Australia’s most populous state reinstated some restrictions and suspended elective surgeries on Friday as COVID-19[female[feminine cases jumped to another record.
New South Wales has reported 38,625 new cases, prompting Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet to announce regulations banning dancing and singing in pubs and nightclubs, and delaying elective surgeries until mid February.
Hospitalizations reached 1,738 in the state on Friday, and health officials warned the number could climb to 4,700 or even 6,000 in a worst-case scenario over the next month. Hospitals are already under pressure as around 3,800 healthcare workers are in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.
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Perrottet acknowledged “that it has been an incredibly difficult two years”, but said the reintroduction of the protocols was “reasonable and proportionate”.
The Australian Medical Association chief criticized Perrottet on Friday, saying the spike in cases and hospitalizations was a result of his decision to ease restrictions just as the omicron variant began to rise in the state.
“These new restrictions which we understand may come into effect today could slow the spread slightly, but there is no way they will reverse this curve,” WADA President Omar Khorshid told the 10 Network. “Everyone is either immune or they’ve caught the virus. ”
“It’s going to take a few weeks to reach this summit so we just need to prepare,” Khorshid added.
Deputy Health Secretary Susan Pearce has predicted New South Wales will get through the worst of the omicron wave by the middle of next month.
“Experiences abroad have shown that this will increase rapidly and pass quickly,” Pearce told reporters. “We believe that by mid-February we will certainly be well past the peak of this situation.”
The larger COVID-19 picture was similar across Australia on Friday with a record number of cases in most states. More than 76,000 new cases have been recorded nationwide, with more than 3,600 people hospitalized, including 223 in intensive care.
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Victoria state, where tennis star Novak Djokovic was spending his second day in quarantine, has reported 21,728 cases and will introduce new rules requiring anyone with a positive rapid antigen test to isolate and notify close contacts.
Queensland has reported 10,953 cases as Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk urged people to work from home if possible.