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Coronavirus

Australia logs first omicron death, sticks to reopening plan

Hospitalization rates still low, authorities say

Health care workers administer COVID-19 tests at a drive-through clinic in Sydney on Dec. 17. The country clocked 10,186 new cases nationwide, its first total over 10,000 since the start of the pandemic.    © Reuters

SYDNEY (Reuters) -- Australia reported its first confirmed death from the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 on Monday amid its biggest daily surge in infections, but the authorities refrained from imposing new restrictions saying hospitalisation rates remained low.

The death, a man in his 80s with underlying health conditions, marked a grim milestone for the country which has had to reverse some parts of a staged reopening after nearly two years of stop-start lockdowns, due to the fresh outbreak.

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