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Australia reports its first Omicron death, authorities stick to reopening schedule

Despite another spike in daily infections, Australia’s first confirmed death from the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 was announced on Monday, but authorities refrained from implementing new restrictions, claiming that hospitalisation rates remained low.

The death of the man, who was in his 80s and had underlying health issues, was a sombre turning point for the country, which had to halt some areas of a staged reopening after nearly two years of stop-start lockdowns due to the new outbreak.

Omicron, which health experts say is more contagious but less virulent than previous strains, spread across Australia just as the government eased restrictions on most domestic borders and allowed Australians to return from overseas without quarantine, resulting in the pandemic’s highest case numbers.

The officials provided no further information about the Omicron death other than to mention that the person contracted the virus in an aged care facility and died in a Sydney hospital.


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