Australia news LIVE: Victoria records 80 new local COVID-19 cases; infections continue to soar in NSW

Australia news LIVE: Victoria records 80 new local COVID-19 cases; infections continue to soar in NSW

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Deputy Premier John Barilaro, Minister for Health Brad Hazzard, NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant and NSW Health Chief Psychiatrist Dr Wright Murray are due to provide a coronavirus update from 11am AEST.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Deputy Premier John Barilaro, Minister for Health Brad Hazzard, NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant and NSW Health Chief Psychiatrist Dr Wright Murray will provide an update on COVID-19.

And for Victorian readers, we’re expecting a coronavirus update for your state around 11.15am AEST.

Stay tuned for that livestream.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has just announced another 1200 people were evacuated from Afghanistan last night on six Australian and one New Zealand flights.

That takes the total number rescued to more than 4000, which the Prime Minister says is more than three times what he anticipated a week ago.

“I want to thank all of those who’ve been putting themselves at great risk in Kabul, in particular the men and women of the ADF, those from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Home Affairs,” he said.

He also thanked the United Arab Emirates, where many of those rescued are waiting for transfer flights, and the state governments for offering quarantine arrangements.

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“Those operations remain in place, they continue even now, but the situation is deteriorating,” Mr Morrison warned.

“We will continue to operate safely, but paramount in our operations is ensuring the safety of those Australians who are directly involved in the evacuation.”

Foreign Minister Marise Payne noted that DFAT upgraded its travel advice overnight to warn people not to seek to get to Kabul Airport anymore, as our foreign affairs correspondent Anthony Galloway

noted earlier.

“Afghanistan remains highly volatile and dangerous. Be aware of the potential for violence and security threats with large crowds. There is an ongoing and very high threat of a terrorist attack,” Senator Payne said.

“We do understand that this is an extremely distressing situation for Australians, Australian family members still in Kabul, people with visas and for family and friends who are here in Australia. We remain focused on the safe evacuation from Afghanistan for as many Australians and visa holders as possible, for as long as possible.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stepped up to the podium to again paint a picture of hope for the future.

More than 335,000 vaccine doses were delivered yesterday, he says, bringing the total for the entire rollout to more than 18 million.

“We will finish this week with more than one-third of Australians having had both doses and that is increasing significantly in the last two months. We keep that pace up over the next two months, and we are really going to make a big dent in this,” he said.

There are concerns within Government ranks about the impact of lockdowns and uncertainty on small business in particular.

Mr Morrison said the rate of vaccinations should give businesses confidence, along with financiers and investors, that they will soon be able to reopen and get back to work.

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