Victoria’s Cases Spike As Mask Mandate Likely To Be Reinstated
2005 new infections
Victoria's cases escalate as the state reported 2,005 new infections on Thursday and 10 Covid-related deaths.
The spike in cases, marks the first time since October where infections have clocked over 2000 cases.
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There are currently 14,801 active coronavirus cases, with 398 people in hospital, while 72 of those are in ICU and 39 are on ventilators.
Another 40 people are in intensive care with Covid, but the health Department have confirmed their infections are no longer considered active.
The seven-day average for hospitalisations in Victoria is now on a consistent rise, up from around 300 two weeks ago.
The new cases were detected from a whooping 85,112 swabs collected on Wednesday, while 16,758 vaccine doses were administered at state-run hubs, with more at GP clinics and pharmacies.
As of Thursday, more than 92 per cent of Victorians aged over 12 are now fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, an announcement from Victoria’s Acting Premier James Merlino is imminent on whether a mask mandate will return.
It comes despite yesterday's emergency Cabinet Meeting, where Prime Minister Scott Morrison encouraged Australians to take personal responsibility, as opposed to following recommendations for health experts to reinstate mandatory face masks in a bid to curb the escalating spread of Omicron.
Mr Morrison instead recommended people wear masks indoors at their own discretion, but a mandate was not necessary.
"In the same way as we go into the summer season, people will be slapping on the hat and slapping on the sunscreen — there's no rule or requirement to do that, but that's strongly recommended health advice — it's in the same category," he said.
"What matters is people wear them, not whether they get fined or not."
- Mr Morrison
Yet, some from eminent virology, infectious diseases and epidemiology experts believe that additional measure, like face masks are essential.
Epidemiologist Prof. Mary-Louise McLaws says its goes without saying that simple measure can combat the spread of the Omicron variant.
“WHO keeps reminding the world that vaccines are not the only answer because this virus keeps changing,” McLaws said. “Vaccines certainly reduce the risk of death and severe infection. But you do need other measures, like physical distancing, and masks.”
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