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Doctors alarmed over easing COVID-19 rules

Another COVID-19 wave is on its way to Australia, with the nation’s peak medical body urging federal and state governments to rethink winding back restrictions.

October 7, 2022
By Tess Ikonomou
7 October 2022

Australia’s peak medical body has warned it’s too early to scrap COVID-19 isolation requirements, with the nation likely to be hit by another wave of infections.

National cabinet has agreed to dump the five-day isolation period for positive cases, with the changes to take effect on October 14. 

Australian Medical Association president Steve Robson told AAP it was too early to ease the protections.

“All the signs are that we’re looking at another wave of COVID,” he said.

“We’re coming out of one of the biggest waves of COVID yet and it has absolutely crushed (the) hospital workforce and left us with a massive logjam and backlog in hospitals at the moment that has to be dealt with.

“If we have another wave over the holiday season, then it spells bad news for the country because we can’t tackle that backlog.”

Professor Robson said information from the northern hemisphere showed newer variants of the virus wouldn’t be affected by immunity from previous infections or from vaccinations.

“We’re seeing a major wave beginning again in the northern hemisphere,” he said.

“We’re very concerned that this doesn’t happen in Australia.”

Meanwhile, Australia’s former deputy chief medical officer has called for guidelines on COVID-19 vaccines for children to be reviewed.

Dr Nick Coatsworth said experts in the United Kingdom no longer provide COVID-19 vaccines to healthy children aged between five and 11, while Sweden does not recommend jabs for those aged 12 to 17.

In Australia, COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for everyone aged over five.

“If you’re a healthy child or adolescent, the benefit of the COVID vaccine just isn’t there,” Dr Coatsworth told Sydney radio 2GB.

Fresh data for NSW and Victoria, released on Friday, shows weekly case numbers and deaths continue to fall in the country’s two most populous states.

WEEKLY VIRUS DATA BY JURISDICTION

* NSW: 10,767 new cases, 41 deaths

* Victoria: 9230 new cases, 43 deaths

* ACT: 536 new cases, zero deaths

* Queensland: 7970 new cases, 14 deaths

* NT: 279 new cases, 73 deaths

* South Australia: 2720 new cases, 93 deaths

* Tasmania: 715 new cases, one death

* Western Australia: 4573 new cases, 11 deaths

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