Until the new year, Australia had recorded only about 360,000 cases of infection, after it was subjected to some of the most stringent Corona measures in the world.
Barely four weeks later, the number of infections has crossed 1.5 million, according to Australian authorities.
“Omikron was one of the biggest surprises, and it almost turned its head on the way we’re dealing with the pandemic,” said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
State pharmacies are now reporting a severe shortage of rapid antigen tests, which people need to be able to come to work, or visit relatives in hospitals.
“This is simply not sustainable,” the president of the employers’ association, The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, said on Thursday. CNN.
Threatened with imprisonment of up to five years
He could tell that their members were getting four calls a minute from people desperate for quick tests.
The situation is so bad that the police have focused on selling expensive express tests. They warn against attempts to sell more than 20% of the original price. Can be punished with imprisonment for up to five years Or fines of $66,000.
– The Federal Police (AFP) will in full force crack down on price fraud to conduct rapid tests. It’s not only immoral, it’s also illegal, says Assistant Commissioner of Police Nigel Ryan, and AFP will spend significant resources protecting citizens from individual greed.
The government has promised more testing, according to CNN. So far, some groups, including people with symptoms or people identified as having close contact with them, can get free tests.
Up to 50 percent absenteeism
It’s not just a lack of rapid testing that has plagued Australia. The spread of infection and isolation has also put sticks in the wheels of many industries.
For example, cured chicken has become a scarce commodity due to the extreme absence of disease in several parts of the food chain, according to CNN.
A spokesman for the Australian Chicken Meat Industry Organization told Media House that some plants had up to 50 per cent sickness absences.
At the same time, CNN points out: There is room for optimism. According to Australian health authorities, the infection will likely reach a peak within the next two weeks.
There are also signs of declining enrollment rates in some states.
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