Home » Australia News Live: Covid Cases Rise In Victoria, NSW And Tasmania As SA Clinic Sends Wrong Test Results And Qld Tightens Mask Rules

Australia News Live: Covid Cases Rise In Victoria, NSW And Tasmania As SA Clinic Sends Wrong Test Results And Qld Tightens Mask Rules

07:00

What we learned today, Saturday 1 January

And with that, we’ll wrap up the first blog of the year. Here’s everything that went down today:

  • Australia reported 35,326 new cases of Covid today, setting a new record. Thirteen people also lost their lives overnight.
  • NSW reported 22,577 cases, another record for daily cases. Four people died in the state, and 901 people are currently in hospital with the virus.
  • Victoria recorded 7,442 Covid cases and nine deaths, with 451 people currently hospitalised.
  • Tasmania recorded a big jump, reporting 428 new Covid cases today, almost doubling active cases on the island state to 938.
  • There were 448 Covid-19 cases recorded in the Australian Capital Territory in the 24 hours to 8pm yesterday.
  • Queensland recorded 2,266 cases, a new record for daily case numbers. There is currently one person in ICU and 80 people in hospital.
  • The Queensland government has tightened mask rules in light of growing Covid cases, with masks now mandatory indoors from 1am on Sunday.
  • South Australia has recorded 2,100 new cases overnight, a slight increase on yesterday.
  • A South Australian pathology clinic has admitted to an error which led to 11 people receiving the wrong Covid test result on New Year’s Eve.
  • The Northern Territory has recorded 54 new cases, including six cases of community transmission.
  • A boy has died in the Northern Territory after going missing from a remote desert community south-west of Alice Springs.

Thanks for reading. We’ll be back tomorrow morning.

Updated

06:11

Leading health bodies are calling on the government to defer changes to the Medicare Benefits Schedule telehealth arrangements that they say could cause “mayhem” for patients.

The changes, which came into effect on 1 January, restrict phone consultations for a long list of specialist items in favour of video conferencing or face-to-face appointments.

The Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) president and medical oncologist Prof Fran Boyle told the Guardian the timing of the changes was “appalling” and urged the government to rethink the changes:

What’s going to be a major problem for patients this coming week is the phone consultations will no longer have the Medicare item number they’d be expecting from the last year.

It was an OK plan if there was no virus and it was business as usual, but business cannot be usual for cancer patients. These people are anxious enough already about their own vulnerability, the timing couldn’t be worse.

You can read more on the story from Caitlin Cassidy at the link below:

Updated

05:42

NSW paramedics faced their busiest night in 126 years on New Year’s Eve, despite concerns around Covid resulting in smaller crowds around Sydney.

NSW Ambulance Inspector Kay Armstrong was on the Today show earlier, and said Covid itself added to the “usual business of New Year’s Eve”, with the service receiving a “record-breaking” number of calls.

Last night was extremely busy. We actually reached a record-breaking day in NSW Ambulance. It’s the first time we’ve had this many calls in 126 years.

We had the usual business of New Year’s Eve – alcohol-related cases, accidents, obviously mischief – and then we had Covid on top of that, so it was very, very busy for all of our crew.

Armstrong added that there were a “lot of exhausted paramedics”, and urged people not to call the ambulance service to get Covid test results.

We’ve got lots of exhausted paramedics out there at the moment, especially now it’s summer time. It’s holidays, we’re right in that Christmas-New Year’s season, and they’re under a lot of pressure going to a lot of triple-0 calls that sometimes are unnecessary.

If you just want a result for a Covid test, don’t call us.

Updated

05:14

A stretch of land near Bells Beach in Victoria has been closed the day after a man was killed when part of a cliff collapsed, AAP reports:

Parks Victoria on Saturday warned landslips and rockfalls had occurred in a section of beach at Jarosite Headland, near the popular Great Ocean Road surfing destination.

Parks Victoria warned the cliff may continue to move for several days and urged people to stay away from the area.

The rest of the beach remains open.

A 28-year-old man died on Friday after a 30-metre cliff face collapsed at Bells Beach.

Six people were sitting under the cliff and three were struck by falling debris.

The man was winched out by air ambulance and flown to Melbourne with serious upper body injuries but died on the way.

A man and a woman sustained non-life-threatening arm injuries and were taken to hospital in Geelong by road.

The beach is an internationally renowned surf spot, which up until the Covid pandemic held the annual Rip Curl Pro competition.

Updated

04:53

Rafael Nadal was spotted practising in Melbourne today, alleviating concerns around his participation in the Australian Open after testing positive in the UAE last month.

It comes as doubts continue to grow around whether the men’s world No 1, Novak Djokovic, will attend the tournament. The Serbian tennis star is set to be denied a medical exemption to enter Australia, and with doubts about his vaccine status, could skip the first grand slam of the year.

The Australian Open is gearing up for a tournament amid huge Covid case numbers, with a contingent of up to 3,000 players and support staff making their way to Melbourne.

The huge workforce will undergo daily rapid antigen tests, with Tennis Australia modifying its health and safety planning in the lead-up to the grand slam, in preparation for any potential outbreak.

Nadal practising in Melbourne today. Photograph: Loren Elliott/Reuters

Updated

04:23

Prof Marc Tennant (@MarcTennant)

So NSW health hospital in the home data has “gone dark” too. (they have gone on holidays!). Seriously.

Totally dumbfounded. We are in a national emergency and we have the largest states health system with messages like this…

GONE DARK on CRITICAL data flow. (Hawaii II) pic.twitter.com/EybpvfFgIP

January 1, 2022

04:04

Child dies after going missing from NT remote community

A boy has died in the Northern Territory after going missing from a remote desert community south-west of Alice Springs.

