New South Wales has recorded 5612 new Covid-19 cases and one death as mandatory restrictions are re-introduced.
Hospitalisations for Covid-19 have risen to 382, up from 347 on the previous reporting day.
There are 53 patients in intensive care.
In the latest 24-hour reporting period, to 8pm yesterday, 94.9 percent of people aged 16 and older had had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while 93.5 percent of those in the same age group had had two doses.
Yesterday the state announced a record 5715 new cases.
The state government has introduced mandatory restrictions to curb the increased case numbers, including mask wearing indoors – except in residential settings – density limits and limited QR code measures.
The mask and density rules will be in place until 27 January.
The wearing of masks indoors and the use of QR code check-ins were largely scrapped on 15 December, but the NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet yesterday reintroduced them while expressing concern for health staff.
“We think the changes made today … to be fair and balanced, they are proportionate in making sure we can keep people safe. The biggest concern that has come through over the last 24 to 48 hours has been the impact on health staff,” he said.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard requested that people only get a PCR test if they were unwell or had been asked by NSW Health to do so.
The health system is being affected by the loss of 1500 staff members who are unwell or isolating.
NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole said the decision to re-introduce health mandates followed National Cabinet and health expert advice.
But he said there were too many people in hospital who had not received a vaccination against the virus.
Toole said the difference for unvaccinated people in the hospital system had been stark.
“People who have been double vaxxed have been staying out of the hospital system which is very promising,” he said.
“But what I am very concerned and upset about is the fact that we’re still seeing high numbers of people who are unvaccinated that are ending up in these ICU beds putting pressure on the system.”
NSW Health said Rapid-Antigen Test (RAT) kits will soon be made available for free to allow those who need to get a PCR test to do so.
Cases in Victoria top 2000
Victoria has recorded 2095 new Covid-19 cases and eight deaths.
There are 15,471 active cases of the virus in Victoria, and 663 people have died during the current outbreak.
There are 397 patients in Victorian hospitals with Covid-19, including 75 active cases in intensive care and 40 patients on a ventilator.
The health department said a further 40 people were in intensive care, but their infections had cleared.
Victoria yesterday tightened its mask requirements in response to the spread of the Omicron variant.
As of 11:59pm last night, people aged over eight must wear masks in all indoor settings, except private homes.
Christmas parties cancelled, nightclubs shut in Perth
Perth nightclubs are shutting their doors and plans for major parties have been scrapped on the eve of the festive season, after a Covid-positive backpacker visited a host of venues around the city.
The 25-year-old French man flew into Perth from Queensland on 12 December, just before WA introduced a hard border to the sunshine state. It is suspected he has been infectious since 16 December.
Premier Mark McGowan said the man had been in contact with hundreds of people and was likely infectious with the Delta strain.
“… he’s a backpacker who went out to restaurants, bars, nightclubs, museums and things … that’s why we’re so concerned … there’s been lots of interaction in proximity,” he said.
“There’s lots of people who have potentially been exposed.”
A growing list of exposure sites has been published on the WA government website.
Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson said contact tracers were working around the clock, with 70 of them currently on the case.
All festivals and parties have been called off until at least 28 December, while Perth’s nightclubs took to social media to let punters know their doors were closed.
The Christmas Eve party at the Left Bank in East Fremantle has been moved from today to next Tuesday, which is a public holiday.