Slight qualification to premier Mark McGowan’s tweet (below), WA Health has just put out a release that there are no new local cases, but there are three new cases, all in quarantine and not linked to the current outbreak.
The department is still testing some close and casual contacts from the French backpacker who was in the community while infectious.
Northern Territory confirms 16 new cases
The Northern Territory has recorded 16 new Covid cases. Five of them are household contacts from the Tennant Creek outbreak.
Zero new cases for Western Australia:
Aboriginal children in Western Australia have been kept in detention after being granted bail because child protection services did not know where to house them, the Aboriginal Legal Service has said. Read the whole story here:
ACT records 252 new cases
252 new Covid cases have been recorded in the Australian Capital Territory. That’s 252 new cases, and 2,980 negative tests, which seems like quite a high positive rate – but there are a lot of variables in there.
In case you missed it in the excitement of Australia’s Ashes win: England’s performance in the third test was their lowest total in Australia since 1904.
Relive the glory (or the humiliation) here:
Hello! Donna Lu here, keeping the blog warm while Tory grabs a bite to eat.
We’ve been hearing a lot about long testing queues. Here’s a shot from Fran Kelly from earlier this morning:
New South Wales premier Dominic Perrottet has echoed health minister Brad Hazzard by attacking “tourism tests”.
Hazzard has been snarky with the Queensland government, and says their requirements for tourists to get tested before they visit is clogging up the NSW system.
As people keep reporting those long testing queues and wait times for results, Perrottet’s keen for people to switch to rapid antigen tests and is putting pressure on other premiers to do the same.
He’s promising free rapid tests for NSW by the end of January, and the government has put in an order for 20 million.
He also said pregnant women should not be sitting in testing queues (see below – it came up earlier in the Hazzard conference).
Missing NSW children found safe after major search
Breaking! New South Wales Police have found the missing children, Hanna and Eli. (You can read the original story here).
A quick look at the United States now. Those without symptoms will now only have to isolate for five days, down from 10.
The Centers for Disease Control said after isolating, people should wear a mask when they are around other people.
It also recommended a five-day quarantine for those exposed to the virus who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose or more than two months after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and not yet boosted. You can read our US wrap here:
Australia has retained the Ashes! You can read all the details at our live blog:
Sydney lab identifies 486 new positive Covid cases after testing mistake
Another 486 people who were initially told their Covid test had a negative result were actually positive.
That is a total of 886 people to whom St Vincent’s hospital mistakenly gave the all clear.
First, 400 people were told on Christmas Day that their result was negative, only to be told later they were positive.
Yesterday the hospital’s pathology department (SydPath) said another 950 people who were tested in the days before Christmas were “prematurely” sent a text message saying they were negative when their actual results had not yet been confirmed.
Of those 950 people, 486 were eventually found to be positive. SydPath said:
Once again, we are sincerely sorry for this error and acknowledge the significant impact it has had on those involved.
In order to contend with the major increase in volume of tests SydPath had recently moved from an automated system to a manual system to expedite the release of negative test results. Unfortunately during this manual process a simple data processing error was made which led to the wrong test results being released. We have reverted to our automated systems to ensure this type of error cannot happen again.
Previously the advice was for those under 50: