New vaccine campaign, NSW outbreak worsens

·3-min read

While Australians wait for the Pfizer vaccine to become more available, NSW's coronavirus outbreak continues to worsen with 50 new cases reported on Saturday.

Greater Sydney is under the toughest COVID-19 restrictions in over a year with Premier Gladys Berejiklian pleading for honesty towards contact tracers and obedience to lockdown rules.

"The length of this lockdown is up to each and every one of us," she said.

"When people don't tell us the truth or withhold from us what's happening, it just lasts longer.

With 37 of the latest cases infectious in the community for at least part of the time before moving into isolation, Ms Berejiklian warned the situation would worsen before getting better.

The state's chief health officer Kerry Chant urged residents to get vaccinated and highlighted that no one in the state who has had two vaccine doses is in hospital.

Other states are watching NSW carefully, determined to keep infection from crossing their borders.

Victoria's coronavirus testing commander Jeroen Weimar on Saturday warned that the state's travel distinction currently being made between regional NSW and Greater Sydney could disappear without warning, meaning Victoria could completely close off to its northern neighbour.

He told Victorians in regional NSW to come home or risk being shut out.

Police resources have been beefed up on the Victorian border, with more than 300 officers involved in patrols by road and air, traffic management, spot checks and vehicle intercepts.

Victoria and Queensland did not record any local COVID-19 cases on Saturday but reported three and five overseas-acquired cases respectively.

As vaccination demand increases, arrivals of Pfizer doses are set to rise to about one million a week from July 19 and 4.5 million are expected to be available over August.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has flagged an advertising campaign to coincide with the boost.

Pfizer said the total number of doses the company was contracted to send to Australia had not changed from 40 million.

"We continue to work closely with the government to support the ramp up of their rollout program," a spokeswoman told AAP.

The availability of Pfizer and changing advice on the AstraZeneca jab have hampered the rollout, sparking criticism of the government's vaccine portfolio.

Another 1300 GPs will join the rollout to deliver Pfizer doses, with the prime minister confident it can be completed by Christmas.

With just under 11 per cent of people over 16 fully vaccinated with two doses, Australia is well behind most of the developed world.

"What we need is less spin and more delivery from this government," Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said on Saturday.

Labor has been calling for a major advertising campaign to bust vaccine hesitancy and promote the benefits of being immunised against coronavirus.

Meanwhile, there are concerns in Tasmania after a healthcare worker left the state on July 2 and two days later, tested positive in London.

Officials say there is no evidence the person contracted COVID-19 or was infectious while in Tasmania.

However a list of sites they visited has been publicly released as a precaution.

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