Omicron variant is raging in NSW

Australia is facing a herculean task to fight COVID-19 variant Omicron. The two most populous states NSWS and Victoria are going to report unprecedented numbers in the coming week. This was exhibited when COVID numbers in NSW surged more than 70 per cent in a single day with 21,151 new infections.

NSW health authorities have warned testing capacity in the state is under “enormous pressure”.

NSW has also recorded 6 new deaths. 832 people are in hospital with the virus. 69 people are in intensive care, with 19 requiring ventilation.

The state Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant says the real numbers are possibly higher than reported. With Omicron being highly contagious, the virus is transmitting a lot and a lot faster in the community.

“If you have the most minimal of symptoms I’m asking you to please stay home, isolate and get a test,” Dr Chant said on Friday.

Experts are suggesting people should use rapid antigen tests before socialising. But there being a lot of pressure on testing centre, NSW Health wants people to seek PCR testing only if they are experiencing coronavirus symptoms or have been advised to get one because they are a close contact of a confirmed case.

With so much pressure on labs, test results have been delayed.

Also read: Masks return as State Health Systems prepare to fight Omicron

The reported new cases are from 148,410 people who were tested in the last 24 hours.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said his state would adopt a “more balanced approach … that suits the circumstances of the time” after the emergency meeting of national cabinet yesterday.

Restoring some faith in the COVID vaccine is the fact that majority of people in intensive care are unvaccinated.

Showing huge faith in rapid antigen tests, the state has ordered 50 million tests which should relieve some pressure off the testing centres.

To add another measure to relieve pressure, the rules for international arrivals will be changed so the thousands of people flying into Sydney daily can obtain a rapid antigen test rather than joining the queue at testing clinics.

Under the revised rules, close contacts and people who test positive for COVID-19 will only have to isolate for seven days.

Approximately 95 per cent of Australians aged over 16 are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

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