On Friday, new coronavirus infections in Australia reached a new high of more than 32,000, just days after breaking the 10,000 mark for the first time. The extremely contagious omicron strain, according to experts, is driving the explosion, as is a recent relaxation of regulations in Sydney and other regions.
In Sydney, more than 15,000 new cases were reported. Another 5,000 cases were verified in other parts of New South Wales, while around 6,000 cases were confirmed in Victoria, which is home to Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city. While hospitalizations and deaths have increased as a result of the outbreak, they have not yet approached the levels observed in past outbreaks. And many cities planned to hold New Year’s Eve events, including the famed Sydney Harbor Bridge and Sydney Opera House fireworks show.
Authorities expected much fewer people than in pre-pandemic years, when up to one million people flocked to Sydney’s central business district. Despite the rising virus rates and the various natural disasters the country has recently suffered, Prime Minister Scott Morrison remains cheerful.
“Despite the pandemic, floods, fires, ongoing drought in some places, storms, lockdowns, and even mouse infestations, Australia is stronger today than it was a year ago.” In a New Year’s Eve greeting, Morrison stated, “And we’re safer.” “We have one of the lowest COVID death rates and one of the highest COVID immunisation rates in the world,” he said.
Officials in the state of New South Wales confirmed six new deaths, with 763 patients admitted to hospitals, including 69 in intensive care. People have had to wait for hours because the state hasn’t been able to keep up with demand for exams. State Premier Dominic Perrottet, on the other hand, said the health-care system was holding up well. “While the case numbers are far higher than they were with the delta variation, our position remains quite solid,” he said. “Keeping our people safe is our number one priority here in New South Wales, and it will remain so as we move forward in this next phase.”