Sydney pathology service incorrectly tells 400 positive Covid-19 cases they are negative

The laboratory's medical director professor Anthony Dodds blamed the mistake on the "large volume of tests" they were processing.

Those affected were notified of their result, for swabs taken from December 22 and December 23, last night at 8pm.

Professor Dodds said they had become aware of the mistake this morning.

"These people had tested positive to Covid," he said.

"As soon we became aware of the issue this morning, SydPath immediately commenced a process to contact impacted people.

"We sincerely apologise to all those impacted."

Pre-Christmas Omicron surge leads to record new British Covid cases

Many industries and transport networks are struggling with staff shortages as sick workers self-isolate, while hospitals in Britain have warned of the risk of an impact on patient safety.

Omicron's rapid advance has driven a surge in cases in Britain over the last seven days, with the total rising by 678,165, government data showed.

As the Conservative government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson struggles to limit the economic impact of the latest Covid-19 outbreak it said on Wednesday it was reducing the legal self-isolation period in England to seven days from 10.

New South Wales passes 3000 Covid-19 cases

It is the first time daily cases have reached the 3000 mark anywhere in Australia.

Hospitalisations again increased today to 284, up from 261 yesterday.

There are now 39 patients in intensive care.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet yesterday reiterated calls for calm, saying hospital and ICU figures were still low.

Perrottet said his government's pandemic response was about balancing keeping people safe and boosting the economy.

"The pandemic is not going away, we need to learn to live alongside it," he said.

Omicron variant drives surge in Covid-19 cases across US

The fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus has become dominant in the United States with lightning speed, and claimed the life on Monday of an unvaccinated man in Texas, officials said.

The spike in Covid-19 cases is alarming public health officials, who fear an explosion of infections after the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

The Omicron variant now accounts for 73 percent of US coronavirus infections based on sequencing data for the week ended on Saturday, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday.

Six travelers test positive for Covid-19 in Fiji

The Ministry of Health recorded the cases after the mandatory 3-day hotel stay and testing.

MOH’s Permanent Secretary, Doctor James Fong said in accordance with entry requirements, all cases had tested negative in the 72 hours before departure and are fully vaccinated.

Dr Fong added that all the cases are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms and have been isolated within hotels with protocols that have been established in the lead-up to border opening.

He said the positive samples will be sent to the partner laboratory in Australia for genomic sequencing.

Child is youngest person with Covid-19 to die in NZ - MoH data

In yesterday's update of the numbers on the Ministry's official website, one death has been recorded in the 0-9 age group.

That age group had no deaths listed 24 hours ago and was last updated yesterday. The data says the child is a Māori boy, registered to the Counties Manukau DHB.

The death was not reported in today's 1pm update from the Ministry.

There have now been 49 deaths of people with Covid-19.

The youngest age group has recorded 2201 cases of Covid-19 since the pandemic began - 16.5 percent of all cases.

US surpasses 800,000 pandemic deaths

It comes as the US reached 50 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 on Monday.

Most deaths have been recorded among the unvaccinated and the elderly, and more Americans died in 2021 than in 2020.

The US is again seeing deaths rising at an alarming rate.

The last 100,000 deaths came in just the past 11 weeks, a quicker pace than any at other point aside from last winter's surge.

Omicron probably in most countries, WHO says

Cases of the heavily mutated variant have been confirmed in 77 countries.

But WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was probably in many others that had yet to detect it, and was spreading at an unprecedented rate.

Dr Tedros said he was concerned that Omicron was being underestimated.

"Surely, we have learned by now that we underestimate this virus at our peril. Even if Omicron does cause less severe disease, the sheer number of cases could once again overwhelm unprepared health systems," he said.

New NZ fund to help Pacific nations recover from Covid-19

"They're prioritising coordinating with the Pacific region - particularly Māori and Pasifika - as a key to maintaining an indigenous focus," she said.

Government officials plan to go to market early next year to speak with those interested in managing the fund.

New Zealand's Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth Phil Twyford said if things remain on track, investments for projects will made by the end of next year.

French Polynesia vaccination law endorsed by Paris court

Anyone working in healthcare or with the public has to be vaccinated against Covid-19 according to the law adopted in late August.

However, there have been several legal challenges, which prompted the government to defer the law's enforcement from October to December.

An interim ruling had affirmed the law's validity but now the Paris court has given its full approval, which has been welcomed by the government.

A general strike last month failed to get the government to drop the law, which will now be applied from 23 January.