Australia: WA rules ease as national virus cases rise

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Western Australia has relaxed some of its COVID-19 restrictions as the country's case numbers continue to climb.

Western Australia has relaxed some of its COVID-19 restrictions as national case numbers climb. © Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS Western Australia has relaxed some of its COVID-19 restrictions as national case numbers climb.

There were close to 55,000 cases reported in Australia on Wednesday, while the national death toll rose by 39.

In NSW alone, there were 18,265 infections, while Victoria reported more than 10,000.

WA is also recording close to 7000 cases a day, but with its Omicron wave likely to have peaked on March 30, restrictions are easing.

On Thursday, WA moved to the national definition for close contacts.

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Household members and intimate partners of cases still need to quarantine but cases in classrooms will no longer force children into isolation.

A 500-person cap at hospitality venues has been removed and QR code check-ins are now only required at hospitals.

But mask mandates remain in all indoor public venues and people must continue to show proof of their vaccination status in non-high risk settings.

Meanwhile, the Tasmanian government is in no hurry to welcome back large cruise ships.

A ban on the vessels entering Australia, in place since March 2020, will be lifted from Sunday.

New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland have outlined testing and vaccination requirements for passengers and crew as they prepare for the ships to return.

But Tasmanian Liberal MP Roger Jaensch on Wednesday said the island state was still reviewing whether it was safe for larger cruise ships to return.

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