Canberra: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has urged people to “stay calm and get boosted” amid surging coronavirus infections.
Morrison on Wednesday December 22 met state and territory leaders to discuss the rapid spread of the Omicron variant in Australia, Xinhua news agency reported.
Following the meeting, he announced that one-quarter of the state-run vaccination hubs that closed after Australia got 80 per cent of its population fully vaccinated against Covid will reopen to encourage booster shot uptake.
“Omicron, we all agree, presents another new challenge, but we have faced so many challenges already during the course of this pandemic,” Morrison told reporters.
“As the country moves past 80 per cent, then we did see the demand at state-based clinics decline. And as a result, some of those facilities were withdrawn.”
“They now need to be ramped up again.”
State and territory leaders have pushed for the interval between the second and third vaccine doses to be reduced from five months, but Morrison said the final decision would be made by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).
The national cabinet also agreed to reconsider testing requirements for interstate travel, with testing sites across the country swamped in the lead-up to the Christmas period, and to agree on a common definition of a “casual contact” of a positive case.
Australia on Wednesday reported a record of more than 5,700 new locally acquired COVID-19 infections and eight deaths.
The daily number of new cases kept rising in New South Wales to 3,763 on Wednesday, which is the highest number of daily COVID-19 infections recorded in the whole country.
The Australian Capital Territory also reported a record of 58 new infections.