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The Informer: Lockdowns end as AstraZeneca rollout begins

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Picture: Getty Images
Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Picture: Getty Images

On the eve of International Women's Day, former prime minister Julia Gillard received the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and encouraged other Australians to do the same.

Her message on Sunday, particularly targeted at women, encouraged people to seek information from reliable sources during the vaccine rollout.

"Me being here today is a visible representation that no matter what side of politics you barrack for, no matter whom you intend to vote for, there is a united message," she said.

Ms Gillard was one of the first Australians to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, along with Health Minister Greg Hunt and Department of Health secretary Brendan Murphy, in Melbourne.

Heading north, the Queensland government has created a raffle program in an effort to boost its struggling tourism industry, focusing on the beauty of the far north coast.

The program offers Queenslanders the chance to win one of 15,000 travel vouchers. Each voucher is worth up to $200.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was an opportunity to see if this was something the government could roll out to other areas in the future.

"We want to make sure that people across Queensland get to enjoy tropical far north Queensland, but most importantly let's help people who need the help the most," she said.

One case was reported in the country on Sunday, and people can now travel between regions. The number of people allowed at gatherings has increased to 100 people.

For the remainder of the country's citizens, most of the restrictions have eased, but they are still required to wear masks on public transport.

Further afield, the Dalai Lama received his first COVID-19 vaccine in India; Prince Charles praised the Commonwealth for efforts during the pandemic; and thousands protested coronavirus restrictions in cities across Europe.

The Dalai Lama, the 85-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader, has received his first shot of the coronavirus vaccine at a hospital in the north Indian hill town of Dharmsala.

In non-coronavirus news, it was announced today that Defence Minister Linda Reynolds would be extending her medical leave until April 2; Myanmar security forces carried out overnight raids in Yangon; and Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe is set to provide an update on the country's quick economic recovery on Wednesday.

Finally, to all the women reading this, have a wonderful International Women's Day on Monday.

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This story Lockdown ends in NZ, AstraZeneca rollout ramps up first appeared on The Canberra Times.