Aus announces more funding for Covid fight

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday announced additional funding to extend the Covid-19 health response until at least the end of 2021.

Morrison said that the A$1.1 billion in funding would protect Australians from the “ongoing threat of the pandemic”, reports Xinhua news agency

It takes the total government spending on the health response to the pandemic to more than A$23 billion, including about A$6 billion on the vaccine rollout.

“We are moving into the sort of post-emergency phase, particularly economically from the end of this month, which is the same time that the Covid-19 response with the vaccination program ramps up to a whole new level,” Morrison told reporters after receiving his second dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.

As of Saturday more than 160,000 vaccines had been administered in Australia.

Morrison and Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Paul Kelly were among the first Australians to receive their second dose.

It came as authorities in New South Wales (NSW) state confirmed that a hotel quarantine worker who had been vaccinated tested positive for virus.

Morrison said he was not “disturbed” by the news.

“The vaccination isn’t immediate. I’ve just had my second dose and the second after I had my first dose. It does take a while,” he said.

“And so once you’re vaccinated, you still have to try and observe, as you should, the Covid-Safe behaviours. I’m wearing a mask today, I’ve had two vaccines.”

Anthony Albanese, the leader of the opposition Labor Party, on Sunday criticised the vaccine rollout, saying that the government’s previous goal of vaccinating 4 million people by the end of March had fallen by the wayside.

“We are way way short,” he told Sky News Australia.