Morning mail: Melbourne businesses’ Omicron woes, Prince
Andrew fails to dismiss case, Djokovic questions

Thursday: pubs and restaurants say latest Covid wave has been worse than lockdown. Plus: embrace the era of the password manager

Good morning. The true picture of Omicron’s spread in Australia is becoming clearer as New South Wales joins other states in recording rapid tests results, Prince Andrew fails in his bid to have a sexual abuse lawsuit dismissed, and Novak Djokovic faces serious consequences for his actions after testing positive for Covid in December.

The Omicron wave has been more damaging for business than lockdown, Melbourne business owners have calculated, with the absence of state or federal support exacerbating Covid-related staff shortages. On the retail and hospitality strip Chapel Street, 35% of the 2,200 staff employed have lost shifts while either sick or isolating, prompting business owners to call for a return of the $750-a-week disaster payments. Across the nation, businesses are temporarily closing as food shortages continue and music festivals are cancelled. Aged care providers have said family members have been providing critical care services due to staff shortages, with Covid outbreaks in at least 495 facilities nationally. Rates of hospitalisation have hit record highs, prompting doctors to encourage mild symptom sufferers to remain at home. It comes as NSW prepares for a huge jump in its Covid figures, with more than 50,000 positive rapid tests already registered after the online system was launched yesterday.

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