Australia suffered its deadliest day of the pandemic on Tuesday, as a rapidly evolving Omicron outbreak continued to drive hospitalization rates to record levels, even as daily infections declined slightly.
There were 77 deaths, surpassing the previous national record of 57 last Thursday (13), according to data from the Australian Ministry of Health.
“Today is a very difficult day for our state,” New South Wales Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet told a news conference. The state recorded 36 new deaths from the disease, a new record for the pandemic.
Only four of those who died in the state received the booster dose, prompting health officials to urge people to avoid delays and receive their third dose as soon as possible.
The surge in cases has hit consumer confidence over the past week, stifling spending as states seek to avoid lockdowns and keep businesses open.
Omicron also hurt Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s approval ratings, according to a poll released on Tuesday, putting the Labor opposition in a leading position months before a federal election.
Amid rising hospitalizations, Victoria has declared a “code brown” on hospitals, usually reserved for short-term emergencies, that gives health facilities the power to cancel non-urgent health services and staff furloughs.
To help public hospitals deal with the situation, the federal government activated a plan for private hospitals to provide up to 57,000 nurses and more than 100,000 staff to affected areas across the country, said Health Minister Greg Hunt.
About 73,000 new infections were reported Tuesday, down from last week’s high of 150,000. So far, Australia has recorded around 1.6 million cases since the start of the pandemic, of which around 1.3 million in the last two weeks. The total number of deaths is 2,776.
Reference: CNN Brasil