Firstly, if you’re interested in live coverage of the storming of the US Capitol building today, you can follow that here.
In Australia, national cabinet will hold a special meeting tomorrow to discuss stronger precautions around international travellers and hotel quarantine in a bid to protect against stronger variants of Covid-19.
Prime minister, Scott Morrison, had played down the need for a national cabinet meeting to discuss the UK variant earlier this week, but premiers and chief ministers have pushed for a meeting. Yesterday, Morrison said the meeting would be held to discuss the “end to end international travel processes,” adding it was “particularly in the context of the UK strain.”
Speaking of hotel quarantine, there has been another breach of the system, this time in Western Australia. Three WA residents have been put into hotel quarantine after they reportedly failed to wear the correct PPE when helping an elderly woman who had travelled from the UK. The woman, in her 80s, was transported to hospital on Tuesday. The ABC reported that a nurse who attended the woman in hotel quarantine and an ambulance officer who transported her to hospital were not wearing the correct PPE, and nor was an airport worker who helped her disembark her flight. All three are now in hotel quarantine and the woman is being tested to see if she carries the new UK variant of the strain.
WA Department of Health acting director general, Dr James Williamson, told the ABC:
These breaches are inexcusable and we’re very disappointed. The health and wellbeing of the WA community is the number one priority for the state and there’s no room for complacency in the fight against COVID-19.
The Sydney coronavirus outbreak appears to have travelled to the NSW south coast, with two south coast venues added to the exposure list overnight. They are a shop in Kangaroo Valley and a restaurant in Huskisson, both near the town of Berry. I’ll bring you the details on those sites shortly.
In Sydney, the third test will start at the SCG today, with the stadium at 25% capacity. Spectators have been ordered to wear face masks while on public transport and while at the ground, except while eating and drinking. The Australian Medical Association has repeatedly said the test should not go ahead.
Meanwhile, in Melbourne, thousands of people who attended day two of the Boxing Day test at the MCG, and Boxing Day sales at Chadstone shopping centre, are expected to line up for Covid-19 tests again today in an attempt to identify the source of the state’s first mystery case in several months.
And keeping in Victoria, the government is unlikely to lift its border restrictions with NSW until the end of the month, with health minister Martin Foley telling reporters it is a necessary defence against a “fast-moving, silent virus that pays no respect to interstate borders”.