Australia to Push Ahead with Reopening Amid Record COVID-19 Cases

Australia's government said the milder impact of the Omicron strain of COVID-19 meant the country could push ahead with plans to reopen the economy even as new infections hit a record of more than 37,000 and the number of people hospitalised rose, Reuters reported. Record daily case numbers were reported on Monday in the states of Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania, as well as the Australian Capital Territory. In New South Wales, there were 20,794 cases, higher than Sunday's figure but below the daily record of 22,577 set on Saturday, with testing numbers lower over the New Year's holiday weekend. The national daily total hit a record of more than 37,150 cases, exceeding Saturday's 35,327 cases, with Western Australia and the Northern Territory still to report. "We have to stop thinking about case numbers and think about serious illness, living with the virus, managing our own health and ensuring that we're monitoring those symptoms and we keep our economy going," Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Channel Seven. Hospitalisations rose to 1,204 in New South Wales, up more than 10% from Sunday and more than three times the level on Christmas Day. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the advice to the government was that the Omicron strain was more transmissible but also milder than other variants, which reduced the risk to both individuals and the health system. Read more.
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