Australian states and territories have agreed to make their Covid-19 restrictions more consistent with each other.
At a National Cabinet meeting on Friday, the state leaders agreed to adopt federal guidelines for restrictions on pubs, restaurants and stadiums.
Venue restrictions will be no stricter than the one person per two square metre rule and stadiums and theatres can have 100 per cent capacity.
Australian states and territories have agreed to make their Covid-19 restrictions more consistent with each other
Many states and territories already have these rules in place so they have agreed not to change them.
In good news for struggling businesses, the states have also agreed to prioritise local lockdowns in the event of an outbreak, rather than state-wide shutdowns.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the states also want to ‘aim for outbreak responses that keep internal borders open’.
Mr Morrison also announced that Australia has ordered 20million more doses of the Pfizer vaccine after the AstraZeneca vaccine was linked to potentially deadly blood clots.
The vaccines – taking Australia’s Pfizer jab total to 40 million – are due to arrive in the final three months of 2021.
On Thursday night the government received advice from its scientists that the Pfizer vaccine was preferred in adults under 50 because of evidence from Europe that the AstraZeneca vaccines causes blood clots in extremely rare cases.
Australia has ordered 20million more doses of the Pfizer vaccine after the AstraZeneca vaccine was linked to potentially deadly bloodclots
Australia had relied heavily on the AstraZeneca vaccine with 53.8million doses ordered. It is also the only jab that it can manufacture onshore at the CSL factory in Melbourne.
Australia’s Pfizer vaccines were due to arrive at a rate of 130,000 from April, but Health Minister Greg Hunt said this will now hugely expand and double by July.
The government did not reveal how much the extra vaccines cost or which country they will come from. Australia’s told spend on vaccines is about $4billion.
Mr Morrison said Australians can still choose to take the the AstraZeneca jab if they want.
‘It is not a ban on the AstraZeneca vaccine, it is not a prohibition on the AstraZeneca vaccine, it recommends and notes that the risk of these side effects are remote.
‘They are very rare. We are talking in the vicinity of five to six per million which is a rather rare event. But it must be acknowledged,’ Mr Morrison said.
‘It’s important so Australians can make informed decisions about their vaccination and their health care with their medical professionals, with their doctor.
‘So there was no instruction not to take that vaccine. There is an acknowledgement of the risk that is there but as is the case always with these matters these are decisions for Australians.’
The prime minster encouraged Australians over 50 to have the AstraZeneca jab because they are less at risk of the clotting events and more at risk of getting seriously sick from Covid-19.
‘You would be putting yourself at risk if you didn’t get the vaccine, because you would be exposing yourself to the more likely event of a COVID contracted condition that could result in serious illness,’ he said.
‘That’s why I want my mum to get it, and that’s why I want your mum to kept get it, and your dad, your uncle, your aunt, your brother, your sister. That’s a life-saving vaccine.’
In March more than a dozen countries suspended the AstraZeneca jab after a handful of European patients suffered brain blockages that can cause strokes
Australia has advised citizens aged under 50 against receiving AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine (pictured, a vaccine vial)