Expert: Australia in midst of COVID-19 reinfection wave

Staff check a client at a drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia on Jan 8, 2022. (MARK BAKER / AP)

CANBERRA / JERUSALEM / YANGON / SEOUL / KUALA LUMPUR / WELLINGTON / NEW DELHI / SUVA – A leading expert has warned of a COVID-19 reinfection surge across Australia in the lead-up to winter.

Adrian Esterman, an infectious diseases expert from the University of South Australia, on Monday said reinfections were on the rise as natural immunity from the peak of Australia's Omicron wave in December and January begins to wane.

Governments across Australia do not have systems in place to track reinfection rates, which Esterman said has left experts relying on data from overseas.

"We can't say hand over heart the same thing's happening here, but there's no reason why we wouldn't be seeing a reasonably large number of reinfections in Australia as well," he told The Canberra Times.

According to the Canberra Times, the subvariants have proved adept at avoiding immunity from vaccination or prior infection, and Australians are increasingly testing positive to COVID-19 for the second time.

Australia's rate of COVID-19 infection has remained stable at approximately 40,000 new cases per day since mid-April.

In the Australian Capital Territory, the number of cases being treated in hospitals hit an all-time high of 76 on Sunday.

However, Esterman said the expected winter spike in cases would not have the same impact on the hospital system as previous waves.


India's COVID-19 tally rose to 43,105,401 on Monday with 3,207 new cases registered during the past 24 hours across the country, showed the federal health ministry's latest data.

Of the new cases, 1,422 were reported from Delhi. Presently there are 5,939 active cases in the national capital, and the positivity rate stands at 4.98 percent.

Besides, as many as 29 deaths were reported across the country due to the pandemic since Sunday morning, taking the total death toll to 524,093.

Travelers queue with their luggage at the check-in counter ahead of their departing flights at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport in Lod, east of Tel Aviv, on Dec 21, 2021. (GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP)


Israel would drop PCR test requirements for arrivals at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, but inbound foreigners still need to test negative before boarding, the Ministry of Health announced on Sunday.

The decision, which will take effect on May 20, was made with the Israel Airports Authority due to a decline in COVID-19 infection numbers, said the ministry.

Testing array would be kept at the airport for prompt reactivation when necessary, it added.

Starting Tuesday, foreign nationals flying to Israel can either choose to take a PCR or antigen test before boarding, according to the ministry.

Israel reported 16,337 active COVID-19 cases on Sunday, the lowest figure since Dec 25, 2021, when there were 15,459 cases, according to official data.


Malaysia reported 2,153 new COVID-19 infections as of midnight Sunday, bringing the national total to 4,458,889, according to the health ministry.

There are two new imported cases, with 2,151 being local transmissions, data released on the ministry's website showed.

A further four deaths have been reported, bringing the death toll to 35,583.

A woman receives a shot of China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine in Yangon, Myanmar, Aug 29, 2021. (PHOTO / XINHUA)


Over 24 million people in Myanmar have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 until Saturday, and more than 6.8 million others have received their first jabs, according to the ministry of health on Sunday.

The ministry's figures showed more than 1.5 million people in Myanmar received COVID-19 booster shots as of Saturday.

Myanmar reported four new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the tally in the country to 613,053.

New Zealand

New Zealand recorded 6,407 new community cases of COVID-19, the ministry of health said on Monday.

Among the new community infections, 2,066 were reported in the largest city Auckland, the ministry said in a statement.

A further two people who have travelled from overseas to New Zealand have been confirmed as having the BA.5 variant of Omicron, it said.

Both people travelled to New Zealand and subsequently returned positive RAT and PCR results. Whole-genome sequencing subsequently confirmed the BA.5 variant. Following the first BA.5 case reported on Sunday, there are now three people who are confirmed to have the variant, all of whom travelled from South Africa, the statement said.


Samoa reported more COVID-19 cases over the past few days as the number of COVID-19-related deaths in the island nation remains at 20.

The country's ministry of health has reported 449 new community cases over the past few days, bringing the total number of community cases in the island nation to 10,583, According to the newspaper Samoa Observer on Monday.

The ministry has confirmed that 92.7 percent of those aged 18 years and above have completed two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

South Korea

South Korea reported 20,601 new COVID-19 cases as of midnight Sunday compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 17,564,999, the health authorities said Monday.

The daily caseload was down from 40,064 in the previous day, but it was slightly higher than 20,076 tallied a week earlier, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

The health authorities believed that the daily caseload has been on the decline following the Omicron variant-driven resurgence, which may have peaked in the middle of March.