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'We're all going to get Omicron': NSW Health Minister says



New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard has said he expects everybody in the state to contract the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Speaking at a press conference this morning, Mr Hazzard was imploring residents to book in their vaccine booster shot as a defence against the variant of concern.

"Bottom line here is that we would expect that pretty well everybody in New South Wales at some point will get Omicron," Mr Hazzard said.

READ MORE: NSW sees another rise in COVID-19 cases as Victorian infections drop

"We're all going to get Omicron, and if we're all going to get Omicron, the best way to face it is when we have full vaccination including our booster.

"The challenge for us in the state is to make sure that our health system can cope with that oncoming virus that is so transmissible – it's extremely transmissible."

The Minister said international and state evidence showed that Omicron was not as "severe" as earlier variants, with the majority of people in ICU wards being unvaccinated.

"As I said earlier, everybody in New South Wales is probably going to get Omicron at some stage. Everybody in Australia will get Omicron," Mr Hazzard said.

"And what we're seeing at the moment is far milder symptoms."

READ MORE: COVID-19 testing in 'meltdown' as clinics close on public holiday

In the past 24 hours to 8pm NSW recorded a new daily high of 6394 COVID-19 cases from more than 109,500 tests.

The state's double-dose vaccination rate now sits at 93.5 per cent.

Premier Dominic Perrottet urged residents to consider using a rapid antigen test (RAT) if they weren't legally or medically required to get a PCR test as testing clinics are overwhelmed with demand.

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"I know there are long queues right across our state, so if you do not feel unwell there is no need to receive a PCR test. You are taking a spot in the queue from somebody who needs a test," Mr Perrottet said.

"We just don't believe that the requirement of a PCR test for somebody who is not unwell is actually supportive of that view.

"The best thing we can do as a country is to ensure that those states that will have more pressure on the system, and that's at the moment New South Wales and Victoria, that we get those tests done as quickly as possible."

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