Australia: New South Wales sees deadliest day amid new wave of Omicron pandemic

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Sydney [Australia](ANI/Xinhua): Australia’s state of New South Wales (NSW) recorded its deadliest day since the COVID-19 pandemic began in the country in early 2020, with 18 deaths including a child under five.

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said the child who died at home had “significant underlying health conditions.”
The state recorded 20,293 new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8:00 p.m. local time Sunday, slightly dropped from the peak daily increase of over 45,000 on last Saturday.

However, Chant said the number “clearly is an underestimated” as a result of the do-it-yourself rapid antigen tests (RAT), which is currently used as an alternative to the PCR test, still unable to be registered through the government website.

Chant urged people, even if they test positive on a RAT instead of the PCR test, to connect with health services to ensure they are safe for the duration of the disease.

“If you fall into the categories where you are unvaccinated, you are pregnant, you have chronic underlying medical conditions, please don’t delay getting a COVID-19 diagnosis.”

At the same time, the number of hospitalizations and people in intensive care in NSW continued to increase, as 2,030 hospitalizations with 159 people in intensive care 47 of whom require ventilation were recorded on Monday.

Meanwhile, the state of Queensland delayed the start of the new school year, as the state is still battling hard with the new wave of the pandemic.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state’s 2022 school year will start on February 7, to avoid the predicted Omicron wave peak and to allow more time for children to get vaccinated.

“Delaying the start of school is a common-sense measure which is particularly important for five to 11-year-old who will be eligible to be vaccinated from January 10.”

On Monday, Queensland reported 9,581 new cases, lower from a peak of 18,000 cases recorded on Sunday. (Image-Dreamstime)

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