Australia’s largest airline temporarily lays off 2,500 employees.
Australia’s largest airline Qantas has said it will temporarily lay off 2,500 workers as travel plunges in response to the coronavirus balloon outbreak in Sydney.
A city of five million people, Sydney has been under strict lockdown orders for weeks as cases of the more virulent Delta strain of the coronavirus have increased. Authorities reported 199 new cases on Tuesday. Some infectious disease experts predicted the outbreak would last for months.
Alan Joyce, chief executive of the Qantas Group, said in a statement on Tuesday that the decision to lay off workers was indicative of looming challenges for businesses in the state of New South Wales, whose capital is Sydney.
The company said the laid-off workers would be paid until mid-August and the job cuts should not be permanent.
“This is clearly the last thing we want to do, but we are now facing an extended period of reduced flights, which means no work for a number of our people,” Mr Joyce said, adding that he expected Sydney’s borders to remain closed for at least the next two months.
Mr Joyce said that while the company expects domestic travel to resume once Australia improves on its slow rollout of vaccination, the “challenge around opening international borders remains”, with strict restrictions in place.
According to New York Times data, only 15% of Australia’s 26 million people are fully vaccinated, a figure that lags far behind most wealthy countries.
In other coronavirus news around the world:
Two cases of the Delta Plus variant were detected in South Korea, the country’s authorities announced on Tuesday. The Delta Plus variant is a subline of the Delta variant that has been detected in several Indian states and a dozen other countries, including the United States and Great Britain.
A top European Union An official said on Tuesday there was not enough evidence that booster shots for a coronavirus vaccine were needed. The statement came a day after Germany announced it would offer booster shots from September to a wide range of people considered vulnerable to a breakthrough infection. The official – Emer Cooke, head of the European Medicines Agency, the block’s medicines regulatory body – said in an interview with Politico Europe on Tuesday that while some populations might need an extra dose of the vaccine against the block. coronavirus, it “does not mean that there is a need universally across the population.
Scotland will lift social distancing requirements and size limits for social gatherings from Monday, after coronavirus cases fell from a peak in July, the country’s Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Tuesday. In addition, she said, Scotland is relaxing some isolation rules for adults and schoolchildren. Masks, Ms. Sturgeon said, will continue to be required in many indoor environments.
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