Earlier today, opposition leader Anthony Albanese spoke in Adelaide ahead of today’s National Cabinet meeting:
The prime minister says he is changing gears, but the truth is he has stalled the recovery. The truth is that there is so much uncertainty out there stop what we need out of today’s meeting is some clarity.
Ghislaine Maxwell found guilty on five counts
Over in New York, the jury in the sex trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell has reached a verdict and found her guilty on five counts.
Turning to hospitalisations, there have been more than 100 people hospitalised overnight in New South Wales.
There are 395 people in hospital with Covid in Victoria including 55 in ICU, which is staying relatively stable.
But there’s been quite a significant jump in New South Wales. There are now 746 people being treated in hospital, and 63 in ICU. Yesterday there were 625 hospitalised.
NSW records 12,226 new Covid cases
New South Wales case numbers are in – and it’s another daily record.
There have been 12,226 new Covid cases recorded in the state, and one death.
AMA president Dr Omar Khorshid has echoed Nancy Baxter’s concerns that redefining a close contact to someone who has spent four hours in a household with a case will accelerate the outbreak. He says resources would be better spent improving PCR availability.
We also have confirmation the national cabinet meeting is due to start at midday.
Health minister Greg Hunt will be speaking at the Mount Martha Lifesaving Club at 9.45am this morning.
Meanwhile, Darwin has been rocked by a large earthquake that hit near Timor-Leste and Indonesia early this morning.
The Bureau of Meteorology says there’s there’s no tsunami threat to Australia.
Read the full report here:
I wish I had more good news for you today, but unfortunately an endangered pygmy hippo calf has died at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo just a month after her entry into the world.
She was found unresponsive on Christmas Eve, while preliminary findings indicated a potential heart defect.
The hippo was known as a “little watermelon on legs”, and may she rest in peace.
Here’s some more comments from Nancy Baxter this morning, who expressed concern at the proposed changes to the definition of a close contact.
We are limping towards the finish line of the year – just one more day to go.
Caitlin Cassidy here to guide you through this morning’s news – and all eyes are on the national cabinet who will be holding a snap emergency meeting today to grapple with rapidly rising Covid cases across the country.
New South Wales recorded a dramatic jump in Covid cases yesterday, detecting 11,201 infections and three deaths, while Victoria recorded 3,767 cases and five deaths.
It was the first time cases have jumped beyond 10,000 in a single state and a national record for Covid infections. There are predictions daily case numbers could rise beyond 100,000 in the coming weeks.
The prime minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday announced the national cabinet meeting, which will focus primarily upon settling a uniform national definition of close contacts.
Under the proposed definition, a close contact will be dramatically changed to be someone who has spent four hours or more with a confirmed case in a household or household-like setting.
Prof Nancy Baxter, the head of the University of Melbourne’s school of population and global health, told ABC radio this morning the definition wasn’t fair and would overwhelm our healthcare systems.
It comes with testing centres overwhelmed amid shortages of rapid antigen tests, which have doubling in price in some stores amid concerns of price gouging.
Let’s get stuck in.