In the nation’s most populous state, New South Wales, a nurses’ strike took place for the first time in nearly a decade on Tuesday. Nurses expressed a desire for higher wages and a better balance between the number of nurses and the number of patients who needed their services.
The state’s health minister, Brad Hazzard, described the strikes as “unfortunate” and “disappointing,” particularly given they took place in defiance of a last-minute state directive ordering nurses to call off their protest over concerns about risks to public health.
Thousands of nurses and midwives demonstrated in solidarity outside the Australian parliament building in Sydney.
Despite a steady decline in the number of cases in Australia, the dissatisfaction caused by an unprecedented increase in omicron infections over the last several months continues.
Following the discovery of the first instance of omicron in Australia last November, the country registered approximately 2.4 million cases. It is estimated that there are around 2.6 million verified Covid cases, with a total number of deaths of 4,664 people.
The country, which is set to reopen its borders to international travellers who have been vaccinated on February 21 after nearly two years of closure, reported just over 24,900 cases in the preceding 24-hour period on Tuesday.