Australia has reported a 38 percent increase in COVID-19 cases amid a fourth national wave of infections.
According to data published by the federal Department of Health, an average of 10,799 new COVID-19 infections were reported nationally every day in the week to Friday.
It represents an increase of 38.2 percent from the previous week (7,809 per day on average) and a 103 percent increase from 5,300 cases per day in the first week of November.
On average, 1,973 COVID-19 patients were being treated in hospitals every day, up from the previous figure of 1,553, and more than 110 deaths were recorded across the country.
In response to the increase, Australia’s largest state New South Wales (NSW) has reimposed restrictions, making face masks mandatory in all areas of public hospitals and health facilities.
The president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), Steve Robson, has warned the hospital system could be placed under immense pressure if cases continue to rise into the “high risk” Christmas period.
“Most of the protections have been lifted, and the message the community has is that maybe you shouldn’t worry as much as you did in the past,” Steve told Sky News Australia.
In the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) where cases rose 20 percent, residents are being urged to take personal responsibility to avoid the new Omicron sub-variant.