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Hospital system under stress as Aussie state on verge of new wave of COVID-19

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 17:00, July 07, 2022

SYDNEY, July 7 (Xinhua) -- The Australian state of Queensland is on the verge of a new wave of COVID-19, and health authorities warned hospitals strain could be the worst yet.

Queensland reported 5,980 new COVID-19 cases and 17 deaths on Thursday. There were 697 people in the hospital including 15 in intensive care.

Queensland Health Minister Yvette D'Ath told Australia's national broadcaster ABC on Thursday that hospitalizations were due to peak in late July or early August.

"We're hearing that it could be equal to the first big wave that we had of Omicron at the start of the year," she said.

"Or it could even be higher than that."

According to the health minister, there have been over 2,000 health care workers absent because of COVID-19.

The State branch of Australia's peak medical body, the Australian Medical Association (AMA), said on Wednesday that as "workforce is being decimated," health authorities and professionals will soon discuss the restrictions on elective surgery, visiting rules, in-and-out patient restrictions in the next step.

AMA Queensland is also warning against the low booster vaccine rate in the state and urging people to stay up to date with the immunization.

"We're discussing the fact that not enough people have had a booster dose. We know that the booster doses help, and we know that only 50 percent of people over the age of 65 have had that winter's fourth booster dose. It's important that those people present because they are at high risk," said AMA Queensland President Dr. Maria Boulton.

Queensland has the lowest percentage, 63.5 percent, of the eligible population with three or more doses, according to data from Australia's Department of Health and Aged Care on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced a series of investments for the expansion and refurbishment of some major hospitals in the state.

She said the investment will deliver hundreds of extra beds in hospitals and ensure the state "meet the increasing demand for healthcare services now and into the future."

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