Wed, 03 Mar 2021

SYDNEY -- Australia's economy is on the path to recovery from COVID-19 according to a key report released Monday, which predicted that with the virus finally on the back foot, 2021 should be a time of important progress.

According to the quarterly Business Outlook Report by financial services giant Deloitte Access Economics, expected vaccine rollouts from February, easing of local border restrictions and sustained low case numbers will be key to the country finding its feet again. (Australia-Recovery)

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TOKYO -- Japan's Diet started a 150-day regular session on Monday, during which the government plans to submit bills including the revision of the special law on COVID-19 pandemic to better combat the outbreak as well as legislation on establish a new digital agency.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will deliver a policy speech, which will be his first at the Diet's regular session after taking office in September, 2020. (Japan-Diet-Session)

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JAKARTA -- The death toll from a strong earthquake and floods in the central parts of Indonesia has risen to 96, with nearly 70,000 people forced to flee home and take shelter, the National Disaster Management Agency said Monday.

A total of 81 people were killed after the 6.2-magnitude quake and the 5.9-magnitude aftershock struck West Sulawesi province on Thursday and Friday, and 15 people were reported dead in South Kalimantan province as floods have hit the province since Jan. 14, the agency's spokesman Raditya Jati said. (Indonesia-Earthquake-Floods-Death Toll)

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CANBERRA -- The head of Australia's Department of Health has revealed that it is unlikely that the country's borders will be cast open in 2021.

Brendan Murphy, who headed Australia's initial response to COVID-19 as the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) before becoming the Secretary of the Department of Health, said on Monday that full-scale travel to and from Australia would likely not resume until 2022. (Australia-Borders)

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SEOUL -- South Korea reported 389 more cases of COVID-19 as of midnight Monday compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 72,729.

The daily caseload fell below 400 in 54 days since Nov. 25, but it hovered above 100 since Nov. 8 owing to small cluster infections in Seoul and its surrounding Gyeonggi province as well as imported cases. (S. Korea-COVID-19-Cases)

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