The COVID news you need to know today, Friday January 7.

The coronavirus pandemic is reaching new peaks in Australia this week off the back of a busy Christmas and New Year's period, and governments are today starting to bring back restrictions. 

Before we whip around the new rules, here are the COVID numbers we have so far: 

New South Wales: 38,625 new cases, 11 deaths, 134 in ICU, 1738 in hospital.

Victoria: 21,728 new cases, 6 deaths, 58 in ICU, 644 in hospital.

Queensland: 10,953 new cases, 0 deaths, 14 in ICU, 313 in hospital. 

ACT: 1,246 new cases, 12 deaths, 3 in ICU, 24 in hospital.

South Australia: 3,707 new cases, two deaths, 16 in ICU, 144 in hospital.

Northern Territory: 412 new cases, one death, 2 in ICU, 19 in hospital.

Here's the latest COVID news across Australia:

New NSW restrictions and a triple-vax mandate announced.

A third vaccination shot will soon be mandatory for frontline workers in NSW, as the state reduces elective surgery and bans singing in pubs to curb the Omicron surge.

Teachers, health workers and those in frontline disability roles will be among the groups required to get a booster shot to be considered "fully vaccinated" against COVID-19, Premier Dominic Perrottet announced on Friday.

No deadline has been set, with the exact rules being worked out by Health Minister Brad Hazzard, the premier said.

New modelling shows the health system will come under increased pressure in the next few weeks, though Mr Perrottet described the predictions as "encouraging".


Six thousand people across NSW could be hospitalised by the end of the month if the worse case scenario eventuates, and some 600 of them would be in intensive care.

Perrottet says even with a worse case scenario the state "have the capacity" right now, and "we believe by the middle of February we will be certainly past the peak of this."

Still, he suspended non-urgent elective surgery until mid-February and has called on the private hospital system to help with capacity constraints. 

The premier also imposed fresh restrictions - halting singing or dancing in pubs or clubs until January 27, except for weddings, performers or classes.

Victorians required to report positive RAT results to health department, as density limits re-introduced. 

Victorians will now be required to log their positive rapid antigen COVID-19 test result with the state's health department through an online form expected to go live from Friday afternoon. 

Alternatively, they can alert authorities over the phone. 

The numbers will be reported alongside PCR test cases each day, once the system is up and running. 

As of 11.59pm Thursday, Victorians who test positive on a RAT will need to isolate for seven days and notify their contacts - just as they would if they tested positive on a PCR. It will save people from having to line up and wait for a PCR result to be officially diagnosed with COVID-19. 

The state has also decided to reinstate density quotas of two square metres at indoors hospitality venues, including restaurants, cafés, pubs and nightclubs along with entertainment venues including arcades and amusement parks, casinos and gaming venues. 


Non-urgent elective surgery will temporarily be reduced for public and private hospitals in metropolitan Melbourne and major regional cities across Victoria, to help hospitals respond to the increasing number of patients with coronavirus.

Northern Territory enters lockout of unvaccinated.

As of 1pm on Thursday afternoon, the Northern Territory entered a territory-wide lockout of the unvaccinated with those not jabbed only allowed to leave home for three reasons: to access medical treatment, for essential goods and services, and to provide care to a vulnerable family member. 

They aren't allowed to leave their homes for work or exercise. 

The rules will be in place until Monday, when a vaccine-pass system will come into effect from midday. It will require everyone in the territory to show proof of their COVID-19 vaccination status before they're allowed entry into certain venues. 


ACT overhauls COVID-19 contact rules.

As of Thursday, the ACT has a new definition for COVID contacts, with those who come into contact with cases now classified as either high, medium or low risk.

A high-risk contact is someone who has spent a considerable amount of time at home with a positive case. They will need to undergo seven days quarantine and get a PCR test.

A contact who has been with a positive case at a place such as a restaurant or bar for a few hours is deemed a medium risk, and will need to have a rapid test plus another one six days later. 

A low-risk contact is someone who has only spent a short amount of time with a positive case, and will only need to monitor for symptoms. 

Discretion has been left up to Canberrans, with grey areas between risk thresholds.

Supermarket supply chains under strain due to sick staff. 

Supermarkets have been forced to introduce buying limits once again as supply chain issues leave shelves empty. 

The increasing COVID-19 case numbers and subsequent isolation requirements have put pressure on food manufacturers and the transport and retail sector.

On Wednesday, Coles reintroduced temporary buying limits on meat and poultry. 

A spokesperson told AAP it was expected to take several weeks before things returned to normal. 

The latest national cabinet meeting resulted in changes to testing requirements for truck drivers, removing the need for a PCR test every seven days to ensure food distribution networks could continue moving. 


But the Victorian Farmers Federation has called on the federal government to also rethink isolation rules for workers in the industry as had been done for healthcare workers.

More tennis arrivals being investigated as per COVID-19 border rules.

Border officials are investigating two other arrivals linked to the Australian Open who may have travelled to the country unvaccinated, as world No.1 Novak Djokovic fights to stay in the country.

Djokovic's visa was cancelled by the government on Thursday after he failed to fulfil entry requirements surrounding his COVID-19 vaccination status.

Now Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews says other tournament attendees are being investigated for similar circumstances.

Djokovic is being held in detention pending his threatened deportation.

His case began on Thursday in the Federal Court and will return on Monday for a final hearing.

The Serbian superstar has argued he had a vaccination exemption allowing him to travel to Australia.

But it appears he only had an exemption provided by Tennis Australia and the Victorian government to participate in the competition.

Djokovic has not publicly revealed his vaccination status, but it's believed he is unvaccinated and was relying on his previous infection with COVID-19 to gain entry to Australia.

- With AAP


Feature Image: Getty/Chris Hyde.

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