Clinical trials begin today on the University of Queensland’s Covid-19 vaccine
The clinical trial will begin today on a coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Queensland.
It will be tested on 120 volunteers, who were among 4,000 who put their hand up to be involved in the program.
Professor Paul Young said the phase 1 study would be assessing the safety of the vaccine and immune responses. Participants will get two doses, four weeks apart. The first early data will be available in September.
Those 120 volunteers will be monitored for 12 months, but if the early results are promising it will be moved on to the next phase later this year.
Young said it was amazing to get to that stage just five months after selecting the lead vaccine candidate. “It feels like three years, but it was only five months.”
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk thanked the volunteers and said it was “great news for Queensland and Australia”.
What is really important is it can be manufactured here. That’s always been the missing piece in Australia. We’ve always had to get overseas companies to do that production. It can be manufactured here, locally, and distributed globally. So that is another win for Queensland and Australia.
This Planet Fitness gym in Casula has closed after a worker tested positive to Covid-19. The gym is across the road from the Crossroads hotel.
It is also very purple.
This is the queue for the pop-up testing outside the Crossroads Hotel this morning.
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In case you were wondering (you should not have been wondering, it’s been quite clear): if you live in an area of Victoria subject to stage three lockdown measures you cannot travel to another area for the purpose of exercise.
Yes, I know that hiking or cycling in the countryside is considerably more fun. I too would prefer to be Not Here. But if you’re in greater Melbourne, you’ve got to stay in greater Melbourne. If you’re in the Mitchell shire, you have got to stay there.
There are limited work/study/caregiving/essential shopping (and I do mean actually essential) reasons for leaving your area. Exercise ain’t one.
From the Vic Health CEO, Dr Sandro Demaio:
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Childcare centres will be able to charge parents fees again from today.
There is an additional federal relief payment for greater Melbourne and the Mitchell shire, to allow centres in areas under lockdown to waive fees to parents if children aren’t attending childcare, but for everyone else it’s a return to the old subsidy model. Childcare workers will not be eligible for jobkeeper after 20 July.
There are more details from Paul Karp here:
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This is the queue for the pop-up testing clinic at the Crossroads Hotel in Casula, in south-western Sydney.
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Victoria announces review of sexual harassment in the courts
The Victorian government has announced a review into sexual harassment in the legal system.
The review is a joint initiative with the chief justice of the Victorian supreme court, Anne Ferguson, and will be conducted by the former Victorian human rights and equal opportunities commissioner, Dr Helen Szoke.
The review will look at issues of prevention and reporting of sexual harassment and better support for victims.
It will “identify ways to build a culture that calls out sexual harassment, and give workers and others across the justice system the confidence to speak up without fear of reprisal”, said a statement from the attorney general, Jill Hennessy.
A workplace that is not free from sexual harassment is an unsafe workplace – these reviews will identify the changes the justice and legal sectors need to make to improve workplace culture and enforce compliance.
I want to thank the women who have bravely stood up and shared their stories, as well as acknowledge the commitment from our heads of jurisdiction to ensuring their workplaces are safe, healthy and respectful.
Victoria’s courts and tribunal are united in our commitment to building a culture of respect across our workplaces– improper and unethical conduct will not be tolerated under any circumstances and we look forward to working with Dr Szoke’s review.
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John Ah Kit, a Jawoyn man and the first Aboriginal minister in the Northern Territory parliament, has died aged 69.
An extraordinary life. I encourage you to take the time to read Lorena Allam’s tribute, here:
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Kidd was also asked about the increasing number of healthcare workers who have tested positive to the virus in Melbourne.
There are 11 coronavirus cases linked to Brunswick private hospital, eight to the Alfred hospital and two to Box Hill hospital.
He says many of those cases “appear to have been transmitted through community transmission, so within households and outside of the healthcare settings”.
He adds that it is “essential” for anyone who works in healthcare to get tested and stay at home if they have symptoms, “no matter how mild”:
Look, people are obviously doing the very best that they can and we support our healthcare workers in Victoria who are providing essential services to the people there, but as I say, this is a highly infectious virus. Everybody needs to be doing their part.
On the return of year 11 and 12 students to school in Melbourne today, Kidd says that the message for those students is “ if we get infected then the risk is also there for our family members”.
Students who attend on-campus learning will be temperature checked as they enter school grounds; anyone with a temperature of more than 37.5C will be sent home.
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Anyone who attended Sydney’s Crossroads Hotel from 3-10 July told to self-isolate
One of Australia’s deputy chief medical officers, Michael Kidd, has urged anyone who attended Sydney’s Crossroads Hotel in Casula between 3 and 10 July to self-isolate for 14 days.
