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All the COVID news you need from across Australia – ABC News

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Get up to speed on all the coronavirus news from across Australia.
Here are the key moments from Thursday:
Catch up on all of Thursday's news and updates on our blog.
By Michael Doyle
We have been given our cue to close the blog. 
It has been another eventful day of news and updates. 
Thank-you to everyone who joined us throughout the day.
Until next time, stay safe and be well. 

By Michael Doyle
Premier Dominic Perrottet has said an increasing number of cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in NSW would not impact the easing of restrictions next week.
The total number of Omicron infections in NSW has risen to 42 with eight new cases reported.
None of the state's Omicron cases have been admitted to hospital.
The state recorded 420 cases of COVID-19 and one death in the 24 hours to 8:00pm last night.
Mr Perrottet said the government was closely monitoring the spread and severity of the Omicron variant and he's been optimistic about the data so far.
He said he wasn't concerned about delays to the NSW roadmap to lift restrictions next week.
"Ultimately, let's look at the position we're in today," he said.
"There are 420 cases, we have low hospitalisation rates … and there are a small minority of people who haven't [been vaccinated]."
Read more on this story about Omicron in NSW here.
By Michael Doyle
The US Senate has voted to block President Joe Biden's COVID-19 vaccine or test mandate for private businesses with more than 100 workers.
It voted 52 to 48 to approve a Republican measure that would overturn the mandate, with two Democrats joining Republicans.
The Republican measure is unlikely to become law, however, as it faces an uphill battle in the Democrat-controlled House, and Mr Biden has threatened a veto if it reaches his desk.
By Michael Doyle
A class of graduating primary school students and their parents have been sent into quarantine after a COVID-19 case was identified at a school in Adelaide's west.
Catholic Education South Australia announced that a member of the school community at Our Lady Queen of Peace School in Albert Park had tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.
SA Health has not yet listed the school as an exposure site, however Catholic Education SA said authorities were working to identify close and casual contacts.
Catholic Education SA said all students from class 56LT who attended school on Monday and Tuesday, as well as all year 6 students and parents who attended the year 6 graduation at The Lakes Resort in West Lakes on Monday, must get tested and quarantine while awaiting further advice from SA Health.
Classes have already finished for the year but the school, including its vacation care, has closed today for cleaning and contact tracing.
By Michael Doyle
The Northern Territory has recorded three positive COVID-19 cases overnight, one of which is linked to the Katherine cluster. 
The other two cases are a close contact of an overseas traveller, and a man from Sydney who tested positive at Darwin airport before being taken to Howard Springs. 
Chief Minister Michael Gunner says risk to the wider community is low but he is concerned about some areas of Katherine. 
By Michael Doyle
By Michael Doyle
Six days out from Tasmania's borders reopening, emergency services in the state are so stretched police had to take an unresponsive toddler to hospital because there were no ambulances available.
Police Association chief Colin Riley told ABC Radio Hobart the mother called triple-0 around 11:00pm on Tuesday but the closest ambulance was an hour away.
"Units were tied up on other tasks or ramped so they had to dispatch a unit from Oatlands," he said.
"Our members responded and had to assess the situation and take the child to the Royal Hobart Hospital.
"It really concerns me because it says to me, what is our capacity to deal with it when the borders are opened?"
The police union boss said the situation was exacerbated by the fact police were being asked to do so many extra tasks like monitor hotel and home quarantine and spot checking of vaccination certificates at pubs and clubs.
You can read more on this story by reporter Rebecca Hewett here.
By Michael Doyle
Australia's Ambassador to the United States is in self-isolation after Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce tested positive for COVID-19.
Mr Joyce was diagnosed after arriving in the U-S with mild symptoms.
Ambassador Arthur Sinodinos says they met at Mr Joyce's hotel shortly after he touched down.
"So I'm self-isolating until I can have a test, and see how things are going. We have a strict protocol at the embassy when it comes things like this and those protocols slip into gear when we have a situation like this," Mr Sinodinos he said.
By Michael Doyle
NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner says for people who are fully vaccinated must:
By Michael Doyle
There are three test requirements to get into the NT, one before you arrive and two after you arrive. 
