Home » Covid Live News: France And Italy See Record Daily Cases; Australia’s Omicron Outbreak Spreads

Covid Live News: France And Italy See Record Daily Cases; Australia’s Omicron Outbreak Spreads

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03:01

To recap, Covid case numbers across Australia have been released for every state and territory excluding Western Australia and the NT. It brings total cases (so far) in Australia to 9,605.

  • Victoria has recorded 1,608 new cases.
  • NSW has reported a record 6,394 Covid cases.
  • The ACT has recorded 71 new local cases.
  • Tasmania has recorded 44 new cases.
  • South Australia has recorded 774 new Covid cases, prompting the return of some restrictions in the state..
  • There have been 714 Covid cases detected in Queensland.

02:41

Tennis player Denis Shapovalov, who is part of Canada’s team for January’s ATP Cup, has tested positive for Covid in Sydney.

Shapovalov played at the World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi last week, where he defeated Rafael Nadal in the third-place play-off match. Nadal also tested positive for the virus after playing at the tournament, as did Belinda Bencic and Tunisian Ons Jabeur.

Shapovalov said his symptoms were minor. The ATP prefaces the Australian Open, due to kick-off in mid-January.

Denis Shapovalov (@denis_shapo)

pic.twitter.com/rcFU02bY9f

December 25, 2021

Updated

02:18

The Dominican Republic has identified its first case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, the health ministry of the Caribbean country said on Saturday and Reuters reports.

In a statement on Twitter, the ministry said Omicron had been identified in a person with mild symptoms who had arrived in the country from South Africa.

The ministry also said it had later been informed by Chilean authorities that a person who traveled to Chile from the Dominican Republic had tested positive for Omicron.

Other potential cases of Omicron are under investigation.

02:11

NSW shadow minister for health Ryan Park has responded to health minister Brad Hazzard’s comments about the Omicron variant earlier today.

Hazzard said it was inevitable everyone in the state would get Omicron, which was what made vaccination rates particularly crucial:

It’s not good enough for the premier to say ‘we’re all going to get Omicron’.

He’s the leader of the state, where’s the planning and where’s the resources and where’s the leadership? Where’s the plans for hospitals? For health workers? Are there enough resources for testing clinics to cope with demand?

We’ve got many people in NSW with Covid symptoms or positive RAT tests without access to a PCR test. Many clinics are closed for the next few days. That’s not good enough.

02:07

South Australia has tightened public health and social restrictions in response to the rapidly spreading Omicron variant of the virus.

Gyms will return to density limits of one person per seven square metres, effective immediately. From midnight, hospitality venues will return to one person per four square metres density limits for indoor dining.

Home gatherings will be reduced to 10 people.

The state was due to further ease restrictions on 28 December. PCR tests will no longer be mandatory for interstate arrivals.

Greg Barila (@GregBarila)

BREAKING: SA tightens restrictions as the state announces more than 700 new cases.
Gyms to go back to 1 person per 7sq m effective immediately.
From midnight. Hospitality venues go back to 1 person per 4sq m and home gatherings goes from 30 people to 10 #covid19southaus

December 26, 2021

Updated

02:03

Back in Australia, South Australia has recorded 774 new Covid cases from more than 20,000 tests – another record day of case numbers. It is up from 634 cases detected on Christmas Day as the Omicron variant continues to spread.

There are 17 people currently being treated in hospital, including three in intensive care.

Some 93% of eligible South Australians have received their first dose of a vaccine.

casey briggs (@CaseyBriggs)

SA Premier Steven Marshall: “We are increasingly concerned about the new Omicron variant … It will overwhelm our health system and seriously undermine our workforce’s ability to respond to this Omicron outbreak.”

December 26, 2021

Updated

02:00

China reports 206 Covid cases

China has reported 206 new Covid cases on Christmas Day, a significant jump from 140 a day earlier, its health authority said on Sunday and Reuters reports.

Of the new infections, 158 were locally transmitted, according to a statement by the National Health Commission, compared with 87 cases the previous day.

Most of the new local cases were in the northwestern province of Shaanxi.

China also reported 29 new asymptomatic cases, which it classifies separately from confirmed cases, up from 24 a day earlier.

