RESTRICTIONS STILL IN PLACE
Re-introduction of lockdown measures threatens to disrupt the domestic food supply chain.
- The nation has signed a deal with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to secure a potential COVID-19 vaccine, joining a growing list of countries lining up supplies of the drug. If proven successful, the government intends to manufacture the vaccine locally and provide all Australians early access to the vaccine for free.
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison suggested that the coronavirus vaccine should be mandated for all Australians (sans medical exemptions), wading into a heated ethical debate.
- Many internal state borders have remained closed to contain the spread of the virus, with Victoria and New South Wales accounting for almost all new cases. It is likely that most states and territories will keep them shut for months to come.
- Australia plans to allow foreign students to return from September, as part of a trial that aims to reboot the country’s lucrative international education sector.
IMPACT ON FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN
- Closure of Australia’s internal borders has severely hampered the recovery of the domestic aviation market, and are causing an “enormous hardship” for farmers.
- A major Australian supermarket warned of a nationwide food shortage and widespread panic buying, following the re-introduction of stage 4 lockdown restrictions.
- The Supermarkets Taskforce, an alliance of major supermarkets focused on preventing supply shortages during this pandemic, argued that the restrictions will disrupt the grocery supply chain across the country. Victorian distribution centres and abattoirs have been forced to cut production by a third.
- The taskforce has been asked to escalate these concerns to PM Morrison. Meanwhile, local governments have ensured that they will “find ways around” the restrictions to ensure that food supplies still get through.