Australia Relaxes COVID Testing Rules By Claiming The Omicron Variant Is Less Harmful

Australia Relaxes COVID Testing Rules By Claiming The Omicron Variant Is Less Harmful
Source – Business Insider

Today, Australia managed to reduce pressure on overcrowded Covid-19 testing facilities by limiting its definition of close contacts of infected individuals and lowering testing requirements, as daily cases surpassed 20,000 for the first time in the pandemic.


Australia Relaxes COVID Testing Rules By Claiming The Omicron Variant Is Less Harmful 

Today, Australia managed to reduce pressure on overcrowded Covid-19 testing facilities by limiting its definition of close contacts of infected individuals and lowering testing requirements, as daily cases surpassed 20,000 for the first time in the pandemic.

Australia is coping with the fast spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant after the relaxation of harsh restrictions in the majority of states and, like other countries, is hoping that the highly transmissible variant will be much less severe than previous variants.

The rules are being relaxed to prevent asymptomatic people from being forced into isolation, particularly in healthcare, hospitality, and airlines, and reduce long lines of people requesting PCR tests for interstate travel or after visiting a public site with a confirmed case.

With Omicron, we cannot have hundreds of thousands of Australians and more taken out of circulation based on rules that were set for the Delta variant,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

According to Reuters data yesterday, global Covid-19 infections reached a record high during the last seven days, as Omicron surged out of control and authorities attempted to curb it without paralysing unstable economies.

Source - Arab News

Daily infections in Australia had risen from roughly 1,200 a month ago, when Omicron was first discovered in the country, to 21,329 on Thursday.

Morrison said on Friday that “close contacts" would be defined as individuals who share a home with an infected individual. They would be required to be isolated for seven days and would only be required to undergo a PCR test if they exhibit symptoms similar to Covid-19.

If you’re anything other than a close contact and you’re not symptomatic, you don’t need to go and get a test,” Morrison said after a meeting of the national cabinet.

According to the proposed rules, health professionals would depend more on at-home rapid antigen testing, with PCR tests reserved for individuals with Covid-like symptoms and the elderly.

Despite the demand on testing facilities caused by record cases, hospital admissions are fewer than they were at the Delta wave’s peak.

Omicron, though, is less severe. That is becoming very clear now,” Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said.

According to official statistics, approximately 120 individuals, or 0.11 percent, of the more than 110,000 current cases are in intensive care, substantially in line with the pattern observed in countries with higher vaccination rates.

On the other hand, Australia’s doctors have criticised Morrison’s redefining of close contacts, claiming it will worsen the pandemic.

(Omicron) doesn’t care if you are a family member, a co-worker, a drinker in the pub or breathing the same air in a lift,” Australian Medical Association President Omar Khorshid said in a tweet.

Kelly shrugged the criticism.

We will have more cases. There is no doubt about that. This is a way of coping with that large caseload,” he told reporters.

Despite the Omicron variant outbreak, Australia’s infection rate of approximately 363,000 and mortality rate of 2,225 are far lower than those of many comparable countries.

Source ― Routers

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