Omicron tightens its noose: Wednesday marked as second deadliest pandemic day

Image Source: © Phonlamaiphoto| Megapixl.com

Highlights

  • Wednesday proved to be the second deadliest day of the pandemic after NSW and Victoria reported 21 Covid deaths each.
  • The cumulative cases in the country rose to 1124,138 on Wednesday.
  • Today, the Prime Minister will meet representatives from states and territories in the national cabinet meeting to discuss a uniform approach to reopening schools later this month.

Australia sees a daily rise in COVID-19 cases. Wednesday proved to be the second day of the pandemic with the highest number of casualties, with 21 deaths recorded in NSW and Victoria each and seven in SA. As of 12 January 2022, Australia reported 80.28k new Covid cases; with this, the cumulative cases in the country rose to 1124,138 on Wednesday. 

NSW, Australia’s most populous state, has made mandatory the reporting of rapid antigen test results after reporting the highest daily death count in the state yesterday. State Premier Dominic Perrottet announced that individuals who do not upload a positive rapid antigen test would face a penalty of around 1,000 Australian dollars from next week onwards. 

A few days back, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that Australia has no other choice but to “push through” the Omicron wave.

What all we can expect from Today’s national Cabinet meet?

Today, the Prime Minister will meet representatives from states and territories in the national cabinet meeting to discuss a uniform approach to reopening schools later this month. Other issues which are likely to be addressed in the meeting involve - how to address staff shortages, free RAT kits and food shortages.

There are speculations that the national cabinet is likely to expand the list of sectors categorised as essential to keep the supply chains moving. Recently, the federal government decided to do away with the isolation requirements for Close contacts of COVID-19 cases employed in critical supply chains. The decision to scrap the isolation requirement has been taken to address the issue of workforce shortages that have hit the Australian food industry hard.

On Monday, Scott Morrison said that the COVID isolation requirements would not apply to those employed in “critical supply chains”. 

In today’s meeting, other sectors such as road, rail and air transport, energy supply, mental health and education could lay out a proposal to be classified as essential.

Transport and logistics workers are expected to get the priority, as food shortages rock supermarkets as well as hospitality venues.  

Shortage of rapid tests:

Meanwhile, Australia is also witnessing shortages of rapid tests. The government has put an urgent tender for over AU$60 million of the tests. The federal health department had placed five separate tenders for the rapid tests on Monday. As per tender listings, these tenders were sent due to “extreme urgency or events unforeseen”.


 


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