Virus Cases Surge in Australia's Most Populous State as Curbs Eased
(Bloomberg) -- Australia’s most-populous state has recorded its highest daily Covid-19 infection tally in more than two months as authorities battle the fast-spreading omicron variant, even as New South Wales readies to remove almost all restrictions.
The state recorded 804 new virus infections in the 24 hours to 8 p.m. Monday, a 50% jump from the day before, officials said in statement Tuesday. It’s the largest tally since Oct. 2, when its largest city Sydney was in the midst of a months-long lockdown to combat the delta variant.
The surge in cases comes as authorities now also battle outbreaks of the omicron variant that has spread at mass gatherings in pubs and nightclubs in Sydney and Newcastle. The state is set to remove just about all restrictions apart from a handful of measures including mask-wearing on public transport on Wednesday, when 95% of its adult population is projected to be completely vaccinated.
While the spike in infections is a concern as the nation enters its main summer holiday season starting from Christmas, health authorities say their focus has turned from case numbers to hospitalization rates from the virus.
In New South Wales, about 168 people are in hospital with Covid-19, 21 of whom need intensive care. Hospitalizations in the state have fallen from a peak of almost 1,300 in mid-September as the nation’s vaccination program has gathered pace.
Meanwhile, neighboring Victoria state -- which includes Melbourne -- has also found suppressing its latest outbreak a challenge, with daily infections hovering around 1,200.
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