Australians’ Summer Plans Could be Disrupted, with a New Wave of Covid-19 Expected to Intensify
“Australians’ summer plans could be disrupted, with a new wave of Covid-19 expected to intensify.”
New Covid-19 wave to hit Australia as new XBB strain takes hold, CMO says
A grim warning has been issued ahead of the festive season, which could threaten summer fun for Aussies.
Australians’ summer plans could be disrupted, with a new wave of Covid-19 expected to intensify.
Chief medical officer Paul Kelly has said the increase in case numbers is due to a new strain of the virus which has taken hold overseas.
“We are seeing an increase in Covid-19 case numbers in Australia, reflecting community transmission of the Omicron variant XBB,” Professor Kelly said.
All indications are that a new wave of Covid-19 is set to hit Australia, according to Professor Kelly
Described by Professor Kelly as the “grandchildren of Omicron” earlier this week, variants like XBB are more transmissible but “no more severe compared with where we were 12 months ago”.
“All indications are that this is the start of a new Covid-19 wave in Australia,” he said.
“This was to be expected and will be part of living with Covid-19 into the future.”
The XBB strain, which originated in Singapore, is reported to be resistant to vaccines and antibodies from previous infections and has been detected in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia.
There is an abundant number of tests in Australia, Professor Kelly said, putting the country in a better position than last year.
He also warned that other variants could be a cause for concern in the coming months.
“We are closely monitoring the overseas transmission of a second Omicron variant – BQ 1,” Professor Kelly said.
Australians are urged to make sure they are up to date with their vaccinations, stay home if unwell and wear a mask when in indoor public places so they can “continue to look forward to their summer plans”.
Australians are urged to wear masks in busy places to bring down transmissions.
Professor Kelly remained tight lipped on Monday about whether parts of Australia could re-enter lockdown this Christmas, however conceded it was unlikely.
“You know, that’s not my decision, but I don’t think that that’s likely,” Professor Kelly said on Sunrise.
“My advice at the moment is to be alert, but not afraid – I think that would be a good way to look at it.”
He also said Australia was in a “much better position than last year as there are plenty of tests and so forth”.
“We’ve seen these same variants go to other countries, most recently Singapore. They had a quick, sharp wave of cases, but not a lot else and then they’ve moved on,” he said.
Every jurisdiction now reports on Covid-19 cases weekly rather than daily.
Last week, NSW recorded 24 deaths from Covid-19, an increase from 16 the week before.
There were 12,450 new cases compared with 10,050 cases the week before.
Hospitalisations fell slightly, with 809 patients in hospital compared with 820 the week before.
Intensive care admissions were also down, from 25 to 17.
Victoria recorded 24 deaths last week and 10,226 new cases, an increase from 8537 the previous week.
There are 231 patients in hospital, up from 172 the week before. Seven people are in intensive care.
Queensland reported 14 deaths, down from 18, as well as 4427 new cases following 4447 the week before.
Hospitalisations remain at 105, while there are three people in intensive care.
Western Australia reported 6916 new infections, with 142 people in hospital, including three in intensive care, which is down from eight last week.
South Australia recorded 29 deaths and 3797 new cases, with 53 people in hospital, including six in intensive care.
The ACT recorded one death and 910 new cases, with 37 people in hospital, including one in intensive care.
The Northern Territory reported two deaths and 242 new infections, with 15 people in hospital.
Tasmania recorded five deaths and, 1307 new cases, with eight patients in a hospital.