10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. (Mark Evans, Getty Images)

Good morning, folks and congratulations. It’s Friday.

1. Premier Gladys Berejiklian is resisting calls to lock down the state, after COVID cases in New South Wales approach 50. Overnight more exposure sites were added, spreading from Randwick and Potts Point to Alexandria and Parramatta and even into Victoria, while ministers including Deputy Premier John Barilaro are forced to isolate. Expect another big update this morning.

2. Meanwhile Australia is still figuring out what its roadmap to full vaccination looks like. This week, the TGA gave provisional approval to the Moderna vaccine, which is set to replace the AstraZeneca shot later this year. Twenty-five million doses of mRNA have been secured with it planned to rollout in September.

3. Regardless of whether or not a lock down is eventually called, the current outbreak is set to take a bit out of the bottom line. New figures from Tourism Australia claim border closures have cost $80 billion since last year, as every one from travel companies to accomodation providers and tour operators brace for another round of cancellations.

4. Swimming Australia looks to face further interrogation, as six more former swimmers look to add misconduct claims. The Sydney Morning Herald reports the cohort are meeting on Friday with Madeline Groves, the swimmer who pulled out of the Olympics citing “mysoginistic perverts”, and her lawyers, adding to calls for an external inquiry into the organisation.

5. The RBA is locked into a battle with big bank economists as each dispute just how quickly interest rates will rise again. On Thursday, the central bank shouted down claims it will be forced to hike rates from as early as next year, saying low rates will be needed for full employment, healthy wage growth, and meaningful inflation.

6. The property party could be coming to an end. After prices jumped by more than 20% in some capital cities, Cameron Kusher, director of economic research at realestate.com.au, warned a slowdown could be on its way, as fixed interest rates rise, government stimulus ends, and regulators get involved in the market.

7. Afterpay is changing gear when it comes to conquering other parts of the world. Rather than apply its old model, the buy now, pay later company has revealed it will allow select US customers to split payments with the likes of Amazon, regardless of the fact no partnership exists between them. It means Afterpay could take greater market share while sacrificing profit margins on purchases.

8. As the crypto market cools off, Jack Dorsey said he could step away from both Twitter and Square to work on Bitcoin. These are his best nine quotes covering profit-making, environmental concerns, and opposition from regulators.

9. Humans could have a long lost ancestor we never knew about, after scientists discovered a new species in a sinkhole. Named the Nesher Ramla, they lived between 140,000 and 120,000 years ago in Israel and Arabia, interbreeding with both humans and neanderthals.

10. On the other side of the world, we could be a whole lot closer to discovering the origins of the COVID-19 virus. A Seattle scientists says he has discovered previously deleted data on coronavirus sequences from Wuhan, China, which are a “gold mine” for tracking where the virus came from.

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