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Australia COVID-19 infections hit 1 million as Omicron drives record surge -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO A female takes an examination for coronavirus (COVID-19), at Sydney’s testing center on January 5, 2022. REUTERS/Jaimi Joy

SYDNEY – Australia’s COVID-19 case count surpassed one million on Monday, with over half of those cases recorded within the past week. The Omicron variant ravaged most of Australia and drove up hospitalisation rates as well as straining supply chain logistics.

Australia has been suffering from record levels of infection since the outbreak. Despite having successfully controlled its caseload with aggressive border control and tight lockdowns during the earlier pandemics, Australia now faces record numbers.

Australia’s stringent border regulations are back in the spotlight after Novak Djokovic, a tennis player was denied a visa due to questions regarding his exemption from vaccines. The courts will hear Novak Djokovic’s plea for asylum in Australia on Monday.

Djokovic is the number-one player in the world and argues that his recent COVID-19 diagnosis qualifies him to receive a medical exemption from the country’s requirement that all foreign visitors be twice vaccinated.

New South Wales reported Monday that it had received 55,000 cases from Victoria. This brings the total number of COVID-19-related infections to 1.03 million in Australia since 2001, when the first was registered. Later in the day, other states and territories may report their figures.

There have been 2,387 deaths so far. However, the Omicron wave’s death rate has been lower than previous outbreaks. 92% of those over 16 were double-dosaged and the booster program picking up speed.

With the rising number of hospitalisations, officials had to reinstate restrictions within states. Meanwhile staff shortages as a result of isolation rules or sick people have struck businesses.

Although authorities reduced mandatory isolation times for close contact and narrowed definitions of close contacts, they were reviewing regulations for furloughing workers who have increased supply chain gaps.

Starting Monday Pfizer (NYSE)’s COVID vaccinations will be provided to over 2.3 million children aged 5-11 years. Authorities have denied reports of a shortage.

According to Lieutenant General John Frewen of the Australian Broadcasting Corp, the head of the vaccine taskforce, “There’s enough vaccine, there are enough distribution points, it is about a bit of patience.”

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