New strains of COVID-19 have Australia’s leaders and health authorities concerned about a possible surge that will increase pressure on hospitals and doctors over the next two months.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese held a national cabinet meeting on Saturday, with COVID as the main item on the agenda, according to the NEMBC Multilingual News Service.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly told the Cabinet that the new wave of infections is largely due to the emergence of the new Omicron sub-variants, BA.4 and BA.5, which are highly infectious.
President of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) Dr Omar Khorshid said he also has called on state premiers to follow health expert recommendations, and that mask mandates should again be considered if the situation worsens.
Across Victoria over 68 percent of people aged 12 years and older are now up to date with three COVID-19 vaccination doses, while over 94 percent have received two doses.
In addition, almost 57 percent of children aged five to 11 years in the state have now received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.
Victoria has recorded over ten thousand (10,251) new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 with 18 lives lost.
Pandemic leave payment restored
Pandemic leave payments have been restored for workers impacted by COVID-19.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made the announcement at a national cabinet meeting on Saturday, following recommendations from health experts.
The payments originally ended on June 30 but have now been extended to the end of September.
The payment is a lump sum offered to those who do not have access to sick leave but are required to isolate, such as casual workers.
Workers are paid for each seven-day isolation, with those losing eight to twenty hours work eligible for 450 dollars, while those losing more than twenty hours are eligible for 750 dollars.
Victoria to invest in more health care support
The Victorian government has announced a new funding package to invest more support into the state’s health care system.
The current flu season and rise in COVID cases has seen the health care system put under continued pressure, with record levels of the demand for patient care reported.
The new funding will allow for additional specialist staff to be deployed in twelve major hospitals across the state.
These specialists will include offload nurses, to help ambulances offload patients quicker, triage doctors and discharge coordinators.
Health experts say that bouts of coughing may continue after recovering from COVID-19 for a number of key reasons.
This can include inflamed sinuses or the lungs still being affected by the virus.
It is also important to watch out for a secondary infection which could be causing a continuing cough.
To help potentially alleviate coughing, the use of saline rinses, lozenges, sleeping upright and nasal sprays are recommended.
(NEMBC Multilingual News Service)
The Indian Sun acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.
New strains 🦠 of #COVID19 have Australia’s leaders & health authorities concerned about a possible surge that will increase pressure on hospitals & doctors over the next two months. #TheIndianSunhttps://t.co/DfblmrQxDf
— The Indian Sun (@The_Indian_Sun) July 18, 2022