Australia’s international borders will remain open with no new restrictions despite the country recording its first Omicron death and a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases. Authorities refrained from imposing new restrictions stating that hospitalisation rates remained low.
Omicron, which health experts say appears more contagious but less virulent than previous strains, began to spread just as Australia’s international borders reopen after shutting since last March. Its case numbers, however, have shot to the highest of the pandemic.
“Although we are seeing increased case numbers … we are not seeing the impacts on our hospital system,” said Annastacia Palaszczuk, premier of Queensland which reported 784 new cases with four people in hospital.
Around the country, the surge in infections are weighing on testing resources. Sydney testing clinic SydPath had confirmed a day earlier that it wrongly told 400 COVID-positive people they were negative in the days before Christmas; on Monday it now realised it sent wrong result messages to another 995 people.
Authorities have so far resisted closing Australia’s international borders in the face of surging case numbers but have reinstated some domestic restrictions. On Monday, NSW again made it compulsory to check into public venues with QR codes, while many states have brought back mandatory mask-wearing in indoor public places.
Read about Arrivals and quarantines: A state-by-state breakdown for international students heading to Australia for more information on getting yourself prepared for your studies there.
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