It’s Christmas Eve and you know what that means: a healthy dose of Mariah Carey, last-minute wrapping, and a rerun of Love Really. But first the news.
Caitlin Cassidy is here to walk you through it starting in NSWwhere premiere Dominic Perrottet took a setback in his anti-mandate position yesterday.
Wearing masks is now applicable in almost all states and territories as Covid restrictions are slowly being reintroduced and infections rise across the country.
NSW will also reintroduce QR codes for the hospitality and retail sectors, as well as some lower-risk settings, while density limits return after Christmas. It comes after the state hit a new record of 5,715 daily infections and one death on Thursday, up nearly 2,000 cases from the previous day.
Victoria also reintroduced a mask mandate, with the state recording more than 2,000 new infections and 10 deaths on Thursday.
About in Western Australia, Mark McGowan was also forced to introduce masking requirements after a backpacker who arrived from Queensland tested positive for the virus yesterday. The backpacker was contagious in the community for several days, visiting a number of venues across Perth.
Large, high-risk public events will be canceled and dancing will be prohibited except at weddings. “I know this is not the news we wanted to hear two days before Christmas, but unfortunately this is the reality of Covid-19,” said McGowan.
Queensland 369 new daily infections reported, South australia 484, Tasmania 26 and the Northern Territory 10.
the LAW also set a new daily case record of 85 new infections, prompting the area to update its definition of close contact.
Close contacts are now only defined as household contacts of a positive case or people who have spent a long time with a positive case. Occasional contacts no longer need to fill out a declaration form for the ACT health authorities, but must continue to test and isolate themselves until a negative result is obtained.
There are also increasing demands on the federal government to make rapid antigen tests available free of charge as concerns about a Christmas spike mount.
The NSW government on Thursday announced its intention to offer rapid antigen testing for free to ease the congestion at congested PCR test sites. Perrottet said people who line up for a test and have no symptoms or have not had close contacts should take a rapid test instead.
The NSW government estimates that about one in five tests is for travel purposes, which climbs to about 50%, according to the Territory’s Minister of Health on the ACT.
The burst lines in test clinics across the country have led to calls for a rethinking of entry regulations in states like Queensland who request a negative PCR test before arrival. Queensland will be relocating to allow quick antigen testing before travel, but not before the New Year.
Union leader Anthony Albanese has called on the federal government to make rapid tests more accessible for people on low incomes. The federal government has introduced free rapid test measures in inpatient care facilities for the elderly, but has opposed the demands of medical professionals to make the tests generally free of charge.
SA will start selling rapid antigen tests in stores starting today.
Let’s dive in.