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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Medical profession’s virus warning as vaccine, mask rules ease

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Doctors are again urging Australians with COVID-19 symptoms to stay indoors and get tested as vaccine and mask requirements ease across the country.

Australian Medical Association Queensland president Maria Boultan says a number of viruses including the flu are in fact circulating.

“We’ve seen too many people who have symptoms who are going around in the community who perhaps have had a negative RAT test saying, ‘Oh, it’s not COVID, it’s not the flu. I’m OK to be around people’,” she told Nine’s Today.

Australia had more than 65,000 confirmed influenza cases in May — more than double the month’s previous record set in 2019.

We’ve seen too many people who have symptoms who are going around in the community who perhaps have had a negative RAT test saying, ‘Oh, it’s not COVID, it’s not the flu. I’m OK to be around people’.

Australian Medical Association Queensland president, Maria Boultan

Boultan’s warning also comes with more than 28,000 new COVID-19 cases reported nationally on Saturday, along with 56 deaths, including 24 in Victoria and 21 in NSW.

There are almost 225,000 active cases across the country and 3046 patients are in hospital care.

Despite this, some states have begun to ease restrictions, including allowing unvaccinated school staff back to work, lifting bans on unvaccinated visitors at aged care homes or relaxing mask requirements at airports.

In Victoria, third dose requirements for staff in education, food distribution, meat and seafood processing and quarantine settings have ended.

However they remain for health workers and those in emergency services.

School staff previously placed on leave without pay for not being fully vaccinated are now free to return to work. Under the new rules, parents will not be informed of a staff member’s vaccination status.

This follows the NSW Government announcing similar changes for Term 3.

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley says the changes are minor and progressive, and have been implemented sensibly.

Employers will set their own requirements around vaccines.

Rules requiring people to work from home if they’re not double dosed have also been lifted and aged care and disability care visitor caps have been removed.

Positive cases still need to isolate for seven days from the day they took their test but may now leave home to drive a household member directly to or from education or work.

Australia’s chief medical officer Paul Kelly urgently wants people to get both boosters and flu shots, especially the vulnerable and including young children.

AAP

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