Coronavirus Australia live update: Victoria lockdown begins to battle Melbourne Covid outbreak as calls mount for more business support

Especially to readers in Victoria who have woken up to the first day of a seven-day lockdown to contain the Covid outbreak.

You can read all about the lockdown restrictions here and a list of exposure sites here.

Already this morning, Melbourne lord mayor Sally Capp has been on ABC TV calling for financial support for businesses affected by the lockdown – I’ll post a summary of her interview shortly.

Yesterday Victoria’s vaccine hotline crashed for hours, inundated with calls after the state government’s decision to open up vaccinations to those aged over 40 (announced with the lockdown).

Meanwhile, last night federal health minister Greg Hunt revealed there were 74 aged care homes across the country yet to receive their first dose of Covid vaccine, with 16 of these facilities in Victoria.

He also revealed that just 500,000 Australians have been fully vaccinated with both doses.

Yesterday Hunt announced the two-week interval recommended between flu and Covid shots would be scrapped for aged care residents in these homes, given the benefit of vaccinating them in light of the outbreak.

Earlier that day, families of residents at an unvaccinated Melbourne aged care home were “flabbergasted” by comments from aged care minister Richard Colbeck, who had just claimed that those not yet vaccinated had “chosen not to take the jab”.

Elsewhere, Australia’s job agency providers are generally unsatisfied with the welfare mutual obligations scheme, a draft review says, concluding it did not “improve the likelihood of employment”.

A leading mouse expert is reassuring city slickers (ie, people in Sydney) that the plague affecting parts of rural NSW is not spreading to the city – despite increased sightings recorded on a tracking map.

Internationally, the Biden White House’s decision to look into whether coronavirus could have escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan has opened a new divide in already tense US-China relations.

You have Elias Visontay here bringing you developments this morning.

If you see anything you think I should be aware of, you can get in touch with me via Twitter @EliasVisontay or via email at elias.visontay@theguardian.com.



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