Australia Covid news live update: airport chaos as Christmas flights cancelled; WA to change border rules for SA and Queensland

Australia Covid news live update: airport chaos as Christmas flights cancelled; WA to change border rules for SA and Queensland

2.59am EST

02:59

And with that, we’ll wrap up. Thank you so much – as always, an absolute pleasure.

Before we all go, let’s recap the biggest stories:

Victoria recorded 2,095 cases, NSW 5,612 cases and one death, Tasmania reported 27, Queensland 589, The ACT 102, SA 688 new cases, WA had five cases, and the NT recorded one new case.
Omicron accounted for the majority of SA cases as the state announced it would forward boosters to 26 December.
National booster shots brought forward to four months.
Airport chaos as Christmas flights cancelled.
Anthony Albanese addressed the media, saying “this is a government by echo”.
Federal minister blocked six research projects and Labor accused the Coalition of “McCarthyism” for rejecting climate, China research.
Seated service requirement for venues in WA as the state also changed border rules for SA and Queensland.
There are warnings a tropical cyclone could form near Darwin on Boxing Day.

Merry Christmas team Guardian!

Updated
at 3.09am EST

2.45am EST

02:45

Mary-Louise McLaws
(@MarylouiseMcla1)
Boosters at 4mths (Jan 4),3mths (end Jan) should now be prioritised for those with 2 doses of AZ (after 4 months v.low protection against Omicron).

International positive cases now match when India ban was imposed. Travellers need booster & rapid antigen test on arrival to Aus pic.twitter.com/FwNEKBONAF

December 24, 2021

2.34am EST

02:34

Pete McKenzie

A Philippine family set to be deported from New Zealand on Christmas Day after the father used a false address to claim food vouchers out of desperation has been granted a last-minute reprieve in what they described as the “best present”.

Jeffrey Santos had used a false address to claim $1,600 in vouchers because he lost his job when the Covid lockdown struck in March 2020 and was ineligible for New Zealand’s income relief payment, which wasn’t available to migrant workers. As a result, Jeffrey, his wife, Marjorie, and 8-year-old son James were to be deported back to the Philippines on Christmas Day.

“I couldn’t pay rent for two weeks, I had to do something,” Santos told Stuff on Thursday. “I wish I hadn’t done this, but it is too late.”

2.23am EST

02:23

From AAP:

A Sydney man who police allege was preparing to commit a terrorist act will face court on Christmas Day.

Police arrested a 34-year-old man on Friday morning in Caringbah.

NSW police detective superintendent Michael Sheehy says the man will be charged with offences relating to membership of a terrorist group and collecting and making documents likely to facilitate a terrorist attack.

Following an investigation by the NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team, police will allege the Caringbah man “made numerous threats to commit acts of violence against law enforcement officers and other community leaders”.

JCTT investigators seized two knives along with documentation and electronic storage devices when they searched the man’s home following his arrest.

He is posting a significant amount of material in respect of bombings, beheadings, manufacturing explosives and other material.

It is likely he was, and we’ll suggest that he was, preparing to commit a terrorist act and that would have been an act of violence against law enforcement.

The man was charged with using a social media platform to distribute material which may offend, harass or menace in December 2020.

He was in custody for six months before being released in July.

Sheehy said police and government officials had engaged with the man to “attempt to deradicalise him” but he refused to engage in a program and continued to promote Islamic State material online.

Due to his recent escalation in his activities it was necessary for us to act today and arrest him for those offences.

The man has been refused bail and will appear in a Parramatta court on Saturday.

Updated
at 2.28am EST

2.13am EST

02:13

Royce Kurmelovs

Australian man Carl Stanojevic might be the world’s most considerate neighbour after he was asked to “take the bins out” and dutifully followed the request – to the letter.

The practical joke began when the 54-year-old photographer from Mackay, in Queensland, received a late-night text message from his neighbour, Nick Doherty – who works remotely – asking if Stanojevic “would be able to take my bins out please”.

1.55am EST

01:55

We’ve got a video of the Christmas messages from Morrison and Albanese here:

Morrison and Albanese deliver Christmas messages to the nation – video

1.37am EST

01:37

The opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, has said that “after such a tough couple of years, we all deserve a happy Christmas”.

After such a tough couple of years, we all deserve a happy Christmas.

Thanks to everyone for taking care of each other.

Australians have stood together. And now, with our borders opening up again, we’re getting back together.

Off the Zoom and actually back in the room with family, friends and loved ones.

May the festive season bring you joy. And may it be a sign of better times to come.

Updated
at 1.56am EST

1.36am EST

01:36

Both major party leaders have recorded Christmas messages to the Australian people. I’ve taken a few lines from each.

Scott Morrison:

The prime minister, Scott Morrison, has thanked the “many selfless Australians” who are “caring for others this Christmas”.

“At the end of this year, of course, we can think of the many difficult times we’ve had and the losses that people have incurred. But Christmas, you know, is a time of hope and we are an optimistic people,” Morrison said.

He extended his support to the six families in Devonport in northern Tasmania that lost their children in the recent Hillcrest Primary School tragedy.

“And this Christmas we’ll shed a tear and raise up prayers for them, I believe right across the country, for them that they might find some measure of comfort in this hour of their terrible grief.”

He made a special thanks to the members of the defence force in the Solomon Islands and recognised it had been a hard year.

“May all those who need a refreshing after what has been a difficult year, by just having a good long laugh out loud, round that Christmas table with friends and family, may you find it. May those who have been alone this year experience the warmth of companionship this Christmas.

“May those of us who have faith find great encouragement as we reflect on God’s great gift to us and his son, Jesus Christ. And may all of us experience something of the joy and the wonder of Christmas, especially our children.”

1.28am EST

01:28

Kara Jensen-Mackinnon
(@karaonline)
The last chemist in my area with rapid antigen tests has almost doubled their prices and the woman before me in the queue just spent $339 on tests. So much for accessible healthcare… pic.twitter.com/xeFmmZLG2m

December 23, 2021

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