Sydney: Following a government mandate to log positive Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs), the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) recorded a record 92,264 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday.
Of the new cases, 30,877 were done through traditional PCR testing and a further 61,387 were self-reported by citizens since the government opened the self-reporting system on Wednesday, reports Xinhua news agency.
The surge in cases has been largely attributed to the Omicron variant, which has quickly outpaced PCR testing capacity across the country.
Thursday’s cases included a backlog of positive RATs from January 1.
The record spike comes as the NSW government announced that self-reporting would be made mandatory and failure to do so would incur a A$1,000 ($700) fine.
The state also saw its deadliest day of the pandemic, reporting a further 22 deaths on Thursday. In the same period, 2,383 people are in hospital with the virus, 182 of which require intensive care.
Food shortages spurred by large numbers of workers in isolation continue to be one of the most pressing challenges faced by states across the nation.
Suppliers have reported worker shortages between 20 and 50 per cent.
Joseph Romeo, director of national supermarket chain IGA, told national broadcaster ABC that they may have to begin to close stores due to the shortages.
“If we have another big spike then it’s going to be very challenging and there might be stores that we may have to close because we can’t staff the stores to a minimum to get them operating,” Romeo said.
Workers in critical industries have received exemptions from usual Covid-19 isolation requirements this week as states scramble to bolster workforces in key industries.