Australia's COVID-19 tally surpassed one million on Monday as the prime minister said the country must “push through” a rapidly-growing outbreak of the omicron variant.
The country confirmed over 67,000 new cases, pushing the total to 1.04 million cases, with more than half of them recorded in the past week alone. As many as 2,387 people have lost their lives to the disease.
“We're dealing with serious volumes of cases but we are not seeing the same impact proportionally from previous variants in terms of the impact on hospitalizations, ICU and ventilated patients,” Scott Morrison told reporters in the capital Canberra.
He said 5,097 coronavirus patients are hospitalized and 78 on ventilators, “which is well, well, well within the capacity.”
Morrison said "living with COVID means continuing to ensure we press ahead with the vaccination program, adding that the children's vaccination has commenced.
According to Chief Medical Officer Prof. Paul Kelly, who was speaking in the news conference along with the prime minister, said Australia has over 500,000 active cases, which is "a very different situation to even a few weeks ago."
But "the vast majority of those 500,000 active cases are mild or indeed asymptomatic," he added.
Australia had suppressed previous waves of the pandemic through lockdowns and strict border controls and quarantines.
"So those issues about being prepared - having some paracetamol or some ibuprofen in your cupboard. Don't wait to get symptoms before you do that to treat yourself with if you have symptoms of COVID."
Australia has so far fully vaccinated 92.1% of people aged 16 and above, while 94.7% have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Health Ministry.