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(Australian Associated Press)
24/03/2021 04:54:18 PM
LATEST COVID-19 DEVELOPMENTS:
* Australia is no longer reliant on insecure international supplies of coronavirus vaccines after the national medicine regulator approved locally made batches of AstraZeneca, with about 500,000 doses to go out each week.
* Health Minister Greg Hunt declared “the trucks are rolling” as the locally produced vaccines are dispatched across the country.
* Department of Health secretary Brendan Murphy admitted the European Union had blocked more than one shipment of coronavirus vaccines.
* More than 358,000 people have now been vaccinated in Australia – up 46,000 on the previous day – with Mr Hunt saying the nation remained on track for everyone to get their first dose by October.
* A group of Indigenous leaders and politicians received their first jabs in Canberra on Wednesday as medical officers prepare to visit remote communities across the country.
* Australia continues to plead with Europe to get one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine for Papua New Guinea as it battles a coronavirus outbreak.
* Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said it will be a “very difficult decision” to open Australia’s international border to travellers.
* Treasury boss Steven Kennedy expects between 100,000 and 150,000 Australians will lose their jobs when the JobKeeper wage subsidy ends on March 31.
* A year after the country was put into lockdown amid the pandemic, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a raft of COVID-19 restrictions would be repealed on Monday.
* Singing and dancing in crowded houses and nightclubs will be allowed and commuters won’t have to wear masks in NSW from next week.
* NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet declared the rollback meant the state was “pretty much back to normal”.
* South Australia will also ease some of its COVID-19 restrictions next week, with changes to density rules and the size of gatherings coming in time for Easter.
* Premier Steven Marshall said the changes will allow pubs, clubs, restaurants and other venues to cater for up to 75 per cent of their capacity.
AUSTRALIAN CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS:
* Australia reported no new locally acquired case of the coronavirus on Wednesday. 10 overseas acquired cases were reported in hotel quarantine: four in Queensland, three in NSW, two in SA and one in WA.
* The national death toll is 909: Victoria 820, NSW 56, Tasmania 13, WA 9, Queensland 6, SA 4, ACT 3 (Two Queensland residents who died in NSW have been included in the official tolls of both states).
GLOBAL CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS:
* Cases: at least 124,153,278
* Deaths: at least 2,734,045
* Recovered: at least 70,450,000.
Data current as of 1645 AEDT on March 24, taking in federal and state/territory government updates and Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre figures.