Hello folks. Welcome to Monday.
A clash is brewing over Australia’s COVID exit strategy, surprising basically no one. Liberal MPs are reportedly pressing Scott Morrison to bring the hammer down on states which resist the 70% vaccination target for reopening. Morrison is also being pressured to release modelling he says shows it’d be okay to open up at that level even if hundreds of cases are circulating in the community.
A curfew is now in place across 12 local government areas in Sydney. Residents of suburbs of concern such as Blacktown, Cumberland, Parramatta and Canterbury-Bankstown will not be able to leave their homes between 9pm and 5am daily unless they are an authorised worker or it is an emergency. NSW recorded 830 cases yesterday, another daily record. As of Sunday, the state had administered 5,868,974 jabs.
Today, Victoria recorded 71 new cases of coronavirus. Of those, 21 were in the northern regional city of Shepparton. More than $1.1 million in fines are set to be handed down after six police officers were hospitalised and 218 people were arrested during the massive anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is set to announce her plan for the state’s schools in terms three and four. It comes as more than 200 NSW children aged nine and under were diagnosed with COVID-19 over the weekend. Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the government was working “very, very closely” on a way to get children back to school but “we are not there yet”.
Singapore is now the second-largest buyer of Australian real estate, only trailing the United States. The city-state has spent nearly $20 billion worth in the last two years. It has eclipsed China over the same period, led by investments from large developers and its sovereign wealth fund GIC.
Employers considering COVID-19 vaccine mandates should prepare for staff turning down the jab, a human resources expert says. Businesses should seek legal counsel and gameplan the outcome of any workplace vaccine policies, ASPL CEO Kris Grant said. Major Australian companies say they will require their staff to get the jab, sparking some concern among workplace advocates.
The long promised Qantas vaccine incentive program has launched. Lucky travellers will have the chance to win free flights for a year but only if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The airline announced the launch of the major prize grab for vaccinated Australians to “recognise their role in helping the country get out of lockdown”.
A New South Wales audit has found Uber failed to report incidents around crashes, assault and driver hours that it is legally required to disclose. The global ride sharing giant has been fined over $200,000, but union groups say that’s not enough to reform the company’s behaviour. Transport Workers Union national secretary Michael Kaine again called for a federal regulator to be responsible for the gig economy.
Australian sales of electric cars have risen at record levels in the past six months, the Nine papers report. New car sales data released on Monday shows 8688 battery and plug-in EVs have been sold in the first half of 2021. New car sales in the first six months of this year have already eclipsed the 6900 sold in Australia last year, which was 2.7% up from the previous year.
Israel, one of the world’s more vaccinated countries, is set to begin a national coronavirus antibody survey of children between the ages of 3 and 12. The effort is an attempt to measure the extent to which COVID-19 has spread undetected among kids. The news comes as the Israeli campaign to distribute third COVID-19 booster shots speeds up.
There’ll be one familiar face missing from the government’s vaccine campaigning.