What you need to know about COVID-19 today, Monday January 11.

Queensland records no new local cases, Greater Brisbane to exit lockdown.

Greater Brisbane will exit its strict three-day lockdown from 6pm Monday.

No new cases of community transmission were recorded in Queensland on Monday. There were four new cases in hotel quarantine.

Almost 19,000 tests were undertaken.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was pleased by how well Greater Brisbane residents had followed the weekend's stay-at-home orders.

"Can I thank people in the Greater Brisbane region for responding in the way that they did," she said on Monday.

"It has been absolutely truly remarkable. So, I can announce that the reward for this sacrifice is that we are able to end our lockdown after three days. That is fantastic news. So, from 6pm tonight, that lockdown will end."

However, Greater Brisbane will still be subject to a number of restrictions for at least the next 10 days to 1am January 22.

Masks will be required in shopping centres, supermarkets, retail outlets, indoor markets, hospitals and aged care facilities, places of worship, libraries and indoor recreational facilities, including cinemas and gyms.

Masks are also mandatory on public transport, in taxis and ride shares.

"So, when in doubt, wear a mask," Palaszczuk said.

"That's very simple. But it is those crowded areas, we just want Greater Brisbane, for the next 10 days, to all be part of this mask-wearing. It is for 10 days only, and then hopefully, if we get zero community transmission over those 10 days, we can go back to the rest of Queensland."


Indoor retail and dining venues will face capacity restrictions, and gatherings are restricted to 20 people in homes and public spaces.

The Gabba, set to host the final cricket test between Australia and India later this week, will be filled to half capacity and masks will be mandatory for entering, exiting and moving around the stadium.

"This has been unprecedented. It has been extraordinary time for people, and as we know, this UK variant - the reason why we did it and why we are continuing to wear our masks in those public areas, is because this is a highly contagious strain," Palaszszuk said.

"We don't want to see that in our community. So, you know, people have made a big sacrifice over the last three days, up until 6pm tonight, and I honestly thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the work you have done.

" And as I said, together, we will get through this."

On Sunday, Health Minister Yvette D'Arth asked any remaining potential contacts of the cleaner and a second woman, who tested positive to the UK variant and flew from Melbourne to Queensland, to come forward.

Precise times and locations are available on Queensland Health's COVID-19 website.

"If you have been to any of these sites in Maleny or South Brisbane or in the city on the train on that particular day, or the Jetstar flight, please come forward so we can assess whether you're a close contact and you need to go into quarantine and get tested," she said.


Greater Brisbane refers to residents in the council areas of Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Moreton Bay and Redlands.

NSW records three new cases, Sydney hospital emergency department closed after COVID-19 exposure.

NSW has recorded three new local cases of COVID-19 on Monday, all linked to the Berala cluster.

These three cases are linked to a man and woman in their 30s who were included in yesterday's numbers.

However, since the 8pm cut-off, there was that case regarding the emergency department at Mount Druitt Hospital.

The hospital in Western Sydney was closed overnight for deep cleaning after a positive COVID-19 case attended the emergency department, and has since reopened.

The patient presented to the ED on Saturday and received a positive test last night. They were transferred to Westmead Hospital and their case is under investigation.

Ambulances were diverted to other nearby hospitals while the ED was closed.

There were also eight new cases in hotel quarantine on Monday. A total of 18,750 tests were reported in the 24 hours to 8pm Sunday.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said it was important that testing numbers increased.

"It is essential at this time that we strive for consistently over 25,000 tests and I would like to see more approaching 30,000 test as we push to get no community transmission," she said.


"Also I would like to enlist the support of general practitioners across the state. We know general practitioners are important often as pillars of the community, but also in the day-to-day practice. So, please, encourage all your patients to get tested if they're ringing up for advice, please ensure that they're advised to go and get tested with the most minimal of symptoms. As I said it's critical at this time that we achieve over this - up towards that 30,000 tests per day."

A number of new venues, including Thai Hung Supermarket in Marrickville and Bankstown Central Shopping Centre, have been issued public health alerts.

Anyone who visited these venues at specific times must get tested immediately and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.

NSW Health's website offers complete, up-to-date information on these alerts.

It comes as NSW authorities discussed how critical the next 14 days are as the state continues to "mop up" from two coronavirus outbreaks in Greater Sydney.

