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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.

Anthony Lucas is reporter, presenter and social media producer with ticker News. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Professional Communication, with a major in Journalism from RMIT University as well as a Diploma of Arts and Entertainment journalism from Collarts. He’s previously worked for 9 News, ONE FM Radio and Southern Cross Austerio’s Hit Radio Network. 

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Four dead in Russian military plane crash

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Four people have been killed after a Russian military plane suffered an engine malfunction

The plane reportedly crashed in the city of Ryazan, which is located southeast of Moscow.

It’s believed five others are also injured. However, it is unclear how many were on board.

The Ilyushin IL-76 military cargo plane is a long-range aircraft, which can reportedly carry over 100 troops.

An Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft, which is similar to the one involved in the incident.

Local authorities say the plane suffered a malfunction while on a training flight.

Russia’s Defence Minister is yet to give any further details on the crash, or about the victims.

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Double election defeat for UK Conservatives

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives have suffered defeat in two parliamentary by-elections

UK Conservatives have lost two crucial seats in England, which could spark concerns about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s future.

The centrist Liberal Democrat party won the seats of Tiverton and Honiton.

The seats are in a Conservative part of south-west England, where a majority of 24,000 has been overturned.

The Liberal Democrats say it is their biggest ever majority turn around at a parliamentary by election.

“Tonight, the people of Tiverton and Honiton have spoken for Britain. They’ve sent a loud and clear message: It’s time for Boris Johnson to go, and go now.”

winning candidate Richard Foord

The losses have renewed calls for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign after a police investigation into gatherings at his Downing Street offices.

Johnson recently survived a vote of no-confidence, which secured his term as Prime Minister for another 12 months.

It also follows the Conservatives winning a landslide majority in three decades during the last national election.

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Protestors disrupt Chinese ambassador’s speech in Sydney

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Protesters are causing disruptions during an address by China’s Ambassador to Australia

Xiao Qian is in Sydney, where is he speaking about how to improve ties between the two countries.

One protester described Mr Xiao as a “representative of a dictatorship” and accused the Chinese Government of committing genocide against Uyghur Muslims.

Others were heard shouting “Free Tibet”, and another was asked to leave the venue prior to the event because he was dressed in a military costume.

The speech was widely seen as an attempt to ease relations between the two countries.

China has put trade sanctions on Australia, while a recent encounter took place between a Chinese fighter jet and an Australian maritime aircraft over the South China Sea.

Security guards reportedly ushered the protesters.

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