10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

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Good morning, team. It’s Monday.

1. A quarantine hotel worker in Sydney has tested positive to COVID-19, ending the state’s 55-day streak of no local transmission. The 47-year-old security guard worked at the Sofitel Wentworth in the Sydney CBD and the Mantra Sydney Central in Haymarket. The worker had received his first vaccine dose, said NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant, but “we wouldn’t have expected his immune system to kick in for 12 to 14 days or potentially longer.” A list of possible exposure sites is below:

2. Victorian health officials are weighing up border changes on the back of the news. The state’s health department revealed on Sunday night areas of NSW could be once again designated as red or orange zones, depending on what further information is revealed about the case. “Anyone now in Victoria who visited this site at the designated times will be treated as a primary close contact and is required to quarantine for 14 days,” the department said.

3. Organisers of the Women’s March 4 Justice protest rally, which is taking place across the country today, have rejected Scott Morrison’s invitation to meet privately in Parliament House on Monday. The marches follow historical rape allegations against Attorney-General Christian Porter and the allegations of rape against a Liberal staffer.

4. Some personal news: Pedestrian Group, the publisher of this masthead, has signed a multi-year deal to publish local versions of US websites Vice and Refinery29. “We know that not all young Aussies are the same. They don’t want the same type of content. When we push into those different areas, we get a great response,” Pedestrian Group CEO (and my boss) Matt Rowley said. “From a business perspective, you need to make the commercial reality become true so it becomes self-sustaining.”

5. Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka says bookings are already up 40% on the back of a flight sales. Virgin and Qantas are both running sales ahead of the federal government’s tourism package, that will subsidise 50% of the price of 800,000 tickets available from April 1. Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said more destinations would be added in the coming weeks, amid criticism of the program.

6. Is Australia the new Hollywood? A number of international productions have set up shop down under thanks to our relatively breezy experience of the pandemic and fewer restrictions. Now, the local industry and government want to keep them here through incentives and tax breaks. Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason told Business Insider Australia: “That’s something we and others are looking at right now to ensure we’re best placed to keep this going and are able to actually service it going forward.”

7. 435,000 Australians became traders in 2020 according to new data from Investment Trends. Driving the enormous uptake into retail investing is Australia’s gambling culture and the surplus of government stimulus money, RMIT lecturer Angel Zhong said. “This is driven by a number of factors, including low interest rates, dramatic volatility in the share markets around the world, government stimulus, and the emerging low-cost trading platforms,” Zhong said. However, as with gambling, uneducated investors risk losing badly, she warns.

8. Several countries have paused their use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine in recent days due to reports of blood clots. However, the WHO said it hasn’t found a link between the vaccine and clots, and urged countries to keep inoculating. “WHO is very much aligned with the position that we should continue immunisation until we have clarified the causal relationship,” said Mariangela Simao, the WHO’s assistant director-general.

9. The market for digital collectibles has exploded in 2021, and money is pouring in from all angles. Some think NFTs will only keep booming, while others think it’s all just a bubble waiting to pop. Insider spoke to 3 experts about the risks to consider before buying in. One thing they’re warning about: hidden fees.

10. Ford is set to name a female Ford family member to its board for the first time after 118 years in business. Alexandra Ford English, 33, works for Ford as a director in corporate strategy and serves as Ford’s representative on the board of Rivian, the electric carmaker in which Ford has invested. Ford has made several management changes in the last year, including naming a new CEO.

BONUS ITEM

One of the funniest yardsticks for measuring the crypto surge is by reference to programmer Laszlo Hanyecz, who became well known in crypto circles after making headlines for trading 10,000 bitcoin for two Papa John’s pizzas on May 22, 2010. Well, if we put that in 2021 terms, Mr Hanyecz paid $791 million in Australian dollars for those pizzas. Ouch.

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