Kidd said the number of cases linked to that outbreak has increased overnight – although he would not give the new numbers, saying that was a matter for NSW Health. He told ABC News Breakfast:
[It’s] very important that people adhere to the public health messages. Anyone who attended that hotel between the 3rd and the 10th July is being advised to isolate at home for 14 days and to arrange to get tested. It is very important that we act very vigorously in responding to this outbreak.
It is, Kidd says, worrying that people were moving around for seven days without being told to self-isolate. Particularly worrying is that the pub is frequented by truck drivers, moving freight along the east coast – including all the way into Queensland. He said:
Part of the concern is that this hotel is used by freight drivers who are transporting essential supplies across the country. So this is a really important issue for everyone across the country.
He adds that truck drivers “are not being tested” but should self-isolate.
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The Australian Capital Territory’s chief public health officer, Dr Kerryn Coleman, has told the Canberra Times she is nervous about the possibility of the virus spreading to the ACT from Melbourne.
Coleman said health officials “just don’t know” if the virus is already spreading in the territory. She adds:
It actually is OK if we get cases of people we know have been in Victoria and have been in quarantine, because we have limited their exposure to other people.
The ones that really worry me are the ones where we don’t know about them and they haven’t been self-isolating.
She urged people not to be unkind to those travelling from other areas, lest it push people “underground” and mean they are reluctant to get tested.
Even if there’s only a couple of people who [don’t come forward because they fear the backlash], and they become a case, and they transmit, then that would be a real sense of concern for our community, we could be seeing transmission and it would be too late by the time we know that’s occurring.
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Australians ‘have to live with the pandemic’, Josh Frydenberg says
Josh Frydenberg says Australia will experience a second wave.
We certainly have to live with the pandemic and that is going to mean a second wave of cases. It is going to mean spikes from time to time and it’s how we effectively manage those spikes that will determine the speed of our economic recovery.
There will be an update on Australia’s overall unemployment forecast on 23 July. As mentioned the official rate is now 7.1 and effective rate is 13.3. It is expected to rise.
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Frydenberg said he does not want to “dull any of the incentives to move between jobs” for people who are on jobseeker.
The RN Breakfast host, Frank Kelly, points out that there are not many jobs to move between.
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Josh Frydenberg says the lockdown in Victoria is “a setback” to Australia’s economic development. Which, yes.
He has been on Radio National talking about the coronavirus support payment. He says the first payment was spent by those aged over 65 but a third of those under 65 banked it. But he says:
The best economic support one can provide is to get the health consequences of this under control.
The treasurer says Australia is “better placed than any other country in the world” to recover from the virus. He is defending against the criticism of business groups who say the stop-start response to the virus – opening up then locking down again – is hampering the economic recovery.
Australia’s unemployment rate is now 7.1% but Frydenberg says the effective unemployment rate is closer to 13.3%.
New unemployment figures come out on Thursday.
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Josh Frydenberg has confirmed this morning that the Australian government will not offer a third coronavirus support payment. The second $750 payment will be automatically issued from today to people who are on an eligible pension or concession card, and are not already receiving the $550 fortnightly coronavirus payment. For example, people on the disability support payment and family tax benefit A or B. Some who got the first payment will not be eligible for the second one.
The treasurer was also asked, on ABC News Breakfast, what message he thought prime minister Scott Morrison was giving Australians by attending a football match this weekend. He said:
Well, again, that reflected the fact that New South Wales and Victoria are different stages. Good on him for being passionate about his country and about his footy. I’d love to go to watch the Storm or the Carlton football club. The reality is in New South Wales and Queensland you can go and watch the footy. It reflects the reality we’re in. I note even the opposition leader didn’t criticise the prime minister for doing that.
There are now nine cases connected to an outbreak at the Crossroads Hotel in Casula in south-west Sydney, including an 18-year-old bartender. Anyone who patronised the pub from 3 July to 10 July has been asked to self-isolate – that could be thousands of people.
Seven News is reporting that two people from the RAAF base in Wagga Wagga were among the pub attendees. They say the base has now been shut down.
Victoria recorded 273 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, and the death of a man in his 70s. Some 237 cases are now linked to public housing blocks in Flemington and North Melbourne, and 28 people tested positive in public housing blocks in Carlton after residents lobbied for mobile testing.
In a worrying development, a guard at the Mantra Hotel where asylum seekers are held while they await necessary medical treatment has also tested positive.
It’s the first day of term three today in Victoria but not for everyone. Students outside the lockdown in greater Melbourne and the Mitchell shire, as well as year 11 and 12 students and students who attend specialist schools within the lockdown area, will be back today. But students from prep to year 10 within the lockdown area have the next week off, and will return to remote learning next Monday.
Meanwhile, people living in the Melbourne and Mitchell shire lockdown area have begun wearing masks in public. From my own investigation (I went to the shops, also masked), mask uptake has been high. I sewed this mask at the weekend, it’s very fashion.
Let’s get on with the day. You can follow me on Twitter @callapilla or email me at email@example.com.
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