Morrison Checks for Symptoms as Covid Clouds Australia’s Summer
Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison is monitoring for Covid-19 symptoms after a positive case was detected in his Sydney residence and as the resurgent virus upends the country’s holiday season.
The New South Wales health department advised Morrison to be on alert after a potentially infectious person attended a press conference at Kirribilli House on Wednesday, according to a government spokesman. Under the state’s recently revised covid guidelines, he doesn’t need to self-isolate.
“Residents and staff members are acting in accordance with the instructions from NSW Health,” the spokesman said in an e-mailed statement. “The Prime Minister was not required to isolate or get tested, and continues to monitor for symptoms.”
Australians across the country are being forced to monitor themselves, self-isolate or stand in long queues for Covid-19 tests after virus numbers surged over the Christmas period. New South Wales, the most populous state, reported 18,278 new infections on Sunday, down from the previous day’s record. At the same time, hospitalizations in the state are slowly but steadily climbing and reached a new high of 1,066 on Sunday.
While Australians still continued to enjoy New Year celebrations, including Sydney’s spectacular fireworks show, the start of 2022 was a more muted affair than usual. Many events were canceled, or drew far smaller crowds than in previous years, as people avoid busy locations or cancel their holiday plans entirely. Still, the arrival of warm weather has seen Sydney beaches packed in the past few days, even as the city center remains deserted.
Despite the recent surge in cases, authorities expect the pressure on hospitals will be manageable with more than 91% of Australians double vaccinated and omicron now the dominant variant, which appears to be less severe than other strains.
In Victoria state, home to Melbourne, new infections were slightly down at 7,172 on Sunday. The number of hospitalizations crept higher to 472.
The news about the PM was earlier reported by Sky News.
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