Home » Australia Covid Live News Update: NSW Cases Jump To 1,360; Scott Morrison A Casual Contact; Potential Melbourne Superspreader Event

Australia Covid Live News Update: NSW Cases Jump To 1,360; Scott Morrison A Casual Contact; Potential Melbourne Superspreader Event

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22:14

The ABC is reporting that the Covid-19 positive man who travelled from Newcastle to Townsville, accidentally triggering two flights full of passengers into isolation over Christmas was an ADF officer.

He was alerted that he was a close contact when he landed in Townsville, went to get a test, and subsequently came back positive.

22:04

Victoria records 1,405 new Covid cases and three deaths

Updated

22:02

NSW daily Covid cases jump to 1,360, with one death

NSW has once again seen a significant jump in cases with 1,360 new Covid-19 cases in the latest reporting period.

We will have a breakdown of where in the state those cases are later this morning.

Sadly one person infected with Covid-19 has died.

NSW Health (@NSWHealth)

NSW #COVID19 update – Wednesday 15 December 2021

In the 24-hour reporting period to 8pm last night:

– 94.8% of people aged 16+ have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
– 93.2% of people aged 16+ have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine pic.twitter.com/eHEcX69k25

December 14, 2021

Updated

21:55

Simon Love (@SimoLove)

Police responding to a reported attempted burglary on Flinders Lane. “A male barricaded himself inside just after 6.30am and is refusing to leave the premises and police are currently attempting communication with him.”@10NewsFirstMelb pic.twitter.com/fI9fxkL5WI

December 14, 2021

21:54

Labor senator Pat Dodson has blasted the Western Australian government for failing its one opportunity to protect Aboriginal heritage and stop the “tyranny of cultural genocide” after the state’s controversial new heritage bill was passed into law.

The new law, introduced after Rio Tinto destroyed a 46,000-year-old cultural site at Juukan Gorge, has drawn anger from Aboriginal traditional owners, shareholder groups and even federal MPs. After months of asking, the bill was finally released to the public on 16 November.

Critics had called on the WA government to halt its passage and conduct further consultation with traditional owners.

“It’s a discredit to the legislators and particularly those who advise the legislators,” Dodson said. “If you look back at the history of Western Australia, it hasn’t been so advanced in this space for a very long time and this was the one opportunity it had to be a bit advanced, and it has failed.”

You can read the full report below:

21:43

We will be hearing from the NSW premier, health minister and chief officer at midday today (AEDT).

Political Alert (@political_alert)

Premier Dominic Perrottet, Minister for Health Brad Hazzard, NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant and NSW Health Deputy Secretary Susan Pearce will provide an update on COVID-19 at 12pm, Sydney #nswpol

December 14, 2021

21:40

Speaking of the huge Omicron exposure in Melbourne, the Guardian’s very own reporter Josh Taylor has been caught up in it, which means we will be one team member down at the Christmas party tonight.

Here he is chatting with ABC News Breakfast:

I got a text message at 11pm, saying I had been identified as a close contact of an Omicron case.

That was all the information I had last night. I got up early, went and got tested and saw the press release this morning, identifying the club I was at on Friday night as one of the exposure venues for Omicron.

I’m actually not surprised that they have done this … As you have just reported, what we are seeing in Newcastle with the amount of cases that have spread within that one nightclub, I’m not surprised they are working fast to stop a repeat of that here.

Updated

21:36

Morrison will still travel to Queensland despite casual contact status

Scott Morrison has spoken to 4BC Radio ahead of his trip to Queensland, confirming that he is still coming to the state despite being a casual contact of someone with Covid-19.

Morrison said that both the chief medical officer and Queensland authorities have confirmed it is safe to travel, citing his two negative PCR tests since the Friday night event he attended.

Morrison said:

That’s what living with the virus is. The virus is there, Omicron is in Australia. We’re going to live with this virus not let it drag us back where we’ve been.

We’ve got one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. We’re about to tip over 90% double dose around the country. Yesterday we had another bumper day in terms of our booster program … We’ve got to keep moving forward, we can’t slip back.

It’s great Queensland has opened up, but we need better and faster methods to get back in the community.

Morrison then hedged on a number of Covid measures:

  • On the Covid contacts having to quarantine for 14 days in Queensland, Morrison said he hoped allowing people to be out by Christmas would be a high priority and there is “nothing magical about 14 days”. He argued governments have to be more “innovative” with solutions like allowing people out earlier if they test every day.
  • On cruises, Morrison said it was “terribly frustrating” P&O had pushed back the start date for cruises, and the federal government is “keen to move”. But “we’re still being patient about it” while state authorities give necessary approvals.

Morrison also spruiked two other announcements:

  • A youth advisory committee on online safety;
  • Easier access to the pension loan scheme through a more attractive interest rate for people of pension age to draw down on equity in their homes.

Updated

21:31

Looks like we might get some clarity on what the Queensland flight situation will be when Queensland authorities step up to chat to media later this morning. Stay tuned to the blog for all the updates.

21:30

Australian schoolchildren’s basic literacy and numeracy skills were relatively unscathed during first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, but gaps are widening between city students and those in regional and remote areas, the latest Naplan study has found.

Analysis of long-term data for the annual National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (Naplan) National Report 2021 – found significant and growing gaps between some demographics, including along gender lines, between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, and those in metro and regional areas.

The full 360-page report, released on Wednesday, follows high-level data in August which indicated that students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 in 2021 continued to perform on par with students in 2019, despite lockdowns and periods of remote learning through 2020.

The Naplan tests were not conducted in 2020 due to nationwide lockdowns.

You can read the full report below: