On Wednesday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison ruled out a Christmas lockdown, saying hospitals were dealing well with a record rise in COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant.
Australia is coping with the more transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus as restrictions ease ahead of the Christmas holiday season due to higher vaccination levels being reached.
"Despite these increasing cases, hospitals and health systems remain in a strong position," Morrison said.
Even while daily infections continue to rise, hospitalisation and death rates remain low as compared to those recorded during a wave of cases from the Delta wave, and Morrison has stated that there would be no additional lockdowns.
"We want to protect what Australians have worked so hard to achieve this Christmas together. One of the things we decided on today was that we would not return to lockdowns, " Morrison said.
Morrison stressed that the only way to stop the virus from spreading is for people to take personal responsibility. He added there would be no nationwide mandatory law for people to wear masks indoors, though it would be "highly recommended."
Residents of most states, with the exception of New South Wales, have been ordered to wear masks indoors in public places by their state governments.
On Wednesday, Australia's federal and state leaders convened an emergency national Cabinet meeting to address increasing cases that are straining testing facilities.
Morrison announced extra vaccination funding for clinics and pharmacies following the meeting. He also urged the country's states to reopen hundreds of vaccination sites, which were closed after double-dose rates among adults reached 80%, to increase booster rollout.
Morrison stated that vaccination hubs were accelerating the distribution of boosters, but that any decision to cut the wait period for the shots would be made by vaccination experts.