Germany considering halting air travel to curb spread of coronavirus variants

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Germany considering halting air travel to curb spread of coronavirus variants

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Coronavirus Australia live news: Everyone in Australia will be able to get AstraZeneca vaccine, Michael Kidd says

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Vulnerable Australians being left behind amid scramble for seats on coronavirus repatriation flights 

Composite image of a woman sitting down holding a dog and a takeaway coffee cup (left) and a woman standing in the snow (right).
Vulnerable Australians stuck overseas, like Kate Monroe (left) and Simone Platovnjak (right), have missed out on repatriation flights despite being told they are first in line to get home.(Supplied)

       

While the Department of Foreign Affairs maintains it is prioritising the most needy, Australians listed as vulnerable have told 7.30 they have missed out on the latest flights.

“They may as well have just drawn us all out of a hat,” said 28-year-old Kate Monroe, who is stranded in the UK.

“I’d been in tears thinking that I was going to be coming home.

“Once I got to the payment information, an error had occurred. That flight was just gone.”

Some Australians who secured seats conceded on social media they were probably not as vulnerable as others.

“People have got these flights and they may not necessarily be as vulnerable as the rest of us, so it was heartbreaking,” Ms Monroe said.

Another Australian deemed vulnerable, 21-year-old Simone Platovnjak in London, also failed to get a repatriation seat after selecting a flight.

“I got to checkout and the page glitched and I went to refresh it and I lost it,” she said.

Read the full story here.

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Coronavirus Australia live news: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern mulls travel bubble arrangement with Australian states

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Biden administration to purchase millions more vaccine doses to curb virus

(AP)

The Biden administration will purchase 200 million more coronavirus vaccines and funnel more to states now, in a bid to deliver on the US president’s promise to curb the pandemic, a senior administration official has said.

Joe Biden, who took office last week, is in a race to contain the virus as faster-spreading variants threaten to increase the death toll across the United States, which has already been hard-hit.

The administration is briefing state governors about its plans to increase the amount of the vaccine going to those local governments to 10 million doses per week for the next three weeks, up from 8.6 million currently, according to the official who declined to be named, who previewed a policy the president has not yet discussed.

The administration will purchase 100 million doses each of the vaccines made by Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc , increasing the overall total doses to 600 million, with delivery expected by summer. Each vaccine requires two doses per person to be fully effective, suggesting the new purchases would cover most of the country’s 331 million people.

The administration also promised to provide notice to the states three weeks in advance of how much vaccine they would be getting in the future.

Mr Biden made management of the pandemic a core issue in his presidential election campaign, but in its early days, the administration has sent mixed messages about when exactly the vaccines will be fully administered.

On Monday, Mr Biden said he believed it was possible to have 150 million doses of the vaccine administered in his first 100 days in office, an aspiration his press secretary Jen Psaki said was not an official adjustment of the current target of 100 million doses over that same time period.

“The president and his team have been working around the clock over the past six days to make meaningful progress on vaccinating as many people as possible,” she said.

(with Reuters)

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