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Australia news live update: NSW records 18 Covid deaths with more than 2,000 in hospital; Victoria two deaths and 818 in hospital; Djokovic visa case in court

Good morning everyone!

It’s Matilda Boseley back on deck for the first time in 2022, and I come to you today from Queensland (not by choice – I’m in close-contact isolation), which is why I reckon we should start today by talking about the deadly floods that are affecting the state.

According to a spokesperson for the Bureau of Meteorology, tropical Cyclone Tiffany has strengthened to a category 2 storm and is just hours from making landfall in far-north Queensland.

People between Cape Tribulation and Coen, including Cooktown, should complete preparations quickly and be prepared to shelter in a safe place.

The cyclone (which formed in the Coral Sea) is expected to cross into Queensland between Cooktown and the Lockhart River sometime on Monday night, and communities have been told to expect wind gusts of up to 130km/h as the centre of the cyclone makes landfall.

After moving through far-north Queensland it’s expected to move into the Gulf of Carpentaria on Tuesday and intensify as it moves towards the Northern Territory coast.

Of course, we also need to chat about Novak Djokovic, whose visa case will be heard in federal court this morning, his lawyers challenging the rejection of his visa by Australian border force officials.

In their appeal document sent to the court, they say the 34-year-old tested positive for Covid-19 in December, and it was on those grounds that they sought a medical exemption that would allow him to defend his Australian Open crown.

But lawyers for the federal government will argue in a hearing that it had not given Djokovic any assurance that his medical exemption would be accepted.

The Serbian has to await the outcome of this hearing which will determine if he’s allowed to play for a 10th Australian title or whether he will be deported.

And of course, finally, today is the day that children aged between five and 11 will finally be eligible for the Pfizer jab, with federal health minister Greg Hunt insisting there will be sufficient supply.

He insists there will be 3m vaccine doses available over January for the 2.3 million children who will be eligible for a jab, but opposition leader Anthony Albanese said parents are anxious because they can’t get appointments for their children.

Hunt conceded that as there are 8,000 vaccination points around the country, each will have a limited number of doses a day, and therefore not every child will be able to get the jab right out of the gate. This is to make sure people in rural and regional areas, non-English-speaking areas and lower socioeconomic areas have the same access.

OK! What a morning, so why don’t we jump right into the day.

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