And the spate of press conferences continues, with Northern Territory authorities due to give an update any minute.
Good afternoon, Mostafa Rachwani with you this afternoon, and a quick thanks to Cait Kelly for covering the morning’s headlines. We’re in South Australia for their Covid update, with premier Steven Marshall saying that six of the 12 people in ICU are unvaccinated.
at 9.17pm EST
I am just going to hand you over to Mostafa Rachwani to take you through the rest of this presser.
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The SA premiere says the state is moving to rapid antigen tests for close contacts. Only symptomatic people will be able to get PCR tests in the coming days.
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Marshall says almost 20,000 people got vaccinated yesterday. 50% of people in the ICU were unvaccinated.
“The critical message to all South Australians is that vaccination is crucial.”
He says 271 healthcare workers are Covid positive at the moment and 535 are furloughed.
at 9.07pm EST
South Australia records 3,493 new Covid cases
We are going to jump over to South Australia, where premier Steven Marshall is speaking.
There are 125 people in hospital, 12 in intensive care and one on a ventilator.
“Our hospital system has ticked up slightly to 125 in hospital, but that’s of course well within our current capacity,” he says.
“So we still have patients who are in the ICU, same as yesterday, and one person who was on a ventilator, which is again also the same as the day before – so no increase in ICU.”
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Tasmania will scrap quarantine for international arrivals from midnight tonight, he said. “Public Health and the state control centre have reviewed this and the associated risks are now considered equivalent to domestic arrivals.”
Vaccination and testing requirements will still be in place, and arrivals will still be required to monitor for symptoms and get tested if they develop.
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Gutwein said the wait time for PCR tests is about 40 minutes at the moment. “Please be patient as we work through this.”
He said to be aware “that Covid is around”.
Tasmania has ordered 5 million RAT tests, he said. “If you are being asked to test, you’re a close contact, we will provide them.”
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85% of the state’s cases are under the age of 50 and nearly 60% are aged between 20-39.
He said people “need to be sensible”.
“If you’re young and out and about, don’t go and visit vulnerable people or vulnerable settings.”
at 9.01pm EST
Tasmania has recorded 867 new cases
Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein has been talking in Tasmania. He said that 92 % of the state’s population over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated.
The state should expect daily case numbers as high as 2000, according to Gutwein. Most of them will be “quite mild”.
“But I don’t want to sugarcoat this; we will, over time, see more people in hospital simply through the increased cases we’re seeing,” he said.
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The head of the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, Nancy Baxter, has this really good thread on getting/avoiding Covid.
It’s long, so I am going to break it up in two posts.
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Queensland health minister Yvette D’Ath said if you are not a household contact and you have been in contact with a case, but you do not have any symptoms, you do not need to test.
This is who needs to test:
People with symptoms
Household close contacts
People who already have a positive RAT result
at 8.33pm EST
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says she will be pushing national cabinet for free RATs for pensioners and low-income workers.
“This needs to be as simple as possible,” Palaszczuk said.
“For our pensioners, for our health cardholders, these should be made available for free.”
Gerrard said the “real number” of cases in the state is “significantly higher” than what the state is recording.
“We know that number is going to increase in the coming weeks,” he said.
at 8.25pm EST
It has been a huge spike for Queensland, which recorded 6,781 cases today, up from 5,699 yesterday.
More than 29,000 people were tested in the last 24 hours.
There are now more than 32,000 active cases in the state, with 265 people being treated for Covid in hospital.