Australia surpasses 10,000 Covid deaths as authorities warn of another wave of infections

Australia has surpassed the grim milestone of 10,000 Covid-19 deaths, as authorities urge people to remain vigilant against the disease.

The country’s toll from the virus stood at 9,984 on Saturday, and tipped past the 10,000 mark with Sunday’s numbers.

New South Wales reported an additional two Covid deaths, while Victoria reported another 22.

Ahead of a health ministers’ meeting, the federal health minister, Mark Butler, said authorities were expecting a further wave of the virus in the coming months.

He pointed to the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants taking hold across the country.

“We’ve seen overseas that there is a greater risk of reinfection, so if you have had Covid earlier this year in the first wave over summer, there is a risk that you are open to reinfection,” Butler said.

“I do encourage you to go out and get that booster – it will provide further protection against the possibility of reinfection with these new subvariants over the coming months.”

Queensland reported no new Covid deaths on Sunday after the state’s chief health officer, John Gerrard, said on Saturday there was increasing pressure to bring back mask mandates.

The state’s minister for health and ambulance services, Yvette D’Ath, said on Sunday there was no change in mask rules.

“I don’t have any recommendations from the chief health officer here in Queensland to do that,” she said.

“But we do remind people as we go through this third wave that they can make those decisions [about when to wear masks] for themselves.”

On Australia surpassing 10,000 deaths, D’Ath said people needed to remind themselves of the virus’s continuing global impact, with people still dying every day.

“Our health workers would prefer to not have to be caring for people who are seriously unwell with Covid, who are in ICU, and sadly, who are passing away with [the disease],” she said.

“There’s something we can do to at least ease the burden on our health workers who are dealing with these Covid deaths and that is getting vaccinated and encouraging [others] … to get vaccinated.”

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