NT police confirmed the death but gave no details on the incident, nor which community the child was from.

Police did say the boy was under 10.

The boy was reported missing after his family had searched for him for several hours, police said in a statement.

Acting Commander Kirsten Engels said police had launched a search and rescue effort last night to find the boy.

Tragically, the child was found in the community early this morning and has subsequently passed away.

We request that the family’s privacy is respected at this time and offer our sincere condolences for their loss.

Updated

03:45

NT records 54 new cases

The Northern Territory has recorded 54 new cases, inlcuding six cases of community transmission.

Of the six locally acquired cases, five were from Darwin and one from Katherine.

There are currently 21 people hospitalised with Covid in the NT, and none in ICU.

Updated

03:00

Moving onto the Cricket now, and Australia is hopeful they’ll only be missing out on Travis Head at the SCG Test, after the rest of the squad tested negative for Covid.

Head is currently in isolation in Melbourne, after testing positive yesterday, although there is still hope he will be able to make the fifth and final Test.

There were concerns other staff and players may have contracted the virus, with every single member of the touring party tested on Friday.

Cricket Australia has confirmed that all the tests returned negative, with the exception being one family member who is still waiting on their result.

Travis Head batting in the third Ashes Test at the MCG. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Updated

02:52

Vic Health has announced it is shutting down another series of Covid testing sites due to excessive heat.

The sites are:

  • IYU Recreation Reserve, Pakenham
  • EACH – Ferntree Gully
  • Casey Fields, Cranbourne East
  • Wyuna Walk, Mooroolbark
  • St Kilda East
  • DPV Health, Mernda
  • Northern Health, Epping
  • Monash University, Clayton

VicGovDH (@VicGovDH)

Some testing sites have had to close for the remainder of the day due to the excessive heat.

They are:
📍 IYU Rec Reserve, Pakenham
📍 EACH – Ferntree Gully
📍 Casey Fields, Cranbourne East
📍 Wyuna Walk, Mooroolbark
📍 St Kilda East pic.twitter.com/oXW9sqpSu2

January 1, 2022

Temperatures in Melbourne are currently soaring, with the Bureau of Meteorology saying it has already hit 36C.

Bureau of Meteorology, Victoria (@BOM_Vic)

It has already reached 36°C in #Melbourne but a cooler change is on the way! S/SW’ly winds moving up Port Phillip Bay will extend over the metro area in the next hour or two, dropping temps into the mid-high 20’s for the remainder of the afternoon. t.co/wnTu0hT14e pic.twitter.com/wxaNe1kuKM

January 1, 2022

Updated

02:40

Vic Emergency has issued a warning to resdents in Langkoop, Poolaijelo, Powers Creek to leave now if possible, with a grass fire currently out of control in the region.

In their advice, Vic Emergency say the fire is travelling north-east, and that weather conditions could see it intensify:

This grassfire is travelling in a north-easterly direction and has crossed Fergusons Road, near Ryans Road. It is currently burning in the Meereek State Forest.

Weather conditions forecast for today may cause the fire to become dangerous and unpredictable and it may impact properties.

Firefighters have been working throughout the night and will continue to work with aircraft and heavy equipment today.

There are also “stay informed” warnings for regions around Poolaijelo, where the fire is burning.

02:19

AAP is reporting that Australia’s trade minister, Dan Tehan, has welcomed the coming into force of a key regional partnership, saying it gives farmers and businesses access to the world’s largest free trade agreement.

The regional comprehensive economic partnership agreement (RCEP) comes into force on Saturday for Australia, New Zealand, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Japan, Laos, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Republic of Korea will follow on 1 February.

Tehan said in a statement:

With Australian-made products and services held in such high regard in these markets, RCEP is a fantastic opportunity for Australian businesses.

By streamlining requirements around rules of origin, RCEP will advantage local sourcing of goods and promote collaboration through regional value chains, which our businesses are primed to partake in.

Tehan said RCEP improved on existing trade agreements in areas of the greatest growth potential, such as services, digital trade and two-way investment.

He said Saturday also marked another set of annual tariff cuts coming into force for Australia’s free trade agreements, including the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership (CPTPP) and the Korea-Australia free trade agreement (KAFTA).

Australian bluefin tuna and Atlantic salmon exporters benefit from Japanese tariffs falling to 1.9% under the CPTPP on Saturday, while tariffs on sheep and goat meat exports fell by half to 2.25% under KAFTA.

Tehan said:

International trade is integral to business recovery from Covid-19. The entry into force of RCEP and further tariff cuts through our other free-trade agreements will help create Australian jobs and foster economic growth for our nation.

Updated

02:12

South Australia reports 2,100 new Covid cases

South Australia has recored 2,100 new cases overnight, a slight increase on yesterday.

The number of people in hospital has remained stable at 71, with the number of people in ICU at four.

Updated

01:49

Queensland introduces mask mandate for all indoor settings

The Queensland government has tightened mask rules in light of growing Covid cases, with masks now mandatory indoors from 1am on Sunday.

The chief health officer, Dr John Gerrard, announced the new mandate, with the exception being only when at home or in workplaces where it is safe.

It means attendees at hospitality venues, including pubs, clubs and cafes, will need to wear masks, except when seated.

“People have been wanting this and expecting this,” Gerrard said.

Updated

01:39

Pathology clinic sends wrong Covid test result to 11 South Australians

A South Australian pathology clinic has admitted to an error which led to 11 people receiving the wrong Covid test result on New Year’s Eve.

SA Pathology released a statement saying an IT issue resulted in the wrong results being sent out, and that a clarification message was sent within three hours.

The error was found during our usual quality control processes and, while this is the first occurrence in South Australia, we’ve implemented further measures to avoid a similar incident happening again.

Updated