The federal government is planning a second Indonesian rescue fight after bringing 186 Australians home from Bali.
Around 1200 Australians want to return from Indonesia, which has racked up nearly 3.9 million official coronavirus cases and more than 120,000 deaths.
An Australian government-facilitated flight ferried 186 people from Denpasar to Darwin on Wednesday.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says it is working to help more Australians return, including through a second repatriation flight.
Back home, Victoria has recorded 57 new local cases on Melbourne’s 200th day of lockdown since the pandemic started.
NSW’s spiralling cases, reaching 633 on Wednesday, are threatening to eclipse the daily high racked up by Victoria last year.
While that state reported 723 new local cases in one day in late July 2020, the number was later revised down to below 650.
In western NSW, the military is being used to speed up vaccinations for vulnerable Indigenous communities in that state’s west.
Labor warns this approach will fail in the absence of trusted Aboriginal elders working alongside them troops.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian expects the state’s COVID-19 outbreak, that has spread to other states and territories as well as New Zealand, to get worse.
West Aussies in NSW are being urged to return home immediately as the state’s the new ‘extreme category’ looms.
Canberra’s outbreak has grown to 67 cases, where the average age of infection has dipped into the teens.
However, federal officials expect the nation’s case numbers to soon fall.
“We’re really expecting to see and anticipating that we will see a decrease in those numbers shortly,” newly appointed federal deputy chief health officer Sonya Bennett said.
Despite rising outbreaks in schools, health officials are also standing by the current focus on adults.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison insists rapid mass vaccination of those aged 16 and up will work and is sticking with the current priority age groups.
Just under half of eligible Australians have had a first dose of the vaccine and 27.5 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Pic credit: Kate Ashton, ABC News