The death of the man, who was in his 80s and had pre-existing health problems, marked a sombre milestone for the country, which has been forced to reverse portions of a phased reopening after almost two years of stop-start lockdowns in response to the new variants.
Australia Refuses To Revert Into Lockdown Despite The First Omicron Variant Death
On Monday, Australia reported the first-ever confirmed fatality from the new Omicron variant of COVID-19, but officials refrained from implementing further restrictions, stating that hospitalisation rates remained low.
The death of the man, who was in his 80s and had pre-existing health problems, marked a sombre milestone for the country, which has been forced to reverse portions of a phased reopening after almost two years of stop-start lockdowns in response to the new outbreak.
Omicron, which health experts believe is more contagious but less virulent than previous variants, began spreading in Australia shortly after the country eased most domestic border restrictions and permitted Australians to return from abroad without quarantine, pushing case numbers to the pandemic’s peak.
The officials provided no information on the Omicron death other than to state that the man contracted the virus while residing in an elderly care home and passed in a Sydney hospital.
“This was the first known death in New South Wales (state) linked to the Omicron variant of concern," said NSW Health epidemiologist Christine Selvey.
Source - Berita Harian
The guy was one of the seven COVID-19 fatalities recorded the previous day in Australia. According to a Reuters calculation of official statistics, the country added 10,186 new cases nationally, the first time the figure has exceeded 10,000 since the pandemic began. The majority of new cases occurred in New South Wales and Victoria.
“Although we are seeing increased case numbers… we are not seeing the impacts on our hospital system," said the premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk, which reported 784 new cases with four people in hospital.
With reports of six-hour wait times for COVID testing for those wishing to pass the regulations for interstate holiday travel, Palaszczuk backed the tourism-friendly state’s policy for required testing, stating that “everyone knew when they booked a ticket that if they wanted to come here they would have to do a PCR test“.
However, she did add that Queensland was contemplating loosening testing rules for domestic visitors. Tasmania, another famous tourist destination, has indicated that it was considering adjustments to its state border testing regulations.
Meanwhile, the increase in illnesses has placed pressure on testing resources throughout the nation. SydPath, a Sydney testing centre, acknowledged a day earlier that it misinformed 400 COVID-positive individuals that they were negative in the days preceding Christmas; on Monday, it discovered it had misinformed another 995 people.
Australian authorities have refrained from reverting to lockdown in the face of rising case numbers but have imposed certain restrictions. On Monday, NSW reinstated the need to check into public venues using QR codes, while many states reinstated the requirement to wear a mask in indoor public spaces.
Additionally, the nation has reduced the interval for vaccine booster doses from six to four months and shortly to three months.
Source – Reuters