Aus state declares Covid outbreak national emergency

International | Written by : IANS| Updated:

Aus state declares Covid outbreak national emergency

Sydney, July 23 (IANS) Authorities in New South Wales (NSW), Australia's most populous state, on Friday declared the ongoing unabated Covid-19 outbreak as a national emergency, calling for redirection of vaccine supplies.

After a crisis cabinet meeting earlier in the day, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian declared the national emergency based on advice from the state's Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant, reports Xinhua news agency.

"Chant and her team advised us that the situation that exists now in NSW, namely around southwestern and now western Sydney suburbs, is regarded as a national emergency," said Berejiklian.

Under the new measures, Chant recommended redirecting national vaccine supplies to essential workers at the epicentre of Sydney's outbreak and urged for a prompt vaccines delivery and administering.

"My sense of urgency is absolute urgency so I think we need to be seeing vaccines in arms on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and we need to be ramping up to roll out vaccines..." said Chant.

The state's announcement held controversy as the proposed reallocation of vaccines would mean taking Pfizer stockpiles away from other Australian states.

Berejiklian defended the proposed reallocation, saying, "This is not just a challenge for NSW but a challenge for the nation."

NSW recorded a new daily high of 136 fresh locally acquired cases from some 87,000 tests in the last 24 hours.

NSW also recorded the death of an 89-year-old man on Thursday night, bringing the state's death toll in the latest outbreak to six.

"I just want to foreshadow that unfortunately, we're going to see more of this (deaths) as the case numbers increase," said Berejiklian.