Australia on track to live with Covid from early 2022, leading epidemiologist says

Original article by Melissa Davey
The Guardian Australia – Page: Online : 8-Sep-21

Deakin University epidemiologist Catherine Bennett believes that Australia will shortly move into a new phase of living with COVID-19. She expects the nation to have the coronavirus under control during the first quarter of 2022 as vaccination rates rise and the focus shifts to suppressing COVID-19. Professor Bennett expects the requirement to wear a face mask indoors and bans on large gatherings to be the last coronavirus restrictions to be scrapped in Australia.


Banks brace for lockdown losses

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 13 & 17 : 14-Jul-21

Richard Wiles of Morgan Stanley expects Australia’s major banks to announce combined coronavirus-related loan impairment charges of $700m for the June quarter. Wiles adds that the COVID-19 lockdown in Greater Sydney is likely to prompt the banks to adopt a more conservative approach to making provisions for loan losses. Morgan Stanley also expects loss rates to increase in the second half of 2021 and the first six months of 2022.


PM opens the Pfizer floodgates

Original article by Dennis Shanahan, Yoni Bashan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 5 : 9-Jul-21

The federal government has secured a deal with Pfizer to receive about one million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine per week from 19 July. This will significantly boost the vaccination rollout program, given that Australia received an average of 300,000 to 350,000 doses of the Pfizer jab each week during May and June. The vaccination program will also be ramped up in Sydney to combat the harbour city’s growing COVID-19 outbreak; an additional 150,000 doses of both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines will be made available, with a focus on vulnerable people in suburbs that have a high case load. The state government has not ruled out a further extension of the Greater Sydney lockdown.


Movement plunged in the Sydney CBD, Brisbane CBD and Perth CBD as all three were placed into lockdown

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 9-Jul-21

A special analysis of movement data in Australia’s Capital City CBDs since the COVID-19 pandemic began shows that movement in the CBDs of Sydney, Brisbane and Perth plunged over the last week as all three were placed into lockdown to deal with the latest COVID-19 outbreaks in each city. The average 7-day movement level in the Sydney CBD last week was at its lowest since the pandemic began more than a year ago, at only 11% of pre-COVID-19 averages. This is a drop of 48% points since movement levels reached a 2021 high of 59% of pre-pandemic averages during the Easter holidays in early April. There were also record low movement levels last week in both the Brisbane CBD, at only 23% of pre-pandemic averages, and Perth CBD at only 25%. The movement levels in Australia’s 3rd and 4th largest cities dropped rapidly after the respective Premiers announced snap lockdowns just over a week ago. Meanwhile, the average movement levels in the Melbourne CBD have increased by 10% points to 22% of pre-pandemic averages since the recent lockdown of the city, with mandatory mask-wearing in offices and factories only ending this week. Despite this increase, movement levels in the Melbourne CBD remain slightly below the averages in both the Brisbane and Perth CBDs. Unsurprisingly movement levels are highest in the only two State Capital Cities to avoid recent lockdowns, at 45% of pre-pandemic levels in the Adelaide CBD and at 40% in the Hobart CBD last week. Roy Morgan has partnered with leading technology innovator UberMedia to aggregate data from tens of thousands of mobile devices to assess the movements of Australians as we deal with the restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Unemployment and under-employment soar in Queensland during the pandemic but are relatively unchanged in NSW & Victoria

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 9-Jul-21

A special analysis of Roy Morgan’s latest unemployment estimates by State during the June 2021 quarter compared to the December 2019 quarter (prior to the pandemic), shows significant changes in two States. Queensland appears as the big ‘loser’ of the COVID-19 pandemic so far; total unemployment and under-employment is now at 23.5% of the workforce, an increase of 6.6% points since the December 2019 quarter – and now clearly higher than any other State. In contrast, South Australia has handled the pandemic better than any other state on the employment front, with total unemployment and under-employment now at 17.4% of the workforce and below the national average – a decline of 6.5% points on the December 2019 quarter. South Australia has had fewer days in lockdown of any State and is the only mainland State not to experience a lockdown so far during 2021. However, despite spending more time in lockdown than the other States, the lowest unemployment and under-employment is again to be found in the two largest States. New South Wales had the lowest unemployment and under-employment of any State at 16.5% of the workforce in the June 2021quarter, an increase of 1.3% points, while Victoria was second at 17.1% (up 0.1% points). down 0.4% points on late 2019.


Empty flights cast an air of doom

Original article by Robyn Ironside
The Australian – Page: 4 : 7-Jul-21

The Board of Airline Representatives of Australia’s executive director Barry Abrams has warned that the nation’s coronavirus-induced lower caps on inbound passenger numbers means that some international flights to Australia will no longer be commercially viable. Two-thirds of flights into Sydney will be restricted to no more than 26 passengers, while no passengers will be permitted on the remainder. Likewise, most flights into Melbourne will be restricted to a maximum of 13 passengers. The impact of reduced passengers loads may be partially offset by strong demand for air freight.


Virus exit plan leaves us behind: business

Original article by Hannah Wootton, Mark Ludlow
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 5-Jul-21

Business leaders have generally welcomed the federal government’s four-step plan to reopen Australia in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they have called for greater clarity regarding the timeframe for reopening the economy, as well as the vaccination targets that will be required for each step of the plan. The four-point plan aims to phase out snap lockdowns and state border closures in early 2022, while the nation’s international borders will re-open later in that year. Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott says the success of the exit strategy will depend on co-operation from the state and territory governments.


Fewer than 8% of Australian adults fully vaccinated four months into Covid rollout

Original article by Christopher Knaus
The Guardian Australia – Page: Online : 2-Jul-21

New data from the federal government shows that just 1.63 million Australians aged 16+ (7.92 per cent) have received both doses of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to date. Some 6.11 million (about 30%) have had their first dose since the vaccine rollout began in late February. The figures also show that despite being a priority in the rollout, the proportion of older Australians who are fully vaccinated remains low. This varies from 38.4 per cent of people in the 95+ age group to 5.7 per cent of those aged 65-69. Epidemiologist Hassan Vally says the number of people aged 60+ who are fully vaccinated should rise sharply in coming weeks, due to the 12-week delay in receiving the second AstraZeneca dose.


PM seeks deal to end lockdowns

Original article by Greg Brown, Simon Benson
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 2-Jul-21

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will try to get an agreement from the premiers and chief ministers on the vaccination threshold that needs to be met in order to end COVID-19 lockdowns when national cabinet meets on 2 July. Morrison says the "magic number" for this threshold will be determined by medical science. The national cabinet has already been given modelling for a vaccination threshold based on the Alpha variant, while modelling for one based on the more contagious Delta variant is understood to be nearly finished. Meanwhile, some premiers have called for a big reduction in the number of international arrivals until the majority of Australians have been vaccinated.


More than 100 patients and staff at two Sydney hospitals in isolation

Original article by Lucy Caroll, Mary Ward
The Sydney Morning Herald – Page: Online : 1-Jul-21

New South Wales has recorded 22 new locally-acquired COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, although 11 were self-isolating while they were infectious. Premier Gladys Berejiklian has welcomed the lack of a spike in case numbers, and says the state may be on track to lift the lockdown of Greater Sydney and nearby regions as scheduled on 9 July. An unvaccinated student nurse has also tested positive and will be included in the daily case numbers for 1 July; she worked at the Fairfield and Royal North Shore hospitals while she was infectious, prompting the state government to order patients and staff who may have come into contact with her to be tested and self-isolate. Meanwhile, Victoria has reported one new locally-acquired case, while there are three new cases in Queensland and one in Western Australia.