There were no new deaths, leaving the death toll at 4,636. Mainland China had 101,077 confirmed cases as of 25 December.

01:55

Many Covid testing clinics are closed in Queensland today for the Boxing Day public holiday, but five-day testing after arrival to the state is still mandatory, causing a backlog.

Lauren Pezet (@lauzfitz)

Most of the #covid testing clinics around Queensland are closed today so we’re about to get into this line to get our mandatory day 5 PCR test #happyholidays pic.twitter.com/QyhhE3j5i1

December 26, 2021

Benjamin Law 羅旭能 (@mrbenjaminlaw)

Queue at this Brisbane walk-in covid testing clinic is so monstrously long that people have brought camping chairs and are playing cards, someone else has started doing push-ups on the cement; pretty sure children are currently being conceived that will be born in this queue.

December 26, 2021

Updated

01:41

Still in Australia, Queensland has reported 715 new Covid cases, bringing active cases in the state to 2,857. There are seven patients being treated in hospital, and none requiring intensive care.

It comes as Omicron becomes the dominant strain in the state, accounting for about 75% of new cases.

Chief health officer John Gerrard said the fall in case numbers from the previous day followed a testing lull on Christmas Day, and warned case numbers would increase in the coming days:

It won’t surprise us at all if within the next couple of days if the numbers get substantially higher. We would not be too concerned at that, that would not be a surprise.

Queensland Health (@qldhealth)

Today we have recorded 714 new COVID-19 cases:

9 locally acquired (inc 4 with interstate travel)
1 is overseas acquired
704 under investigation

Full details ➡️ t.co/MyDwPPidE5 pic.twitter.com/Cp3VboxOby

December 26, 2021

Updated

01:29

A summary of today’s developments

If you’re just joining us, here is a summary of recent major developments.

  • Cases are continuing to rise in Australia. New South Wales recorded a record 6,394 cases, while Victoria recorded 1,608 new Covid cases. The NSW health minister has urged residents to reconsider whether they need to call an ambulance or go to hospital due to staff furloughs, warning everyone in the state was likely to be infected with Omicron.
  • Testing centre delays were still hitting Australian states and territories, with some reaching capacity before opening on Boxing Day.
  • France recorded a record high of 104,611 Covid-19 infections on Saturday, breaking the 100,000 threshold for the first time since the pandemic began.
  • Italy reported a third successive record tally of Covid-19 cases on Christmas Day, Reuters reports. New cases reached 54,762 compared to 50,599 a day earlier, the health ministry said.
  • Record cases are being reported in Ireland and in China, where authorities are imposing strict lockdowns to contain the outbreaks. Local transmission is rising in China and its Xi’an province is now allowing only one member of a household to leave their home for necessities every two days.
  • More than 5,400 flight cancellations have thrown the Christmas travel schedule into chaos. Omicron has meant airlines could not staff flights. A quarter of cancelled flights were in the United States.
  • New Covid measures in England could be in place until late March under measures examined by the UK government’s scientific advisers, including a ban on socialising with another household indoors and a return to the rule of six outdoors, in line with the Step 2 restrictions in place in England earlier this year
  • India’s prime minister Narendra Modi has announced vaccinations for children under 15 and booster jabs for healthcare and frontline workers.
  • The Omicron variant has become the dominant strain in Portugal, making up almost two-thirds of cases since Wednesday. Schools, bars and clubs are closed until 10 January.
  • There were queues at vaccination centres in England, kept open in some areas to allow walk-in appointments as the government encourages booster shots to counter the surge caused by the Omicron variant.
  • The Nigerian president’s top media aide Garba Shehu said on Saturday that he has tested positive for coronavirus and was in isolation.

01:26

Back in Australia, the ACT has recorded 71 new Covid cases on Boxing Day.

Some 21 new exposure sites have been added to the government’s website in response to rising cases. It is half the record 142 new cases reported on Christmas Day.

Meanwhile, ACT Health hasn’t updated waiting times at Covid testing clinics since 10am, when all were closed or at capacity.

“We are experiencing high demand for testing. Please do not queue on the roads,” the website states.

