The Prime Minister has joined the thousands of Australians hoping they haven’t been infected with the COVID virus after a positive case attended his press conference at Sydney’s Kirribilli House.
Scott Morrison, who is fully vaccinated, held the press conference with chief medical officer Paul Kelly on Wednesday, December 29, to announce a snap national cabinet meeting.
The briefing was held outdoors and members of the press were wearing face masks.
Mr Morrison does not need to isolate or take a PCR test under NSW Health guidelines.
Changes to isolation and testing requirements were ushered in by the national cabinet meeting the following day as cases across the country soared.
Less than a week later, daily case numbers of COVID-19 are breaking records across Australia after the new year began with highs in many states.
The highly contagious Omicron variant is disrupting daily life for Australians during the summer school holidays as people in Queensland wake up to new mask requirements.
Masks must be worn indoors across Queensland from Sunday after the state recorded another 2266 COVID-19 cases on the first day of the year.
Masks were previously only required at supermarkets, shops, on public transport and ride share as well as airports and planes, cinemas and theatres in Queensland.
From Sunday they will also be required at workplaces unless unsafe to do so, pubs, clubs and cafes except for when seated, indoor stadiums and sport arenas, libraries, hair dressers and nail salons and medical centre waiting areas.
Queenslanders were also urged to return to work-from-home arrangements where possible.
Australia’s two most populous states – NSW and Victoria – kicked off 2022 with record numbers of new COVID-19 cases on Saturday.
NSW recorded another 22,577 COVID cases and four deaths as the state’s huge outbreak continues to surge.
Hospital beds filling up
The rising case numbers come as Premier Dominic Perrottet focuses on hospitalisation and intensive care numbers rather than the daily case total.
There are currently 901 people in hospital with the virus in NSW, with 79 people in intensive care.
Victoria recorded another 7442 COVID-19 infections – a jump of more than 1500 cases from Friday’s 5919 infections.
Meanwhile, Western Australia has reclassified as high-risk both Tasmania, which jumped from 520 active COVID-19 cases to 938 on New Year’s Day, and the ACT, which increased by 448 cases to a total of 1479.
This means that, from Monday, anyone entering the state from the ACT or Tasmania must be fully vaccinated, take a PCR test within 24 hours of arrival and take another test on day 12 of their 14-day self-isolation.
They must also use the G2G Now app while in quarantine.
Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said with a highly vaccinated population the state would not be heading into lockdown or closing its borders because of the climbing case numbers.
However, he did advise caution to travellers, reminding Tasmanians and visitors if they contracted the virus or became a close contact while away, they would have to isolate at their own cost.