Australia’s chief medical officer has asked employers to allow their staff to work from home “if possible” and to wear masks amid a surge in new indoor numbers Covid-19 Cases.
Professor Paul Kelly said the advice came from health experts as Australia is experiencing a “significant surge” in cases of the new BA.4 and BA.5 variants.
“We cannot stop this wave of infections, but we can slow the spread and protect the vulnerable,” Prof Kelly said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has reiterated its advice on reinfection times, testing and isolation, mask wearing, vaccine boosters and treatments, and has urged employers to allow work from home where possible.”
Australia’s chief medical officer (pictured) has asked employers to let their staff work from home “if possible” amid a surge in new Covid-19 cases
The chief medical officer also recommended masks be used indoors and when using public transport (pictured commuters in Melborne).
The chief medical officer said employers should review their occupational health and safety risks and business continuity plans to curb the spread of the virus.
“They should consider the feasibility of some employees working from home, wearing masks in the workplace and supporting employees to take time off when they are ill,” the Covid-19 update continued.
“All of these recommendations are based on what we know to either reduce the spread of the virus or protect those at highest risk of serious illness.”
Prof Kelly encouraged Australians to follow advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) and wear masks in crowded settings, indoors and on public transport.
“It’s important to protect yourself and others,” he said.
The new advice comes as Australia records 342,000 active coronavirus cases nationwide, with more than 5,100 patients in hospital care.
Victorian schoolchildren over the age of eight were asked to mask up in all indoor spaces until the end of winter to reduce the spread of disease.
Victorian schoolchildren over the age of eight have been asked to wear masks in all indoor spaces until the end of winter (pictured, masked Melbourne schoolchildren).
The new advice comes as Australia records 342,000 active coronavirus cases nationwide, with more than 5,100 patients in hospital care (pictured, Victorians in St Kilda).
In a letter sent to parents’ homes, they were asked to support this “simple step” which will help keep schools as safe as possible amid a surge in cases.
It said the Victorian Department of Health strongly recommends wearing face masks indoors.
“We ask that you ensure that your child (or children) brings a mask to school (and wears it when traveling on public transport) or collects a mask when they arrive at school,” the letter reads .
“We all appreciate how important it is for students to be back in school. This action will help ensure that as many students and staff as possible are protected from Covid and other winter diseases.”
The document, signed by heads of state, independent and Catholic sectors, says masks will not be “required or expected” outdoors.
NSW and Victoria Health Ministers have so far resisted growing calls for a return to mask mandates, but critics say the upcoming state elections in October and November are the main reason for any delay in returning.
NSW and Victoria Health Ministers have yet to push through a mask mandate in their states (pictured pedestrians in Sydney’s eastern suburbs in May)
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet admitted on Monday that the current flu outbreak is now a bigger threat than Covid.
“Right now the current strain of influenza is more serious than the current strain of covid,” he told 2GB.
“As we move through the next phase of the pandemic, we must balance competing health issues.”
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Ben Cowie urged the state government to bring masks back, but the advice was rejected by Health Secretary Mary-Anne Thomas.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has urged students and children to dress up amid a surge in new cases in schools.