Australia finds itself once more in the clutches of a subsequent Covid uptick, marking the eighth wave of the pandemic across its states and territories. This recent surge sweeps across the country a mere fortnight after the termination of Australia’s emergency response to the dire situation.
In spite of the ascension in Covid cases, Professor Paul Kelly, the nation’s chief medical officer, offers a glimmer of assurance to Australians. He posits that the existent healthcare infrastructures are adequately equipped to capably manage the situation.
A weekly tally reported on October 27 suggests 6605 fresh confirmed infections nationwide, using the regular documentation from the country’s live Covid tracker. The highest incident rates are observed in New South Wales (1911), Victoria (1407), and South Australia (1069).
In a surprising move on October 20, Professor Kelly decreed that Covid-19 would henceforth cease to be a Communicable Disease Incident of National Significance (CDINS). Yet, he tried to ameliorate fears by clarifying that the change in nomenclature will not bring forth any substantial alterations in managing the disease.
He reiterated that the prime emphasis remains on vaccination, preventive measures, and reduction in transmission, while efficiently managing severe illness, hospitalizations, and fatality. A rigorous monitoring of Covid-19 will be ensured through existing national and sentinel surveillance programs, with data continually updated and made public, he clarified.
A shift towards a “business as usual” approach to the disease is now required, led by the immunity acquired through vaccinations and previous infections. The Sydney Morning Herald predicts that Covid numbers would remain fairly stable in the forthcoming weeks.
Responding to the expanding waves of the virus, Professor Kelly further stated, “While the possibility of a new variant of concern remains, nothing has pushed ahead in a markedly different way since late 2021 when Omicron emerged.”
Endorsing Professor Kelly’s declaration, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) also chose to rescind the public health emergency status for Covid-19. The AHPPC reaffirmed that current and emerging variants pose similar threats as the circulating Omicron strains.
A statement from the committee foresees continuing infections waves over the next couple of years, but promotes the idea of ongoing uptake of protective behaviours such as vaccination and other mitigation strategies as now far more pertinent than an emergency response.