Australia COVID-19 infections hit record amid runaway Omicron outbreak
14 January, 2022, 2:10 pm
SYDNEY, Jan 13 (Reuters) – Australia on Thursday reported its biggest pandemic caseload with a runaway Omicron outbreak driving up hospitalisation rates as the surge put severe strain on supply chains forcing authorities to ease quarantine rules for more workers.
After successfully containing the virus earlier in the pandemic, Australia has reported nearly a million cases over the last two weeks as people slowly get adjusted to living with the coronavirus amid fewer restrictions. Total infections detected since the pandemic began neared 1.4 million.
Net new hospital admissions and people admitted to intensive care are at their highest in the pandemic but authorities have said the health systems can cope with the rising cases.
Amid pressure on supply chains, Victorian state authorities on Thursday exempted more workers from quarantine requirements for being close contacts. Staff in emergency services, education and transport can go back to work if they are symptom-free.
Victoria’s move comes ahead of a meeting of the national cabinet – the group of federal and state leaders – later on Thursday, where Prime Minister Scott Morrison will propose steps to relieve the pressure on business supply chains.
Queensland state on Thursday decided to fully open its domestic borders for the first time in nearly two years with travellers not required to carry border passes and negative COVID-19 results.