LATEST COVID-19 DEVELOPMENTS:
* The Australian coronavirus vaccine rollout is at a critical juncture as Prime Minister Scott Morrison prepares to meet with Prime Ministers and Prime Ministers to refocus the program.
* The National Cabinet will announce details on Thursday of introducing the AstraZeneca rollout for people aged 50-69
* The Morrison administration is fighting on multiple fronts to get the timetable under fire because of the pace of vaccination of people with disabilities.
* Health Secretary Greg Hunt was forced to defend the introduction of disabilities after it was revealed that only 6.5 percent of people in nursing homes received a shot.
* Mr. Hunt insists that the plan has always been to vaccinate the elderly care residents first, even though the disability is in the same stage of the rollout.
* Labor health spokesman Mark Butler targeted the government for again failing to achieve its own goals.
* Australia could be the first country in the southern hemisphere to manufacture mRNA coronavirus vaccines.
* The Victorian government has allocated $ 50 million to set up an mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility such as Pfizer and Moderna in Melbourne.
Acting Prime Minister James Merlino said the facility would take at least a year to produce, admitting the project’s final cost would be “hundreds of millions of dollars,” prompting his federal colleagues to get involved.
* Brett Sutton, Victoria’s chief health officer, received his first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Wednesday to help build public confidence in the sting.
* COVID-19 Minister Chris Hipkins has downplayed the chances of New Zealand’s latest community case affecting the trans-Tasman bubble, even as new cases emerge.
* SA Health has identified a suitable COVID-19 quarantine facility for international students, but the state government is still working on issues with the Commonwealth to allow their return.
* A Queensland police officer who worked in quarantine hotels was reportedly hospitalized days after receiving the Pfizer vaccine with blood clots.
AUSTRALIAN VACCINATION NUMBERS:
* As of Tuesday, the national COVID-19 vaccination rollout had delivered 1,718,107 doses, including 64,821 in the last 24 hours.
* Of which 1,039,147 were administered by the Commonwealth (an increase from 48,765 in the last 24 hours).
* 855,609 were distributed in basic services (+42,747) and 183,538 in facilities for the elderly and people with disabilities (+6018).
* 678,960 were administered by the states and territories, including 16,056 in the last 24 hours.
* 181,435 were registered in NSW (+3702), 172,308 in Victoria (+4058), 128,555 in Queensland (+2544), 80,662 in Western Australia (+2447), 49,349 in South Australia (+1234) and 30,573 in Tasmania (+1156), 22,619 in the ACT (+563) and 13,459 in the NT (+352).
AUSTRALIAN CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS:
* Australia did not report any locally acquired virus cases on Wednesday. There were 19 new quarantined cases acquired overseas: eight in NSW, three each in Victoria and NT, two each in SA and WA, and one in Queensland.
* National death toll is 910: Victoria 820, NSW 56, Tasmania 13, WA 9, Queensland 7, SA 4, ACT 3 (Two Queensland residents who died in NSW were included in both states’ official tolls) .
GLOBAL CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS:
* Cases: at least 142,964,759
* Deaths: at least 3,044,475
* Recovered: 81,926,287 minimum.
Data current as of 1730 AEST on April 21, taking into account federal and state government updates and numbers from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
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