The Informer: Victoria records 5 more COVID-19 cases, but vaccination efforts pick up

Streets are again silent and empty in Melbourne, where residents have entered the second day of Victoria's fourth lockdown. Picture: Getty Images
Streets are again silent and empty in Melbourne, where residents have entered the second day of Victoria's fourth lockdown. Picture: Getty Images

The number of COVID-19 cases in the latest Melbourne outbreak has risen to 35, with another five positive results recorded from 56,000 tests on Friday.

Victoria has entered its second day of a fourth lockdown, with coronavirus again leaking out of hotel quarantine, prompting widespread community disruption.

Authorities believe the B1617 strain of the virus, which has been detected in the latest Melbourne outbreak, could be 50 per cent more transmissible than other variants of COVID-19.

But in better news, Victoria and NSW have both seen large numbers of vaccines administered. More than 21,000 people received a Covid jab in Victoria in the 24 hours to Saturday morning.

NSW also administered its highest number of vaccines in one day, with more than 14,000 people getting a jab, 5357 of whom received it at the Sydney Olympic Park mass vaccine hub.

More than 1.8 billion COVID-19 vaccines have been administered globally.

Health Minister Greg Hunt on Friday said avoiding the "lottery of death" should be enough to motivate Australians to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

"The number one reason to be vaccinated is it can save your life and the life of your family and friends," Mr Hunt said, before pushing back against claims the federal government had given the impression the vaccine rollout was not a rush thereby slowing down uptake.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is in New Zealand this weekend, where he will hold bilateral talks with his counterpart Jacinda Arden.

Unsurprisingly, the ongoing coronavirus response will be on the agenda, with New Zealand keen to improve contact tracing efforts to keep the trans-Tasman bubble open.

The leaders are also likely to discuss their country's relationship with China and the deportation of Kiwi citizens from Australia.

And finally, Australian researchers have found a new chocolate frog in the fetid rainforest swamps of New Guinea. Just don't bite into this one like a Freddo!

The South Australian Museum's Steve Richards managed to bag some specimens in 2016, before years of genetic analysis confirmed this frog was a new species.

In 2016 he was picking his way through the steamy, hostile terrain - one eye on the lookout for approaching crocs - when he spotted the cocoa-coloured creature. But what he also managed to do was disturb an overhanging nest of giant hornets.

"I had to run flat out, trying to get away from these things, which was very difficult because of the water and knee-high mud," Mr Richards said.

"It's a habitat that's incredibly challenging to get into, and that could be why it took so long to find this frog.

"It's swampy, it's spiky, there are lots of malaria-carrying mozzies, it floods, there are crocodiles and not many roads. It's a really unpleasant place to work."

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This story Victoria records 5 more COVID-19 cases, but vaccination efforts pick up first appeared on The Canberra Times.