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    Back-to-school RATs for Tasmanian children

    Tasmania will give students a back-to-school pack containing two coronavirus rapid antigen tests as part of the plan for returning to the classroom on February 9. Students should only be tested if symptomatic and further rapid tests would be provided to…
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    Vic drops booster interval to three months

    Victorians can now get their COVID-19 booster shot sooner, with the government shortening the interval from the second dose down to three months at state hubs. The state recorded 20,769 new COVID-19 cases and 18 deaths on Wednesday, 10,726 from PCR tests and…
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    Restrictions return after Omicron surge

    Multiple states and territories have brought back in some pandemic restrictions in a bid to suppress the spread of the infectious Omicron variant. As case numbers continue to climb across the country, NSW has moved to suspend elective surgery, while singing…
  • 20211229001609591611 Martin Foley 600x400

    New rules as Vic records 21,997 new cases

    Restrictions on the number of people allowed in cafes, bars and restaurants are returning to Victoria after the state recorded 21,997 new COVID-19 cases. Density limits will be reintroduced from Friday, Health Minister Martin Foley announced on Thursday. The…
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    South Aust posts spike in COVID-19 cases

    South Australia has reported 25 new COVID-19 cases, its highest daily figure for more than 18 months, amid concerns over delays in naming exposure sites. Premier Steven Marshall revealed the new cases on Wednesday, the highest daily number since April last…
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    Victoria braces for Omicron COVID-19 spike

    Authorities are warning Victorians to brace for a "significant increase" in Omicron COVID-19 cases, but are going ahead with relaxing some of the state's mandatory vaccination rules. From 11.59pm on Wednesday, shoppers will no longer need to prove they are…
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    Qld to open to virus hotspots on Dec 13

    The Queensland border will open to interstate COVID-19 hotspots several days early as health authorities prepare for an influx of travellers from next Monday. The re-opening date had been slated for December 17, but it has been brought forward to December 13…
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    Health workers rush to get jabbed ahead of deadline

    Tasmania's Health Minister has declared 97 percent of workers in his sector have now met the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. That equates to 14,534 public health employees across the state who are jabbed, booked in to get the shot, or have an adequate exemption.…
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    Australia approves COVID-19 booster shot

    Aged care residents are expected to be the first people to receive a coronavirus vaccine booster shot after the medical regulator gave the green light. The Therapeutic Goods Administration on Wednesday gave provisional approval for Australians 18 and over to…
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    Vic on the fast track to COVID freedoms

    Victoria is on track to reach its next major vaccination target ahead of schedule as Melbourne prepares to exit lockdown, meaning more freedoms are fewer than two weeks away. The city will emerge from its sixth shutdown at 11:59pm on Thursday, five days…
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    Victoria ends lockdown five days early

    Victoria will end its sixth long-running lockdown five days earlier than planned, as the state races to its 70 per cent fully vaccinated target. Premier Daniel Andrews made the announcement on Sunday, saying now was the time for Victorians to celebrate. "As…
  • veitch credit josh agnew

    "Not out of the woods yet", 51 casual contacts of infected teen

    The number of casual contacts linked to the COVID-positive Launceston teenager who breached quarantine has risen to 51. "They're mostly people who were at the airport at the same time as the case, or at the IGA. Those numbers have come up a little bit since…
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    COVID case breached home quarantine without mask

    Investigations have revealed a COVID positive Launceston teenager left home quarantine without a mask to go to a local supermarket with his cousin. The IGA at Newnham between 2:20pm and 2:45pm on Saturday October 2 has been declared an exposure site. Anyone…
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    New Vic restrictions as Gutwein dismisses Flight Centre legal threat

    The Premier isn't fazed at threats of legal action from the Flight Centre boss about ongoing state border closures. Graham Turner has flagged suing lockout states including Tasmania if they don't reveal "reasonable" reopening plans in coming weeks Peter…
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    Vic roadmap unveiled, 7 day lockdown for Geelong

    Melbourne's controversial curfew will be scrapped, with people able to travel up to 25 kilometres and have a beer outside the pub once 70 per cent of Victorians aged over 16 are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. But the most substantial changes to the…
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    Regional Victoria exits COVID-19 lockdown

