Australia nears Omicron peak as daily infections hover around records


  • World
  • Saturday, 15 Jan 2022

FILE PHOTO: A woman takes a test for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a testing centre in Sydney, Australia, January 5, 2022. REUTERS/Jaimi Joy

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia has likely neared the peak of its Omicron wave, authorities said on Saturday, but warned daily infections will linger near record levels for "the next few weeks" after more than 100,000 cases were reported for a fourth straight day.

Having limited the spread of the coronavirus through tough restrictions earlier in the pandemic, Australia is now suffering record caseloads from the Omicron variant. Most parts of the country have shifted to a strategy of living with the virus as they reached higher vaccination rates.

More than 1.2 million infections have been recorded this year, compared with 200,000 for 2020 and 2021 combined.

"We are not through it yet and I think there are still going to be large number of cases diagnosed in Australia over the next few weeks," Chief Health Officer Paul Kelly told a news briefing, referring to the Omicron outbreak.

But modelling from some states "leads me to believe that we are close to the peak of this wave in terms of cases," he said.

Infections have dipped over the last three days while the rise in hospitalisations in worst-hit New South Wales, Australia's most populous state, has slowed slightly, official data showed.

Most states are battling record hospitalisations during the Omicron wave, with authorities saying unvaccinated younger people forming a "significant number" of admissions in Australia.

"We are seeing an epidemic of the unvaccinated in young people, we are seeing that in intensive care admissions," Kelly said.

Australia is among the most heavily vaccinated countries against COVID-19, with more than 92% of people above 16 double-dosed, and with a booster drive picking up pace.

A medical exemption for tennis star Novak Djokovic from vaccination was met with uproar in the country.

The federal government of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, fielding criticism for his handling of the Omicron wave in an election year, on Friday cancelled Djokovic's visa for the second time over COVID-19 entry rules. Djokovic is seeking a court ruling to stop his deportation.

(Reporting by Renju Jose; Editing by William Mallard)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights
   

Next In World

Ukraine's former President blocked from leaving the country
First case of monkeypox confirmed in Ireland
Russian ex-president Medvedev calls for tougher 'foreign agent' law
Iran shows off underground drone base, but not its location -state media
U.S. doctors reconsider Pfizer's Paxlovid for lower-risk COVID patients
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican power broker for decades, dies at 94
Ukraine receives Harpoon missiles and howitzers, says defence minister
Russia says eastern Ukraine town of Lyman is under its full control
Iranian police fire shots, teargas to disperse protests over building collapse
Congo summons Rwandan ambassador over alleged support for M23 rebels

Others Also Read