March 22, 2023

Australia news live update: 56 Covid deaths and 4,300 in hospital nationally; NSW cases expected to ‘plateau’ next week

NSW records 29 Covid deaths on state’s deadliest day of pandemic as new cases expected...

NSW records 29 Covid deaths on state’s deadliest day of pandemic as new cases expected to ‘plateau’ next week; Victoria to establish two Covid medi-hotels after 18 deaths recorded; three Covid deaths in Qld, six in SA; Tasmania reports 1,201 cases, ACT 1,125, NT 546; more than 4,300 in hospital nationally; decision on Djokovic’s visa expected today. Follow all the day’s news live

  • NSW premier ‘shocked’ by footage of Hillsong members dancing and singing at youth camp
  • Scott Morrison’s response to Omicron staffing crisis falls short, Australian businesses and unions say
  • Federal government still considering cancelling Novak Djokovic’s visa and whether he had ‘acceptable proof’
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NSW premier Dominic Perrottet will be up at 10am.

The Transport Workers’ Union national secretary, Michael Kaine, was on ABC News Breakfast this morning discussing the fallout from national cabinet yesterday. He says “there is no plan” to address supply and staff shortages in the sector:

This is the disappointment out of that national cabinet announcement from Scott Morrison yesterday. There is no plan to rebuild a healthy work force, to have road transport supply chains that do the brilliant job they have done over the two years of this pandemic, they need to be healthy. We wrote to Scott Morrison in September with a follow-up in October last year, saying it was critical, amongst other things, that road transport supply chains were flooded with rapid antigen tests because we could see in the context of the Delta outbreak that if we intended to reopen, we needed to ensure that workers were testing negative and we were maximising the number of healthy people in supply chains or we would have a problem.

That was dismissed by the Morrison government. They don’t listen to the voices of workers and the results we are seeing today, and we saw them yesterday, reflect inaction from Morrison which is building on compounding the mistakes of the past. His approach here is to send back into the work force those people that we have deemed for the last two years close contacts, are most likely to be carrying the virus without knowing it. That means that we could actually be making matters worse.

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