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Australia rules out COVID-19 lockdowns despite Omicron surge

Australia must move past "the heavy hand of government" and authorities must stop shutting down people's lives with COVID-19 lockdowns, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday, as a new pandemic high of 4,600 infections in the country were reported.

COVID-19 cases have been breaking records over the last several days, the surge fuelled by the more transmissible Omicron variant, but Morrison insisted that limiting the spread of the virus comes down to personal responsibility.

Swift lockdowns and strict social distancing rules have helped Australia to keep its COVID-19 numbers relatively low at around 260,000 total cases and 2,154 deaths. But most of the country has been reopening over the last few weeks after higher inoculations despite the threat from the Omicron variant.

Authorities are now aiming to ramp up the rollout of booster shots with Morrison urging states to reopen hundreds of immunisation hubs shut down after demand slowed when double-dose rates in people above 16 years topped 80%.

(Source: Reuters) 

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