Australia news LIVE: Novak Djokovic visa saga enters sixth day as Immigration Minister considers position; COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the nation

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  • Djokovic’s mother ‘very worried’ about world No.1’s possible deportation
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
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Djokovic’s mother ‘very worried’ about world No.1’s possible deportation

Novak Djokovic’s mother Dijana Djokovic is “very worried” her son will be kicked out of Australia, and says it’s unfair Immigration Minister Alex Hawke can solely rule on his deportation.

Speaking on Channel Seven’s breakfast show Sunrise earlier morning, Ms Djokovic said she realised the vaccination exemption debacle was “not over yet”.

Novak Djokovic’s mother Dijana Djokovic on Channel Seven’s Sunrise program earlier this morning. Credit:Channel Seven

“I was reading in the newspapers that there is the possibility they still do want to deport him. I’m very worried,” she said.

“We are all praying that he will stay and he will play.

“Don’t throw him out. He’s a tennis player. He’s not a politician, he’s not a criminal, he’s not a murderer.”

Ms Djokovic said she did not understand how one man could make the decision to deport the world No. 1 (following her son’s court win earlier this week), but added that she was not familiar with Australia’s rules.

She said that, even as his mother, she could not pressure Djokovic to be vaccinated against COVID-19. However, she was confident he was doing “everything to take care of his body to stay healthy”.

“I don’t know what is the problem if he does not want to be vaccinated. That’s his choice.

“You can’t pursue him or pressure him to do this … you can do every day [a] PCR or whatever you want and you will see that he’s healthy, so what’s the problem?”

Triple zero missing 70 per cent of time targets in Victoria

Victoria’s triple-zero service is again in crisis, with at least seven out of 10 calls not answered on time during some shifts and the deaths or serious injuries of up to a dozen people in recent months suspected to be linked to delays in answering calls.

Ninety per cent of the state’s triple-zero calls to the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority are meant to be answered within five seconds on average over a month, according to the organisation’s service benchmark.

Waiting times for callers seeking an ambulance have blown out. Credit:Joe Armao

But this masthead has confirmed the system has become so overwhelmed in the face of chronic understaffing and a rush of COVID-related demand that during some shifts at ESTA in recent weeks, fewer than 30 per cent of calls have been answered on time.

Read the full story here.

Holiday care programs scaled back, cancelled in NSW due to staff shortages

School holiday care providers are slashing hours and cancelling programs in NSW as COVID-19 staffing shortages force dozens of educators into isolation and parents scramble to find alternative care.

The significant disruption to after-care programs foreshadows the challenges ahead for the education sector, including how schools will cope as rising infections threaten teacher and student absences.

Children from a Lane Cove Vacation Care play in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens.Credit:Rhett Wyman

The NSW government is expected to announce its back-to-school plan in the coming week – including the roll-out of a “test-to-stay” program.

It has been resolute that students will return on February 1.

Read the full story here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for your company.

It’s Wednesday, January 12. I’m Broede Carmody and I’m back on deck anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day.

Here’s everything you need to know before we get started.

  • NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard says the true scale of the state’s current Omicron wave will be known by the end of the week. That’s because NSW residents are required to register their positive rapid antigen test results from today. The state reported 25,870 official cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 11 deaths.
  • In Victoria, the state’s triple-zero service is under strain with at least seven out of 10 calls not answered within the required timeframe. As Aisha Dow and Nick McKenzie report, the issues are a result of chronic understaffing and a rush of COVID-related demand. Victoria yesterday reported 37,994 coronavirus cases (19,491 from PCR tests and 18,503 from self-reported rapid antigen tests). Thirteen deaths were recorded during the reporting period.
  • The Queensland government’s decision to postpone the start of the school year has some health experts worried about the impact on students’ mental health. The state yesterday reported 20,566 cases of COVID-19 (16,380 positive PCR tests and 4186 positive rapid antigen tests). There was also one death.
  • And in federal politics, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is yet to make a decision on whether to cancel Novak Djokovic’s visa following the world No. 1’s court win earlier this week. The government is investigating whether the tennis star lied on his travel entry form (he claimed he had not travelled in the previous 14 days but, according to European media, he was spotted in the Spanish city of Marbella on December 31). The saga has now entered its sixth day.
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