Home / World News / Australians face Boxing Day virus surge

Australians face Boxing Day virus surge

Australians face a day of festive leftovers, Boxing Day sales and surging COVID-19 infections with the national daily case total expected to pass 10,000.

Christmas Day coronavirus numbers across the country hit 9993, a figure expected to be eclipsed on Sunday.

Thousands in NSW woke to a lonely day, many in isolation or separated from family as a record 6288 cases were reported.

It was a similar story in Queensland where 765 new infections were counted, 151 of them of the Omicron variant. The mark was 176 higher than the state’s previous record set on Friday.

Victoria avoided setting a new record on Saturday but another 2108 people tested positive for the virus, ruining festive plans as they and their close contacts were forced to isolate.

South Australia recorded 634 new cases with 12 patients in hospital, two of them in intensive care units.

Some 33 cases were diagnosed in Tasmania, while the Northern Territory reported 19 cases, 10 of which were interstate arrivals. Also among them is a healthcare worker at Darwin’s biggest hospital.

Western Australia recorded two new local COVID-19 infections on Christmas Day, both linked to a French backpacker who arrived in the state from Queensland.

The cases bring the total number of community infections in WA to seven, after five cases were reported on Friday.

The country is battling its biggest, most widespread outbreak with the Omicron variant in every state and territory.

Mask-wearing is compulsory in place in most of them, as leaders try to limit the spread of the highly infectious variant over the festive season.

Six deaths were reported across Australia, all in Victoria.

Meanwhile, wait times for testing and results have blown out in several states.

As infections continue to rise, the federal government announced the wait for booster shots will be reduced twice in January.

From January 4, boosters will be brought forward to four months after the second dose – down from five months currently.

Then from January 31, people can get boosters after three months.

About 7.5 million Australians will be eligible for their booster shot come January 4. This will jump to 16 million at the end of the month once the time frame is dropped to three months.

Health Minister Greg Hunt praised Australians who have rolled up their sleeves for their third dose.

“Many thanks to Australians for taking us well past two million boosters,” he tweeted.

Some 123,500 shots were given on Christmas Eve, 94,072 of them boosters.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese used their Christmas messages to thank Australians for standing together and supporting each other during the pandemic.

“This pandemic continues to buffet us … (but) Christmas is a time of hope and we are an optimistic people,” Mr Morrison said.

Mr Albanese said Australians deserved to have a happy Christmas after a challenging two years.

“With our borders opening up again, we’re getting back together. Off the Zoom and actually back in the room with family, friends and loved ones,” he said.

About brandsauthority

Check Also

UK 'might face three-hour winter power cuts'

The United Kingdom’s National Grid has warned that there could be planned power cuts in …

%d bloggers like this: