COVID-19 Update: Australia reports 56 deaths as health minister says Omicron wave 'peaking'

Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt speaks via video link to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra. Source: AAP

This is your update on the Coronavirus in Australia for January 24, 2022.

  • Federal health minister Greg Hunt says the Omicron wave is 'peaking' in key hotspots, as 56 more COVID-19 deaths are reported around the country.
  • Free rapid antigen tests have become available for concession cardholders from today. More than 6 million people, including pensioners, veterans and low-income earners are now eligible for up to 10 free tests from pharmacies within a three-month period.
  • The Federal government has continued to face questions over RAT kit shortages, the health minister said 16 million rapid antigen tests were expected to arrive between now and the end of July.
  • A new COVID-19 vaccine, Novavax has received the final green-light for use in Australia in adults and will be rolled out from February 21.
  • Novavax is a two-dose vaccine administered three weeks apart.
  • NSW recorded an increase in people hospitalised with COVID-19 with 2,816, a jump from the 2,712 recorded on Sunday. While the number of people in hospital in Victoria fell to 998, down from 1,002 patients on Sunday and remained steady in Queensland at 863.
  • The Queensland government will release back to school plans this week.
  • From today, Queenslanders can now have their third booster shot three months after their second. 

COVID-19 Stats: 

NSW reported 2,816 patients have been hospitalised with 196 in intensive care, 24 new deaths, and 15,091 new cases of COVID-19.

In Victoria, 998 people were hospitalised, there were 17 deaths and 11,695 new infections - a decrease from 13,091 infections on Sunday. 

In Queensland, there are 878 people in hospital including 50 in intensive care, 13 deaths and 10,212 new cases.  Tasmania has recorded 41 new hospitalisations, 619 new cases and one death.

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