SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 1 October 2022, Saturday |

Australia vows to ‘push through’ Omicron wave as infections cross 1 mln

Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned on Monday that Australia must “push through” the fast-moving Omicron outbreak, as illnesses topped 1 million, with more than half occurring in the last week alone, putting a pressure on hospitals and supply networks.

Although strong lockdowns and strict border restrictions held infections at bay early in the pandemic, Australia is now facing record infections in its attempt to live with the virus due to increased vaccination rates.

Growing hospital admissions have compelled regulators in several states to reinstate restrictions, as firms struggle with personnel shortages due to illness or isolation needs.

Morrison, under pressure at the outset of an election year, intends to relax isolation requirements to enable persons who have been in close contact with asymptomatic illnesses to work in food production and distribution.

“Omicron is a gear shift, and we have to push through,” the prime minister said during a press conference in Canberra. “You have two options here: either push through or lock down. We believe in perseverance.”

Morrison intends to broaden the adjustments to include transportation and other critical industries in the future.

Despite the fact that Australia was dealing with a large number of cases, health services were coping, according to Morrison. More than 3,500 patients have been admitted to hospitals, up from around 2,000 a week earlier.

According to Reuters data, Australia’s infections surpassed 1 million on Monday, with more than half occurring in the previous week alone.

Morrison, under pressure at the outset of an election year, intends to relax isolation requirements to enable persons who have been in close contact with asymptomatic illnesses to work in food production and distribution.

Supply shortages might last for another three weeks, according to Woolworths, where one of every five staff is quarantined.

“At this point, there is enough goods in our supply chain to satisfy the demands of customers,” said CEO Brad Banducci on ABC Radio. “Unfortunately, it may not always be their favorite brand.”

Australia’s rigorous border controls are again in the spotlight after the country denied an entrance visa to renowned tennis player Novak Djokovic due to concerns about his vaccination exemption.
The judge hearing Djokovic’s legal challenge to the visa revocation decision expressed reservations about how the Serbian was treated by border officers upon his arrival.

THE CASE NUMBER IS ‘OVERESTIMATE.’

Health authorities warned that the amount of little over 67,000 illnesses reported on Monday might be a “underestimation,” because some states’ estimates do not include people who tested positive in at-home quick antigen testing. The total on Sunday was little under 100,000.

Since the initial occurrence nearly two years ago, the total number of COVID-19 infections in Australia has reached 1.04 million.

The death toll remains at 2,387, albeit the Omicron outbreak has resulted in fewer deaths than prior outbreaks, with 92 percent of people over the age of 16 receiving two vaccination doses.

As its booster program gains traction, Australia began administering vaccinations manufactured by Pfizer (PFE.N) to children aged five to eleven on Monday.

    Source:
  • Reuters