Exclusive: A leaked government database shows hospital transmission is key to Victoria’s recent Covid-19 cases, as new concerns are raised about access to protective equipment.Hospitals have become a key risk area in this phase of the pandemic. Staff at some of these hospitals have not been told about the transmissions happening in their workplaces and are not being offered extra protection.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will today promote a $1.7 billion deal for a freely distributed Covid-19 vaccine from early 2021, pending the uncertain outcome of clinical drug trials. The supply and production agreement covers two vaccines, with the federal government securing 51 million doses of a University of Queensland vaccine still in early-phase stage 1 trials, and 33.8 million doses of an University of Oxford vaccine in phase 3 trials. The deal includes early access to 3.8 million doses of Oxford vaccine in January and February next year, with priority access expected for vulnerable people and front-line health workers. More than 95 per cent of the doses are expected to be manufactured in Australia. Both vaccines require an initial dose followed by a booster dose of the same vaccine within a week.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday unveiled the state’s road map to easing restrictions. Andrews announced that a nightly curfew in Melbourne, pushed back to between 9pm and 5am from September 14, will be extended until October 26. Limits on exercise and outdoor social interaction will be lifted from one hour to two, and people who live alone will be allowed a nominated visitor. From September 28, more restrictions will be eased, provided Covid-19 infections have been reduced to between 30 to 50 daily cases. The plan will allow up to five people from two different households to meet outdoors, the reopening of childcare and outdoor religious ceremonies with up to five people plus one faith leader. There will also be a staged reopening of schools and workplaces. On October 26 more restrictions on retail and hospitality will be lifted provided infection targets are met. Regional Victoria will follow a different timetable.
A plan flagged by the federal government to bring forward the next phase of income tax cuts would see 20 per cent of taxpayers secure 91 per cent of the benefits, according to analysis released today by The Australia Institute. The research suggests the bottom half of taxpayers would gain 4 per cent of the benefit from the second phase of income tax cuts. “A more effective way to stimulate the economy would be to invest heavily in direct employment programs or focus on supporting those who are doing it tough by maintaining or increasing the current rate of the jobseeker supplement,” the report concludes.
Australian Associated Press today launches a crowdfunding campaign, roughly one month after philanthropic investors took over the organisation and oversaw a programme of significant job cuts. AAP’s chief executive, Emma Cowdroy, told Guardian Australia revealed some clients have signed for “much shorter periods” as they may be “testing the service and they also know there is a new entrant coming into the market”. The new entrant is News Corp Australia’s inhouse newswire, NCA NewsWire, to be offered to non-Murdoch outlets once its non-compete clause ends in five months. The news comes as a new advertising campaign launched by Google has been accused of being “manipulative” over claims that regulations forcing it to pay media for content would fill search engines with junk results.
World No. 1 ranked men’s tennis player Novak Djokovic has been disqualified from the US Open after hitting a lineswoman with a ball during his round 4 match with Pablo Carreno Busta. After his serve was broken in the first set, Djokovic struck a ball away in frustration — and although he was not facing the official, the ball hit her and she was bent double, left coughing and in need of medical help.