Fueled by the highly permeable Omicron version, Australia’s daily coronavirus infections hit a new peak on Thursday, overwhelming hospitalizations, while isolation rules caused labor shortages, straining businesses and supply chains.
Thursday’s count is still incomplete, with Australia so far reporting 72,392 new infections which easily surpassed the high of 64,774 set a day earlier. Western Australia is about to post its new cases later.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, facing a federal election ahead of May, is under pressure to tackle the Omicron outbreak due to a lack of stocks of antigen tests and hours of waiting times at testing centers.
After successfully keeping a lid on its COVID-19 caseload through aggressive lockdowns earlier in the pandemic, Australia is now suffering from a far higher infection rate than the Asia-Pacific region, and some of the country’s epidemiologists predict the worst-case scenario. still left. ,
The government on Thursday revoked Novak Djokovic’s visa to quell public anger over the decision to grant world tennis number one a medical exemption from vaccination to play at the Australian Open.
Authorities have eased testing requirements and shortened the quarantine period for asymptomatic close contacts following concerns that essential services were overrun.
To ease pressure on businesses, the New South Wales (NSW) government urged firms to avoid asking employees, who may have been exposed to the virus, to self-care if they do not display any symptoms. Can get tested.
“They shouldn’t need to be tested,” NSW Premier Dominic Perrott told radio station 2GB on Thursday. “A change in behavior will take time because … over the last two years we’ve been asking (everyone) to go and test.”
The Transport Workers’ Union said on Wednesday that nearly 50% of truck drivers are isolated due to COVID protocols, putting Australia’s supply chain under “significant pressure”.
Amid reports of empty shelves in some supermarkets, Coles Group reintroduced temporary purchase limits for some meat products “to help manage demand for key grocery items.” Rival Woolworths said stock deliveries were delayed but now denied any restrictions.