Restrictions eased as COVID-19 tolls grow

·2-min read

Australia has reported almost 42,000 new COVID-19 cases and 44 deaths as restrictions ease around the country.

NSW posted 12,633 infections and 16 fatalities on Saturday, Victoria 8120 cases and 13 deaths, Queensland 7212 cases and seven deaths.

There were almost 8000 cases announced in Western Australia.

Seven-day isolation for close contacts ended in the two southern east-coast states on Friday, 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 contacts to isolate from April 30 but five rapid antigen tests over seven days will apply.

Residents will also need to wear masks outside the home, are banned from high-risk settings like aged care centres and must inform employers and schools of their status.

Vaccination status and check-in requirements for pubs, restaurants, theatres and sports venues also continue to be wound back in Victoria although mandates for workers in multiple industries are being retained.

NSW is shifting to a risk assessment based model, meaning household contacts of positive cases will no longer need to isolate 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 on Thursday.

West Australian Premier Mark McGowan contracted the virus after one of his children was hospitalised in a serious condition with COVID-19.

LATEST 24-HOUR COVID-19 DATA FROM ACROSS AUSTRALIA:

NSW: 12,633 cases, 16 deaths, 1617 in hospital, 60 in ICU

Vic: 8120 cases, 13 deaths, 449 in hospital, 35 in ICU

Queensland: 7212 cases, seven deaths, 513 in hospital, 15 in ICU

ACT: 975 cases, one death, 55 in hospital, two in ICU

Northern Territory: 525 cases, one death, 47 in hospital, two in ICU

Tasmania: 1212 cases, one death, 44 in hospital, one in ICU

Western Australia: 7758 cases, one death, 248 in hospital, seven in ICU

South Australia: 3457 new cases, four deaths, 237 in hospital, 12 in ICU

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