PM watches for symptoms amid COVID-19 wave


The prime minister is watching for symptoms along with an increasing number of Australians as COVID-19 spreads across the country.

More than 32,000 COVID-19 cases were reported nationwide in the 24 hours to Saturday evening, most of them in NSW.

The number of Australians hospitalised after contracting COVID-19 has topped 1700, with more than a thousand of them in care in NSW alone.

Of 1762 patients in total across the country as of Sunday, 147 were in intensive care and 46 cases were serious enough to require ventilation.

Scott Morrison does not need to isolate or take a PCR test under NSW Health guidelines, despite the risk of exposure after a potentially infectious positive case attended a Kirribilli House press conference.

Mr Morrison and the nation’s chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, addressed media at the PM’s official Sydney residence on Wednesday to announce a snap national cabinet meeting.

The gathering was held outdoors with reporters required to wear face masks.

His office says Kirribilli House residents and staff are acting in accordance with instructions from authorities.

“As per the NSW Health guidelines, the prime minister was not required to isolate or get tested and continues to monitor for symptoms,” a spokesperson said on Sunday.

Changes to isolation and testing requirements were ushered in at the national cabinet meeting on Thursday as case numbers soared across the country.

Less than a week later, daily numbers are again breaking records after the new year began with highs in many states.

In the 24 hours to Saturday evening, 32,341 COVID-19 cases were reported nationwide: 18,278 of them in NSW, 7172 in Victoria, 3587 in Queensland, 2298 in South Australia and 506 in the ACT.

There were three virus-related deaths recorded in Victoria on Sunday and two in NSW.

As the Omicron variant disrupts school holidays, Queenslanders are adjusting to new mandatory mask requirements at work, in hospitality venues and a range of places from indoor stadiums to nail salons.

Despite rising daily case numbers in NSW, Premier Dominic Perrottet continues to focus on hospitalisation and intensive care numbers.

They too are climbing, with 1066 people with the virus in NSW hospitals including 83 in intensive care.

An additional 472 people are in Victorian hospitals with COVID-19, with 52 active cases in intensive care including 22 requiring ventilation.

Queensland had 112 patients in care on Sunday, five of them in ICUs and none requiring ventilation.

Tasmania recorded 404 coronavirus cases on Sunday, the Northern Territory reported 95 cases and Western Australia one case, in hotel quarantine.

Meanwhile, WA has reclassified both Tasmania and the ACT as high-risk, meaning anyone entering from those jurisdictions from Monday  must be fully vaccinated, take a PCR test within 24 hours of arrival and another test on day 12 of their 14-day self-isolation.