Australia’s Covid caseload tops 500,000

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Amid an ongoing Covid-19 resurgence triggered by the Omicron variant, Australia’s overall infection tally topped the 500,000 mark on Tuesday.

In the last 24 hours,the country reported more than 47,000 cases and four fatalities, which increased the overall caseload and death toll stood at 547,160 and 2,270, respectively.

Chris Moy, vice president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), said the government has failed to come up with a plan for rapid antigen tests (RATs) amid reports of supply shortfalls and price gouging, reports Xinhua news agency.

“There is an inability to supply at the critical moment and there is a lack of equity of access and it is costing so much,” he told Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) radio on Tuesday.

“The case numbers from Omicron is way outside those of Delta… These numbers are way outside of what people were expecting and this day was always going to come,” he said.

“We need rapid antigen tests in play and in people’s hands.”

It came after Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday rejected a push for the government to subsidise RATs, declaring that doing so would “undercut” private providers.

New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania all reported high daily case numbers.

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing sites across the country were again inundated on Tuesday, with many forced to close within minutes of opening due to unprecedented demand.

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