Sydney, Australia, Sep 2 (EFE).- The much-anticipated reopening of Australia, which is conditional upon a high vaccination rate, may cause the public hospital system to collapse, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) warned on Thursday.
Australia has been combating a persistent Covid-19 outbreak linked to the Delta variant detected in Sydney in the middle of the year.
The states of New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria have proposed an easing of the lockdown and restrictions imposed to contain Covid-19 once 70 percent of the adult population is vaccinated, in line with a plan agreed at the end of July between the federal government and the country’s regions.
But the AMA said in a statement that this plan must be reviewed to take into account the current capacity of the country’s hospitals in the face of an increase in Covid-19 cases and the impact on the care of other patients.
“If we throw open the doors to COVID we risk seeing our public hospitals collapse and part of this stems from a long-term lack of investment in public hospital capacity by state and federal governments,” AMA President Omar Khorshid said.
This warning comes in light of the prospect that New South Wales, the epicenter of the third wave of Covid-19 in Australia, will end the long lockdown of Sydney and the rest of the region once it manages to fully vaccinate 70 percent of its adult population by its target date of mid-October.
“At 80 percent double dose vaccination we can look forward to international travel and that is the plan that we all signed up to,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Wednesday despite admitting that the rate of hospitalization will worsen in October.
Despite the long lockdowns, the Delta variant continues to spread in New South Wales, which recorded 1,288 local infections and 7 deaths on Thursday, while Victoria, confined since the beginning of August, reported 176 community infections.
In the Australian Capital Territory, also under lockdown, 12 local infections were recorded along with one community case in Queensland, one of the most reluctant to implement the plan to reopen due to the current crisis.
Australia, which has recorded more than 56,000 Covid-19 cases and more than 1,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic, has fully vaccinated more than 35 percent of its adult population. EFE