10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

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Good morning, team.

1. Victoria has recorded two new locally acquired COVID-19 cases, with both linked to the Holiday Inn outbreak. They are close household contacts of a previously confirmed case. There were also two new cases among returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

2. The first 140,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in Australia, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced yesterday. After testing, the rollout of the vaccine is tipped to begin as soon as Monday next week. About two-thirds of the doses will go to the states for frontline workers, and the remaining third will be kept by the federal government for use in aged care facilities.

3. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says she will receive a briefing today on the vaccine rollout in her state. She says quarantine workers will be prioritised. “We know the greatest risk at this stage is a leakage from the quarantine system,” she said. “At this stage given there is zero community transmission, it stands to reason that those who work in the quarantine system who are directly exposed themselves… is really where our focus will be.”

4. The number of Australians being supported by JobKeeper has fallen by more than 2 million since September, with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg claiming a “remarkable recovery”. However, despite half a million businesses leaving the scheme, there are still 1.53 million Australians receiving the wage subsidy. The unions are criticising the government’s refusal to extend the scheme or target support for tourism and aviation as “bad economics”.

5. Finding it hard to get a telly at a decent price? You are not alone. JB Hi-Fi boss Richard Murray has warned shoppers to expect stock shortages on televisions and other electronics for a while yet. “Certainly for the last few months if there was one category that’s been a challenge it’s TVs,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. “We’ve had such continued demand globally and panel manufacturers are trying to get out as much volume as they can.”

6. Seven West Media has signed a multimillion-dollar deal with Google to appear on its News Showcase product. This is significant, as Google is offering up the product, which offers payments to media companies in exchange for content, as an alternative to the government’s media bargaining code – which the tech titan strongly opposes.

7. And more deals are likely coming, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. The ABC, Nine Entertainment Co – owner of Pedestrian Group, the publisher of Business Insider Australia – and Guardian Australia are all said to be in advanced talks which could be settled in the next 48 hours. Whether this means Google will back off on its threat to pull Search from Australia is yet to be seen.

8. CommSec has revealed that nearly one in five traders on its platform are first-time investors. 230,000 Australians signed up to the broker in just six months, with first-timers responsible for a whopping 10% of all trades. Now CommSec wants to teach them how to actually invest, with a new educational series aimed at converting punters into long-term investors.

9. Nissan and Apple held brief talks on developing an autonomous car together, per The Financial Times. The talks stopped when Apple and Nissan disagreed over the electric vehicle’s branding, sources said. South Korean firm Hyundai had previously confirmed, then denied, being in talks with Apple about the car.

10. An Israeli study found people who get the Pfizer vaccine are 94% less likely to develop symptomatic COVID-19. Researchers found that fully vaccinated people are 92% less likely to develop severe cases. The study compared 600,000 vaccinated people to same size group of unvaccinated people.

BONUS ITEM

We’ve launched a new series called Under the Influence, where we profile high-profile Australian influencers and content creators, getting a peek under the hood at how they work and how they make their money. First cab off the rank is Ozzy Man Reviews – check it out!

YouTube: Ozzy Man Reviews

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