Australian gov’t urges action as new Covid-19 wave surges
Sydney, Australia, Jul 20 (EFE).- The Australian government on Wednesday urged residents to work from home, wear masks indoors and get booster doses of Covid-19 vaccines, among other measures, as a new wave linked to the Omicron variant surged.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese stressed that the decision on remote working is “a matter of getting the balance right” between the needs of businesses and efforts to control the pandemic.
“One of the consequences of the pandemic is that some work practices will change permanently,” the leader said at a press conference from a medical institute in Melbourne.
Australia is experiencing a new wave linked to the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, which are highly contagious, according to experts.
The country recorded some 50,000 new infections on Tuesday, accumulating more than 350,000 active cases.
The number of Covid-19 hospitalizations, which represent almost 9 percent of all beds nationwide, is close to the peak reached in January after the progressive opening of international borders, which were closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic, as well as the return to normal practice.
“I think the next month is going to be very difficult for our hospitals,” the government’s chief medical officer Paul Kelly said, according to the ABC public broadcaster Wednesday, stressing that working from home is a key component.
Australia has accumulated almost 8.9 million cases since the start of the pandemic, including some 10,800 deaths, according to official figures, which also indicate that more than 95 percent of the population over the age of 16 is double vaccinated, while 54.3 percent have had a third dose and half a million people have had a fourth shot.
The Oceanian country implemented a series of strict measures during much of the health crisis, including hard lockdowns, international and national travel bans and the mandatory use of masks. EFE