The jump in cases in NSW – which is nearly 2,000 more than the 3,763 infections reported on Wednesday – comes after a major backflip on restrictions in the state with millions once again required to check into venues via QR codes.
Premier Dominic Perrottet had last week scrapped the QR check-ins for ‘low risk’ venues such as retail and kept them in place for ‘high risk’ settings like gyms and pubs.
On Thursday the NSW premier will announce the policy reversal following Covid crisis talks with fellow state leaders and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
NSW Health confirmed there are currently 347 residents with Covid-19 in hospital, with 45 in intensive care. On Wednesday there were 302 in hospital with 40 in ICU.
Victoria meanwhile suffered another 2,005 new infections on Thursday and ten deaths – up from the 1,503 cases recorded on Wednesday.
There are 398 Victorians receiving care in hospital with 72 in ICU.
NSW has suffered its worst day of the pandemic with 5,715 new Covid-19 cases
Thursday marks the worst day on record since the pandemic began in NSW (pictured Sydneysiders at Coogee)
Premier Dominic Perrottet is set to bring back mandatory QR code check-ins to venues around the state
Mr Perrottet has refused to bring back a sweeping indoor mask mandate – despite many health experts recommending residents continue wearing the face coverings indoors.
The government is also looking at providing free rapid antigen tests to help curb the spread of the virus as well as relieving pressure off medical workers.
Australia’s PCR testing sites have been overwhelmed by travellers trying to get tested before going on holiday.
Switching to rapid antigen would slash these numbers and stop testing sites being overwhelmed by the ‘worried well’ and delay testing for those who are feeling sick.
‘People have come forward to get tested in record numbers, which is important to help keep people and the community safe, but we need to make sure our testing clinics are there for people who really need it,’ Mr Perrottet said.
Rapid antigen tests may be made free for NSW residents as the government looks to curb the spread of the virus
Victoria meanwhile suffered another 2,005 new infections on Thursday and ten deaths – up from the 1,503 cases recorded on Wednesday (pictured in Melbourne)
Huge queues of cars are seen waiting outside a Covid testing clinic in Sydney’s Macquarie Park on Wednesday
‘Providing rapid-antigen testing kits for those who want to do the right thing will help take the pressure of our testing clinics, while giving people confidence to get on with their lives.’
Victoria’s Acting Premier James Merlino is expected to also announce changes for his state with mask mandates on the agenda, following mounting calls to bring back face coverings indoors.
The state government met on Wednesday to discuss the mandate with Mr Merlino expected to make an announcement on Thursday.
Mr Morrison has said Australians don’t need to be told to wear masks, and recommended everyone continue wearing them.
‘Wear a mask in an indoor setting. You don’t need to be forced to do it. There’s no confusion about it, just wear one,’ he said.
‘Think of Christmas Day when you’re going to see elderly relatives, and wear a mask – it’s pretty simple.’
More to come
Hundreds of cars are seen queuing up at a testing clinic in Bondi this week as cases skyrocket