South Africa suspends AstraZeneca vaccinations but WHO says not to dismiss it
South Africa has suspended its vaccinations using the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab after preliminary data indicated that it had only 10% efficacy in preventing mild or moderate infections against the South African variant of the virus.
Australia has ordered 53.8m doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and yesterday Scott Morrison said he was “still hopeful” about its effectiveness.
The World Health Organization has also told countries not to dismiss the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Richard Hatchett from the WHO said:
It is vastly too early to be dismissing this vaccine. It is absolutely crucial to use the tools that we have as effectively as we possibly can.
Day two of the Australian Open will continue today.
Yesterday 30,000 people attended Melbourne Park, in what was the biggest event to be held in Australia since the pandemic began.
My colleague Calla Wahlquist spoke to epidemiologist Prof Catherine Bennett, who said:
The risk in the wider community [of transmission] is very low. It is very unlikely that something will stem from this event. The tennis itself is as safe as it can be.
We should focus on absolutely enjoying the tennis, because that’s what the prize is for getting transmissions so low.
Australia’s Nick Kyrgios played last night, defeating Frederico Ferreira Silva in straight sets.
He had this to say about Novak Djokovic – after the world No 1 said he had no respect for Kyrgios “off the court”.
“Someone that’s partying with his shirt off during a global pandemic, I don’t know if I can take any slack from that man. That’s as bad as it gets for me.”
Sydney to remove last of lockout laws
The last of Sydney’s lockout laws will be scrapped next month, AAP reports.
The laws shutting down drinks venues from 1.30am were removed from venues in Sydney’s CBD in January last year but had remained in Kings Cross.
From 8 March, they will be removed from Kings Cross, as part of a NSW government bid to revive the area’s night-time economy, which was hit hard by the pandemic. Alcohol will be able to be served in the Cross until 3.30am – giving patrons an extra two hours of drinking and entertainment time.
Restrictions on particular drinks, shots, cut-price cocktails and glass tumblers after midnight will also go, as will the requirement for responsible service of alcohol marshals and CCTV surveillance.
The laws were introduced in 2014 after the death of 18-year-old Thomas Kelly, who was killed in a one-punch attack as he walked along a Kings Cross street.
Gladys Berejiklian said the changes would boost jobs and revitalise the once-infamous Kings Cross precinct.
“Kings Cross has transformed considerably since these laws were introduced over six years ago,” the NSW premier told the Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday.
“The precinct is now well-positioned to continue to evolve into a vibrant lifestyle and cultural destination with a diverse mix of small bars, live music venues and restaurants.”
The independent MP for Sydney, Alex Greenwich, whose electorate includes Kings Cross, welcomed the change.
“Harmonising the licensing conditions with the rest of the Sydney CBD and Oxford Street is long overdue and will bring hope to businesses who have been doing it tough,” he said. “Global cities don’t tell people when to go to sleep, they help them have a fun and safe night.”
Good morning everyone, and welcome back to our live coverage of Australian news and the coronavirus.
Both New South Wales and Victoria will be on high alert today, after both states reported new Covid-19 cases. In Victoria, another hotel quarantine worker tested positive, with no obvious safety breaches that could have led to transmission.
In NSW, a returned traveller who had completed 14 days of quarantine tested positive after 16 days, placing the Wollongong region on high alert.
We’ll bring you all the latest new as it happens. Stay with us.