One of Australia's leading infectious disease experts claims more could have been done to prevent the current Omicron coronavirus outbreak, insisting Christmas was always going to be a potential "super-spreader event".
New South Wales has today clocked 5612 infections, and Victoria 2095.
A surge in cases yesterday promoted the introduction of new face mask rules in both states.
Epidemiologist Professor Mary-Louise McLaws told Today "the horse has really bolted", and lamented the fact an outbreak plan wasn't implemented before the holidays.
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"Our summer, our Christmas is potentially a super-spreading event," she said.
"I'm a bit disappointed in outbreak management, particular large ones, behaviour and super spreading event that's coming in the future need to have a plan."
Professor McLaws claimed too much focus was placed on vaccine rates and not social distancing measures.
"Just relying on vaccination rates wasn't enough," she said.
"The vaccine is really terrific to prevent you from dying and hospitalisation, but you can still get infected and you still have a small risk of passing it on.
"But you still need to plan for Australia's most favourite time, which is very similar to the northern hemisphere's problem of winter."
Professor McLaws welcomes the face mask rules reintroduced to NSW and Victoria overnight.
"The horse has bolted and now we are going to have to manage this," she said.
"(Masks are) absolutely necessary, because you could be breathing it out, particularly indoors…But you need to wear that mask over your nose.
"Putting it under your nose is not preventing people from catching Omicron or Delta from you if you are breathing it out, and you are certainly not filtering any virus through the mask if you are putting it under your nose."