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Australia news live update: 56 Covid deaths and 4,300 in hospital nationally; NSW cases expected to ‘plateau’ next week; Djokovic visa decision looms | Australia news

Here is the full update on the Covid situation in South Australia, via AAP:

South Australia has reported a big spike in COVID-19 infections as new modelling suggests the state could have as many as 10,000 cases each day when the current outbreak peaks.

SA reported 5,679 new cases on Friday, up from 3,669 the previous day, as a large number of state-issued rapid antigen tests were included for the first time.

More than 20,000 RATs were distributed on Thursday, returning 1,747 results. Another six people have died while 246 people are in hospital, including 20 in intensive care where eight people are on ventilation.

The premier, Steven Marshall, said the increase in new infections should be viewed with a “degree of caution” given the inclusion of RAT results and because some PCR tests were delayed by hot weather.

The premier also released the latest modelling on the likely trajectory of infections which suggests SA could expect between 6,000 and 10,000 cases each day when the outbreak reaches its peak, predicted for between 15 and 25 January.

He said the modelling so far had been “alarmingly accurate” and also showed that SA could have expected up to 40,000 cases a day had the government not introduced new local restrictions on Boxing Day.

Those restrictions included tougher density limits in most venues and a 10-person cap on home gatherings.

“The modelling provides for the peak to be reached as early as tomorrow. I think we’re very close,” Marshall said.

“We’ve still got a couple of pretty tough days and weeks in front of us, but I think we can now look to the other side with great hope.”

Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier said the state had avoided a disaster with the swift introduction of new restrictions but the outcome would ultimately depend on the behaviour and attitude of everyone going forward.

“People will agree that what we’ve done in South Australia has absolutely changed what would have been catastrophic,” she said.

“Putting those restrictions in place after Christmas, I just can’t explain how significant that has been in reducing our cases.”

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