Michael Gunner explained what that would look like for someone who is fully vaccinated and enters the NT on December 20:
They will need to present proof of vaccination and proof of a PCR taken in the previous three days.
By the 23rd another COVID test.
On the 26th that would need to get their third and final test done.
I will make this clear, it does not matter if it is Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year's Day.
If you need to take a test then you need to get your test. This freedom comes with responsibility and that is to get a COVID test.
By Michael Doyle
Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner says his government are scrapping red zone and green zones from December 20.
He said the most important question will be whether someone coming into the NT is fully vaccinated or not. 
By Michael Doyle
Urgent action is needed to fix ambulance ramping and bed block in the state's public hospital system before interstate borders reopen next week and COVID-19 spreads, the Australian Medical Association of Queensland (AMAQ) says.
AMAQ's Ramping Roundtable — which includes emergency specialists, surgeons and doctors from across the state — has released a five-point action plan to improve patient flow and ramping at Queensland's public hospitals.
The plan includes adding 1,500 more hospital beds, hiring and training more staff to keep hospitals "fully functional" seven days a week, and more detailed analysis of patient flow within hospitals.
It also calls for hospitals to operate at below 90 per cent capacity to allow for "surges" and for state and federal governments to find alternative entries for patients to access hospital care instead of through emergency departments.
Emergency physician and AMAQ's Ramping Roundtable chair Kim Hansen said doctors were being "stretched to breaking point".
"We're exhausted, we're worried … our staff are worn out," Dr Hansen said.
"It is clear where the problems lie.
"There are not enough beds and there are not enough staff, it is as simple as that.
"As we head into summer and cyclone season and with the borders reopening, we have no capacity to handle any surges that might come from COVID outbreaks, natural disasters, or other emergencies."
Reporting by Ciara Jones.
By Michael Doyle
Hey Geoff.
The simple answer to your question is, no clue.
Have a great day.
By Michael Doyle
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the government is poised to rollout COVID-19 booster shots early, if the medical advice changes.
The nation's expert advisory group on immunisations, ATAGI, has recommended Australians aged over 18 get a booster shot six months after their second dose.
Some countries are reducing the interval between the second and third shots.
Mr Morrison says ATAGI is monitoring developments overseas.
"They will continue to keep that under close watch as to whether that can be brought forward with new information and we would strongly support that and we are ready to go if that is what they would like to do," he said.
By Michael Doyle
Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein has introduced a vaccination mandate for all public sector workers, with proof required by December 15 — the date the border restrictions ease to all states.
"We will be mandating vaccination broadly across the state service including statutory and state authorities where it's determine that's required," he said.
"We estimate more than 97 per cent of the public service is already vaccinated.
"The number of people we'll be working with will be in the hundreds not the thousands … but I do want to be really clear about this, non-compliance can lead to termination."
A few departments, like treasury and finance, will be exempt from the mandate because they have no direct contact with the public.
By Michael Doyle
By Michael Doyle
Canberra residents suffering from long COVID will be given support at a new post-COVID recovery clinic at the University of Canberra Hospital in Bruce.
Research suggests that up to a third of patients with COVID may end up with ongoing symptoms.
The head in rehab outpatients at the University of Canberra Hospital, Michelle Bennett, says the clinic will help people maximise their recovery.
"The clinic will be coordinated by rehabilitation medicine and then we will certainly have access to a number of allied health clinicians including occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists, social workers," she said.
By Michael Doyle
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was asked what criteria Novak Djokovic would need to meet to be allowed into Australia for the Australian Open.
"Any of the same rules that anyone else would be seeking to come to Australia in the circumstances and those decisions are being made by medical officials and other officials, not by politicians," he said.
"He will follow the same rules as anyone else would. There are no special rules for tennis players or anyone else.
"They apply by the same rules and that they are the rules in place for the Victorian government and the Australian Open itself and they have their rules.
By Michael Doyle
Health authorities in NSW have confirmed eight new cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in the 24 hours to 8:00pm yesterday.
It brings the total number of Omicron infections in the state to 42.
None of NSW's Omicron cases have been admitted to hospital.
By Michael Doyle
I think there are many Australian's in your position my blog friend. 
Simon Smale and Dean Bilton are blogging live from the Gabba.
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