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World Australia nears Omicron peak as daily infections hover around records

09:11  15 january  2022
09:11  15 january  2022 Source:   reuters.com

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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.

Australia nears Omicron peak as daily infections hover around records Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals · January 15, 2022 · 6:51 AM GMT+3. 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.

By Renju Jose

People queue for coronavirus tests in Sydney © Reuters/JAIMI JOY People queue for coronavirus tests in Sydney

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.

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Tasmania records 1201 new Covid-19 cases - but the overall number of infections has dropped for the SECOND day in a row. The new infections have come from 852 self-reported rapid antigen tests and 349 PCR tests. Tasmania's health department says 1739 people have been released from isolation in the past 24 hours. It means there are 7439 reported active cases, down from 7969 on Thursday and 8764 on Wednesday.

Australia on Thursday reported its biggest pandemic caseload with a runaway Omicron outbreak driving up hospitalisation rates as the surge put severe strain on supply chains forcing authorities to ease quarantine rules for more workers. More than 147,000 new cases have been recorded so far on Thursday in Australia , with about 92,000 in the most populous state of New South Wales (NSW), although that includes a backlog of positive at-home results dating back to the beginning of January.

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.


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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.

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New infections in NSW are expected to peak in the third or fourth week of January before they begin to decline next month, according to government modelling. Change to isolation requirements. Victoria has hit its highest hospitalisation level since the pandemic began as the state's ambulance service comes under severe pressure. There are now 861 infected people in Victorian hospitals, with 117 in intensive care and 27 on ventilators. Victoria's previous peak for Covid hospitalisations was 851 in October when the state was battling a surge in Delta infections .

Australia has passed the one-million case mark, with the official tally expected to jump in coming days as NSW and ACT health officials prepare to record positive rapid antigen test results in their daily case counts. To date, health authorities have confirmed _ cases of COVID-19. The true number of Australia 's official figures have become increasingly inaccurate as state testing facilities struggle to keep up with demand fuelled by the arrival of the Omicron variant. This is presumed to have worsened after National Cabinet's decision on January 5 to remove the need to confirm a positive rapid antigen

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)

On The Money: Jobless claims tick up as omicron surges .
Welcome to On The Money, your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup. Today's Big Deal: New claims for unemployment aid rose, but not by much. We'll also look at intense backlash to lawmakers trading stocks and the rising trade deficit. For The Hill, I'm Sylvan Lane. Write me at slane@thehill.com or @SylvanLane. You can reach my colleagues on the Finance team Naomi Jagoda at njagoda@thehill.com or @NJagoda and Aris Folley at afolley@thehill.com or @ArisFolley.Let's get to it.

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