'This is a crucial sector': Morrison government unveils another airline lifeline as Queensland's Covid outbreak worsens

The Morrison government announced a $100m program that will help domestic airlines to retain their staff during lockdowns at the border. In an effort to increase tourism, the Coalition will continue its half-price flight scheme.On Monday, Barnaby Joyce, deputy prime minister, revealed to reporters that domestic airlines could receive a $750-a week payment for 50% of their workforce if there was a 30% decline in their business after Sydney was designated a Covid-19 hotspot.Many businesses are struggling during the current Delta virus outbreak that has engulfed millions of Australians. Joyce however, said that aviation was an exceptional case. To avoid significant layoffs, he said that the government had opted to increase support for the sector.Joyce stated that it was crucial to ensure airlines can rebound quickly after the lockdowns end.Joyce stated that this is a critical sector of the economy and it is vital to maintain a sovereign airline capacity. Joyce argued that if the sector went dormant it wouldn't start up again in a matter of hours.The deputy prime minister confirmed that the Coalitions half price flights initiative would be extended until 30 November for sales and travel. This is to ensure travellers affected by border closures or lockdowns have access to these tickets and can benefit from key tourism areas as soon as possible.After New South Wales confirmed another 207 coronavirus infections on Monday, Queensland extended its lockdown to accommodate 13 more cases. Queensland is expecting more cases as it battles its worst ever outbreak in one year.Barnaby Joyce, the deputy prime minister, says that the airline industry is an important sector of the economy. Photograph by Mike Bowers/The GuardianThe two-week long sitting of the Federal Parliament resumes Tuesday. Many MPs are unable to attend due to restrictions. Peter Dutton, the House of Representatives' manager of government business, cannot travel to Canberra because of the Queensland outbreak.Christian Porter, who was responsible for managing government business before Dutton got the job, will be returning to the position, even though National David Gillespie currently serves as the deputy leader.Dutton, who was infected with Covid last year, made a statement to explain his absence. My sons attend a Queensland school that is subject to the current Queensland health directive. I, as a household member, am subject to the 14-day direction.According to the defence minister, he will quarantine at home with his family. However, he will continue to attend cabinet and sub-committee meetings virtually as well as taking care of matters related to his portfolio.Greg Hunt, the minister for health, confirmed that the government would release modeling from the Doherty Institute. This material was used to inform a national cabinet meeting last Friday regarding Australia's national pandemic exit strategy. This material will likely be released on Tuesday.Hunt announced that Pfizer jabs will be available to immunocompromised children 12-15 years old from next week, with young people at the center of this latest outbreak. This extension is also available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids, as well as remote children 1215 years old.Michael Kidd, acting chief medical officer, said that the current Delta outbreak in Queensland was due to schools. He said that he was also seeing a higher number of Covid-19-infected young adults being admitted to hospital, with a greater number ending up in intensive care units.He said that we are very concerned about the seriousness of this Delta epidemic. This is why it's so important to control these outbreaks.Kidd stated that the children who will be given jabs are those who are most at risk. This is why there has been prioritization with the 220,000 children.Hunt also stated Monday that rapid antigen testing in aged care facilities will be trialled to reduce the risk of this outbreak.Shadow health minister Mark Butler said that it was crucial to change gears regarding vaccinations. He said that the Delta variant poses new challenges to him and the ABC.The National Health Service of the UK reported that one in twelve children who develop Covid then develop long-term Covid symptoms 12 weeks after they have had the initial viral infection.These are new dynamic that we all must be aware of.