Highly transmissible Omicron has swept across countries, forcing governments to impose fresh measures and scramble to roll out vaccine booster shots.
New South Wales (NSW) said that from Oct. 16 venues that offer outdoor dining will be allowed to have double the number of patrons outside. NSW previously required such venues to ensure four square metres (13 square feet) for each patron.
The state of Victoria reported 322 new infections and 19 new deaths on Monday, with 14 of the deaths connected to outbreaks at aged-care facilities.
Led by cases in Victoria state — the epicentre of Australia's latest COVID-19 outbreak — Australia said it has detected 226 new infections in the past 24 hours, the lowest since July 18 when 212 cases were recorded.
Largely to blame is the coronavirus and the response to ward it off — the masks, gloves and other plastic-based items, many of which are now ending up in our oceans — already strewn with the slow-to-degrade detritus of a constantly growing industry. Masks, visors, gloves or screens ... all are crucial accessories to keep COVID-19 at bay.
More than 8.53 million people have been reported infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 453,834 have died, a Reuters tally showed as of 1326 GMT on Friday.
Ardern and Clarke Gayford walked for a brunch to a cafe in the country's capital, Wellington, where they were initially told it was too full, New Zealand media reported. An employee ran after them a few minutes later when a table became free and the couple went back.
Prime Minister Jacinda Arden's partner, Clarke Gayford, took the blame on himself.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is aware of a new variant of COVID-19 that has emerged in Britain, but there is no evidence the strain behaves differently to existing types of the virus, it said on Monday.
"This £1 billion catch-up package will help head teachers to provide extra support to children who have fallen behind while out of school," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland told people they should still stay at home. Johnson's government has been accused by the opposition Labour Party of responding too slowly and late to an outbreak that has now produced the world's second highest death toll - something the government denies.