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- No ‘special favour’ given to Djokovic for vaccination exemption, says Tennis Australia
- New restrictions considered in Victoria amid calls to slow COVID case boom
- Hundreds of NSW childcare centres shut due to COVID
- This morning’s headlines at a glance
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No ‘special favour’ given to Djokovic for vaccination exemption, says Tennis Australia
Tennis Australia says there’s been “no special opportunity” granted to tennis star Novak Djokovic after the nine-time Australian Open champion revealed he was granted an exemption to enter the country without being fully vaccinated.
Chief executive Craig Tiley said the world No. 1 was one of a handful of people granted a medical exemption among 26 applicants. He said having COVID-19 in the past six months was among the valid reasons a medical exemption could be granted.
“There’s been no special favour. There’s been no special opportunity granted to Novak … in fact, there’s been a process that goes above and beyond the normal process for everyone,” Mr Tiley told Nine’s Today show.
The Tennis Australia boss said players granted a medical exemptions would have gone through a two-stage, independent process to verify they meet the criteria. This could include having a bad reaction to an earlier dose of a coronavirus vaccine. However, we don’t know the exact nature of Djokovic’s exemption.
Djokovic announced on social media last night he would be heading to the Australian Open after being granted the exemption, ending months of speculation over whether he would compete at the first Grand Slam of the year.
“I’ve spent fantastic quality time with my loved ones over the break and today I’m heading Down Under with an exemption permission. Let’s go 2022!” the Serbian wrote on Instagram.
Nine, the broadcaster of the Today show, is also the owner of this masthead.
New restrictions considered in Victoria amid calls to slow COVID case boom
Victoria’s pandemic advisers are calling for nightclubs to be temporarily closed and the urgent implementation of a statewide database system able to upload the rapid test results of thousands of Victorians not being included in the escalating coronavirus infection numbers.
Epidemiologists say the state government must act now to slow down the trajectory of infections and address the state’s testing crisis, warning that without immediate intervention Victoria is heading towards a sustained stretch of high coronavirus case numbers and acute stress on the hospital system.
Pandemic advisers are calling for nightclubs to be temporarily closed in Victoria and the urgent implementation of a statewide database system.Credit:Wayne Taylor
This masthead has confirmed the discussions are occurring within the Victorian government about the possibility of additional public health measures, including density limits on hospitality venues and closing indoor dance floors. Onerous measures like lockdowns and limits on household gatherings are not presently part of those discussions.
Ministers are receiving regular updates from the state’s public health team about rising case numbers and acting Premier Jacinta Allan confirmed on Tuesday that “commonsense” measures would be considered.
More on the situation in Victoria here.
Hundreds of NSW childcare centres shut due to COVID
Almost 270 early childhood centres in NSW were shut due to COVID-19 yesterday, as the sector braces for further closures due to staff illness, causing more headaches for parents at the start of the working year.
The sector is also preparing for stress over fees and concerns about sick babies and toddlers waiting in long, hot queues for PCR tests.
Hundreds of NSW childcare centres are shut due to COVID-19 Credit:Ryan Stuart
As Omicron cases surge in NSW, the federal authority overseeing the childcare sector – the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority – listed 268 centres across the state as closed due to a public health emergency on Tuesday, compared with 21 in Victoria and 15 in Queensland.
It comes amid warnings that children’s return to school classrooms early next month is also likely to be significantly disrupted by illness among teachers and students, with the NSW Teachers Federation warning of “serious challenges” ahead.
Read the full story here.
This morning’s headlines at a glance
Good morning and thanks for your company.
It’s Wednesday, January 5. I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for most of the day.
Here’s everything you need to know before we get started.
- National cabinet is meeting today to discuss how to make rapid antigen tests more affordable for low-income earners, people on welfare and pensioners. There is speculation there will be some kind of cash payment to fund the purchase of several tests with the states and Commonwealth to split the costs equally. Yesterday, the competition watchdog announced it will seek more information from pharmacies and retailers in regards to the price of rapid antigen tests.
- Novak Djokovic is confirmed for this year’s Australian Open after previously refusing to reveal his vaccination status. The tennis star has been granted a medical exemption to enter the country despite not being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. We don’t know the exact nature of the exemption, but it could be to do with having a bad reaction to a previous dose or testing positive to the virus within the past couple of months. Tennis Australia says there has been “no special favour” given to the nine-time Australian Open champion.
- In NSW, hundreds of childcare centres have shut due to COVID-19. Jordan Baker reports that the closures are causing headaches for parents at the start of the working year. NSW recorded 23,131 cases of COVID-19 and two deaths yesterday. NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet is due to address the media around 10am AEDT. Stay tuned for that.
- Victoria’s pandemic advisers are calling for nightclubs to be temporarily closed and for a statewide database to track people’s rapid antigen test results. As Melissa Cunningham and Paul Sakkal report, Victoria is bracing for the hospital system to be acutely stretched and acting Premier Jacinta Allan has not ruled out additional “commonsense” restrictions. The state reported a record 14,020 cases of COVID-19 yesterday, along with two deaths.
- Queensland has recorded 5699 cases of COVID-19 yesterday. Similar to southern states, there has been frustration with long testing queues.
- Elsewhere in Australia, and the ACT recorded 926 cases of COVID-19 yesterday. Tasmania recorded 702 cases and South Australia 3246. The Northern Territory reported 75 cases. Meanwhile, in Western Australia, 14 cases were reported yesterday (but they were all in quarantine).
- And in overseas news, the United States has recorded more than one million COVID cases in a single day. As North America correspondent Farrah Tomazin reports, tensions are brewing between teachers, parents and politicians after some districts temporarily switched to remote learning just as students were due to return to classrooms.
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