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Another human trial of a COVID-19 vaccine, this one by the University of Oxford, has shown promising results. New research on how children can spread the virus. The cost of the government’s contact tracing app. And a run on face masks.

Breakthrough developments

The University of Oxford has reported its vaccine is safe and effective after the first round of human trials. It says the vaccine is producing a strong immune response and only minor side effects. 

None of the 1077 participants recorded serious adverse reactions. 

It comes a week after Moderna reported similar vaccine success after its first round of human trials. 

Monash University has also developed a breakthrough blood test which can detect COVID-19 in just 20 minutes. The test can also determine whether someone has recently been infected and recovered.

School blues

As New South Wales schools reopened for term three this week, a study of nearly 65,000 people in South Korea has found children over 10 spread the virus as well as adults. Younger children transmit the virus less often but can still spread it. 

In Victoria a dozen schools have closed this week for deep cleaning. Students in year 10 and below are encouraged to learn from home. 

An expensive lemon

The government’s COVIDSafe app is reported to have cost about $70 million — much higher than the $2 million initially reported. 

Nine News reported yesterday that the chief executive of Delv, the company paid more than $3.8 million to develop the coronavirus information app, is Masseh Haidary, the husband of last election’s Liberal candidate for Canberra Mina Zaki.

More than $64 million has been spent on COVID information advertising, though government officials won’t say how much was spent advertising the app. 

The app has yet to identify a single coronavirus case that has not been traced manually. 

Masks are all the rage

Mask sale restrictions have been implemented by Aldi, Woolworths and Bunnings ahead of Victoria’s mandatory mask rule, which comes into effect tomorrow. 

Major retailers in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, including Bunnings, Myer and Kmart, will turn away those who don’t abide by the rules. 

Some have questioned how those on low incomes are expected to buy masks at short notice or pay the $200 fine.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned mandatory masks along with targeted shutdowns of pubs and restaurants were more likely than a full lockdown.

Delta Air Lines in the US has taken a firm stance, requiring medical screenings for passengers who say they can’t wear masks for health reasons. Those who refuse to wear a mask can be banned from future flights. 

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has finally got behind mask-wearing, tweeting a picture of himself wearing one and saying: “Many people say that it is patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance. There is nobody more patriotic than me, your favourite president!”

By the numbers

Victoria has recorded 374 new cases and three deaths overnight. The inquiry examining its hotel quarantine errors found every case of COVID-19 in the state’s second wave could be linked to mistakes made in the hotels. 

NSW confirmed 13 new COVID-19 cases today — two linked to the Crossroads Hotel cluster and 10 to a Thai restaurant in western Sydney.

A NSW COVID-19 patient in their 30s is in intensive care

Tasmania has recorded its first COVID-19 case in more than two months from a returned traveller from Victoria, and South Australia is considering introducing two years’ jail for those who illegally enter the state. 

Privacy breach

WA state government records have been hacked, with more than 400 web pages including communication between health officials and doctors leaked online. 

The information also includes details of people in quarantine with phone numbers, addresses and details on how their cases are being managed. 

Poverty payments

Cutting the $550 fortnightly coronavirus supplement from JobSeeker could push 650,000 Australians into poverty, a research paper has found. The analysis found the first wave of the supplement lifted 425,000 Australians out of poverty.

Australia is expected to hit its largest budget deficit since the end of World War II. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will announce the losses on Thursday.