Australia’s former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull tested positive for COVID-19 this past Saturday as cases reached new records across the nation as health authorities warned of the true number of cases could be significantly higher than what tests show.
Turnbull who was premier from 2015 until 2018, announced that on Twitter that he was in isolation at home following an positive test.
“Like hundreds of thousands of other Australians I have tested positive for COVID. Symptoms moderate so far. Isolating as required,” Turnbull wrote. “This pandemic and especially this latest wave has put our health professionals under enormous pressure.” “Please be polite and considerate when dealing with the front-line health workers,” said the official added. “They have had two years of relentless pressure and it’s now at its most intense. So give them the love and respect they deserve, please.”
Former PM tests positive as omicron cases
The disclosure of the case of Turnbull came shortly after the announcement that the federal Treasury’s Josh Frydenberg also has tested positive.
New South Wales saw a record number of new cases, 45,098 on Saturday — an increase from 38,625 just a day earlier — as the spreading in the Omicron strain led to the reinstatement of certain restrictions in the state with the highest population. Singing and dancing in nightclubs or pubs was forbidden from midnight on Friday.
Susan Pearce, deputy secretary of New South Wales Health, said that the state hadn’t yet reached the top of its omicron-induced surge.
“We expect that peak to occur in around the third to the last week of January,” she added. “We have got some challenging weeks ahead of us. But we have been planning for this pandemic and continuing to reinvent ourselves for two years now.” The Chief Medical Director Kerry Chant said almost 50 percent of cases affected those aged between 20 and 39.
“The transmission is happening in a variety of settings,” she explained. “Obviously in those household and social gatherings that people are having and also in places like pubs, clubs, nightclubs (hence) the concern around the behavior of dancing and singing.” Victoria state has reported 51,356 cases of sexual assault on Saturday which was more than triple the number the previous day. The increase in cases was due to the backlog of positive cases that resulted of the state’s new self-reporting system.
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Patients who take home tests with rapid antigen tests must report any positive findings to health authorities via phone or an online system.
Saturday’s figures also included more than 250,000 cases identified via PCR tests.
The State Health Minister Martin Foley said Saturday’s spike in numbers would decrease with time to give an accurate view of the spread of omicrons. The high volume of cases that are self-reported “is in many respects exactly what we wanted to happen.”