Australia Covid update: record cases on Christmas Day as infections surge in SA, NSW and Queensland

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Record Covid cases were reported across Australia on Christmas Day as overwhelmed testing clinics were forced to close and tens of thousands of people spent the holiday in isolation.

New South Wales has recorded its highest ever Covid daily caseload, with 6,288 new infections announced on Saturday.

Covid transmission also continued to surge in Victoria, where authorities announced 2,108 new Covid-19 infections and six deaths from the virus.

Queensland announced a daily record of 765 new cases, with the state’s health minister, Yvette D’Ath, declaring “this virus is everywhere now”. D’Ath confirmed 151 of those cases had the Omicron strain.

South Australia recorded 634 new cases on Saturday, down slightly from the 688 reported the previous day. So far, sampling of the state’s current outbreak indicates 81% of cases are the Omicron variant.

Related: ‘We’ll still have fun’: Australians isolating over Christmas reveal what they have planned for the day

The Australian Capital Territory also set a new daily infection record, with 142 Covid cases. It was the fourth consecutive day that the ACT broke its daily infection rate.

Tasmania recorded 33 new Covid cases, while health authorities in the Northern Territory announced 19 new cases, 10 of which were travellers from interstate.

Western Australia reported two new cases, following the five cases that were announced on Friday. Both of the new cases were linked to a French backpacker who arrived in the state from Queensland on Sunday.

Genomic sequencing confirmed the backpacker had the Delta variant, with WA health authorities on Saturday saying “all cases related to this outbreak can be assumed to also be Delta”.

There are now more than 30,000 active Covid cases in NSW and more than 17,000 in Victoria, with isolation orders wreaking havoc on Christmas gathering plans, while testing delays and Covid exposure among airline staff have stymied travel plans of thousands of travellers.

In NSW, the record 6,288 new cases were detected from 149,261 tests conducted in the reporting period to 24 hours to 8pm on Friday.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1474500188433575939&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Faustralia-news%2F2021%2Fdec%2F25%2Fnsw-reports-6288-covid-cases-on-christmas-day-as-australia-hits-record-infections&sessionId=3bc157169f135a5dc9089b88109af0bacaa30e96&theme=light&widgetsVersion=9fd78d5%3A1638479056965&width=550px

Hospitalisations remained relatively steady in the state, with 388 Covid patients in hospital on Saturday, up from 382 on Friday.

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