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A child under 5 dies with COVID and new restrictions in Victoria: The COVID news you need to know today.

After a sharp rise in COVID case numbers across the country, measures are being introduced in a bid to keep the public safe. To keep you up-to-date on everything that's happening, here's the COVID news you need to know today.

Aussie children's vaccination rollout is underway.

Monday, January 10 marks the first day Australian children aged five to 11 can access COVID-19 vaccines.

The head of the COVID-19 vaccine task force, Lieutenant General John Frewen, aimed to reassure parents there were more than enough vaccine doses to inoculate all children.

It comes as news circulates that parents and guardians are finding it difficult to secure appointments for their kids.

Watch: Children aged 5-11 eligible for COVID jab. Post continues below.


Video via 10 News First.

"There is a lot of people getting vaccines very quickly right across the country so I encourage a little bit of patience and a little bit of persistence and I have no doubt they will get access to vaccines in the week ahead," the Lieutenant General said on Monday.

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Victorian chair Anita Munoz said supply was coming in "sporadically" with some GPs given 100 doses a week and others 100 per fortnight.

"That is terribly inadequate numbers for general practices to vaccinate kids," she told AAP. "What we really wanted to avoid was repeating any of the mistakes we needed to learn from last year. I am disappointed that these kinds of issues are being repeated."

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Royal Australian College of General Practitioners president Karen Price said it was a mixed experience from the perspective of GPs.

"From what I've heard, it's around staffing issues in the logistical supply chain. There has been lots of furloughing of transport staff," Dr Price told the ABC on Monday.

Updates from the Prime Minister's press conference. 

Australia will "push through" the Omicron peak rather than lockdown again, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed.

Image: Getty. "You've got two choices here: you can push through or you can get locked out," The PM said in a press conference on Monday.

"You get through to the other side and it's going to be tough, the whole pandemic has been tough and Australians have shown resilience, patience and determination. The best possible medical advice is to push through."

In additional news, Scott Morrison said he has urgently sent a change to isolation requirements for workers in critical supply chain industries to national cabinet for endorsement. 

He said it would mean close contacts in food production, distribution and processing, as well as emergency services, would be able to go to work if they were asymptomatic and returned a negative rapid antigen test (RAT) result. It would not extend to workers who deal with customers face-to-face.

Listen to The Quicky. 2022: Can We Come To Terms With COVID-19? Post continues after audio.

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NSW records its deadliest day of the pandemic.

The state recorded 18 new deaths on Monday marking the deadliest day of the pandemic for NSW, thus far. 

Six women and eleven men, including an unvaccinated man in his 30s, died with the virus, along with an infant. 

Dr Kerry Chant urged people who are unvaccinated, pregnant or have underlying medical conditions not to delay getting a COVID diagnosis and asked everyone to monitor for breathlessness.

"We don't expect young people to get breathless or dizzy and that's a sign you really need to escalate your care," she said.

The sad fatality news comes as the number of people hospitalised with the virus in NSW has increased by 103 to 2030. Of those, 158 are in intensive care - eight more than the day before. Half of all people in NSW's intensive care units with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

Cases are also expected to surge by mid-week in NSW, given positive rapid antigen test results will then be included in the daily tally.

A child under the age of five has died from COVID.

A young child was among the recorded deaths in NSW on Monday.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said the child was aged under five, had "significant underlying health conditions" and died at their south-western Sydney home.

School return dates are up in the air. 

Some states and territories are weighing up delays to school reopening for the new year, to allow more children to be vaccinated for COVID-19, while some insist the term should start as scheduled.

Tasmanian Education Minister Sarah Courtney has said the state government is considering asking school students to wear masks in the classroom when term one begins in early February.

South Australia is considering using rapid antigen testing surveillance of teachers as part of a return to school strategy during the current surge in COVID-19 cases. The state government is due to announce its plans for the new school year later this week with health officials previously conceding there will likely be some disruptions.

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At a press conference, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was a "sensible and logical" decision to push back the start of term one to February 7, in order to give parents more time to get their children vaccinated.

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly did note that illness had been less severe in children since the start of the pandemic. "For the vast majority of children who have Omicron it is a very, very mild disease," he said.

The greater concern, however, is for teachers. Given just how quickly viruses can spread throughout school environments on a regular basis, it's understandable that teachers are concerned about their own health. 

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"Delaying the return of the school year makes sense. Like everyone else, we are watching daily case numbers grow. We can't have Omicron explode in our schools. We have the time to make smart decisions right now," said a Queensland Teachers' Union representative.

Vulnerable children and those of essential workers in Queensland will still be able to return to school from January 24. 

New restrictions in Victoria.

Victoria will mandate COVID-19 vaccine boosters for essential workers, indoor dancefloors will close and food supply worker isolation rules are easing, under new state pandemic orders. Visitor restrictions will also be applied to hospitals and in aged care settings.

Health Minister Martin Foley says the new orders, which kick in at 11:59pm on Wednesday, are needed due to rising hospitalisations.

Close contact isolation requirements will no longer apply to food supply workers, including those in retail, manufacturing and distribution.

These workers must be asymptomatic, return a negative rapid antigen test and take daily RATs for five days to return to work.

Health Minister Martin Foley. Image: Getty. - With AAP

Feature Image: Getty.

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