The Loop: PCR testing delays continue, man arrested over South African parliament fire, cruise abandoned in Lisbon after COVID-19 outbreak


Salvation. It is Monday January 3 and you read The Loop, a quick synopsis of the news you need to know.

One thing you should know

Most of us have seen the photos of the long lines of cars at testing clinics across the country over the Christmas and New Years period.

For many, the results of the COVID-19 PCR tests are still takes days to come back, leaving people isolated or traveling in limbo as the overwhelmed system tries to catch up.

  • Some returning Queenslanders have had family reunions and work disrupted due to long waits for test results
  • Woman says she called to check her results after four days and was told it wasn’t even in the system yet
  • Some residents of Queensland are encouraged to get re-tested due to long lead times and missing samples.

Something you will hear about today

No surprise here: it’s COVID, COVID and more COVID.

  • Victorian health officials confirmed more than 7,000 new cases yesterday, but it came from the back of the lowest test numbers in more than a month
  • Related hospitalizations in South Australia stand at 82, up from just 17 patients a week ago
  • Sydney charity Reverend Bill Crews Foundation is begging the NSW government to urgently provide it free rapid antigen tests for the homeless and vulnerable
  • Some COVID-19 restrictions in Perth set to end tomorrow, but they seek more and more improbable to facilitate, with dozens of additional exhibition sites listed, including 20 in popular tourist spots in the southwest
  • The Canberrans are warned that shortages of rapid antigen testing could continue until an order from NSW arrives on January 17
  • Testing is intensifying on Palm Island, just off the coast of northern Queensland, with six cases recorded in the indigenous community, including a pregnant woman who had to be airlifted to Townsville hospital
  • Hobart’s popular bar, Bar Wa Izakaya, has voluntarily closed its doors, saying in a scathing social media post that “the opening of the borders will slowly choke us” and that “most restaurants didn’t want it”
  • The Northern Territory hit a new daily record for COVID-19 cases yesterday, with more than 80 in greater Darwin alone
  • Oh yeah, and Lionel messiis also tested positive.

You can follow the latest COVID-19 news from across the country and beyond here.

News while you sleep

  • A man has been arrested after a fire caused extensive damage to the South African Parliament in Cape Town. No injuries have been reported, but it is feared that priceless items and historical documents were destroyed
  • Twitter permanently suspended US congressman’s account Marjorie Taylor Greene for violating its COVID-19 disinformation policies. In a statement, Ms. Greene responded by saying that Twitter is an “enemy of America and cannot handle the truth.”

What Australia Searched Online

  • Blake ferguson. The former NRL player has been arrested in Tokyo for drug trafficking, his new rugby union club has announced. Ferguson was due to make his NEC Green Rockets Tokatsu debut this week – it’s not clear at this point if that’s still relevant – and the club say he’s “fully cooperating with the police investigation and making an effort to understand the situation ”
  • Brooke blurton. Australia’s First Indigenous Bisexual Bachelorette Confirmed She And Bachelorette Winner Darvid Garayeli broke up after announcing their split on Instagram, but said she didn’t expect it to be made public. “It was a surprise waking me up as much as you guys did,” she posted.

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One more thing

Want to resume the cruise?

About 2,800 hopeful holidaymakers in Europe were, but may have packed those bags too soon – German operators of a cruise ship hit by a COVID-19 outbreak have pulled the pin on a New Years trip after being stuck for days.

AIDAnova moored Lisbon on December 29 while on her way to Madeira Island for the New Year celebrations, but the ship was unable to continue the voyage after 52 cases of COVID-19 were detected among the fully vaccinated crew.

The AIDAnova looked glamorous for New Years, but that was a different story on board.(AP: Armando Franca)

Local radio was informed by the harbor master that the vessel had been cleared to leave and proceed to the Spanish island of Lanzarote – but then 12 other people, including four passengers, tested positive.

Captain Diogo Vieira Branco said several crew members who tested positive were isolating themselves in hotels in Lisbon and passengers would be flown home.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised people to avoid cruise ships, whatever their vaccination status, despite the return of cruise ships to the sea after being significantly affected by the pandemic.

You are up to date

Stay tuned for more news updates throughout the day.

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