Australian Medical Association president Omar Khorshid has called for efforts to help flatten the curve to â€œgive hospitals a chanceâ€, warning that the number of Omicron cases wonâ€™t peak for weeks.
NSW, Queensland, Victoria have suspended non-urgent elective surgery due to rising Covid-19 hospitalisations.
Khorshid went on to tweet that â€œthe system is leaning on individuals (esp HCW) without providing the necessary support. Surely itâ€™s worth a try to flatten the curve (many people doing right thing anyway) to give hospitals a chance and get boosters into armsâ€.
He also called for greater support to GPs and private doctors.
One of Victoriaâ€™s largest public hospitals, the Alfred, predicts as many as 15% of its staff may be unavailable because of Covid with the Omicron wave expected to last for up to another eight weeks.
Staff at the hospital, which includes Australiaâ€™s largest intensive care unit, were told in an email on Friday from the chief executive, Andrew Way, to prepare for rising demand just as the available workforce was decreasing. The Alfred now has more than 50 patients in ICU, or about twice the next largest hospital in Victoria.
Read the full story from Guardian Australiaâ€™s economics correspondent Peter Hannam here:
Victoria records 44,155 new Covid-19 cases, four deaths
NSW records 30,062 new Covid-19 cases, 16 deaths
This figure is just cases confirmed by PCR tests, not including rapid antigen tests.
There are now 1,927 people in hospital with the virus, 151 of whom are in the ICU.
Good morning! Itâ€™s Justine Landis-Hanley here, back on the blog for 2022. Letâ€™s dive straight in.
Novak Djokovicâ€™s visa cancellation battle continues. The tennis star is detained in an immigration hotel in Melbourne while he waits to appeal his visa cancellation at a high-stakes federal circuit court hearing on Monday.
In a court submission, Djokovicâ€™s lawyers claimed that he had been advised by home affairs his travel declaration met the requirements for â€œquarantine-free arrivalâ€. They claimed that Tennis Australia granted him a medical exemption to play at the Australian Open despite not being vaccinated against Covid-19, on the grounds that he tested positive for the virus in mid-December.
The federal government is expected to file its response to Djokovicâ€™s submission today.
Meanwhile, Pparts of Queenslandâ€™s south-east are experiencing major flooding following heavy rain. A 14-year-old girl is missing near Gympie and a 22-year-old Sunshine Coast man was found dead yesterday.
Covid-19 cases are also continuing to rise across the country.
NSW recorded 45,098 cases yesterday from PCR tests, acknowledging that the real number was likely much larger. Victoria reported 51,356 cases, which included results from rapid antigen tests logged online over the past six days.
Queensland reported 11,174 cases and announced the suspension of non-urgent elective surgery for eight weeks.
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