccines.
Despite the impressive milestone, Victorians are still unable to travel to Western Australia without entering two weeks of mandatory quarantine.
All other states’ residents are allowed to enter notoriously cautious WA without quarantine – with officials insisting there must be no community transmission for 28 days before being allowed in.
A Victorian airline worker in hotel quarantine tested positive to the virus on Monday, with another case recorded in quarantine on Tuesday.
Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Allan Cheng receives the Pfizer vaccine on March 5 – as the state enjoys 11 days with no new cases
The EU blocked a shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines from leaving Italy for Australia on Thursday, drawing on controversial export laws for the first time. Pictured: The first shipment of AstraZeneca arriving in Australia on February 28
It brings the number of active cases in the state to five.
Victoria is set to begin administering the first of its 50,800 AstraZeneca doses this week.
On Sunday, 844 vaccines were administered.
That brings the total number of doses administered in Victoria to 14,222, since the start of the Pfizer vaccine rollout from February 22.
Last week the European Union was accused of ‘bullying’ and blasted as a ‘total disgrace’ after blocking a shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines to Australia.
The European Union was accused of ‘bullying’ and blasted as a ‘total disgrace’ after blocking a shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines to Australia
Australia’s first 142,000 does of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine arrived last month (pictured at Sydney Airport)
Authorities in Italy drew on controversial export laws for the first time, refusing to grant a licence for 250,000 doses manufactured in the country to be exported.
The batch was halted because of ‘continuing shortage of vaccines in the EU and in Italy and delays in supplies from AstraZeneca to the EU and Italy,’ the Italian foreign ministry said in a statement.
Italy also argued Australia is not a high-risk country, with low case and death numbers, in stark contrast to countries overwhelmed by the pandemic.
Victorian Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said the move demonstrates how lucky Australia is have onshore vaccine production.
Mr Cheng was not concerned it would disrupt Australia’s rollout program.
‘[This] just reinforces how lucky we are to have local production. It may not come in exactly when we expect it, but it is coming,’ Professor Cheng told 3AW last week.
Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration was only the second regulator in the world – after the European Medicines Agency – to give the jab full approval after dozens of countries such as the UK rolled out the jab early under emergency approval.
Australians will be given two doses of the vaccine, which was produced at Oxford University, three months apart.
Health workers in Berlin prepare syringes with the new AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid this month
The vaccine will stop everyone who gets it from dying of Covid and will stop 82 per cent of people from getting ill due to the disease.
It is not yet clear if it will stop asymptomatic transmission, which could be crucial to re-opening the country’s border.
‘The vaccine has met requirements for standards, for safety, quality, and efficacy, and will be provided free to Australians,’ Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
Australia has ordered the vaccine from overseas and it will arrive in early March.
The government is also making one million doses per week at the CSL factory in Melbourne, with the first local batch due in late March.
Officials aim to vaccinate four million people by April and everyone by October.
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