Prime Minister Scott Morrison has today given a press conference amid the escalating COVID situation around Australia, with the announcement of 110 new cases today in NSW, worryingly with over 40 of those being community-transmitted cases and over half the population of the country now in lockdown.
With lockdowns currently in VIC, NSW and SA Scott Morrison said that Australia had so far responded brilliantly to the COVID-19 challenge, experiencing a much higher quality of life throughout the pandemic than has been seen around the world.
The Prime Minister noted that 30,000 lives have been saved so far in Australia through safety measures to combat the virus, and government intervention to aid the economy has seen 1,000,000 back in work and an unprecedented level of economic intervention.
There are currently 70,000 claims across the country for the COVID disaster relief payments which are now available to South Australian businesses and individuals who have lost work due to the current lockdowns. Morrison noted he was pleased that payments are being made in as little as 40 minutes, and that nearly 95% of the payments were being handled completely online.
Payments of $600 and $375 are available to individuals, which is the same level of payment provided in December las year during JobKeeper.
The only difference is that these payments are coming directly from the government not a direct employer. Morrison noted that the design of the payments is to support the lockdowns and encourage people to stay at home.
$32 million dollars in COVID relief payments have now been paid out in the last 24 hours alone, with the same system of payment now in action in each locked down state.
The $600 payment is for 20 hours of work of more lost and $275 is for more than 8 hours work lost (but less than 20 hours).
Individuals are asked to make the claim at the end of their working week, based on what their week of work would have been, with the payments continuing automatically once you have registered for a payment.
The implementation of the COVID disaster relief payments in South Australia, as well as VIC and NSW, comes as Australia reached a new milestone of 1,000,000 vaccinations in one week. Discussing the availability of Pfizer, the Prime Minister explained that 1,000,000 doses of Pfizer are also coming into Australia every week.
The Prime Minister noted that the government was keen to do all it can to minimise the burden on Australian population.
There have also been 320 new GP points of presence established to administer the Pfizer vaccine this week, with pharmacies continuing to set up administering the AstraZeneca vaccine.
30,000 people under the age of 40 across the country have now received the AstraZeneca vaccine under informed consent from their GP.
All South Australians who have symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested on the day symptoms appear.
– Fever or chills (in the absence of an alternative illness that explains these symptoms)
– An acute respiratory infection e.g. cough, sore throat, runny nose, or shortness of breath
– Loss of smell or alteration in the sense of taste
– Diarrhoea and vomiting
For more information: SA COVID-19 Information Line 1800 253 787; sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVID2019.