COVID-19 case attended PM press conference

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  • Scott Morrison
    30th Prime Minister of Australia

The prime minister is monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms after a potentially infectious positive case attended a Kirribilli House press conference.

As Scott Morrison pondered the possibility of falling ill to the virus on Sunday, more than 32,000 Australians were already newly locked away in isolation having returned a positive test in the previous 24 hours.

More than 1500 of them are in hospital beds around the country.

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.

Despite the possibility of exposure, Mr Morrison does not need to isolate or take a PCR test under NSW Health guidelines.

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.

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

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

As the Omicron variant continues to disrupt daily life for most Australians during school holidays, Queenslanders are adjusting to new mask requirements.

They were previously only required at supermarkets, shops, on public transport and during ride share scenarios as well as at airports, on planes and in cinemas and theatres.

They are now also compulsory at work unless unsafe to do so, in pubs, clubs and cafes except for when seated, at indoor stadiums and sport arenas, in libraries, hairdressers and nail salons and medical centre waiting areas.

Queenslanders are also being urged to work from home again where possible.

NSW (18,278) and Victoria (7172) again reported tens of thousands of cases on Sunday.

There were two deaths in NSW and three in Victoria.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet continues to focus on hospitalisation and intensive care numbers rather than the rising daily case total.

However, they too are climbing, with 1066 people in NSW hospitals with the virus and 83 in intensive care.

The cross into quadruple digits marks a doubling of cases in hospital since December 27 and a seven-fold increase since the first Omicron hospitalisation was announced on December 12.

An additional 472 people are in Victorian hospitals with the virus, including 52 active cases in intensive care. Twenty-two people require ventilation.

Queensland posted 3587 new infections on Sunday although there are only five virus patients in ICUs. South Australia recorded a further 2298 cases and Tasmania 404.

Meanwhile, Western Australia has reclassified as high-risk both Tasmania and the ACT, where case numbers exceeded 500 for the first time on Sunday.

This means that, from Monday, anyone entering WA from the ACT or Tasmania must be fully vaccinated, take a PCR test within 24 hours of arrival and take another test on day 12 of their 14-day self-isolation.

They must also use the G2G Now app while in quarantine.

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein says with a highly vaccinated population, the state will not be heading into lockdown or closing borders because of climbing case numbers.

The Northern Territory reported 95 virus cases on Sunday, 35 more than its previous record, while Western Australia noted a single case, in hotel quarantine.

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