The World Health Organization says more than half of Europe saw increasing numbers of new COVID-19 infections last week, ending six weeks of decline in new cases.

These were the key events from Friday:

Catch up on Friday’s coronavirus news as it happened.

Live updates

By Kelsie Iorio

Thanks for joining us

And just like that, another COVID blog comes to an end.

have a lovely weekend and we’ll see you again soon.

By Kelsie Iorio

NSW’s cases in quarantine

Any more information on the 12 new cases reported by NSW today. Agree with previous post that it seems to be rather more than usual.


NSW doesn’t seem particularly concerned by today’s numbers — they didn’t say anything specific about it in their daily COVID update. 

An increase of 12 cases might sound like a lot because we’ve been enjoying such low numbers broadly lately, but for comparison purposes, I’ve collected the numbers of overseas acquired cases per week since the start of the year: 

  • Week ending Jan 2 – 44
  • Week ending Jan 9 – 36
  • Week ending Jan 16 – 46
  • Week ending Jan 23 – 18
  • Week ending Feb 6 – 15
  • Week ending Feb 13 – 18
  • Week ending Feb 20 – 12
  • Week ending Feb 27 – 27
  • This week (SO FAR) – 28

This is why it’s likely that hotel quarantine will be here to stay for a while longer!

By Kelsie Iorio

Returning Australians

Can some one please explain how we still have 40,000 Australians returning. At the start of covid we had 25,000 wanting to return home. I believe we have brought home 200,000 since March. How can we still have 40,000 wanting return home. Can a reporter check out the figures and report this to us.? Thanks the numbers don’t make sense.


As mentioned earlier in the blog, this was never going to be a matter of getting from the first number reported to zero in one go. 

The number can decrease when people do manage to secure a flight, or they take their name off the register for wanting to return home because they decide to stay where they are for whatever reason.

The number can increase when people add themselves back to the register, put themselves on the register for the first time due to their circumstances changing, or have had to go overseas mid-pandemic for an essential reason and are then trying to get back.

The 40,000-ish that are trying to get home now aren’t necessarily the exact same cohort of people who first registered their interest in wanting to return when the borders closed.

By Kelsie Iorio

YOUR THOUGHTS: Would you be cool with returned overseas travellers quarantining at home? 

if the returning Aussie has been vaccinated, they could spend the first three nights in hotel quarantine (and get tested on day 3) and then, if negative, finish the rest at home. That’s fair no?

-home quarantine

I don’t trust Australia’s system. that’s it. I would rather home quarantine if I were returning because I trust myself and I know I’m safer at home than catching covid in the quarantine hotel. But I don’t trust other people to stay at home and I don’t trust the Authorities (especially Victoria where I am) to have a properly functional system to ensure that people do. Asian countries have been using sophisticated technology (or maybe not even that sophisticated) from the start but Australia is so far behind it’s ridiculous. Part of it is the whiney “human rights” take of the Western world that puts itself at a disadvantage. So glaringly obvious from this pandemic. We still keep looking to the failed US and UK to compare ourselves with instead of the better performing Asian countries. It’s time we learnt from them and stop being so arrogant.


I’m pretty sure most experts would say quarantining overseas travellers is a bad idea. Overseas is where the virus and all its new variants is coming from. I’d be very very worried if we went down that track.


By Kelsie Iorio

Western Australia’s upcoming venue capacity changes

Mark McGowan announced today that more people will be allowed into venues from 12.01am on Monday, March 15 (as long as there are no sudden COVID outbreaks). 

Up to 75 per cent capacity will be allowed indoors and outdoors for: 

  • restaurants, cafes, food courts, and bars
  • auditoriums and amphitheatres
  • theatres and cinemas
  • concert halls, comedy lounges and performing arts centres
  • places of worship
  • function centres
  • community, recreation or youth centre or facilitie, including community halls and sporting clubs
  • major stadiums
  • funeral parlours

By Kelsie Iorio

Is it time to reconsider home quarantine for returning Australians? 

Experts say as Australia’s vaccination rate climbs, the option of home quarantine may become more viable for low-risk returned travellers as an alternative to the costly hotel quarantine program.

Reporter Kathy Lord explores some of the ins and outs of this option here

A question to our blog friends: Would you feel confident in Australia’s systems knowing returned overseas travellers were quarantining at home rather than in hotels?

By Kelsie Iorio

Key Event

All today’s new COVID cases around the country

  • QLD: one case in hotel quarantine
  • NSW: 12 new cases in hotel quarantine
  • ACT: no new cases
  • VIC: no new cases
  • TAS: no new cases
  • NT: no new cases
  • SA: no new cases
  • WA: no new cases

By Kelsie Iorio

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.

Dr Katie Attwell on COVID-19 vaccines and people’s attitudes to them.

By Kelsie Iorio

More on Queensland’s new vaccine hubs

The Queensland Government says Bundaberg Hospital and Logan Hospital will be ready to start administering AstraZeneca vaccines next week, as long as stocks arrive in time

“The AstraZeneca vaccine is a game-changer for us here in Queensland,” Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young says.

“I don’t want anyone to have any reservations about getting a certain vaccine or preferring one over the other.

They both work. They are very effective and safe. They have both been reviewed and approved by the TGA. I would be happy to get either.

Dr Young says she’s expecting it to take another four or five weeks to get through phase 1a of the vaccine rollout in Queensland. 

By Kelsie Iorio



By Kelsie Iorio

ANALYSIS: Export bans on coronavirus vaccines are a problem, but why is the supply so limited in the first place?

