National Cabinet Statement

Media statement
27 Aug 2021
Prime Minister

The National Cabinet met today for the 53rd time to discuss Australia’s COVID-19 response, recent outbreaks of COVID-19 and the Australian COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy.

National Cabinet continues to work together to address issues and find solutions for the health and economic consequences of COVID-19.

Since the beginning of the pandemic there have been 48,815 confirmed cases in Australia and, sadly, 991 people have died. More than 30.7 million tests have been undertaken. Testing has increased nationally over recent days with 1,742,613 tests reported in the past 7 days.

Globally there have been over 214.5 million cases and sadly over 4.4 million deaths, with 711,553 new cases and 11,051 deaths reported in the last 24 hours. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge in many countries around the world.

Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine roll out continues to expand. To date over 18.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Australia, including 307,090 in the previous 24 hours.

In the previous 7 days, more than 1.8 million vaccines have been administered in Australia. More than 55 per cent of the Australian population aged 16 years and over have now had a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, including over 75 per cent of over 50 year olds and more than 85 per cent of over 70 year olds.

More than 33 per cent of Australians aged 16 years and over are now fully vaccinated including more than 48.7 per cent of over 50 year olds and more than 60.8 per cent of Australians over 70 years of age.

Today, Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly provided an update on current outbreaks of COVID-19. The Chief Medical Officer has announced a number of hotspots across Australia in NSW, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.

Leaders noted the health system capacity in place is across to support the current outbreaks.

National Cabinet agreed to establish a cross jurisdictional working group led by the Commonwealth Secretary of Health, with the heads of all state and territory Health Departments to report back to National Cabinet by 3 September 2021, on the health and hospital system capacity and workforce needs to address expected demands under the National Plan, taking into account the Doherty Institute modelling reports to National Cabinet.

Lieutenant General John Frewen, Coordinator-General of Operation COVID Shield, provided an update on the vaccine roll out and the planned roll out to children aged 12-15 years of age, based on recommendations of ATAGI. The rollout to 12-15 year olds will commence from 13 September 2021.

All leaders reiterated the importance of Australians, especially those in vulnerable groups, to get a COVID-19 vaccination. Both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are registered for use in Australia and are proven to be effective in preventing serious illness and death, as well as limiting transmission.

National Cabinet noted the work underway through the COVID-19 Risk Analysis and Response Taskforce report and the Doherty modelling for the National Plan to transition Australia’s National COVID Response. Professor Jodie McVernon from the Doherty Institute updated National Cabinet on draft modelling scenarios and sensitivity analysis, confirming the recommendation of the 70% and 80% thresholds from the Doherty Institute’s earlier report that formed the basis of the National Plan.

Further work is underway on the scenarios as well as modelling of optimisation of the public health measures and managing outbreak responses and scenarios to support vulnerable cohorts and areas with low vaccination uptake. These will be presented by the Doherty Institute at future meetings once finalised.

National Cabinet noted the significantly expanded scale of the evacuation from Afghanistan in a dangerous and deteriorating situation.

The Prime Minister thanked state and territory leaders for the substantial increase in quarantine places made available to accommodate the approximately 4,100 evacuees who would be welcomed to Australia over the coming days and weeks.

National Cabinet agreed to meet next on Friday, 3 September 2021.