Australian PM says no Xmas lockdown

Australia is grappling with the more transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus as restrictions ease ahead of the Christmas holidays after higher vaccination levels were reached.

Even as daily infections surge to record tallies, hospitalisation and death rates remain low compared with those seen during a wave of cases from the Delta wave and Morrison said there would be no more lockdowns.

Morrison insisted that limiting the spread of the virus comes down to personal responsibility. No national mandatory rule to wear masks indoors would be introduced, although it would be "highly recommended," he said at a news conference in Canberra.

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