Australia reported its first death linked to the omicron variant of COVID on Monday, while recording more than 6,000 new cases of the virus. The fatal case was reported in New South Wales, the country’s most populous state.
Media reports suggest that the man, who succumbed to the new variant, was fully vaccinated against the disease but was in his 80s and had underlying health conditions. He was infected at an aged care facility in western Sydney.
While New South Wales has been experiencing a surge in COVID cases over the last week, a 70-case drop was observed on Monday after the area registered its record tally of 6,394. According to reports from Associated Press citing government data, 524 people were hospitalised with the disease, while 55 were put in the Intensive Care Units.
New measures came into force in New South Wales on Monday, including limits of one person per 2 square meters (22 square feet) in bars and restaurants and required “check-ins” with QR codes in hospitality venues.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the state government is considering lifting the requirement for health workers to isolate themselves after being exposed to COVID-19 because of staff shortages, according to reports from Associated Press.
The Australian state of Victoria registered about 2,000 new COVID infections on Monday and logged three deaths. Jeroen Weimar, the lead of Victoria’s COVID-19 response, said that the state had moved to random genome testing for the omicron variant to better understand its spread.
A day before New South Wales reported 6,288 new infections in 24 hours, an increase of 676 cases from the previous day and by far the highest number of cases in any Australian state since the pandemic began, according to reports from Associated Press.
(With AP inputs)