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“This is stranger to stranger transmission”: Aus authorities concerned about ‘fleeting’ Indian covid-19 variant

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Australia’s second-largest state, Victoria remains in lockdown today as authorities express concern about how easily the Indian COVID-19 strain is transmitting from ‘fleeting’ encounters.

Authorities have raised alarms to this particular Melbourne outbreak, as the Indian variant of COVID is proving to transmit between complete strangers with little contact. Examples include brushing past each other in a small shop, and walking past each other in display home.

This has sparked a surge in exposure sites, alerted across the south-eastern state in Australia.

“We think it is a feature of the Indian variant which is that much more contagious,” Deputy Secretary at Department for Health and Human Services, Jeroen Weimar said.

“This is stranger to stranger transmission.”

Weimar said they have seen transmission in these places with very fleeting contact.

“They are all examples of transmission with very limited contact. With previous variants, we are more used to transmission occurring in the home, in the workplace, where people know each other already, not at all of those big social settings. These are quite different.”

The stay-at-home orders are supposed to be part of a seven-day “snap lockdown”, but there are fears that this will be extended due to a number of new “mystery cases”.

Three new local cases of COVID-19 were recorded on Tuesday, on top of six cases announced Monday.

Of the 4,800 primary close contacts 75 per cent have returned negative test results.

‘Five-day blitz’ to help boost vaccination numbers

Private aged care residents and staff those in residential disability settings will now be given priority to get the vaccine at Victoria’s state-run walk-in vaccine hubs.

“The Commonwealth made it clear that originally, under the phase 1a/1b schedule, this was a sector that they were going to look after,” Health Minister Martin Foley said.

“A few weeks ago they asked all the states to assist in that process, and today we’re starting a significant contribution, but that will come out of Victorian state allocations of vaccine to target this very high risk group.”

Will Australia’s most populous state have its lockdown extended?

Epidemiologist Professor Mary Louise McLaws says she doesn’t believe the state will be back to normal by Friday.

She told the ABC that Victoria has “a very high, very rapid increase of cases over a short period of time,”

Despite the lockdown costing around $1 billion a week, she says “it certainly has to go for 14 days”.

Business slams government support package

Melbourne is dubbed as the world’s most liveable city, but businesses and their employees are calling for better support.

A $250 million dollar support package for struggling Melbourne businesses has been labeled as ’embarrassing by industry leaders.

Meanwhile, James Wheelan from the VHS Group says the Victorian government has acted poorly by locking down the entire state.

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President Biden tests positive to COVID, in wake of rising election tensions

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The calls for President Joe Biden to drop out of the election race continue to mount, just as the president tests positive for COVID19.

Election tensions heat up and The Republican National Convention continues – the night all about Trump’s VP pick JD Vance, as the campaign’s boss defends the secret service, and says Trump will continue with his rallies. #featured #trending

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GOP vice presidential nominee JD Vance’s foreign policy views

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American voters are learning more about GOP vice presidential nominee Senator JD Vance.

JD Vance has been selected as Donald Trump’s running mate for the 2024 presidential election.

The 39-year-old senator from Ohio is a Marine, graduate of Yale Law School, a former venture capitalist and the author of the bestselling memoir “Hillbilly Elegy.”

As the GOP lays out it’s vision for the future of America at its Republican National Convention–many voters are looking forward to learning more about the GOP vice presidential nominee especially when it comes to foreign policy.

Jonathan Tobin the editor-in-chief of Jewish News Syndicate joins Veronica Dudo to discuss.

#IN AMERICA TODAY #trending #2024election #politics #foreignpolicy #JDVance #DonaldTrump #GOP #RNC

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Tech researchers argue that ChatGPT’s AI comedy is beating humans to the punchline

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ChatGPT has taken to the stand-up stage, with some researchers arguing that AI has finally beaten humans to the punchline.

GenAI takes the next leap forward, now targeting the comedy scene – but will the machines get the last laugh?

Tom Finnigan from Talkingbrands.ai joins to discuss all the latest AI updates. #featured

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