COVID updates: Queensland delays return to school as Omicron peak looms — As it happened – ABC News

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Catch up on all the COVID-19 news from across Australia on Sunday, January 9, 2022.
For the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic, follow today's live blog.
Here is the news from the day as it happened.
By Bridget Judd
If you don't see your state or territory yet, don't worry — these figures will be updated throughout the day as they become available.
Can't get enough of the data? Check out the ABC's Charting the Spread
NSW: 30,062 cases and 16 deaths; 1,927 people in hospital, including 151 in ICUs
Victoria: 44,155 cases and 4 deaths; 752 people in hospital, including 104 in ICUs
Queensland: 18,000 cases and no deaths; 402 people in hospital, including 22 in ICUs
South Australia: 4,506 cases and 1 death; 176 people in hospital including 18 in ICU
ACT: 1,039 cases and no deaths; 27 people in hospital, including 4 in ICUs
NT: 481 cases and no deaths; 24 people in hospital, including one in ICU
WA: 2 new cases and no deaths; no hospitalisations
Tasmania: 1,406 COVID cases and no deaths; 15 people in hospital, 4 being treated for COVID symptoms
By Dan Nancarrow
Thanks for reading the blog today. We will return tomorrow. In the meantime you can keep up to date with the latest on the pandemic on the ABC News website's dedicated coronavirus page

By Dan Nancarrow
The Victorian government has extended the pandemic declaration for three months as cases continue to soar.
The pandemic declaration will now remain until April 12, 11:59pm, allowing the government to enforce restrictions under the newly passed pandemic bill.
Read more
By Dan Nancarrow
Presenting an update on South Australia's COVID-19 case numbers via social media from his home, Premier Steven Marshall said he was "very sad" to share the news of the elderly man's death.
"I certainly want to extend my condolences to his family," he said.
Mr Marshall also said he wanted to thank South Australians for continuing to get tested.
Victoria Park had its second highest day on record yesterday, with 23,478 PCR also performed across the state.
Mr Marshall said he would continue to isolate and work from home for seven days.
By Dan Nancarrow
South Australia Health Minister Stephen Wade said the government would like schools to return to face-to-face learning.
But the decision on when the state's schools would return, and in what mode, would be made by the end of this week, based on modelling and public health advice. 
He said the modelling data would include projected case numbers due to the Omicron wave, as well as projected vaccination rates. 
By Dan Nancarrow
SA Premier Steven Marshall has returned a negative PCR test result but will continue isolating for a seven-day period.
Mr Marshall had dinner with his adult daughter on Thursday, before yesterday learning she had since tested positive.
By Dan Nancarrow
A man in his 90s has died from COVID-19 in aged care in South Australia.
The state has 176 patients in hospital with the virus, up 12 from yesterday.
Eighteen people are in ICU and two on ventilators, including one in a "critical condition".
There have been 4,506 new cases – including 336 from rapid antigen tests lodged with SA Health for the first time.
Yesterday, 23,478 PCR tests were performed.
Read more
By Dan Nancarrow

By Bridget Judd
Canberrans who test positive for COVID-19 using a rapid antigen test now no longer need to have a follow-up PCR test to confirm their result.
The ACT government made the official change overnight after national cabinet agreed to accept positive RATs as confirmed COVID-19 infections.
But ACT Health is still developing its online form for Canberrans to register RAT results.
In the meantime, ACT Health is asking people to take note of the date they tested positive so they can complete the form once it becomes available.
A Check In CBR push notification will be sent to let people know when the system is up and running, and Canberrans have been encouraged to ensure their device allows notifications from the app.
By Bridget Judd
One is a known close contact of two cases from the backpacker cluster and is not considered to have been infectious in the community.
The second is related to interstate travel — this person was also in isolation.
By Bridget Judd
But the WA branch of the Australian Medical Association says there's no rush to get them in stock.
Branch president Mark Duncan-Smith says the tests will be useful at "some stage" after WA's border reopens in February, but there's no urgency to use them now.
"In the current environment, where we have little or no community spread, they really are not very helpful at all," he says.
"If you get symptoms, what you should do is go to a testing centre and go and get a PCR test. The danger with a RAT in our environment right now is it's a high risk of false negative."
By Bridget Judd
There are currently 24 patients in hospital, with 8 classified as acute hospital admissions including one in ICU.
The positive numbers include cases in remote communities such as Yarralin, Gunbalanya and Yirrkala, while another "probable" case has been detected in Numbulwar.
The Northern Territory government has also announced changes to the way COVID is treated at home, with positive people living in urban centres now required to fill out an online registration form to help determine the level of care they require.
NT Health says patients in remote communities will continue to be contacted via phone by health staff.
The NT is under a territory-wide lockout until noon tomorrow, with unvaccinated residents subject to lockdown restrictions, while fully vaccinated people are able to move about the community.
By Bridget Judd
Afternoon, Alex.
Yep, schools will remain open to vulnerable children and the children of essential workers, but the Premier says principals will implement staffing arrangements "to ensure only the minimum number of staff are on site".
Remote learning won’t be offered at this stage except for students in years 11 and 12
Morning, Tess. We heard from Victoria earlier this morning, but unfortunately we don't have a YouTube link today.
You can catch up on all the latest Victorian COVID news right here.
By Bridget Judd
South Australia's Health Minister Stephen Wade will be up.
By Bridget Judd
Are essential workers who are close contacts but asympyomatic allowed to come out of isolation only to work or are they also allowed to be out and about going about their daily lives?
Afternoon, Budz.
Speaking a short time ago, authorities in Queensland said essential workers who are close contacts can only leave quarantine to go to work (so you can't hit the shops, sorry).
There's a couple of other caveats, including:
You can read the full story here.
By Bridget Judd
Afternoon, Margot — according to the Premier, "the new start date will apply to all state, catholic and independent primary and secondary schools and sessional kindies".
By Bridget Judd
The change comes into effect immediately.
There are a couple of caveats, though.
So what counts as a critical industry? Here's what the Health Minister had to say:
"Those businesses will have to submit to government the list of critical essential workers. It doesn't need an approval process and they do not need to wait until they've sent us that list to start operating," Yvette D'Ath says.
"We have empty shelves in supermarkets right now because of the number of people in the community who are positive, but importantly, how many people have to quarantine because they are a close contact."
By Bridget Judd
Munro has been isolating from the rest of the touring party since first noticing symptoms on Saturday morning.
Fast bowler Jason Behrendorff was deemed a close contact and is also in isolation.
The rest of Perth’s players and staff – including Behrendorff – returned negative rapid tests on Sunday morning.
As a result, the Scorchers’ clash with Sydney Sixers at C.ex Coffs International Stadium tonight is poised to go ahead.
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AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)


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