Australia on Monday surpassed 1 million COVID-19 cases, with more than half of them recorded in the past week, as the Omicron variant ripped through most of the country driving up hospitalization numbers and putting a strain on supply chains.
Having successfully kept a lid on its virus caseload through aggressive lockdowns and tough border controls earlier in the pandemic, Australia is now suffering record infections as the country begins to live with the virus after higher vaccinations.
Authorities have cut mandatory isolation times for close contacts and narrowed the definition of close contacts but were still reviewing the rules for furloughing workers that have widened supply chain gaps.
Australia also started vaccinating children aged 5 to 11 on Monday. The government says it has enough supplies to ensure every child is vaccinated.
The country’s strict border rules are again in focus after authorities cancelled tennis star Novak Djokovic’s visa over questions about his vaccine exemption. His battle to remain in Australia goes before the courts on Monday.