Australia’s Covid-19 winter outbreak may have peaked early but the nation’s top doctor has warned it’s “not the last wave.”
As the nation continues to battle thousands of new Omicron cases, the Prime Minister has also moved to reassure the nation that the worst could be over.
Health officials had predicted the latest wave could peak in August but the latest figures suggest it’s already starting to drop off.
While hospital admissions from Covid are near the 5000 level they have already fallen from the record 5571 recorded last week.
“I’m increasingly confident we have reached the peak,’’ chief medical officer Paul Kelly said.
“Certainly the actual data we’re seeing from hospital admissions is decreasing in all states over the last few days.
“But this is not the last wave. This is the end of this wave – this is coming towards the end of this wave, or peaking of this wave, there will be a tail in hospitals.
“But this will not be the last wave. And we’ll continue to have to plan for that.”
Last month, the Albanese government reinstated the pandemic leave payment for workers who have to isolate but do not have sick leave.
The leave payment expired on June 30 under a decision by the Morrison government.
The cost of the extension was an estimated $780 million, to be shared on a 50-50 basis with the states.
At the time, the Prime Minister said the health advice was that the new wave is likely to peak next month and then decline.
Earlier today Health Minister Mark Butler said COVID-19 hospitalisations were high, but appeared to be declining.
“The data we’re seeing right now indicates we might have reached the peak earlier than we expected to,” Mr Butler said.
“We’re being a bit cautious about that because what we’ve seen through the pandemic is the ‘school holiday effect’, which shows numbers and transmission takes a slightly different course because of different activity in the school holidays.”