Announced at a press conference yesterday by the Prime Minister, the National Cabinet are calling a snap meeting to strategise around the current Omicron COVID-19 outbreak.
Yesterday Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who appears to be in Australia this December at least, spoke to the nation in a live press conference discussing the Omicron COVID-19 outbreak currently crippling parts of the country.
National case numbers hit an all-time peak yesterday, with over 18,000 cases reported, 11,202 being in New South Wales alone. With an earthquake also hitting Darwin this morning, it’s certainly shaping up to be a dramatic day for Australia.
A main purpose of the meeting is to decide on a new definition to ‘close contact’ that will be applied nationally, rather than on a state-by-state basis. In turn, the proper steps to take if you become a close contact will be outlined.
The National Cabinet meeting comes as testing queues in NSW and Victoria are especially crippled by the Omicron COVID-19 outbreak, with many closing briefly over the holiday period, and otherwise forced to turn citizens away due to the overwhelming amount of tests being required.
Beyond the testing stations who are copping the worst of it, many businesses around Australia are being forced to close as their staff or patrons isolate for safety or due to a COVID-19 case alert. Nobody to run a business plus nobody to visit doesn’t quite make for financial fun times – something the cabinet’s leaders are likely to consider today.
And unlike other previous COVID-19 outbreaks before Omicron, currently there is minimal relief being provided to businesses that are shutting their doors during a period that is classically one of the most profitable times of the year.
Australian Medical Association President Dr. Omar Khorshid is among the critics of Morrison’s response to the growing outbreak, who argues that redefining close contacts is not the move to be making right now.
Redefining close contacts will simply accelerate the outbreak. I don’t think you could call the NSW experiment a success yet. Let’s not give up on slowing the spread. Vacc, testing and public health measures have worked so far and remain the best option for living with COVID.
— AMA President (@amapresident) December 29, 2021
With New Year’s Eve tomorrow and all that usually entails, Australia is looking to our leaders for some sort of guidance, and right now, the outlook ain’t too good.
But hey, this time in 2019 Morrison was in Hawaii while bushfires raged around the nation, so I guess this is an improvement? As long as he doesn’t go forcing any handshakes in the coming days, that is.