Northern Beaches residents enjoy the end of stay-at-home orders at Avalon Beach on Sunday, January 10. Image: Getty.

Thousands of residents from the northern part of Sydney's north beaches celebrated "Freedom Day" on Sunday after being stuck in lockdown since before Christmas.


Months to go before new 'COVID normal'.

Governments will not be able to say what "the new normal" will look like before a coronavirus vaccine is rolled out widely, and Australian Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly doesn't expect that 'COVID-safe normal' to appear until the second half of 2021.

"It is a bit hard to tell now... I can't look into my crystal ball, I'm afraid," Professor Kelly told reporters in Canberra on Sunday.

"(But) every single person that gets their two doses of vaccine and get that very strong protection against severe illness, will give people more confidence, will give the public health system more confidence, will give our politicians - that need to make these decisions in the end - more confidence."

Last week the federal government brought forward the start of the vaccine rollout to February, beginning with the vaccination of quarantine and border workers, frontline health officials, aged care workers and residents, and disability workers.

On Sunday, Kelly said most Australians would receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot, being made in Melbourne, over the Pfizer-BioNTech, despite that shot likely to be the first to get approval in Australia.

The government is hopeful a network of vaccination hubs will be able to deliver it to four million Australians by the end of March.

NSW was the only jurisdiction to report new local infections on Sunday, with both Queensland and Victoria reporting zero cases. 

On Monday, Victoria recorded its fifth day of no local or interstate acquired COVID-19 cases, despite scores of people making a mad rush to the state from Greater Brisbane.

Japan finds another coronavirus variant.

A new coronavirus variant has been detected in four travellers from Brazil's Amazonas state, Japan's Health Ministry says, the latest new mutation of the virus discovered.

Studies were now underway into the efficacy of vaccines against the new variant, which differs from highly infectious variants first found in Britain and South Africa that have driven a surge in cases.

"At the moment, there is no proof showing the new variant found in those from Brazil is high in infectiousness," Takaji Wakita, head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, told a health ministry briefing on Sunday.


Still, Brazil's Health Ministry said it has been notified by Japan's authorities that the new variant has 12 mutations, and one of them has already been identified also in the variants found in the United Kingdom and in South Africa.

"It implies in a potential higher virus infectiousness," it said.

Of the four travellers who arrived at Tokyo's Haneda airport on January 2, a man in his forties had a problem breathing, a woman in her thirties had a headache and sore throat and a man in his teens had a fever, while a woman in her teens showed no symptoms, the health ministry said.

All travellers are in quarantine at Tokyo's airport, Brazil's Health Ministry said.

After seeing a steep rise in coronavirus cases, Japan declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and three prefectures neighbouring the capital on Thursday.

Nationwide cases have totalled about 289,000, with 4,061 deaths, public broadcaster NHK said.

Lockdown protests erupt in Europe cities.

The coronavirus is wreaking havoc across Europe but in some cities some people are fighting the stay-at-home message.

Thousands turned out in central Prague on Sunday to protest against recently extended restrictions designed to contain the coronavirus.

Footage of the demonstration in Prague showed many protesters not wearing masks and standing close to one other.

People take part in a protest in Prague on January 10. Image: AAP.


A day earlier in Denmark, protesters became violent and lit fireworks as police arrested nine people in the capital Copenhagen and northern city Aarhus.

The demonstrators, who call themselves 'Men in Black', gathered at the town hall square in Copenhagen and clashed with police in the wintry conditions.

Denmark and Czech Republic are among the nations to extend lockdown measures in the fight against soaring COVID-19 infections and a new, more infectious variant.

Denmark on Tuesday reduced gatherings to five people and made travel more difficult, stopping entry from foreigners without a negative test and proper purpose. 

But the rules in Copenhagen are still not as strict as the lockdown measures taken in Melbourne at the height of Australia's pandemic, which included a curfew. 

The protests follow similar rallies in the UK last week.

Police in central London made some 21 arrests on Wednesday days after England was placed in a new national lockdown over rising COVID-19 cases.

On Sunday, medical professionals in the UK warned of an imminent collapse in the healthcare system amid rapidly rising infection rates linked to gatherings over the holiday season.

-AAP, with Reuters, EFE

Feature image: Getty.

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