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More Omicron cases detected in NSW and the ACT, taking national total to 18

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The ACT on Sunday recorded six new COVID-19 cases and confirmed a second Omicron infection, a close contact of the previously announced case. 

The territory’s total number of COVID-19 cases now stands at 110, with six in hospital and two in intensive care.

There have been 18 cases of Omicron so far detected in Australia: 15 in NSW, one in the Northern Territory and two in the ACT.

Victoria, which recorded 980 new infections on Sunday, is yet to find an Omicron infection despite managing more than 14,000 cases.

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Queensland reported no new locally acquired coronavirus cases and six cases in quarantine that were not considered risks to the community, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

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NSW reported one more death on Sunday, a southeastern Sydney man in his 60s.

He was fully vaccinated but had underlying health conditions and died at St George Hospital.

Of the state’s new Omicon cases, one is a student at St Peter Chanel Catholic Primary School at Regents Park who’s believed to have acquired an Omicron infection at a Villawood indoor climbing gym.

Anyone who attended the gym last Saturday 27 November between 9am and 4.30pm is a close contact and must immediately get tested and isolate.

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All year three and year four students and teachers at the school are close contacts and are being asked to self-isolate.

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While the growing number of Omicron infections is a concern, NSW Health says none of the 15 confirmed cases have been admitted to hospital at this stage.

NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said on Saturday she had been pleased to see a stabilisation of cases in the regions, but metropolitan Sydney is starting to record an uptick in cases.

Most of the new coronavirus cases reported on Sunday were in Sydney, with metropolitan health districts accounting for 236 of them.

On Sunday there were 148 people in hospital, up nine from the day before, with 26 in intensive care and five on ventilators.

The state’s vaccination rate remained at 94.6 per cent first-dose coverage on Saturday with 92.8 per cent fully vaccinated.

Health cash splash for NSW regions

The new cases come as the NSW government announced where it will distribute almost $100 million tagged for regional and rural health services.

The funding package will secure support for frontline workers and is also part of a record infrastructure investment for the sector in the bush, says Premier Dominic Perrottet.

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Three new initiatives will aim to attract more health workers beyond the state’s population centres and assist rural and regional patients who need to travel to access care.

They include $45 million to deliver new professional accommodation close to health facilities in the Murrumbidgee, Southern and Far West local districts.

Some $30 million will go towards enticing and retaining healthcare workers, including new scholarships for young people.

And a further $23 million will make it easier to access care, including support for rural and regional patients who need to travel longer distances and a new online tool to navigate local services.

Mr Perrottet says the investment will help make sure people in the bush have access to the best care possible.


Mr Perrottet says the investment will help make sure people in the bush have access to the best care possible, no matter where they live.

“Health challenges can be tough enough without adding the burden of distance to a care plan and that’s why we’ve set aside an additional $23 million to help address this,” he said in a statement on Sunday.

“The NSW government’s focus has always been ensuring rural and regional communities get their share of health upgrades – and this latest announcement builds on the $900 million regional and rural health infrastructure spend in 2021-22.”

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Deputy Premier Paul Toole says a key component of the boost will generate construction jobs as accommodation is built for essential regional workers.

With reporting by SBS News

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