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Coronavirus

Australia may use defense forces to help COVID-hit aged-care sector

PM Morrison says about 560 aged-care residents have died since omicron hit

An aged-care facility in Melbourne in August 2020. Australia's government has come under pressure over the spread of the omicron variant in aged-care homes.    © Reuters

SYDNEY (Reuters) -- Australia could use its defense forces to help manage a COVID-19 outbreak in the aged-care sector that has stretched staffing and forced many homes into lockdowns, the prime minister said on Friday as national infection numbers remained on a downtrend.

The government has come under pressure over the spread of the omicron variant in aged-care homes, with Richard Colbeck, minister for senior Australians and aged care services, drawing criticism after he attended a cricket match instead of appearing before a parliamentary committee looking into the outbreaks.

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