Sat, 02 Jul 2022

CANBERRA, May 17 (Xinhua) -- The number of Australians taking precautions against the spread of coronavirus has fallen amid a surge in cases.

According to data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Tuesday, 78 percent of Australians reported wearing a face mask in the week prior to being surveyed in April, down from 98 percent in February.

The portion of respondents who said they were physically distancing themselves from others fell from 85 to 75 percent and 92 percent said they were washing or sanitizing their hands regularly, down from 95 percent.

It came as COVID-19 infections soared across Australia.

According to Department of Health data there were nearly 1.4 million new COVID-19 cases reported in Australia in April and more than 800 deaths.

It represents almost one quarter of the 5.8 million total cases recorded in Australia to the end of April and more than 10 percent of the country's pandemic deaths.

The ABS survey found 62 percent of households had undertaken at least one COVID-19 test in the previous four weeks, up from 46 percent in March.

It also revealed how Australians' habits have changed since the start of the pandemic.

"Almost twice as many employed Australians worked from home one or more times a week in April compared to before COVID-19 restrictions were introduced in March 2020 (46 percent up from 24 percent)," David Zago, ABS head of Household Surveys, said in a statement.

"Meanwhile, fewer Australians exercised at a gym or played sport in April compared to March 2020 (29 percent down from 38 percent)."

Authorities in Australia on Tuesday reported more than 50,000 coronavirus infections for the past 24 hours and 66 deaths, including 20 in Victoria, 16 in New South Wales, 14 in Western Australia, 12 in Queensland, two in South Australia and one each in the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania.

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