Australian authorities have urged citizens to get their booster doses and adhere to Covid-19 preventative measures as hospitalizations rose on Tuesday fueled by the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
“If you are due for a booster, go and get it. If you have a child that is five years or older, get them vaccinated. Vaccination is definitely something you can and should be doing and should be doing that today,”Australia’s chief medical officer Paul Kelly was quoted as saying by news agency the Sydney Morning Herald.
The health minister Greg Hunt while addressing the media said that private sector hospitals will help the public sector if the situation requires. Hunt’s statement comes as the state of Victoria declared ‘Code Brown’ as cases and hospitalizations soared.
‘Code Brown’ allows for cancellation of hospital ‘staff’s leave to ensure an adequate workforce is on hand’. Victoria recorded 20,180 new cases in the last 24 hours and 22 deaths. The announcements in Victoria come amid its largest city, Melbourne, hosting the Australian Open tennis tournament. Victoria’s hospitals’ Code Brown order is expected to remain in place for the next four to six weeks.
Despite the rising cases, Melbourne airport said that it wants Covid-19 testing rules for incoming passengers to be relaxed. “We want to remove that pre-departure test, so that Australian residents or the skilled workers that are also able to enter, can arrive into Australia and if testing positive on arrival, can go into seven days isolation as anyone would here in the community,” Melbourne Airport’s chief of aviation Lorie Argus was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.
Australia is also planning to tap into a national stockpile of PPE kits in case hospitals run out of PPE kits. The health minister however outlined that the nation is not at the stage where there is a shortage of PPE kits.
States like New South Wales (29,830), Queensland (15,962), southern Australia (3,079) and the Australian Capital Territory (720) have also reported high caseloads with data yet to come in from other regions. Australia recorded more than 72,500 cases on Tuesday with 77 fresh fatalities.