Australia live news updates: NSW records 30 new Covid deaths and Victoria 20; WA border backflip attacked

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Australia live news updates: NSW records 30 new Covid deaths and Victoria 20; WA border backflip attacked
© Photograph: Luis Ascui/AAP Twenty people have died with Covid in Victoria and 30 in NSW.

LIVE – Updated at 22:23

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Follow latest news live.

 

22:23

Global Tech News Daily

Save the Children is setting up temporary classrooms in Tonga following the destruction of the volcanic erruption.

From AAP:

Global Tech News Daily

Save the Children will provide school bags, hygiene kits and cash assistance to affected families as it’s anticipated the scheduled start to the school year will be pushed back while the full extent of the damage is being assessed.

The CEO of Save the Children Fiji said the organisation is incredibility concerned for the mental wellbeing of children in the Pacific nation, with the natural disaster causing alot of distress and anxiety.

“There is absolutely a need for psychosocial support and counselling for children,” Shairana Ali said.

“We still don’t have a lot of information about how families have fared on those low-lying islands, so we are very concerned for the safety and the wellbeing of children.”

Power has been restored to 90 per cent of the country and some international phone calls are now available but communication networks largely remain affected after a major underwater cable was damaged.

Telstra is waiving charges for calls and texts from home phones, post-paid services and mobiles for customers reaching out to family who have been impacted by recent events from Saturday.

Twenty people have died with Covid in Victoria

22:07

Twenty people have died with Covid in Victoria in the past 24 hours and 1,029 are in hospital, with 120 people in ICU and 39 on ventilators.

Victoria recorded 16,016 new cases, 7,584 of which were self-reported rapid test results.

We thank everyone who got vaccinated and tested yesterday.

Our thoughts are with those in hospital, and the families of people who have lost their lives.

More data soon: https://t.co/OCCFTAcOZP#COVID19Vic #COVID19VicData pic.twitter.com/fxA9MqlB90

— VicGovDH (@VicGovDH) January 21, 2022

Thirty people have died with Covid in NSW

22:05

Thirty people have died with Covid in New South Wales in the past 24 hours, and 2,762 people are in hospital – that’s up slightly from yesterday.

There were 20,148 new cases recorded, 8,566 of which were from rapid antigen tests.

NSW COVID-19 update – Saturday 22 January 2022

In the 24-hour reporting period to 8pm last night:

– 95.3% of people aged 16+ have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

– 93.9% of people aged 16+ have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine pic.twitter.com/q9RtpKePe2

— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) January 21, 2022

 

21:59

In good news for those who already own property and bad news for those who are trying to afford their first home, the Australian real estate market has just reported the highest returns for property sales in a decade.

From AAP:

The rate of profit-making resales across Australia rose to 92.4 per cent in the September quarter, up 50 basis points from the previous three months and the highest returns in a decade.

CoreLogic head of research Eliza Owen says considering the period was marked by lockdowns across Sydney, Melbourne and the ACT it was a remarkable result.

It was also the fifth consecutive quarter of increases.

Total transactions amounted to 99,000, down from 106,000 resale events in the June quarter, something blamed on distancing restrictions limiting physical inspections.

The national median nominal gain was $270,000 with total resale profits at $27.3 billion. Median losses were $37,000 or $368 million in total.

Owen says CoreLogic’s Pain and Gain report showed both the combined value of profit and loss fell through the quarter but the decline in total losses was more rapid.

“Resales had a typical hold period of 8.8 years, which was consistent on the previous quarter,” she said.

“However as the market finds a peak over the next couple of years, this may incentivise more resales and we may see the average hold period shift higher as more owners look to cash in their long-term gains.”

Properties held for more than 30 years had the highest median gain of just over $745,000.

Yet the highest nominal gains per year were achieved at the other end of the spectrum on properties held for two years or less, with the median figure $120,000.

Regional Australia had a higher rate of resale profit, at 93.1 per cent in the quarter but the combined capitals also had a fairly high rate at 91.1 per cent.

The regions have seen a more rapid increase in the rate of profit-making sales, with expectations that the trend is likely to continue.

The highest portion of these was in Bendigo (99.8 per cent) followed by Hume (99.5 per cent) and the Sunshine Coast and Ballarat (99.3 per cent).

