Questions have been raised over who should get the coronavirus vaccine first once one is developed. Picture: AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit
Questions have been raised over who should get the coronavirus vaccine first once one is developed. Picture: AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

Three groups prioritised for virus vaccine

Frontline workers, including health professionals and drivers, should be among the first to be immunised once a coronavirus vaccine has been developed, the World Health Organisation says.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, WHO Deputy Director-General Soumya Swaminathan said people with existing health issues should also be prioritised, along with people who work in areas that have been the site of large outbreaks, including meat processing factories, prisons, and nursing homes.

The comments come as questions have been raised over how a vaccine may eventually be distributed across the world.

"We have this beautiful picture of everyone getting the vaccine, but there is no road map on how to do it," said Yuan Qiong Hu, a senior legal and policy adviser at Doctors Without Borders in Geneva.

RELATED: Follow the latest coronavirus updates

Australia has recorded 7388 coronavirus cases overall, with 3135 in NSW, 1780 in Victoria, 1066 in Queensland, 602 in Western Australia, 440 in South Australia, 228 in Tasmania, 108 in the ACT, and 29 in the Northern Territory. 

More virus measures to be eased in SA

South Australia's pubs, clubs and restaurants are set for a boost with a big jump in the number of patrons allowed inside.

Under COVID-19 measures to be lifted from today, venues will be allowed to cater for up to 300 people at a time.

But no more than 75 people will be allowed in any one area and the one person to every four square metre rule will still apply.

Other changes include a move to allow dance and fitness class to cater for up to 20 people at a time, provided they allow seven square metres for each person.

All participants will also be required to provide their name and phone number or an email address and the trainer must retain a record of those contact details.

The new arrangements come after SA also lifted some border restrictions earlier this week, allowing people to come from Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory without the need to quarantine for 14 days.

It also announced plans to allow school assemblies, excursions and camps from June 29 along with the school sport competitions, sports days and carnivals.

Education Minister John Gardner said students, staff and families across the state would welcome the return of school activities.

He said the changes would provide a sense of schools returning to normal from Term 3.

- AAP


Beijing outbreak grows as expert issues warning over frozen food


Three cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in areas just outside Beijing, with fears the virus may have spread through frozen food.

A total of 158 cases have been reported across the city since a new cluster of infections linked to its sprawling Xinfadi wholesale market was detected last week.

Twenty-one cases were confirmed on Thursday, with another in the neighbouring city of Tianjin and two more in the Hebei province that surrounds Beijing.

The case in Tianjin involves a 22-year-old man who works in the city's Conrad Hotel washing dishes and occasionally cleaning frozen seafood, China's Global Times reported.

He had not travelled prior to developing symptoms and had had no known contact with any suspected cases, leading experts to suspect he may have picked up the disease by touching contaminated food.

He could have been infected by handling the food or even the ice used to freeze it, Yang Zhanqiu, a virologist at Wuhan University, told the outlet.

"For example, at -20C to -30C environment, the virus could live for months or even years," he said.

"The frozen seafood touched by the Tianjin patient could be of the same batch with those shipped to Beijing Xinfadi."

Chinese health officials say the virus was found on a chopping block used to cut up imported salmon at the Xinfadi market, which supplies more than 70 per cent of Beijing's fresh produce.

Almost 700 virus cases at German slaughterhouse

At least 657 workers have tested positive for the coronavirus at a slaughterhouse in Germany.

The company, Toennies, has said the outbreak could be linked to recent travel by workers, especially from Eastern Europe, after borders started to reopen.

But experts have questioned whether such a large outbreak - resulting in more cases than the entire country normally reports in a day - could have been caused by travel alone.

Around 7000 people have now been placed under quarantine, including all those who had worked at the site.

Production in the slaughterhouse, in the Westphalia region, has been temporarily suspended, while the district of Guetersloh has also closed schools and day care centres.

Authorities said the plant would be closed for 10-14 days and all those affected would be tested for infection.

"We would like to apologise to the people of the district on behalf of the Toennies family. We will do everything we can to get the virus out of the plant so that we can get back to work," Toennies spokesperson Andre Vielstaedte said.

- With wires

Australia and UK to push for virus investigation

Australia and the UK have agreed to work together to push for an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus.

Speaking overnight, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed on the need for an independent investigation and "committed to coordinate closely" on the issue.

Mr Johnson also thanked Mr Morrison for Australia's support for the UK's Global Vaccine Summit earlier this month, according to a statement from Downing Street.

The leaders also discussed the launch of free trade negotiations and the situation in Hong Kong.


WHO outlines three groups prioritised for virus vaccine


Frontline workers, including health professionals and drivers, should be among the first to be immunised once a coronavirus vaccine has been developed, the World Health Organisation says.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, WHO Deputy Director-General Soumya Swaminathan said people with existing health issues should also be prioritised, along with people who work in areas that have been the site of large outbreaks, including meat processing factories, prisons, and nursing homes.

The comments come as questions have been raised over how a vaccine may eventually be distributed across the world.

"We have this beautiful picture of everyone getting the vaccine, but there is no road map on how to do it," said Yuan Qiong Hu, a senior legal and policy adviser at Doctors Without Borders in Geneva.

Ms Hu said few measures had been taken so far to resolve numerous problems that could affect fair distribution.

Meanwhile, rich countries have been rushing to place advance orders to guarantee their citizens get jabbed first, leaving significant questions over when developing countries will get access.

The WHO says there has been "huge activity" in the development of a coronavirus vaccine over the last few months, with 200 possible options on the table.

There are currently 10 in human testing, with three of those having moved on to stage three, Dr Swaminathan said.

"Our goal is to accelerate the development of the vaccine but to make sure it fair and equitable," she said.

- With wires

Originally published as Three groups prioritised for virus vaccine


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