Millions of Queensland residents have to stay home during school outbreak

Australia’s strict lockdowns appear to be in effect for weeks as millions of Queenslanders are ordered to stay at home amid a school outbreak and Sydney faces restrictions for another five weeks.

The Covid-19 outbreak in Queensland continues to spread with 13 community transmission cases announced during the state’s Covid update on Monday morning.

Deputy Prime Minister Steven Milles said the state lockdown will be extended until 4 p.m. next Sunday as a result of the new cases.

Seven of the new cases are students from Ironside State School. The others are also related to the school, five are family members or family contacts.

One case is linked to a confirmed case of a karate club training at the school.

“To get out of this over the weekend, we absolutely need everyone in those LGAs to stay home if they can,” Miles said of the extended lockdown.

“It is absolutely crucial that people leave their homes only for the four reasons. There are currently too many cars on the road in Brisbane. Too many people on the road.’

Miles confirmed that from Tuesday, homeschooling will take place for the rest of the week for students at Queensland’s state schools.

“Private schools will largely have similar arrangements.”

Australia’s strict lockdowns appear to be in effect for weeks as millions of Queenslanders are ordered to stay at home amid a school outbreak and Sydney faces restrictions for another five weeks. Pictured: People queue for Covid-19 test in Brisbane, Queensland

The Covid-19 outbreak in Queensland continues to spread with 13 community transmission cases announced during the state's Covid update on Monday morning.  Pictured: Police checking a member of the public is complying with Brisbane lockdown orders

The Covid-19 outbreak in Queensland continues to spread with 13 community transmission cases announced during the state’s Covid update on Monday morning. Pictured: Police checking a member of the public is complying with Brisbane lockdown orders

Deputy Prime Minister Steven Milles said the state lockdown will be extended until 4 p.m. next Sunday as a result of the new cases.  Pictured: Police checking a member of the public is complying with Brisbane lockdown orders

Deputy Prime Minister Steven Milles said the state lockdown will be extended until 4 p.m. next Sunday as a result of the new cases. Pictured: Police checking a member of the public is complying with Brisbane lockdown orders

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick also announced a $260 million (£137,450) support package for companies in Queensland during Monday’s update.

“We are opening a COVID Business Support program for 2021,” he said. Those are $5,000 grants available to companies in Queensland – not just those in the closed-off area.

Mr Dick said the grants would also be available to major companies operating in Queensland’s extensive hospitality and tourism sectors.

On Sunday, Sydney’s Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian said a ramped-up vaccination campaign could lift the city’s grueling lockdown as early as September.

Incarcerated Sydneysiders enter their sixth week of lockdown after NSW registered 239 locally acquired cases on Sunday.

Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian, who extended the stay-at-home orders until at least August 28 as the latest outbreak rose to 3,427 infections, said her government had a plan to “break records” as it ramped up its immunization campaign.

‘If you get to 50 percent vaccination, 60 percent, 70 percent, you get more freedom. We can turn this around in four weeks,” she said on Sunday.

On Sunday, Sydney's Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian said a ramped-up vaccination campaign could lift the city's grueling lockdown as early as September.  Pictured: Sydney's Bondi Beach was teeming with people despite strict stay-at-home orders

On Sunday, Sydney’s Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian said a ramped-up vaccination campaign could lift the city’s grueling lockdown as early as September. Pictured: Sydney’s Bondi Beach was teeming with people despite strict stay-at-home orders

NSW's vaccination rate is about 15 percent for those who received both shots and 32 percent received only one dose.  Pictured: Bondi Beach on Monday

NSW’s vaccination rate is about 15 percent for those who received both shots and 32 percent received only one dose. Pictured: Bondi Beach on Monday

‘We have the month of August to get the vaccination rate as high as possible. Let August be the month in which we break records with the vaccination.’

NSW’s vaccination rate is about 15 percent for those who received both shots and 32 percent received only one dose.

But with 82,000 doses spread over 24 hours and 4.5 million more Pfizer shots delivered to Australia in August, federal health officials are confident NSW could carry out about 650,000 vaccinations per week.

At that rate, NSW could meet its target of 70 percent coverage by early September.

The encouraging increase in the number of people being vaccinated against Covid in NSW comes after a slow start due to the botched federal government rollout.

The Scott Morrison administration had relied on the AstraZeneca shot for most of its vaccination campaign in the early stages of the pandemic.

But those plans were almost immediately thrown into disarray in April when the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization recommended that only people over 50 should receive the injection due to the extremely low risk of developing blood clots.

Shortly after the age limit was raised to 60, but now that the highly contagious Indian Delta strain is rampant in Sydney, ATAGI recommends that people over 18 talk to their GP.

While Australia lacked a viable alternative injection after the federal government failed to obtain sufficient doses of Pfizer, those issues will soon be resolved.

There are 4.5 million injections of Pfizer due to arrive in September, accelerated to land in Australia in August, where the country’s vaccination rate is expected to increase from 300,000 to 350,000 per week to more than a million.

Ms Berejiklian concluded that vaccination coverage could be a response to lifting the feared lockdown on Sunday.

‘There is no place in the world that has been able to live with the Delta virus and not have a higher vaccination rate. We have to be very clear about that,” she says.

“We want this to be the last lockdown we have and we can make that happen if we get vaccinated.

“Our strategy for NSW is to get the vaccine coverage to 60, 70, 80 percent. That means we can live with the Delta variant and we don’t have to go in and out of lockdown.’

She made a case for Sydneysiders to get vaccinated amid the worrying numbers of cases.

“Today is August 1 and I am calling on the people of Sydney and NSW to come forward and get vaccinated,” she said.

‘To achieve the 70 percent target, we need 9.2 million injections. To hit the 80 percent target, we need 10 million jabs. We’ve been talking about that in NSW for a while.’

The 80 percent target has been set by the federal government as key to reopening the border and lifting state lockdowns.

Australia registered 475 new cases on Saturday.

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