News Coronavirus COVID deaths likely to pass 7000 as case numbers continue to soar across Australia
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COVID deaths likely to pass 7000 as case numbers continue to soar across Australia

COVID cases
COVID-19 patients continue to be hospitalised even as masks come off and restrictions are eased.Photo: Getty Photo: Getty
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Almost 42,000 new COVID cases and 44 deaths were reported across the country on Saturday, with NSW and Victoria accounting for almost half that tally.

Some 6980 Australian lives have been lost to coronavirus, with as yet unreported data from most states and territories on Sunday likely to lift the cumulative death toll above 7000.

Nationwide, there are more than 370,000 active cases, with more than 3000 patients in hospital care and around 130 of those in ICUs.

Meanwhile, seven-day isolation for close contacts is no longer mandatory in NSW and Victoria, while Queensland is moving to scrap quarantine for unvaccinated international arrivals by Thursday.

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

South Australia will drop the requirement for close contact isolation from April 30 but five rapid antigen tests over seven days will apply.

Masks will also be required outside the home, high-risk settings like aged care centres will be off limits and employers and schools will need proof of status.

Vaccination status and check-in requirements for social and sporting venues are being wound back in Victoria although mandates for workers in multiple industries have been retained.

NSW is shifting to a risk assessment model, with household contacts of positive cases no longer needing to isolate 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 infections among the young.

The state’s health surveillance report for the week ending April 16 also shows unvaccinated people are still over-represented in hospital admissions.

Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese remains in isolation after testing positive while West Australian Premier Mark McGowan contracted the virus after one of his children fell ill with COVID-19.

After a worrying four days in hospital, the child is now recovering at home.

LATEST NATIONAL COVID-19 DATA:

  • NSW: 11,107 cases, eight deaths, 1588 in hospital, 64 in ICU
  • Vic: 7104 cases, two deaths, 438 in hospital, 33 in ICU