For the first time, Australia recorded more than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases in a single day, as a backlog of home test results was added to the tally and states reintroduced restrictions to assist hospitals stricken by the fast-spreading omicron strain. On Saturday, the number of cases in Victoria state more than doubled to 51,356, as officials began recording results from quick tests for the first time.
According to Health Minister Martin Foley, 26,428 of the positive results came from newly admission testing done during the past week.
Australia has had 116,025 new cases, with 45,098 of them in New South Wales, where 1,795 people have been admitted to hospitals. The illness claimed the lives of nine people in the state and Victoria. The increase comes as governments like as Victoria and New South Wales have suspended non-urgent surgeries and imposed new social restrictions in an attempt to relieve hospital overcrowding.
Officials in New South Wales, where Sydney is the state capital, expect hospitalisation numbers to more than double by late January, reaching 4,700. The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Saturday that hospitals in the state are starting to treat patients with and without the virus in the same ward, reversing policy from earlier in the pandemic.
In recent weeks, the number of cases has exploded across the country, with Australia Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull among the most high-profile victims.
In the midst of a statewide shortage of quick antigen tests, the Australian government said on Saturday that it will block “improper export” of the kits and prohibit the resale of tests purchased from retail shops at prices more than 120 percent more than the original purchase price. In order to prevent hoarding, the government is considering regulating the amount of tests people can buy at any given moment.