NSW is on high alert following a Covid-19 outbreak in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, while a new, more infectious strain of the virus has been identified throughout the country, including four in Victoria and one case of a quarantine hotel worker in Brisbane. An agreement between the Australian government and Pfizer was finalised on Christmas Eve, with 10 million doses to be made available for a March rollout if the vaccine is approved by regulators. Australia also has vaccine agreements with Oxford-AstraZeneca and Novavax.
The RBA minutes for the December meeting revealed the board believes it will take some time for output in Australia to reach its pre-pandemic level. Members acknowledged that “the recovery in the labour market was more advanced than expected” but noted there was still significant spare capacity that would remain a key policy challenge for some time.
Australia’s labour market continues to recover, with 90,000 jobs added in November. The unemployment rate decreased 0.2 points to 6.8%.