ACT Health (@ACTHealth)

ACT COVID-19 update (26 December 2021)
◾ New cases today: 71
◾ In hospital: 1
◾ In ICU: 0
◾ Ventilated: 0
◾ Total lives lost: 12
💉 COVID-19 vaccinations in the ACT: 98.5% of 12+ fully vaccinated.
More information at t.co/2rCcWDk4wl pic.twitter.com/bA5bnk3jg2

December 26, 2021

Updated

01:14

Serbian media is reporting star tennis player Novak Djokovic won’t play in the ATP Cup due to take place in Sydney in January. He will make a decision on the Australian Open before the new year.

Djokovic has refused to disclose his vaccination status, which is mandatory in order to play at the Australian Open unless he receives a medical exemption.

Updated

00:57

In Australia, the Queensland treasurer Cameron Dick has lashed out at the New South Wales health response to the virus. The state has been reporting daily record case numbers of Covid-19. The NSW health minister earlier today acknowledged hospital staff were being “run off their feet”.

Dick:

This is a state that let the virus get out of control and it caused untold damage to lives, livelihoods and to business … and we look at the hundreds of lives that were lost. People of NSW are naturally very concerned.

It comes as three-quarters of Covid patients in Queensland in the past two weeks are revealed to have been under the age of 35.

Updated

00:44

Israel has ordered 100,000 units of Pfizer Inc’s antiviral Covid-19 pill Paxlovid for people aged 12 and over at risk of severe illness, Reuters reports. It is the first pill developed specifically to treat Covid-19.

An Israeli official confirmed the announcement on Saturday, after Channel 12 TV said Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett agreed the deal in a phone conversation with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. There was no immediate confirmation from the company.

Paxlovid, the first oral and at home treatment for Covid, is nearly 90% effective in preventing hospitalisations and deaths in patients at high risk of severe illness, according to Pfizer’s clinical trial.

Pfizer said recent lab data suggested it retained effectiveness against the Omicron variant of the virus. The FDA approved the antiviral pill three days ago.

Updated

00:44

In South Korea, three members of K-pop sensation BTS test have tested positive for Covid-19 following their return from the US, AFP reports.

The South Korean group gave their first in-person concerts since the start of the pandemic in Los Angeles, which took place from late November to early this month.

They have been on holiday since then, and each of the three infected members returned to South Korea on different dates. They are all fully vaccinated, and none have had any contact with other group members after their return.

Three BTS members have contracted Covid. Photograph: Jeon Heon-Kyun/EPA

Rapper RM and vocalist Jin tested positive for the virus Saturday evening, according to Big Hit Music. The announcement came a day after the agency confirmed that Suga, another member of the septet, was “administering self-care at home” following a positive test.

While RM and Suga are asymptomatic, Jin has mild fever, the agency said. Among the three, RM and Suga received their positive tests while still in self-quarantine after arriving back home, while Jin was released from quarantine after testing negative and received his positive result later.

Big Hit Music said in a statement the company would put its “highest priority on the health and safety of our artists”.

Updated

00:44

As Christmas arrives around the world, a surge of Covid infections is keeping many families apart, overwhelming hospitals and scaling back religious ceremonies as the Omicron variant continues to spread.

I’m Caitlin Cassidy here to bring you major Covid developments around the world.

Pope Francis has used his Christmas address to pray for more vaccines to reach the developing world, while in England, Queen Elizabeth II has noted another year of pain after losing her husband, Prince Philip, in April, acknowledging Christmas can be hard for “those who have lost loved ones”.

Cases are continuing to rise in Australia, where New South Wales earlier recorded a record 6,394 cases. The NSW health minister has urged residents to reconsider whether they need to call an ambulance or go to hospital due to staff furloughs, warning everyone in the state was likely to be infected with Omicron.

France recorded a record high of 104,611 Covid-19 infections on Saturday, breaking the 100,000 threshold for the first time since the pandemic began, and Italy reported a third successive record tally of Covid-19 cases on Christmas Day.

Meanwhile, some 5,400 flight cancellations have thrown the Christmas travel schedule into chaos. Omicron has meant airlines could not staff flights, with quarter of cancelled flights in the United States. Let’s dive in.