Australia sets COVID-19 booster dose record, Djokovic 'not singled out', says PM

2022-01-06 15:26:50Xinhua Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Australia has set a new record for COVID-19 booster vaccines amid successive record days of surging infections across the country.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday that a new record 222,565 booster vaccines were administered on Wednesday, two days after the minimum recommended interval between second and third jabs for the population was reduced from five to four months.

"So the booster program is up and running," Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

The vaccine rollout will open up to children aged between five and 11 years old on Monday.

Morrison also talked about the issue of the tennis star Novak Djokovic, whose visa to enter Australia has been canceled with authorities reportedly intending to deport the Serbian athlete later on Thursday.

"On the issue of Mr Djokovic, rules are rules and there are no special cases," said Morrison.

"When you get people making public statements about what they say ... they draw significant attention to themselves and anyone who does that, whether they're a celebrity, a politician, a tennis player, a journalist, whoever does that well, they can expect to be asked questions more than others," he said.

"So that's how Border Force works. So they're not singled out at all."

Australia on Thursday reported a new record of more than 70,000 coronavirus cases and 13 deaths, which marks the fourth consecutive day the country has set a new record for infections.

Morrison on Wednesday evening revealed a plan to make rapid antigen tests (RATs) free for pension and welfare recipients amid supply shortfalls as a result of unprecedented demand.

Responding to the announcement, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said it was "too little, too late."

"If you fail to plan, you're planning to fail. And that is what we are seeing here. We are seeing Australians are anxious, they are concerned about the health of themselves and their families," he told Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) TV on Thursday.

"And the easiest and simplest way is to make free tests available for all, just like PCR tests are available and free," he said. 

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