10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Good morning.

NSW has now surpassed Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s initial target of 6 million coronavirus jabs. That adds up to about 60.3% of the state’s adult population. This opens the door to some kind of relaxation which the government has been signalling for a few days, without saying what it actually is. I won’t speculate, but Deputy Premier John Barilaro is out in the media today discussing it. “There’s a few options,” he said. “We’ll make a decision [soon] about which ones are practical and ones that don’t risk a further spread. We’re almost there. We’ll announce something shortly.”

The state recorded 753 new cases of coronavirus – down from 818 on Monday. Nice to see, but the state’s chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant says that, while she hopes numbers are going down, it’s too early to see a trend.

Victoria recorded 45 new local cases of COVID-19 this morning. 36 are linked to existing outbreaks, meaning there are nine mystery cases. 17 were in isolation for their entire infectious period.

Victoria’s Pfizer eligibility expanded from this morning. The shot will now be available to all Victorians aged 16 to 39. It has prompted “widespread cancellation of AstraZeneca appointments at GP clinics,” the Nine papers report, and created “lengthy delays” on the state’s booking website. Premier Daniel Andrews said the federal government’s announcement on Pfizer had forced his hand.

A majority of Australians want to stick to a national cabinet deal to ease restrictions when the vaccination rate hits key targets, according to a new survey in the Nine papers. 62% back the plan and 24% say states and territories should go their own way. It comes as some premiers – like WA’s Mark McGowan – flag that they want to keep lockdowns and restrictions in their tool belt even past 80% vaccination rates.

A number of new cryptocurrency cards are arriving in Australia, allowing users to spend their digital assets the same way they would their Aussie dollar. The products are marketed as simple and fast ways to spend cryptocurrency, with many rewarding users for doing so. However, the ATO has warned all transactions are potentially subject to taxes, raising the possibility users will pay far more than the purchase price.

Takeaway food orders are up 600% since the start of the pandemic, a new report shows, as rolling lockdowns reshape how Australians spend on food. UberEats ad spending dwarfed that of other delivery platforms, with a massive $10.4 million spent encouraging Australians to order in. Delivery platforms have shifted their positioning to be a “more reliable” alternative to grocery shopping, experts say.

Some influencers posting ‘vax selfies’ are facing backlash online, at the same time as a growing number of Australian influencers share anti-vax content on their platforms. Olivia Rogers, who has a following of 169,000 on Instagram, said she’s never experienced the level of pushback she’s experienced since sharing her vax photo. Medical professionals have been encouraging influencers to share their experiences around getting the jab to help normalise the experience and encourage those feeling uncertain. 

New Zealand’s Delta outbreak has expanded to 148 cases. Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, New Zealand’s Director-General of Health, said in a briefing Tuesday that the highly infectious Delta variant was “unlike” New Zealand’s previous experience of the virus. “We have seen it spread rapidly,” he said. The country’s lockdown has been extended until at least August 31.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told Fox it was likely that a vaccine-resistant variant of the coronavirus would emerge. He said Pfizer could make a shot tailor-made for such a variant within 95 days of its discovery. The US Center for Disease Control director has said the virus could be “a few mutations” away from evolving to evade vaccines.

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You thought The Croods discourse from yesterday was over? No!