PM warns more elderly will die from virus

Scott Morrison has delivered a pointed message about failures to protect vulnerable aged care residents from coronavirus.

The prime minister has published a Facebook message expressing condolences for the hundreds of elderly people who have died from the disease.

His government has full responsibility for privately operated aged care facilities.

“I want to assure that where there are shortcomings in these areas they’ll be acknowledged and the lessons will be learned,” Mr Morrison said on Thursday.

The prime minister has received some criticism for choosing to release the pre-recorded video rather than facing the scrutiny of a press conference.

Mr Morrison has warned Australia to brace for more coronavirus deaths.

The disease has claimed 361 Australian lives, including 160 deaths linked to aged care homes in Victoria.

The state recorded eight more deaths on Thursday and 278 new cases, the lowest daily increase in more than three weeks.

The aged care royal commission has this week examined the impact of the pandemic on the elderly, hearing stories of neglect and apathy.

Almost 70 per cent of the people who have died were aged care residents.

Australia has one of the worst aged care death rates in the world.

“We know that in the days and weeks ahead there will be more difficult news … we need to continue to brace ourselves for that,” Mr Morrison said.

NSW has recorded its first coronavirus death in more than a week after an elderly woman died from the virus.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned of harsher restrictions if people and businesses keep flouting the rules.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd shares her frustrations.

“People only have to look across the border to Victoria to see what happens when people don’t adhere to the physical distancing restrictions,” he told the ABC.

“We have to all be doing everything we can.”

Professor Kidd and other top medical officers are increasingly confident a coronavirus vaccine will emerge.

But he says it’s difficult to know when one will be available.

Russia this week became the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine but was met with scepticism in the global health and science community.

The drug has only been studied in dozens of people, far less than the tens of thousands needed to prove if it is safe and effective.

More than 150 vaccines are being developed and tested around the world with 25 in human clinical trials.

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