News digest: PM withdraws ADF from Qld, Covid vaccine deal and UK clamps down

Sep 23, 2020
Australia has signed a new vaccine deal. Source: Getty.

Queensland’s Health Minister Steven Miles has hit out at the prime minister after Scott Morrison pulled the defence force from Queensland’s closed borders. According to The Australian, Miles said it’s “no secret” that the PM “doesn’t like our strong border policies,” and that soldiers are being used as “bargaining chips”.

“Our policies have worked and they should back off,” Mr Miles said. “His withdrawal of the support of the defence force is disappointing, it’ll make the job of our police force even harder.”

However the defence force will continue to assist with hotel quarantine in Queensland. It comes as the Sunshine State recorded zero new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, and the state’s total now sits at five active cases.

Meanwhile Victoria has recorded 15 new Covid-19 cases over the past 24 hours, as well as a further five deaths. Premier Daniel Andrews delivered his daily update at 10am, in which he confirmed that the state government will spend an additional $21.3m on drug and alcohol addiction support services.

In other Covid-related news, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt appeared on Channel Seven’s Sunrise this morning where he discussed Australia’s $120m commitment to the global Covax pool, which he said will give the country another opportunity to access a vaccine.

“It gives additional security for Australia and for the world, to the reason why it is important, we want to have as many eggs in the basket as possible,” Hunt said this morning.

The agreement has been struck with the World Health Organisation, vaccine alliance Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation. It means Australia is now eligible to purchase vaccine doses via the alliance when they become available.

And overseas, the United Kingdom has tightened its coronavirus restrictions, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying there have been “too many breaches” recently, leading to a spike in cases across the country.

“The fight against Covid is by no means over,” Johnson said in a televised speech on Tuesday evening, reports The Guardian. “I have no doubt, however, that there are great days ahead. But now is the time for us all to summon the discipline, and the resolve, and the spirit of togetherness that will carry us through.”

As a result, new measures have been introduced which include: 10pm closing for pubs and bars, table service only, closing businesses that are not covid secure, expanding the use of face coverings, new fines for those that fail to comply, asking office workers to work from home if they can.

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