We’ve talked about the whole Italy-blocking-vaccine-shipment issue a lot today. 

La Trobe University’s Associate Professor Deborah Gleeson says the immediate problem will probably be quickly solved through diplomatic channels, and even if it is not, onshore manufacturing of the AstraZeneca vaccine will soon make up for any shortfall in Australia’s vaccine supply.

But, she writes, to avoid these types of supply shortfalls in the future, it’s important to address the underlying problems behind this example of vaccine nationalism — and Australia is both a victim of these problems, as well as a contributor.

Read the full analysis here.

By Kelsie Iorio

Key Event

COVID cases rising again in Europe, WHO says

It’s not over yet, folks.

Cases of COVID-19 have risen around nine percent in the past few weeks in Europe, according to the WHO, after six weeks of numbers declining.

It comes amid the emergence of another variant strain in the UK.

“Last week, new cases of COVID-19 in Europe rose nine percent to just above one million,” WHO Europe’s regional director Hans Kluge said.

“This brought a promising six-week decline in new cases to an end, with more than half of our region seeing increasing numbers of new infections.

“We are seeing a resurgence in central and Eastern Europe. New cases are also on the rise in several western European countries where rates were already high.”

By Kelsie Iorio

Final preparations for Sydney’s COVID-safe Mardi Gras underway

Izzy Donovan is proud to be marching with the First Nations Community float at this year’s COVID-safe Mardi Gras. (ABC News: Nakari Thorpe)

Who’s excited for this?!?

Marchers are still feeling the buzz ahead of Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade tomorrow, even though it’ll be a more socially-distanced affair than what we’re used to.

This year, up to 23,000 spectators will be seated in SCG stands as marchers take to the pitch.

Ismail “Izzy” Donovan will be attending Mardi Gras this year for the sixth time this year, joining the First Nations Community float, whose theme is Black Lives Matter.

It’s true that it’s gay Christmas,” Izzy says.

If you didn’t catch it earlier, reporters Maryanne Taouk and Nakari Thorpe have the full story on this year’s colourful yet COVID-safe affair right here.

By Kelsie Iorio

Everything you need to know about the NT’s vaccine rollout

One year and one day after its first case of coronavirus was diagnosed, the NT Government has released more details about the next phase of its vaccine rollout.

We now have a date for when it will begin — March 22.

Here’s what else we learned.

By Kelsie Iorio

Countdown’s on for Aussie AstraZeneca vaccines

One of the biggest developments to come out of today’s National Cabinet meeting was news that the first locally produced doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines will be administered in just over a fortnight.

CSL’s Chief Scientific Officer Andrew Nash said the company had worked “at pace” to make sure it could deliver the vaccine supply on schedule.

“The filling production line was turned on more than two weeks ago and is now running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and will do so until this campaign is finished,” he said.

More on the vaccine here.

By Kelsie Iorio

When will Victoria accept international travellers again?*

(*Spoiler alert — this post will not tell you when Victoria will accept international travellers again). 

As we saw earlier, Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng got his Pfizer vaccine this morning as part of his duties as an infectious diseases expert at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. 

Professor Cheng is advising the Victorian government on when it will be safe to restart the hotel quarantine program again. 

International flight arrivals to Victoria have been on hold since February 13 during the Holiday Inn outbreak. 

“Clearly one of the things we want to do is make sure everyone who works there [in hotel quarantine] is vaccinated and that’s being rolled out at the moment,” he said.

“We’re hoping that will be finished very soon, actually… in the next week or so.” 

Professor Cheng said in March last year he was in quarantine after being exposed to coronavirus on a hospital ward and he hopes it won’t happen again.

He said he feels more confident now that he’s been vaccinated. 

“But.. certainly it does give me a sense of confidence that when I go and see patients in about two or three weeks’ time that it’ll be safer than before I got vaccinated.” 

Reporting by Kathy Lord

By Kelsie Iorio

Precious packages arriving

(ABC News)

More than 50,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which were made overseas, have arrived at Victoria’s hospital vaccination hubs, ready to be administered from early next week.

The Commonwealth has initially provided 50,800 doses as part of the national rollout. 

Today was the seventh consecutive day of zero new coronavirus cases in Victoria. The number of tests processed in the last 24 hour period is 19,846.

There are only five active cases of COVID-19 currently in Victoria.

Reporting by Kathy Lord

By Kelsie Iorio

You bloggers are so biased to Drs

Like they always are front and center experts in your blog.

-Dr centric blog


This is a COVID-19 blog.

By Kelsie Iorio

Hopeful WA travellers — so close

Hi Simon!

Do we have any idea whether the WA government is counting Victoria’s string of days with 0 cases as 6 (latest stretch) or as 15 (which would exclude Feb 25th’s cases (where the 2 community cases reported had been in isolation during their infectious period)? Keen to know when we might be able to enter WA without having to quarantine!

-Keen to get to WA without quarantine

Any more word from W.A. on lowering their 28 day zero local case requirement for a “no quarantine” border crossing.? 3 weeks ago they announced they were considering lowering these requirements


Patience, my friends — Victoria is on track to be reclassified as a very low risk area in Western Australia in less than two weeks

As we heard earlier, Premier Mark McGowan said if no weird cases pop up between now and then, people from Victoria can travel to WA without having to self-quarantine from March 15.

Here are more details from Western Australia.

By Kelsie Iorio

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.

Here’s Annastacia Palaszczuk talking about the Russian COVID variant detected in Queensland.