The Informer: Cases, doses - but no wedding bells

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has encouraged family trips to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Picture: Keegan Carroll
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has encouraged family trips to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Picture: Keegan Carroll

As so often in this pandemic, there are nuggets of hope to build us up and the raw figures to knock us back.

Let's start with the hope to kick off a new week. More vaccines are on the way. Prime Minister Scott Morrison described an additional one million doses of the Moderna vaccine from the European Union as a "family-sized dose of hope".

The boosters to the national supply are due to arrive next weekend.

On top of that, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation is now recommending Moderna for everyone aged 12 and older.

Mr Morrison is not admitting that policy has changed - but it does seem to have.

What seemed like the earlier policy of relying on blocked borders to keep the virus out rather than mass vaccinations didn't do the job. Australia lay very far down the list of jabbing countries.

But the current policy is to get the country vaxxed up as fast as possible.

Every day, the numbers of cases shows why.

The ACT reported 15 new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday, taking the total number in this latest outbreak to 493.

There were 10 people in hospital with COVID, three receiving intensive care and one on ventilation. The youngest person in hospital was under 12.

But it's the New South Wales situation which continues to cause the most concern.

State Premier Gladys Berejiklian said there were suburbs in Sydney where it was "picking up pace".

There were two new cases in Queanbeyan and 1262 cases recorded in the state in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday, with seven people dying from the virus over that period.

This included a man in his 20s, a woman in her 40s and a man and a woman in their 50s.

There were worrying signs from Yass. "We've detected fragments of the virus in the Yass treatment plant," NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said.

"I'm particularly concerned by Yass where we're seeing an increase in the level of sewage detection.

"I ask those in Yass to come out for testing with the most minimal of symptoms and to follow all the public health advice."

But hope springs eternal.

Searches for overseas flights nearly tripled in the week after Qantas unveiled plans to revive international travel.

The airline unveiled a plan to revive overseas travel by December, nearly two years after COVID-19 forced an abrupt end. The carrier saw an 175 per cent increase in online flight searches the following week.

Maybe Alexandria Schofield and Connor Berry will get their honeymoon.

Their dream of getting married by the National Carillon, surrounded by a hundred of their closest friends and family was dashed.

But the two 22-year-olds decided instead to hold an intimate backyard wedding on Saturday. There will be a bigger celebration when restrictions lift.

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This story More vaccines, more cases - and more hopes of travel first appeared on The Canberra Times.