Coronavirus live news: UK food banks ‘preparing for worst’; record cases in Australian state of Victoria | World news


Technology allowing Australians to travel overseas with an internationally recognised vaccine certificate will be ready within weeks, as the government prepares to announce a plan for the country’s borders to finally reopen.

In evidence to the Senate’s Covid committee on Thursday, the chief executive of Services Australia, Rebecca Skinner, said the department had developed a visible digital seal for vaccine status that would be ready by the end of October. She said:

Our plan is to have all of the technology in place so that it is a settled and tested situation before the policy decisions need to be made.

We don’t want to be in a situation where policy decisions can’t be taken because the technology isn’t ready.

Services Australia CEO Rebecca Skinner at the Senate Inquiry into COVID-19 at Parliament House in Canberra.

Services Australia CEO Rebecca Skinner at the Senate Inquiry into COVID-19 at Parliament House in Canberra. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

The so-called visible digital seal (VDS) project will allow Australians to verify their vaccination status with Home Affairs, who will create a “highly authenticated” digital record for travel and for use by third parties, such as airlines and other countries.


Australians aged 60 and over will be able to get Pfizer and Moderna vaccines from Friday regardless of their state or territory of residence, health minister Greg Hunt has announced.

Hunt said expanding vaccine choice from AstraZeneca to include the mRNA vaccines could help more than 300,000 older people who have been waiting to get vaccinated.

From 1 October all people aged 12 and over will be able to get Moderna from a pharmacist and Pfizer from a GP.

The announcement follows moves earlier in September by Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia to offer Pfizer to older residents as Australia’s shortage of it eased.

On Thursday New South Wales opened eligibility for Pfizer and Moderna to those aged 60 and over.

Record cases in Australian state of Victoria

In Australia, Victorian authorities say Thursday’s spike in Covid-19 cases – the highest one-day total for the state the pandemic so far – was “completely avoidable”, with parties for the Australian Football League grand final and other social gatherings over the long weekend behind up to one-third of the 1,438 new local infections.

Premier Daniel Andrews said he was sure the latest case numbers would be “of great concern to all Victorians”.

“The Thursday after a long weekend, and particularly given what we know from interviews over recent days, many of these cases were completely avoidable,” he said:

UK food banks ‘preparing for worst’


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