Live: All the COVID news you need from across Australia

Get up to speed on all the coronavirus news from across Australia.

Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreak

Follow all of today's news and updates as they unfold in the COVID live blog below. 

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Live updates3m ago3 minutes agoThu 13 Jan 2022 at 9:31pm

By Nicholas McElroy

Minister defends government decision not to order stockpile of rapid antigen tests

Finance Minister Simon Birmingham is defending the government's decision not to order large numbers of rapid antigen tests last year. 

Health experts and business leaders began urging state and federal leaders to stockpile the kits months ago. 

There's now a shortage of rapid antigen tests in Australia and the government has since bought millions that will arrive in the coming weeks and months. 

Minister Birmingham says P-C-R tests were initally the preferred option when delta was the main strain of COVID-19. 

"If we could have all predicted what the omicron variant would looked like of course you would have prepared for it in different ways," Mr Birmingham said. 

"But ultimately we modelled very carefully how we would reopen against the delta. Omicron has changed a lot of that."

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8m ago8 minutes agoThu 13 Jan 2022 at 9:25pm

By Nicholas McElroy

Here's the link to yesterday's COVID blog

While I'm at it, here are some of Thursday's key updates:

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22m ago22 minutes agoThu 13 Jan 2022 at 9:12pm

By Nicholas McElroy

Australian-made RATs await TGA approval amid supply shortage

By business reporter Michael Janda

As Australians struggle to get hold of a COVID-19 rapid antigen test, several Australian companies have been waiting months for local approval of their RATs.

Currently, only one of the 22 home tests approved by Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is made locally, with 16 sourced from China, two from the US and the others from Korea, Singapore and Germany.

However, with the global Omicron wave seeing surging demand for RATs around the world, there are concerns Australia's current supply shortage could be exacerbated if planned shipments are diverted elsewhere.

In particular, with the vast bulk of Australia's tests coming from China, a worsening Omicron outbreak there could further threaten supply if tests bound for export were requisitioned by the Chinese government.

Several Australian companies have developed COVID RATs locally, although at least two are waiting on TGA approval for tests that are already in use in Europe or North America.

Brisbane-based AnteoTech is one of those. Its chief executive Derek Thomson, told the ABC that a lack of supply was inevitable during major waves of new COVID variants such as Delta and Omicron without much earlier planning and investment by Australian governments.

"We were always going to run out of supply, and that's exactly what happened over the Christmas period," he said.

"It caught the governments on the hop, caught all the manufacturers on the hop.

"And so we're in the position that we're in. We've got a massive wave, we're saying that the frontline defence to that wave is rapid antigen testing, and no-one can buy one. So it's a disaster."

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27m ago27 minutes agoThu 13 Jan 2022 at 9:07pm

By Nicholas McElroy

Good morning to the ABC News COVID blog

It's great to be back for another day of updates. 

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