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PM blasts COVID conspiracies, spam texts

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By Georgie Moore in Canberra
Source: AAP

Scott Morrison has blasted coronavirus conspiracy theories, warning the dangerous misinformation puts vulnerable lives at risk.

Australia’s medicines regulator has demanded former Liberal MP Craig Kelly stop spamming people with messages about adverse vaccine reactions.

The prime minister expressed concern about the consequences of virus conspiracy theories and misinformation especially for disadvantaged, Indigenous and some multicultural communities.

Mr Morrison said misinformation being spread by phone, broadcast or any other means was wrong.

“They are putting people’s lives at risk,” he told 2GB radio on Friday.

“It’s not right and they should stop doing it.”

Nationally, around 45 per cent of people aged 16 and older are double-dosed, with about 70 per cent partially vaccinated.

More than 95 per cent of residential aged care workers have also received at least one jab as the national vaccine deadline for the industry kicks in.

The vaccine rollout for Indigenous Australians continues to lag, despite them being listed as a priority group.

Around 23 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been fully vaccinated, while 43 per cent have received a single dose.

Vaccination uptake and plans to expand home quarantine are on the agenda for Friday’s national cabinet meeting of federal, state and territory leaders.

There’s a push to scrap leaky hotel quarantine programs run by states to allow more stranded Australians to return home.

Mr Morrison declared hotel quarantine had a “use-by date” and should end when states had home isolation programs in place.

“In the national plan I set out back in early July, it actually requires this once you get to the high levels of vaccination,” he said.

The prime minister lauded vaccine progress in NSW and Tasmania, while urging Queensland and Western Australia to get a move on.

Nearly 40 per cent of those states’ populations are double-dosed, but they continue to trail other jurisdictions.

Much of the east coast remains in lockdown from crippling Delta outbreaks, with Victoria recording 510 new infections and one death on Friday.

NSW on Thursday reported 1351 new locally acquired cases and 12 more deaths, and the ACT 15 additional infections.

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