Top news of the Day:
• On the virus front, the state of Victoria has seen four new locally acquired cases on Thursday as Melburnians prepare to emerge from a two-week lockdown. According to the Department of Health, “The four new locally acquired cases are from the same household and investigations into acquisition source are underway.” As of now, Melbourne is home to 78 active COVID cases and 180 exposure sites.
• As for the vaccine rollout, US plans to donate 500 million Pfizer (PFE.N) doses to nearly 100 countries within a two year period. It’s likely that the Bid Administration will distribute 200 million shots this year and a following 300 million in the first half of 2022 to various lower-income countries as well as the African Union.
• Some shocking news in crime, Global meat processing company JBS Foods has been forced to pay $11-million in ransom money to end cyber attack on its operations. The company confirmed to payment was made to a criminal gang which interfered with its international operations last week, including in Australia.
• Australia's south-east has seen an extreme night of cold weather with high winds, heavy rain and plenty of snow. Winds of over 120 km/hr wreaked havoc overnight in Victoria where hundreds of thousands of residents lost power to their homes. Onshore flow has resulted in the region receiving more than 200mm of rain in the past 24 hours. The extreme weather conditions are from a fierce low pressure system following a cold air mass direct from the Southern Ocean.