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PM confirms Australia has ‘prevented’ third wave of coronavirus infections

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed Australia has successfully prevented a third wave of coronavirus infections after outbreaks in numerous states.

“It is now clear that through the actions of every Australian, we have successfully prevented a third wave of infections, a rare achievement given the significant increase in global cases,” Mr Morrison said today.

This was based on an update on the latest epidemiological data and medical advice from Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd who announced today Australia had gone six days in a row with no local transmission.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison after today's National Cabinet meeting.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed Australia has successfully prevented a third wave of coronavirus infections. (9News)

There have been 28,754 confirmed cases in Australia and, sadly, 909 people have died.

There are now 34 people in hospital. More than 12.6 million tests have been undertaken in Australia.

Government monitoring third strain

Meanwhile Professor Michael Kidd has confirmed the government is closely watching a third strain of the COVID-19 virus that has mutated in Brazil and Japan.

The Deputy Chief Medical Officer said like the UK strain, this new variant appears to be more infectious.

“There is a third variant causing concern, it has been identified in Brazil and Japan today,” Professor Kidd said.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd. (Alex Ellinghausen)

“One of the concerns with this variant is the concern about whether it leads to increased transmissibility of COVID 19, fortunately it does not seem to be causing more severe disease, but carries more risk of being transmitted.

“As a consequence we have increased the isolation requirements for people who are diagnosed with these new variant, from 10 days to 14 days before they get potential release from isolation.”

The third variant has been detected in Brazil (pictured) as well as Japan. (Getty)

No plans for mandatory vaccine for front-line aged care workers

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said there are no current plans for the mandatory vaccine of people who live and work in aged care settings,

But Professor Kidd said he would “actively encourage” people in those settings to be vaccinated.

“We are actively encouraging the residents of aged care and people working in aged care, both the staff at the facilities but also the people coming into the facilities around the country to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it start to rollout into their area,” Prof Kidd said.

“We’re anticipating a very high uptake amongst both residents and staff in order to protect the residents from COVID-19.”

A health care worker wearing personal protective equipment is seen inside of the Grand Hyatt Melbourne in Melbourne, Tuesday, January 12, 2021. (AAP)

Safety the key to COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Mr Morrison has again stressed safety is paramount in the lead-up to the rollout of coronavirus vaccines in Australia.

“There are some uncertainties, which we’ve already discussed today, but what I can tell you is this – that the Therapeutic Goods Administration, Professor Skerrit, and that whole team, they will be making sure it’s safe in terms of those vaccines, ” he said.

“We’re not rushing this, nor are we delaying it. We’re getting it right. That’s what matters. We’re getting it right.”

A health care professional prepares a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
A health care professional prepares a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit) (AP)

Mr Morrison said an exhaustive logistical and organisational plan was being worked through for the rollout of the two-shot jab.

“You’ve got to get all your ducks in a row on this because remember there’s two shots in the vaccine.

“You don’t go and give the first one if you haven’t got the confidence in the second one, and that can put a lot of pressure on your system – the refrigerated storage, the transportation, the training of the workers, the clinics.”

Beyond Blue’s Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service is a 24/7 service free of charge to all Australians. Visit the site here or call 1800512348
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Source: 9News | World News

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