NSW

NSW records 18,278 new Covid-19 cases and two deaths

Hospitalisations have risen to 1066, up from 901 in the previous reporting period, with 83 patients in intensive care.

There are five times as many people being treated for Covid-19 in the state's hospitals as there were in mid-December, although the number of people in intensive care has increased at a slower rate.

Premier Dominic Perrottet last week said the health system "remains strong" and the state was in a "very strong position" despite the fast-growing case numbers and increase in hospitalisations because of the Omicron variant outbreak.

Testing sites in Australia pushed to limit across multiple states

In Victoria, some close contacts who were initially advised to get a PCR test have received text messages from the Department of Health suggesting they get a rapid antigen test instead if they don't have any symptoms.

In New South Wales (NSW), Health Minister Brad Hazzard says wait times for Covid-19 test results have ballooned to 48 to 72 hours, with many people waiting even longer than that to get a result.

The NSW government yesterday urged people to only get tested if they have symptoms, are identified as close contacts, or as part of their travel requirements.

Record Covid-19 cases in NSW, maskless Santa in Qld

Authorities have reported 2566 new cases of Covid-19 in NSW, breaking another record.

It is the highest tally of daily coronavirus cases yet in Australia, increasing from the 2482 cases announced yesterday.

Cases were expected to jump with the ongoing relaxation of public health orders, while the Omicron variant has been blamed for the fast rise in infections.

There were no deaths from the virus in NSW on Saturday, but NSW Health said 227 people were in hospital in the state, including 28 people in intensive care wards.

NSW breaks daily Covid-19 record, 3 new Omicron cases in Queensland, 9 deaths in Victoria

Tasmania has also reported its first case, after the border to the rest of the country reopened yesterday.

Queensland has 22 new cases of Covid and 18 of those were detected outside quarantine, Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said.

The local cases spent up to a week in the community and were recorded in Brisbane's south, Brisbane's north, the Darling Downs, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, West Moreton and the Wide Bay.

D'Ath said most were acquired while in another state.

Victoria reports 860 new cases and five deaths, NSW 165 cases and one death

Today's daily case count is the lowest recorded in Victoria since 26 September, when the state recorded 845 cases, 695 of which were local.

There are now 17,518 active cases of the virus in Victoria, and 416 people have died in the state during the current Delta outbreak.

There are 378 people in hospital with the virus, of whom 78 are in intensive care and 48 are on a ventilator.

The health department said a further 71 people are in intensive care, but their Covid-19 infections are no longer considered active.

2020 vision: Why Fittler focused on versatility and ball-playing talent

That is the word Brad Fittler most commonly screams at the television when he is watching an NRL game on his lounge.

Therefore, it should come as little surprise that the NSW coach has chosen a team loaded with ball-playing talent and versatility for next Wednesday night’s opening State of Origin encounter.

Fittler has been stewing over the disappointment of his first series defeat since taking charge of the Blues in 2018 for six months, and planning for every contingency after losing Boyd Cordner, Cameron Murray and James Tedesco during Origin matches last year.

NSW records zero local cases of coronavirus for fourth day in a row

There were 12,213 tests reported to 8:00pm yesterday, compared with the previous day's total of 19,959.

However the latest testing figures do not include about 6,000 negative tests which were not counted due to a minor IT issue.

NSW Health said there were no delays in communicating the negative results to those 6,000 individuals and the tests will be counted as part of tomorrow's figures.

     

Border between Victoria and New South Wales now shut

At the stroke of midnight, police vehicles joined the ends of queues at each border checkpoint to mark the midnight closure. Travellers were told earlier on Friday they would need to be in line before 11:59pm in order to make it home.

"At midnight, regardless of how long the queue is, we'll have a police car go to the end of that queue," Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent said earlier.

"If you are there by midnight, regardless of whether you're actually processed, you're included as arriving prior to midnight."

Victorians race to get home ahead of Covid border closure

Acting Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan told Victorians the state would close its border to all of NSW from 2 January because of an increase in case numbers in NSW, where 10 new cases were confirmed on Thursday.

"Obviously this is going to cause some disruption for Victorians who may be holidaying, we do apologise for this disruption, however as I said, these difficult decisions are about protecting our community," she said.

"It is a decision based on the public health advice.

Queensland to close borders to NSW and ACT

It comes as the state recorded one new case of coronavirus overnight.

The 68-year-old Queensland woman was diagnosed with the virus in the past 24 hours and authorities are still investigating the source of the infection.

Two historic cases have also been added to the state's total of 1,088 cases.

The hotspot declaration means anyone travelling from NSW or the nation's capital will soon be banned from entering the Sunshine State.

Queenslanders who return after travelling there will be sent to mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.