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Australia Mulls High-risk Virus Countries

National cabinet will meet to consider if other countries need to join India in being classified as high risks.

BRISBANE, Australia — Australia’s leaders will consider classifying more coronavirus-stricken countries as high risk after pausing all flights from India until at least next month.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will chair April 30’s national cabinet meeting of state premiers and territory chief ministers.

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly and foreign affairs officials have been putting together a list of high-risk countries for consideration.

India set another gut-wrenching world record on April 29 with more than 379,000 new cases and 3645 deaths.

Flights from there have been paused until at least May 15, leaving thousands of Australians who want to escape the disease disaster even more stranded than before.

While the Asian nation is so far the only country deemed high risk, Morrison has flagged a British-style model of slapping travel bans on “red list” countries with significant outbreaks.

Under the United Kingdom system, only citizens can return from the designated nations, with others blocked from traveling.

The national cabinet will also receive a regular update on Australia’s caseload as infections in quarantine rise from Indian arrivals before the flight pause.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will chair April 30’s national cabinet meeting of state premiers and territory chief ministers. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP Image)

The vaccine rollout appears to be slowly gaining momentum, with more than 80,000 shots in the most recent 24-hour reporting period taking the overall tally past 2.1 million doses.

Australia’s medicines regulator has suggested it is unlikely two deaths in New South Wales were linked to coronavirus vaccinations.

Therapeutic Goods Administration head John Skerritt said investigations were underway after two men, 55 and 71, reportedly died from blood clots.

It is believed both received the AstraZeneca jab, which is recommended for use only in people over 50 because of extremely rare but serious blood clots.

Skerritt said the men had various blood clots but declined to provide more detail on privacy grounds.

He strongly cautioned the media and public against reaching any conclusion about the deaths and potential links to vaccination.

“The current evidence does not suggest a likely association,” said Skerritt.

All serious incidents are carefully scrutinized, with the rate of blood clots linked to AstraZeneca still around five in every one million shots.

“The benefits dramatically exceed the risks, so knowing there is a small background risk of clots is something not to hide,” said Skerritt. “But all medicines, all treatments, all procedures, driving a car, flying in a plane, have some risk, and in the case of these vaccines, the benefits outweigh the risks.”

As per reports from World Health Organization, there have been 29,749 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with 910 deaths in Australia. As of April 25, 2021, a total of 1,933,892 vaccine doses have been administered.

(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Saptak Datta)