News Coronavirus Restrictions eased as daily COVID infections soar in Vic and NSW
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Restrictions eased as daily COVID infections soar in Vic and NSW

covid variants
Since the start of the pandemic we have seen the parental Wuhan strain mutate to Alpha, Beta, Delta and now Omicron. Photo: Getty
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Even as restrictions are eased around the country, Australia’s most populous states have recorded more than 20,000 new COVID-19 cases and 29 virus-related deaths

NSW posted 12,633 infections and 16 fatalities on Saturday morning, Victoria 8120 cases and 13 deaths.

Seven-day isolation for close contacts ended in the two east coast states on Friday evening, while Queensland will soften quarantine and scrap it entirely for unvaccinated international arrivals next Thursday.

In the ACT, household contact quarantine rules will be ditched after Anzac Day.

South Australia will drop the requirement for close contacts to isolate from April 30 but five rapid antigen tests over seven days will be required.

Residents will also need to wear masks outside the home, are banned from high-risk settings like aged care centres and must inform employers and schools of their status.

Vaccination status and check-in requirements for pubs, restaurants, theatres and sports venues also continue to be wound back in Victoria.

Vaccine mandates for Victorian workers in multiple industries are being retained, while NSW is shifting to a risk assessment based model.

Isolation rules scrapped

The change means household contacts of positive cases will no longer need to isolate at home for seven days, so long as they continue to test negative.

They should still work from home where possible and avoid high-risk settings.

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee says it would be appropriate to drop some stricter restrictions once the current wave of infections has peaked.

However authorities also warn infection rates may spike as restrictions ease.

Omicron cases are plateauing in NSW, with a steady decline in overall infections in young people.

The health surveillance report for the week ending April 16 also shows unvaccinated NSW residents are still over-represented in hospital admissions.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese will continue his election campaign from isolation after testing positive to COVID-19 on Thursday.

West Australian Premier Mark McGowan has also tested positive while in quarantine as a close contact of a family member.

LATEST COVID-19 DATA:

  • NSW: 12,633 cases, 16 deaths, 1617 in hospital, 60 in ICU
  • Vic: 8120 cases, 13 deaths, 449 in hospital, 35 in ICU
  • WA: 6085 cases, three deaths, 239 in hospital, eight in ICU
  • Queensland: 4894 cases, three deaths, 474 in hospital, 14 in ICU
  • SA: 2816 cases, five deaths, 256 in hospital, 11 in ICU