Australia Covid live update: NSW police call in army to help enforce new Sydney lockdown rules as state records 239 cases

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Tasmania to reopen border with Victoria

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The health minister, Greg Hunt, said the commonwealth would “willingly comply” with the “welcome” request from NSW to deploy the ADF.

“The ADF is on offer from the commonwealth, we would be very happy to support NSW and the NSW government on that front,” Hunt said. “The ADF played a critical role in Victoria, the boots on the ground were here to help people, they assisted with compliance, they actually provided confidence.”

“That will provide additional support to the police and additional help for the people of NSW.”

Hunt also said the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee – all of the state and territory chief health officers – would be holding an emergency meeting on Thursday night to determine how other states could help NSW battle the current outbreak.

“They are doing a herculean job, and they are doing it with the support of the nation, and as part of that, the support for tracing and the capacity of other states and territories and the commonwealth to assist is on the table.”

When asked about future vaccination plans, Hunt said that the Covid pandemic would be with us “for decades”.

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NSW police request support from army to enforce restrictions

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There’s been a brief Covid-19 scare in the ACT, which has remained Covid-free for more than a year now.

The Canberra Times reports that several suspected cases were ruled out after 11 tests returned false-positives on Wednesday. Ten of the cases have since returned negative results.

The remaining person was waiting in isolation in NSW awaiting a new test result. ACT Health said: “At this time, there are no positive cases of COVID-19 in the ACT and no exposure sites.”

12.46am EDT00:46

Two new cases in SA, both linked

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Coalition pays consultants $2.2m for 2 months’ work, refuse to reveal nature of job

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Daily Telegraph drops Alan Jones column