With dwelling values showing further increases nationally through the December quarter, profitable sales are likely to keep on rising.

However it can’t last forever.

“There are accumulating headwinds for property market performance in the coming months, in the form of higher supply of advertised stock, normalising interest rates, affordability constraints and the possibility of tighter lending restrictions,” Owen said.

“A downswing in Australian housing market values would ultimately impact the profitability of resales, particularly for recent purchasers.”

Victoria calls on retired teachers to help backfill Covid-19 leave at schools

21:35

The Victorian government is calling on retired teachers to join a pool of casual relief teachers to backfill vacancies left by teachers catching Omicron.

Schools in Victoria are scheduled to return next week. On Saturday, the education minister, James Merlino called on inactive teachers, retired teachers, education support staff, retired principals and people with education administrative experience to join a “job opportunity pool”.

Those staff will be deployed to schools on a fixed-term basis to fill any short-term gaps caused by people contracting cCvid-19 and needing to isolate, he said.

Everyone in the pool must have a valid working with children check or Victorian Institute of Teaching registration, and must all be fully vaccinated.

Merlino said:

Every sector is under pressure from the Omicron variant, and education will be no exception – but we’re taking action early to make sure staff absences don’t mean huge disruptions for students’ learning.

If you’re a retired or inactive teacher, school support staff member, allied health professional or administration worker – we want you to support our schools in 2022, so please get online and apply now.

 

21:24

Tens of thousands of Australians will have had long Covid by the end of 2022, Guardian Australia health editor Melissa Davey has reported.

She spoke to health economist Prof Martin Hensher, who said:

I think we can be very confident that we will see many tens of thousands of people who will have long Covid, and possibly over 10,000 people who will still have long Covid by the end of the year.

He said that Australia urgently needs to roll out a regular national survey to ask people about their experience with Covid, including their ongoing symptoms.

We are flying blind about the actual scale of long Covid in this country.

Most people with Covid-19 recover within four weeks, but 5% of those infected still have symptoms three months later. The WHO describes long covid as symptoms which last at least two months past infection and which cannot be explained by any other diagnosis.

Common symptoms of long Covid include fatigue, shortness of breath, cognitive dysfunction and “others which generally have an impact on everyday functioning”.

You can read Melissa’s full article here:

Related: ‘Flying blind’: Australia faces 10,000 long Covid cases by the end of the year

 

21:14

Good morning,

Australia is scrapping the requirement for international arrivals to show a negative PCR test and will accept a rapid antigen result instead.

Current regulations require overseas travellers to return a negative PCR test taken up to three days before their flight, but from 1am on Sunday arrivals can instead provide a negative RAT from within 24 hours of boarding.

The time a person is banned from entering the country after testing positive to Covid-19 has also been cut in half, from 14 days to seven, bringing it in line with domestic isolation requirements. But quarantine requirements upon entry remain subject to state and territory restrictions.

On Thursday Western Australia announced that its border would stay closed after the premier, Mark McGowan, went back on his promise to reopen the border on 5 February.

More than 20,000 people were scheduled to fly to Perth on Qantas and Jetstar flights alone in the first week the West Australian borders were set to reopen. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the situation was “deeply concerning”.

[West Australians] would be asking, ‘If not now, when?’” treasurer Josh Frydenberg told the Seven Network on Friday, while the president of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Omar Khorshid, and the Business Council of Australia also criticised the delay.

Friday was Australia’s deadliest day of the pandemic so far, with 88 virus-related fatalities reported across the country.

More than half of the deaths announced on Friday were recorded in NSW, which had 46 fatalities, a one-day record in the state.

Yesterday Queensland reduced its booster interval from four to three months, following NSW, Victoria, ACT and South Australia, while health experts warned that delaying elective surgeries in Victoria will see blown-out waiting lists spiral into a “massive healthcare crisis”.

Today the ABC will also be broadcasting Triple J’s Hottest 100. Who will win? Justin Bieber and Kid Laroi? Olivia Rodrigo? Billie Eilish? The Wiggles’ cover of Tame Impala’s Elephant?

We’ll bring you all the news throughout the day. If you see something, you can contact me at @callapilla on Twitter or via email at calla.wahlquist@theguardian.com

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