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Oxford vaccine trial resumes

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The much-anticipated coronavirus vaccine being developed in the UK will resume human trials after being deemed safe.

The trials were paused last week when a patient reported a side effect which required investigation to see if the problem was related to the vaccine.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock welcomed Oxford University’s announcement that the trials would resume.

“This pause shows we will always put safety first. We will back our scientists to deliver an effective vaccine as soon as safely possible,” he said.

The trial was given the okay to continue following the recommendations of an independent safety review committee and the UK regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

Although Oxford would not disclose information about the patient’s illness due to participant confidentiality, an AstraZeneca spokesman said earlier this week that a woman had developed severe neurological symptoms that prompted the pause.

Specifically, the woman is said to have developed symptoms consistent with transverse myelitis, a rare inflammation of the spinal cord.

The vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University is being tested on some 10,000 participants in the UK as well as some 8000 volunteers in the USA, Brazil and South Africa.

 

Sydney club at risk of being shut down for COVID-19 breaches after ignoring warning

A western Sydney club is at risk of being shut down by Liquor & Gaming NSW after it hosted two 75-person parties in a flagrant breach of coronavirus restrictions.

The Croatian Club in Punchbowl has been fined $10,000 after holding the gatherings on consecutive nights last weekend, despite a warning from NSW Liquor & Gaming inspectors over the first event.

When inspectors visited the club last Saturday, September 5, they found around 50 guests attending an 18th birthday party.

Some of the guests were mingling and drinking while standing, which is banned under New South Wales’ COVID-19 restrictions.

The club’s records show the party was booked for 75 guests.

When inspectors again visited on September 8, they discovered the following day the club had hosted a christening for 75 guests, despite being told the day before a booking of this size was not allowed.

The duty manager told inspectors it was too difficult to cancel so close to the event.

Liquor & Gaming Director of Compliance, Dimitri Argeres, said the club now risks closure if further breaches are detected.

Under current restrictions in NSW, hospitality venues are not allowed to take bookings for over 10 people unless the event is a wedding reception, funeral, wake, memorial service or corporate function.

“Only these events are exempted from the 10-person limit,” Mr Argeres said.

“Big functions and large group bookings put people in the sort of close proximity that contributes to virus transmission, and a happy occasion can easily turn into a tragedy that directly impacts your nearest and dearest.”

There have now been a total of 122 fines issues to hospitality businesses in NSW, worth $552,000.

This includes another double fine this week, issued to Whiskey Tango bar at Len Waters Estate.

When inspectors visited the venue on September 5, they found a number of significant breaches, including no conditions of entry on display, an out-of-date safety plan, crowding and patrons standing and mingling while drinking.

“All of these issues are a recipe for transmission,” Mr Argeres said.

“The majority of clusters in NSW have derived from hospitality venues because of the ease with which the COVID virus can spread in enclosed indoor areas where people are eating and drinking.”

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