    A Lockdown will be lifted in regional Victoria, with the exception of the town of Shepparton which is still battling a coronavirus outbreak. The state has recorded 221 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, but most are in Melbourne. "Regional…
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    Virus 'ripping families apart': Syd nurse

    An intensive care nurse working in one of NSW's worst COVID-19 hotspots says the virus is "ripping families apart" and taking an enormous physical and emotional toll on healthcare workers. More than 870 COVID-19 patients are in hospital in NSW, with 143 in…
  • 20210828 SA Health Alert

    SA names sites linked to infected truckies

    South Australian authorities have identified petrol stations linked to truck drivers who travelled through three states in WA, before testing positive to COVID-19. The two drivers were tested as part of routine surveillance in NSW on Wednesday, but being…
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    Regional Victoria to return to lockdown

    Regional Victorians will re-enter lockdown at 1pm on Saturday as authorities scramble to contain a COVID-19 outbreak centred on the city of Shepparton. Victoria recorded 61 new locally acquired virus cases on Saturday, including 39 in the community while…
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    Launceston "clear" of COVID scare

    Tasmania's Director of Public Health says the coronavirus scare in Lauceston earlier this month is now well and truly behind us. A traveller from Sydney, who came without a border pass via Melbourne, tested positive in hotel quarantine at Peppers Seaport then…

Restrictions return after Omicron surge

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Multiple states and territories have brought back in some pandemic restrictions in a bid to suppress the spread of the infectious Omicron variant.

As case numbers continue to climb across the country, NSW has moved to suspend elective surgery, while singing and dancing in hospitality venues will be banned.

Major events in the state will be able to go ahead, but organisers will have their COVID-safe plans re-examined by health officials.

Meanwhile, Victoria has already reintroduced density limits in hospitality venues, and the Northern Territory has introduced a territory-wide lockout for the unvaccinated.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state was considering suspending elective surgery as virus numbers rise, and urged people to work from home if possible.

She said the return to schools could also be postponed, with the peak of the Omicron wave expected to hit the state at the end of the month.

It comes as more than 78,000 cases of COVID-19 were reported across the country on Friday, yet another one-day national high for new infections.

Daily cases across the country have more than doubled in just the past week.

There were 38,625 new cases and 11 deaths in NSW, while there were 21,728 infections and six fatalities in Victoria.

Queensland had 10,953, while South Australia and Tasmania registered 3707 and 1489 cases respectively.

The ACT had 1246 cases, the first time the territory had daily case numbers above 1000, with the Northern Territory having 412.

Australian Medical Association president Dr Omar Khorshid said health systems across the country had been struggling with the explosion of cases.

"The reality is our hospitals are under extraordinary pressure, and those long-suffering staff who have had a very difficult couple of years ... they're facing huge demand at the front door of the ED," Dr Khorshid told the Ten Network.

"It's just not true to say our health system is so resilient it can cope with anything. There are limits, unfortunately."

The rise in cases has led to a boost in demand for rapid antigen tests, which has caused widespread shortages and reports of price gouging at some retailers.

Large queues have been seen at PCR testing clinics across the country following the rapid test shortage.

Labor health spokesman Mark Butler told ABC radio Australia was at risk from a lack of rapid tests.

"There is a very serious risk the Australian community is going to be dumped by this fourth wave because Scott Morrison failed to do the hard work," he said.

"The critical weapons in the fight against Omicron ... are to make sure we're getting boosters into people's arms and to ensure we have a comprehensive rapid testing regime and (the prime minister) failed at both of them."

Mr Morrison said 200 million rapid tests would be available in coming weeks but ruled out making them universally free. The government will instead provide 10 tests over a three-month period to more than six million concession cardholders.

Nearly three million people aged 16 and over have received their booster dose since the booster rollout began.

The time frame between doses was shortened earlier this week from five to four months between the second and third dose.

That will shorten again to three months by the end of January.

© AAP 2022

Photo: People queue at a walk-in COVID-19 testing site in Melbourne. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)

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