MELBOURNE, Australia — Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is hopeful Victoria’s lockdown will not be required for a full week as the state works to fight a growing outbreak.
The prime minister stressed cooperation in the face of the nation’s latest coronavirus scare would put Victoria on track to reopen as soon as possible.
“We are very mindful of the distress and the difficulty this will impose upon people right across Victoria as a result of what has been described rightly by the acting premier as a circuit-breaking lockdown,” Morrison said in Canberra on May 27.
“A lockdown for seven days, that hopefully won’t go as long as that, as the acting premier indicated to me today when we spoke earlier this morning.”
Morrison claims that the federal government had provided all the immediate support his Victorian counterpart had requested.
Increased vaccine doses and defense force personnel have been sent to the state government, which has opted for a seven-day lockdown after a coronavirus cluster rose to 26 cases.
The federal government has stood up an aged care response team and offered to help Victoria with contact tracing.
It has also opened expressions of interest for up to 900 additional general practices to participate in the national vaccination rollout.
As a measure, the Victorian government has rolled out a vaccine program on May 27, which will include everyone aged 40 and over.
As per the program, Victorians aged 40-49 years will be able to access the Pfizer vaccine at state-run vaccination sites, in line with advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group Immunisation (ATAGI).
People aged 40-49 years receiving the Pfizer vaccine must book an appointment by calling the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 — and can do so now — this is essential as not all vaccination centers will have the Pfizer vaccine available.
Victorians aged 50 years and over will continue to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, either through a state-run vaccination center or participating at a General Practitioner’s clinic — as recommended by ATAGI.
Since launching the first high-volume vaccination centers, the state-run program has expanded rapidly to more than 30 hubs across both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.
“Almost 400,000 Victorians have already been vaccinated through one of our vaccination centers — it’s now time to open the doors to everyone aged 40 years and over,” said Martin Foley, Victorian Health minister.
“This is a significant step forward in our vaccine rollout, as we work towards our goal of vaccinating as many eligible Victorians as possible.”
(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Pallavi Mehra)
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