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Singapore hits vaccination milestone

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The government had hoped to have two-thirds of the population fully vaccinated by National Day on August 9.

That goal has been met, with 70% of the population now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Some coronavirus curbs in the city-state have been eased today, following a partial lockdown that was triggered by COVID-19 clusters linked to karaoke lounges and a fishery port.

The size of public gatherings has been increased from two to five, and restrictions on entry for foreign workers have been eased.

There are now different rules for those who are vaccinated and those who are not, when it comes to eating out.

Only people who are fully vaccinated, or unvaccinated people with a negative COVID-19 test result, will be allowed to dine-in at restaurants and bars.

Dining-in is permitted for groups of up to two at hawker centres and cafes, regardless of vaccination status.

Mass vaccination drives transition to a new-normal

Working from home is currently the default arrangement, but from August 19 up to 50% of employees will be able to return to the workplace.

79 per cent of people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with the Lion City on track to have 80% of its population fully vaccinated by early September.

When this target is reached, there will be a further relaxation of measures.

This is likely to include the introduction of quarantine-free travel for vaccinated travellers.

Such a move would mark a big step forward for Singapore, as part of its transition to a new-normal in which the population learn to live with COVID-19.

Vaccination drive continues

The city-state now have one of the best vaccination rates in the world, but authorities are still pushing for more people to get inoculated.

From today, all Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders who are not yet vaccinated will not need to make an appointment. They can simply walk up to a clinic.

There is also a real push to vaccinate those aged 70 and above, who were the first group eligible to be vaccinated but have the lowest take up rate.

The Ministry of Health says “vaccination remains a key enabler in our fight against Covid-19″, urging “all who are eligible to be vaccinated”.

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China experiencing ‘mixed effects’ with Crypto crackdown

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Chinese officials have taken steps to crack down on cryptocurrencies, with mixed effects.

A Chinese phone regulator says it would “gradually retire existing mainland China user accounts”.

It follows a crackdown from authorities who say crypto transactions in China are banned and they will root out mining of digital assets.

A PWC crypto leader says “there is no ambiguity” in this latest ban.

The official notice comes from the People’s Bank of China along with nine other institutions.

Enforcement is set to be widespread, with security watchdogs, the supreme court and police all backing the ban.

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Asian Aviation sector bouncing back after Pandemic shutdown

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COVID-19 infections are hitting the Aviation sector in Asia, as the industry seeks to bounce back from the height of the pandemic.

It comes as South Korea creates a travel bubble with other countries in a bid to revive tourism.

Budget carrier Jeju Air resumed flights to Guam, and other destinations that are popular for holidaymakers.

But South Korea is currently reporting over 2,000 new infections of COVID-19 each day, which has stalled the Aviation sector’s re-opening.

The surge in infections comes amid a shortage of vaccines.

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Melbourne protests fizzle on fourth day

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Protestors did not gather in Melbourne’s CBD today, with police patrols returning in numbers to protect vaccination centres, following abuse directed at health workers in previous days

Community organisation cohealth was forced to temporarily close its vaccination centre in Melbourne’s Town Hall, after health workers were reportedly spat on and abused yesterday.

cohealth chief executive Nicole Batholomeusz said staff had been physically and verbally abused in the city during the protest, and that they had been “targeted because they were wearing their cohealth identification”.

“We have instructed all staff not to wear their cohealth uniforms, lanyards or scrubs in the city, to avoid being targeted.

Premier Daniel Andrews condemned the actions of protestors who targeted health workers, and said he expected Victoria Police to identify and “deal with” those responsible for the abuse.

Police arrested more than 200 people at the Shrine of Remembrance yesterday, after a stand-off between officers and protestors lasted several hours

Protestors were mostly given infringement notices, with some charged with more serious offences for using flares and throwing objects.

Two police officers were struck in the head with bottles, while another officer was admitted to hospital with chest pains.

Chaotic scenes as protesters throw flares in Melbourne CBD.

The demonstrations were originally planned to protest against new regulations that saw the entire construction industry shut down and tradespeople forced to get vaccinated against COVID-19 if they want to return to work.

But the state’s Deputy Commissioner says it is difficult to determine what demographics the protestors were from with speculation some may have been right-wing extremists.

It comes as Premier Daniel Andrews says many of the individuals who attended the demonstrations are an insult to the majority of tradies across Victoria.

Riot police on scene. / Image: File

Meanwhile, Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young believes Australians should be on high alert.

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Air-traffic to resume over Melbourne CBD following flight ban

Meanwhile, media organisations in Melbourne have successfully challenged the flight ban over the CBD which would have banned live broadcast of the protest this week.

Nine Network, owner of The Age, Seven and the ABC were granted a stay by the Federal Court, which means live coverage can now resume until the case progresses.

Restrictions were placed on air-traffic by Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority at the request of Victoria Police, after concerns were raised that protestors were watching aerial live streams to monitor police operations.

The case will now proceed to a trial.

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