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New plan could solve Australia’s Covid vaccine disaster

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The head of Australia’s Covid-19 task force has revealed a bold new plan to ensure employees at major private sector companies are vaccinated.

Big banks, mining companies and other private businesses will all be asked to ensure their employees are fully vaccinated against the virus.

Lieutenant General John Frewen told The Age “it’s not about ripping it apart and rebuilding it, it’s about optimising it to make it go faster”.

It comes as a large proportion of Australian’s wake up under tough lockdown restrictions today in the wake of the highly-infectious Delta variant spreading through the community.

Five months into the country’s vaccination rollout program, only 7.5 million residents have received one dose – and only 1.47 million people are fully vaccinated.

The Australian government has been slammed for lagging behind so many other developed nations.

The Lieutenant-General was brought in by the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison three weeks ago to ramp up the vaccine rollout.

He says the private sector will now be brought on board when it comes to administering the Covid jabs.

Millions in lockdown as vaccine debate heats up

Professor Gigi Foster produced a draft cost-benefit analysis for the Victorian Parliament when it comes to lockdowns.

Essentially, the reported analysed the costs of locking down against the projected benefits.

Foster says the argument of trying to balance the economy on one side, and saving lives on the other is all wrong.

She points to the human condition, or happiness, as a cost that should count in the decision-making.

Other costs include long-term impacts to education disruption at all levels, lost businesses, and increased inequality.

So why is the view of an economist so far from where our politicians appear to sit?

Australia makes overnight changes to its COVID-19 vaccination program

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says anyone under the age of 40 can now approach their General Practitioner and request the AstraZeneca vaccine.

It comes after the country’s health authorities suspended the use of AstraZeneca for people under the age of 60.

The Federal Government will also introduce mandatory jabs for aged care workers, and post-quarantine testing.

Australia currently ranks last in the OECD, with under 5 percent of its population fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

It follows the Federal Government’s Intergenerational Report considering the impacts of ongoing lockdowns and closed borders on the nation’s economy.

Australia’s Shadow Treasurer says more needs to be done on the vaccine front, to secure the nation’s future.

Another state in lockdown

Brisbane has become the fourth Australian city ordered into lockdown after two new locally-acquired cases were detected overnight.

South East Queensland, Townsville, Palm Island and Magnetic Island will enter a three day lockdown from 6PM AEST tonight to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Queensland Health are urging all of the 2,500 Magnetic Island residents to get tested, whether they have symptoms or not.

The risk-sensitive Australian dollar

The Australian Dollar is the worst-performing major currency this quarter.

It follows rising COVID-19 cases of the Delta variant, which has sent the nation’s most populous city, Sydney back into lockdown.

But Australia is not alone. In South Africa, tightening of COVID-19 restrictions is reversing the currency’s market-beating gains made in May to the worst emerging-market performance in June.

Market experts believe the new Delta variant remains a severe problem for much of the world and economic forecasts will need to be revisited.

A range of new restrictions and delays to planned re-openings have forced a re-think of the global reflation, hurting the currencies of nations facing outbreaks, and the revival in global trade.

Global Politics

Travel bubble bursts between Australia and NZ

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New Zealand has suspended its travel bubble with Australia

The nation has halted its travel bubble arrangements for at least eight weeks as Australia continues to battle against the delta variant of COVID-19.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern fronted the media and stated that “the Delta variant has materially changed the risk profile”. 

From 11:59pm tonight, Australians will be unable to travel to New Zealand on a quarantine-free flight

This restriction will be in place for at least the next eight weeks.

The trans-tasman route is already closed to travellers flying into New Zealand from New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia as those states battle COVID-19 outbreaks. 

“For New Zealanders in Australia, we are absolutely committed to getting you home,” Ms Ardern said. 

Jacinda Ardern has paused the trans-Tasman arrangement with Australia.

Constant disruption to trans-Tasman travel bubble

Flights to New Zealand inside the bubble have been paused and restarted as different Australian states have experienced COVID-19 outbreaks. 

“For the next seven days, we will have managed return flights for New Zealanders from all states and territories. 

“Only New Zealand citizens and those ordinarily resident in New Zealand will be able to fly home.” 

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Global Politics

“National emergency” – Sydney in crisis as COVID cases rise

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Sydney has declared a national emergency as COVID-19 cases rise across the Australian city

Sydney and the state of New South Wales is calling on the Australian Federal Government to “refocus the national vaccination strategy”.

As the delta variant of the virus spreads throughout the city, Premier Gladys Berejiklian and her government have declared a national emergency.

New South Wales Government officials say that the spreading of the virus is “threatening the safety of other states.”

“This is not just a challenge for New South Wales – it’s a challenge for Australia”

They’ve encouraged people in virus-ravaged south-western and western Sydney to urgently “do their duty” and get vaccinated against coronavirus.

“The national emergency, every citizen has a duty to do what they can to defeat whatever is happening to us – in this case, it is a Delta variant of a virus,”

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.

The Premier has stressed the importance of getting vaccinated as NSW records its highest daily number of COVID-19 cases today.

“We need to vaccinate younger people, between that 20 and 40-year-old age group,”

The Premier said.

Meanwhile, Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant says Australia urgently needs to “correct the mythology about AstraZeneca”.

“There is no doubt that if we want to contain this virus and stop it seeping out to other parts of Greater Sydney, stop it impacting our freedom and our economy, but also stop it spreading to other states, we need to have a discussion about refocusing the national vaccination strategy,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

The issue will be addressed at today’s National Cabinet, she said.

At least 53 of today’s NSW cases were infectious in the community

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Business

Is a $52 billion boost enough to end a global chip shortage?

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As the race to combat the global chip shortage continues the Biden administration is big to end the crisis

US President Joe Biden is preparing to spend $52 billion to boost the worsening shortage of semiconductor chips.

The White House is still waiting for congressional approval on the big spend but is pushing ahead with plans of how to invest the money wisely.

The Commerce Secretary says America “needs to incentivise the manufacturing of chips” if the country wants the crisis to end.

She added that officials have been speaking with the impacted industries on a daily basis which has helped address the shortage from the ground up.

Whilst there have been reports that the sector is gradually improving, but the car manufacturing sector may still be impacted by delays.

Biden recently called for Semiconductor chips to be produced locally in the US, but this company is ignoring his plea.

Semiconductor manufacturer ‘Global Foundries’ has ignored US President Joe Biden’s request for new plants to be built locally amid the global chip shortage.

Construction will begin on the $4 billion Asian plant in 2023. This goes against the Biden administration’s wishes to return chip manufacturing to American soil.

The company will join rivals including ‘Samsung’ and ‘Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’ which are all also trying to address the current chip shortage.

The President has been under increasing pressure to secure a constant supply of this crucial tech that is used in so many modern devices.

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