Today: Thursday, 11 August 2022 year

Australian PM says no Christmas lockdown as hospitals coping with rising Omicron

Australian PM says no Christmas lockdown as hospitals coping with rising Omicron

Prime Minister Scott Morrison ruled out a Christmas lockdown, adding Australian hospitals were coping well with a record surge in COVID-19 cases fuelled by the Omicron.

The new strain of the coronavirus will not ruin Christmas holidays for the Australians, said prime minister. While the nation is grappling with the more transmissible Omicron, the restrictions ease ahead of winter season after higher immunization levels were reached, Metro US has learned.

Commenting on an emergency Cabinet meeting, PM Morrison said that despite these rising cases, the Australian health system remains in a strong position.

Across the country, hospitalisation and death rates remain low compared with those seen during a wave of cases from the Delta wave. As the top official said, Australians have worked very hard to have this Christmas together and the government does its best to protect nation.

“One of the things we agreed today is, we are not going back to lockdowns. We do not want to go back to lockdowns,” Morrison added.

In fact, no national mandatory rule to wear masks indoors would be introduced, although it would be strongly recommended. However, residents of most states, except the most populous New South Wales (NSW), have been ordered by their state governments to wear masks indoors in public buildings.

“That is not a decision for myself as prime minister or the premiers and chief ministers,” Morrison said.

On Wednesday, the health ministry reported more than 5,000 daily infections for the first time during the pandemic, eclipsing the previous high of about 4,600 the previous day. About 95% of new cases were NSW and Victoria states.

Australia’s tally of 265,000 COVID-19 cases and 2,162 deaths since the epidemic began is far lower than that of many nations.