The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Friday that Australia’s state of New South Wales, home to Sydney and a third of Australia’s population of 25 million, would reinstate restrictions including the closure of nightclubs and the cancellation of non-urgent surgeries.
The report, citing senior government sources, said the measures are expected to be approved by the state government’s economic reforms committee on Friday to ease the pressure on hospitals.
The newspaper said that cafes and restaurants will have capacity limits and that all patrons must be seated, while singing and dancing are prohibited in pubs. The restrictions will be branded as safeguards rather than lockdowns.
New South Wales (NSW), the worst-hit Australian state by the fast-spreading Omicron coronavirus variant, has recorded record daily infections in its testing facilities, emergency services and hospitals over the past few days.
The number of people admitted to NSW hospitals with COVID-19 has nearly doubled to a record 1,609 in just one week. The state had about 150 daily cases at the end of November, when the first Omicron case was detected. It rose to 35,000 on Thursday.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrot had strongly refused to roll back the restrictions, dismissing calls by doctors and health workers, saying it was time to live with COVID-19.
The premier’s office did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment on the Herald report.
Neighboring Victoria state a day ago rolled back restrictions that would limit people to pubs and clubs.
After successfully keeping a lid on its COVID-19 caseload through snap lockdowns, strict border rules and strict social distancing rules earlier in the pandemic, Australia is suffering from infection rates far higher than anywhere else in the Asia-Pacific. Is. Officials have warned that this number could increase further in the next several weeks.
Australia has recorded more than 684,000 cases and 2,301 deaths since the pandemic began, with more than half of the infections being recorded in the past two weeks.
(Reporting by Renju Jose; Editing by Grant McCool)
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)