Covid-19 Australia: NSW records 5,612 new cases and Victoria 2,095

NSW records 5,612 new Covid-19 cases while Victoria reports 2,095 as restrictions are brought back around Australia ahead of Christmas Day

  • NSW recorded 5,612 new Covid-19 cases while Victoria reported 2,095 
  • States and territories have slowly reintroduced restrictions before Christmas
  • Mask wearing is now in place across almost every state and territory in Australia 



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NSW has recorded 5,612 new Covid-19 cases and one death while Victoria has reported 2,095 cases and eight deaths as restrictions are brought back around the country ahead of Christmas Day.

The number of patients in NSW hospitals has jumped to 382 – up from 347 reported on Thursday. ICU figures have also spiked to 53 patients – an increase from 45.  

In Victoria, hospitalisations have remained steady with 397 patients – down from 398 – and ICU cases have slightly risen to 75 – up from 72. 

The new cases announced on Friday comes as state premiers reintroduce a raft of restrictions and seriously consider cutting down the wait time for booster shots from five to four months. 

Health Minister Greg Hunt and the nation’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly have scheduled a news conference for 9.30am, where it’s expected they will outline the new plan for boosters. 

States and territories are slowly reintroducing restrictions and updating how they trace and isolate positive cases as infections soar across the country

Compulsory mask wearing is now in place across almost every state and territory after NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet backflipped on his anti-mandate position on Thursday 

Compulsory mask wearing is now in place across almost every state and territory after NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet backflipped on his anti-mandate position on Thursday.

The state will also reintroduce QR codes for hospitality and retail as well as some lower risk settings, while density limits will return after Christmas.

Healthcare workers conducted 164,144 Covid-19 tests in the last 24 hours. 

It comes after the state hit a new record of 5,715 daily infections and one death on Thursday, which is up almost 2000 cases from the day before.

Victoria also reintroduced a mask mandate, with the state recording more than 2,000 new infections and 10 deaths on Thursday.

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan followed the lead of the two biggest states after a backpacker tested positive on Thursday and was infectious in the community for a number of days.

High risk, large public events will be cancelled and dancing has been banned except for at weddings.

‘I know this is not the news we wanted to hear two days before Christmas, but unfortunately this is the reality of COVID-19,’ he said.

Queensland reported 369 new daily infections, South Australia 484, Tasmania 26 and the Northern Territory 10.

The ACT also recorded a new daily case record with 85 new infections, prompting the territory to update its definition of a close contact in light of the spike.

Close contacts will now only be defined as a household contact of a positive case, or someone who has spent an extended period of time with a positive case.

Close contacts will now only be defined as a household contact of a positive case, or someone who has spent an extended period of time with a positive case

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet (right) speaks with Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant during a press conference in Sydney on Thursday

Casual contacts will no longer need to fill out a declaration form for ACT health authorities, but will still need to get tested and isolate until a negative result is received.

There are also growing calls for the federal government to make rapid antigen tests available for free as concerns rise over a Christmas spike.

NSW new rules 

Masks mandated indoors, except private homes, from Friday until 27 January

Hospitality venues will have a one person per two square metres rule imposed from December 27 until January 27

Working from home recommended

Only get a PCR test if you are ill or directed to by NSW health 

The NSW government announced on Thursday it’s intention to make rapid antigen tests free to ease congestion at overwhelmed PCR testing sites.

Mr Perrottet said people lining up for a test who don’t have symptoms or aren’t close contacts should take a rapid test instead.

‘If you don’t feel unwell and you are not required to get tested by NSW Health, please don’t because you’re taking (someone’s) place in the queue and slowing down people who are required to get tested,’ he said.

The NSW government estimates about one in five tests are for the purposes of travel, and this number jumps to around 50 per cent in the ACT, according to the territory’s health minister.

The blown out lines at testing clinics around the country have prompted calls for a rethink of entry requirements in states like Queensland which demand a negative PCR test prior to arrival.

Queensland will move to allow rapid antigen tests ahead of travelling but not ahead of the new year.

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese wants the federal government to do more on the rapid testing front.

‘I don’t think anyone should be excluded from getting a rapid antigen test because of their income,’ he said.

The federal government has put in free rapid testing measures at residential aged care facilities but resisted calls by medical professionals to make the tests free universally. 

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