Australia’s international borders remain open
Australia’s international borders will remain open without further restrictions despite the country recording its first Omicron death and a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases. Authorities refrained from imposing new restrictions indicating that hospitalization rates remain low.
Omicron, which health experts say appears more contagious but less virulent than previous strains, began to spread just as Australia’s international borders reopen after being closed since last March. Its number of cases, however, has reached the highest level of the pandemic.
“Although we are seeing an increase in the number of cases… we are not seeing the impacts on our hospital system,” said Annastacia Palaszczuk, Premier of Queensland who reported 784 new cases with four people hospitalized.
Across the country, the spike in infections is straining testing resources. Sydney SydPath testing clinic had confirmed a day earlier that he had wrongly told 400 people with COVID they were negative in the days leading up to Christmas; On Monday, he realized he had sent the wrong results messages to 995 other people.
Authorities have so far resisted closing Australia’s international borders amid rising cases, but have reinstated some domestic restrictions. On Monday, NSW again made check-in in public places with QR codes mandatory, while many states reinstated mandatory masks in indoor public places.
Read on Arrivals and quarantines: a state-by-state breakdown for international students visiting Australia for more information on preparing for your studies there.