Dire warning about aftermath of Australia's Covid 'honeymoon'

·3-min read

Australia will probably avoid the new burst of coronavirus cases that are enveloping Europe, although problems could arise entering winter next year after a "honeymoon period" gives way to a new wave of infections.

Several European countries are being forced to impose new lockdown restrictions in the face of a fourth wave of Covid-19 cases.

Australia is enjoying a relatively high level of vaccination with over 84 per cent of people aged 16 and over now fully vaccinated with two doses.

Australia needs to embrace booster shots to avoid scenes playing out in Europe right now, experts warn. Source: Getty
Australia needs to embrace booster shots to avoid scenes playing out in Europe right now, experts warn. Source: Getty

"Because we will have a relatively newly minted, highly vaccinated population, we will probably be OK in summer and go through a bit of a honeymoon period," Australian Medical Association vice-president Chris Moy told the ABC.

"The problem will be later when vaccination rates, vaccinations possibly start to wane in terms of effectiveness into winter next year."

As such it will be critical to keep the vaccine booster program going, Dr Moy said.

However, the Northern Territory's Covid-19 outbreak is expected to grow beyond currently locked-down areas following nine new cases detected at remote Binjari, about 320km south of Darwin.

The Australian Defence Force has been called in to help with transferring positive cases and close contacts to the centre of national resilience.

"What has become clear to us based on the level of movement that has been happening in some communities outside of Katherine, is there is a real risk the virus has reached the connected communities further away," NT Chief Minister Michael Gunnar told reporters.

Meanwhile, Victoria reported 1,275 new coronavirus cases on Sunday and a further four deaths.

In NSW there were 176 infections and two deaths, while in the ACT there were 16 cases on Sunday.

From Monday, visitor restrictions will ease at all ACT hospitals, community health centres and walk-in centres to allow two visitors per patient, per day during visiting hours.

"The decision to restrict visitors to our health facilities is always a difficult one, but it ensures we can protect the health and safety of everyone," ACT Health said in a statement on Sunday.

"This is especially necessary for our most vulnerable, particularly patients whose health is already compromised."

WHO 'very worried' by virus resurgence in Europe

The World Health Organisation has said it’s "very worried" by the latest Covid surge in Europe as more countries consider imposing restrictions.

WHO’s regional director Dr Hans Kluge warned there could be 500,000 further deaths from coronavirus by March if immediate action was not taken, the BBC reported.

Europe has again become the epicentre of the pandemic, accounting for half of global cases and deaths.

As cases rise again, several governments have started to reimpose limits on activity, ranging from Austria's full lockdown to a partial lockdown in the Netherlands and restrictions on the unvaccinated in parts of Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

 A doctor tends to a patient on the Covid-19 intensive care unit at University Hospital Leipzig in Leipzig, Germany.
A doctor in Leipzig, Germany, tends to a Covid patient in the ICU. Source: Getty Images

Dr Kluge blamed the new wave on several factors, including the more transmissible Delta variant and an insufficient level of vaccine coverage.

"Covid-19 has become once again the number one cause of mortality in our region," he said.

Dr Kluge called for simple measures like mask-wearing, a greater rollout of the vaccine and breakthrough medical treatments for Covid.

He added a discussion should be had around mandatory vaccination but this method should only be the “last resort”.

On Friday, Austria said that in addition to a lockdown, it would require the whole population to be vaccinated from 1 February next year.

with AAP and Yahoo UK

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