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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.

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Hong Kong to launch China style system

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As Hong Kong and China prepare to resume quarantine-free travel, Hong Kong’s government will introduce a Beijing-style health code from December 10

The Hong Kong Health Code will take note of a user’s real name, address and identification number.

The voluntary app is designed to be compatible with systems in both Macau and Guangdong provinces in southern China.

In mainland China, a mandatory health code dictates where residents and visitors can travel to and from, sharing real-time data with authorities.

The introduction of this health code system in Hong Kong will allow Chinese officials to open back up the nation’s borders with the city-state.

Hong Kong’s chief information officer also says records “won’t be transferred to mainland authorities unless the person is infected or has been a close contact”.

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Meghan Markle wins latest privacy battle case

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A UK court dismissed the appeal brought on by Associated Newspapers Limited, after the company published a letter that she sent to her father, Thomas Markle in 2018.

ANL and the Mail have staunchly denied that they have done anything wrong, standing by the decision to publish the letter.

But the court rejected these claims, and says the Duchess has “a reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of the letter.”

The judge continued, adding “the contents were personal, private and not matters of legitimate public interest”.

ANL says it is disappointed with the decision and is considering an appeal to the UK’s Supreme Court.

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Unvaccinated residents sent into lockdown

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German leaders have agreed to a nationwide lockdown for unvaccinated residents, as an increase in Covid infections pushes the nation’s healthcare system to the brink of collapse

Residents who aren’t protected against Covid-19 will be barred from most essential businesses, such as supermarkets and pharmacies.

Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel and her successor Olaf Scholz announced the measures together.

Protests have erupted throughout several regions, including the capital city of Berlin.

Unlike many other nations, those who are recently recovered from Covid-19 and are unvaccinated will be covered by the ban.

Under the tightened restrictions, unvaccinated people can only meet two people from another household.

Bars and nightclubs will also be forced to shut down in regions with a case rate that is above 350 cases per 100-thousand. 

This all follows a push by the European Commission to entice member nations to enforce mandatory vaccines, with Merkel and Olaf Scholz backing this proposal.

Vaccine mandates could be voted through parliament within the next few months… and come into effect from February.

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