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Australian PM Morrison Gets Covid-19 Vaccine in ‘Massive Step’ Toward Normal

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday, calling the start of the nation’s vaccination programme a “massive step” that will enable it to return to normal.

Up to 4 million Australians are expected to be inoculated by March, with Morrison among a small group receiving the first round of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

“This is the beginning of a big game change,” Morrison told reporters moments after getting injected at a medical centre in Sydney. “Every day that goes past from here gets more normal. And that is what is exciting about today.”

The intergovernmental National Cabinet is to review how its five-stage vaccination programme will change the way the country manages the risk of coronavirus transmission in the future, including at its state and international borders.

Australian states have introduced some of the strictest community mobility restrictions in the world to manage the spread of the virus, including intermittent city lockdowns, curfews and border closures.

Reporting a second consecutive day with no coronavirus transmission in the community, the nation has had just under 29,000 infections and 909 deaths since March, ranking among the top 10 in a COVID-19 performance index.

Morrison said the vaccine addresses his “greatest fear” as prime minister: “serious disease and the sort of widespread fatalities that we saw overseas.”

A small number of older Australians at the Castle Hill Medical Centre in western Sydney, aged-care staff, and frontline nurses and workers were also among the first injected, officials said.

From Monday morning, a broader “phase 1-A” rollout is to begin among aged-care and disability staff, and border protection and quarantine workers at vaccine hubs nationwide.

“Phase 1-B” vaccinations of immunocompromised people and those over 70 years old, as well as Indigenous Australians over 55 years old and emergency service workers, are to follow.

The vast majority of the population will be injected with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which can be produced locally, by the end of October.

On Saturday, thousands of people attended anti-vaccine rallies in major Australian cities to protest what they incorrectly believed to be mandatory vaccinations.



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Congress attacks Modi government for reduction in unemployment rate

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So absorbed is Congress in attacking the Modi government that it seems that they have taken leave of their senses. Usually, an increase in the rate of unemployment sparks outrage among the opposition parties. However, the Congress party is outraged because there is a reduction in the unemployment rate in the country.

Earlier today, the official Twitter handle of the Congress party posted a tweet, questioning the BJP whether it thinks through the decisions or weighs the disastrous consequences its decisions might trigger. The question was regarding the lockdown imposed by PM Modi in the last week of March 2020 to stop the inexorable spread of the coronavirus.

“Does the BJP ever think through their decisions; ever think of the disastrous consequences it imposes on the nation?” the official Twitter handle of Congress tweeted.

However, what was intriguing is the infographic that was attached to attack the Modi government’s decision of imposing a lockdown in March 2020. Along with the tweet, the Congress Twitter handle attached an infographic that displayed the unemployment rate in April 2020 and May 2020.

The infographic showed that the unemployment rate in April 2020 was 23.53 per cent, and in the subsequent month, it dropped to 21.73 per cent. The unemployment rates in April and May were displayed with vertical bars, with the bar representing the unemployment rate in May significantly smaller than that of April 2020.

Despite the marked reduction in the unemployment rate in May 2020 as compared to April 2020 and the stark difference between the two bars representing the unemployment rates in the two months, the Congress party went on to question the PM for not thinking about the workforce before imposing an unplanned lockdown. The question was included in the infographic, alongside the vertical bars indicating the fall in the unemployment rate.

The Congress party seems to have a problem that despite the lockdown imposed in the country, the month of May 2020 witnessed a reduction in the unemployment rate as compared to April 2020. India had gone under lockdown from 22 March 2020 until the end of May 2020. It subsequently reopened in a phased manner, with necessary precautions and coronavirus guidelines in place.

Current unemployment figures are exceptionally low: CMIE report

While Congress continues ranting against the supposedly high unemployment rates, reports claim that unemployment in India in January 2021 is among the lowest in years. Ever since India emerged out of the coronavirus-induced lockdown, the employment generation has rebounded at a breakneck pace, with nearly 12 million people getting employed last month. The unemployment rate in January 2021 was down to 6.5 per cent from 9.1 per cent in December 2020.

According to the CMIE report, the total unemployed who were willing to work but did not have any employment in January 2021 was 40 million. The report stated that it is lowest in the last two years. Subsequently, after 12 million people were employed last month, the number of unemployed came down to 28 million.

“These are the unemployed who are willing to work and who are actively looking for employment. This is an exceptionally low number. On average, 33 million persons who were willing to work and were looking for work were unemployed in 2019-20. This is now down to less than 28 million,” the report said.

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