New South Wales has recorded another 12,226 Covid-19 cases and one death while Victoria’s infections have climbed by 5,137 and 13 deaths – but ICU rates remain low.

Hospitalisations in NSW are now at 746, up from the 625 Covid patients receiving care on Wednesday, while 395 Victorians are in hospital, a decrease of two.

Intensive care admissions in NSW have risen slightly with 63 residents currently in the ICU, up from 61 recorded a day earlier. In Victoria there are 55 in critical care.

Despite the surge in cases of Omicron, just a handful of Australians with the variant are in intensive care. 

New South Wales has recorded another 12,226 Covid-19 cases and one death while Victoria's infections have climbed by 5,137 - but ICU rates remain low

New South Wales has recorded another 12,226 Covid-19 cases and one death while Victoria's infections have climbed by 5,137 - but ICU rates remain low

New South Wales has recorded another 12,226 Covid-19 cases and one death while Victoria’s infections have climbed by 5,137 – but ICU rates remain low

Sydneysiders are seen waiting for a swab at the Rose Bay drive-through clinic on Thursday

Sydneysiders are seen waiting for a swab at the Rose Bay drive-through clinic on Thursday

Sydneysiders are seen waiting for a swab at the Rose Bay drive-through clinic on Thursday

Just 0.1 per cent of cases of the variant in NSW are in the ICU, with the same applying to 0.3 per cent of Victorians.

NSW Health recently released data which showed the majority of hospitalisations were for those with the Delta variant or those who are unvaccinated.

Only one patient has died with Omicron in Australia, a man in his 80s with underlying health conditions who caught it in his Sydney nursing home. 

Australia’s top doctor Paul Kelly said the results are a reflection of the lesser severity Omicron has.

‘In terms of the severity … we know now that it is very likely this is less severe than other forms of the virus,’ the Chief Health Officer said.

NSW Health recently released data which showed the majority of hospitalisations were for those with the Delta variant or those who are unvaccinated (pictured testing queue in North Ryde, Sydney)

NSW Health recently released data which showed the majority of hospitalisations were for those with the Delta variant or those who are unvaccinated (pictured testing queue in North Ryde, Sydney)

NSW Health recently released data which showed the majority of hospitalisations were for those with the Delta variant or those who are unvaccinated (pictured testing queue in North Ryde, Sydney)

While Omicron cases are surging around NSW, less than one per cent have been admitted to intensive care

While Omicron cases are surging around NSW, less than one per cent have been admitted to intensive care

While Omicron cases are surging around NSW, less than one per cent have been admitted to intensive care

‘How much less severe is still an open question. I’ve seen estimates from 15 per cent less severe to 80 per cent less severe.’  

Meanwhile research by South African scientists has suggested that those who catch the Omicron variant may then be better protected against other strains such as Delta.

The study focused on 33 vaccinated and unvaccinated people who had contracted Omicron in South Africa and found that these people, especially those who were double vaxxed, had an ‘enhanced immunity’ to the Delta variant.

It comes as changes are expected to be made in regards to PCR tests for international travel.

Thursday's cases are another daily record for NSW but ICU rates remain steady

Thursday's cases are another daily record for NSW but ICU rates remain steady

Thursday’s cases are another daily record for NSW but ICU rates remain steady

Both Dominic Perrottet and Daniel Andrews want to ditch the requirement for international arrivals to get a PCR test, to free up space in queues for those who are sick.

Such a pivot would make it far easier for cooped up holiday-starved Australians hoping for an overseas trip this summer, as they wouldn’t have to waste the majority of a day waiting in line or worrying about getting tested in time. 

International arrivals including returning Australian travellers are currently forced to get a PCR test within 24 hours of arriving Down Under.

The matter will be discussed at Thursday’s National Cabinet. 

Just over 93 per cent of the NSW population aged 16 and older are double vaccinated.

In Victoria vaccination rates for those aged 12 and up are at 92 per cent.

Thousands have had to wait hours on end to get a Covid test as testing queues fill up around the country (pictured in Melbourne)

Thousands have had to wait hours on end to get a Covid test as testing queues fill up around the country (pictured in Melbourne)

Thousands have had to wait hours on end to get a Covid test as testing queues fill up around the country (pictured in Melbourne) 

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