The first shipment of 300,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses has landed in Sydney on Sunday, paving the way for the first major expansion of Australia’s roll-out of the jab.
The prime minister, Scott Morrison, announced the arrival in a statement on Sunday, saying it was “the next step as we ramp up the vaccine rollout”.
All households in England with school or college aged children will be offered two rapid Covid tests per person per week to support the government’s priority to get young people back in the classroom, the health ministry said on Sunday, Reuters reports.
Last week British Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out a phased plan to end England’s latest Covid lockdown, offering a “cautious” approach to try to prevent a return to wholesale restrictions that have hobbled the economy.
He said the first stage would prioritise schools returning on 8 March when only minimal socialising outdoors would be allowed.
The health ministry said rapid test kits would be made available to collect from Monday at more than 500 locations, or through workplace testing and local community testing services.
Secondary school and college students will be tested twice a week, receiving initial tests at school or college before moving to home testing.
Primary school children without symptoms will not be tested at school but parents will be encouraged to test their children at home.
“We know that one in three people with Covid don’t have any symptoms, so targeted, regular testing will mean more positive cases are kept out of schools and colleges,” said health minister Matt Hancock.
The prevalence of Covid infections in England is falling, with 1 in 145 people infected in the week ending 19 February, the Office for National Statistics said on Friday.