The National Cabinet met today 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.
National Cabinet again discussed the increasing outbreak in Greater Sydney and the additional measures introduced by the New South Wales Government to stop the spread of the delta variant of the virus as well as the lockdowns in Victoria and South Australia. National Cabinet has agreed to a suppression strategy for COVID-19 with the goal of no community transmission.
All leaders expressed their full support for NSW to get on top of the current outbreak. National Cabinet noted the Commonwealth's extension of the COVID-19 Disaster Payment support for Greater Sydney and Victoria, based on Commonwealth hotspot declarations.
Since the beginning of the pandemic there have been 32,582 confirmed cases in Australia and, sadly, 915 people have died (not including the death today of an 89 year-old man in Sydney, which will be included in tomorrow's official figures). More than 23.6 million tests have been undertaken in Australia.
Testing has increased nationally over recent days with 1.1 million tests reported in the past 7 days.
Globally there have been over 192.5 million cases and sadly over 4.1 million deaths, with 526,634 new cases and 8,197 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 10,850,993 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Australia, including a record 196,430 in the previous 24 hours.
In the previous 7 days, more than 1,044,184 vaccines have been administered in Australia. To date, more than 37.1 per cent of the Australian population aged 16 years and over have now had a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, including over 61.6 per cent of over 50 year olds and 76.6 per cent of over 70 year olds. More than 15.4 Australians aged 16 years and over are fully vaccinated including more than 20.8 per cent of over 50 year olds and more than 35.1 per cent of Australians over 70 years of age.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly provided an update on current outbreaks of COVID-19 in a number of locations and of both the Alpha and Delta variants. Australia has successfully suppressed a number of outbreaks since the beginning of the pandemic, built on strong health measures.
Lieutenant General John Frewen, Coordinator-General of Operation COVID Shield, provided a detailed briefing on the vaccination program. The vaccination program continues to expand.
National Cabinet received an update from the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet on the four step plan to reopening and the progress of the COVID-19 Risk Analysis and Response Taskforce report and the Doherty modelling for the National Plan to transition Australia's National COVID Response. The Doherty modelling will be considered at the next meeting of National Cabinet.
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 that in NSW State Clinics second dose Pfizer appointments will be extended to up to 6 weeks between doses, which is within the recommended dosage timeframe approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
National Cabinet agreed to meet next on Friday, 30 July 2021.
COVID-19 Disaster Payments
National Cabinet noted the significant support rolling out to individuals through the COVID-19 Disaster Payment.
As at midnight 22 July 2021, the total number of claims received for the NSW COVID-19 Disaster Payment is 713,266. This includes 422,275 unique claims received (120,463 in the 7 LGAs, 283,944 in the rest of Greater Sydney and 17,868 in Regional NSW which the NSW Government is funding). The total number of claims granted is 582,617. This includes 352,514 unique claims granted (99,294 in the 7 LGAs, 243,541 in the rest of Greater Sydney and 9,679 in Regional NSW which the NSW Government is funding).
National Cabinet noted that claims for the Victorian COVID-19 Disaster Payment opened at midnight 22 July 2021. As at midday today, Services Australia has had approximately 25,000 claims submitted, and have answered approximately 3,500 calls.
National Freight Movement Code
National Cabinet noted that recent changes to Health Orders by a number of jurisdictions have created inconsistent arrangements between jurisdictions for freight drivers.
National Cabinet requested that Transport Ministers work with AHPPC to ensure there is greater consistency in the application of health measures for freight workers under the Freight Movement Code so that the Code continues to support the safe and efficient movement of freight across Australia.
National Cabinet agreed to the Terms of Reference to the second National Review of Hotel Quarantine Arrangements. The Review will be led by independent reviewers Ms Jane Halton AO PSM and supported by Mr Graeme Head AO, drawing on professional and technical expert advice including Professor Peter Collingnon AM and Professor Andrew Wilson.