PM Media Statement – COVID National Cabinet Statement

National Cabinet met today to discuss our response to COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, new approaches to test, trace isolate and quarantine including the use of rapid antigen tests (RATs) and the vaccine rollout and booster programme.

The Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly provided an update on the spread of the Omicron variant. Omicron case numbers continue to increase in Australia and globally. Omicron continues to show greater infectivity than the Delta variant, but with less severity.

Since the beginning of the pandemic there have been 612,106 confirmed cases in Australia and, sadly, 2,289 people have died. More than 56 million tests have been undertaken, with 1,643,841 million tests reported in the past 7 days.

Globally there have been over 294.9 million cases and sadly over 5.4 million deaths, with 2.6 million new cases and 7,169 deaths reported in the last 24 hours. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge in many countries around the world.

National Cabinet received a detailed update on Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination program from Lieutenant General John Frewen, Coordinator General of Operation COVID Shield.

Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine roll out continues to expand. To date 43 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Australia, including 212,497 in the previous 24 hours.

In the previous 7 days, more than 754,500 vaccines have been administered in Australia. More than 94.5 per cent of the Australian population aged 16 years and over have now had a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, including 98.7 per cent of Australians aged 50 years of age and over and more than 99 per cent of Australians aged 70 years of age and over.

More than 91.6 per cent of Australians aged 16 years and over are now fully vaccinated including more than 96.8 per cent of Australians aged 50 years of age and over and more than 99 per cent of Australians aged 70 years of age and over.

More than 91.6 per cent of Australians aged 16 years and over are now fully vaccinated including more than 96.8 per cent of Australians aged 50 years of age and over and more than 99 per cent of Australians aged 70 years of age and over.

Over 2.7 million booster doses have been administered. Australia has sufficient supplies of boosters, with nearly 18 million mRNA vaccines in stock in Australia. Yesterday, over 176,000 boosters were administered across Australia. Following the widening of eligibility for boosters on 4 January to those who had their second dose at least four months earlier, over 33.8 per cent of those eligible for boosters have had a booster and 28.6 per cent of Australians aged 70 years of age and over have had a booster in the last 8 weeks since the booster program commenced.

National Cabinet will meet again on Thursday 13 January 2022.

READ More on Rapid Antigen Tests, Changes to testing requirements, Workplace Health and Safety and National Return to School Framework