Health authorities urge return to masks as COVID cases rise


COVID-19 cases are rising across Australia as a new wave of the virus prompts authorities to seek public assistance in containing infections.

The number of cases in the country’s three most populous states has more than doubled in two weeks, although the number of serious infections remains low.

NSW, Victoria and Queensland reported 58,373 new infections on Friday, up from 42,264 last week and 27,103 two weeks ago.

Health authorities in NSW, Queensland, Western Australia and the ACT are asking people to wear masks again in indoor public spaces and on public transport, though they are not yet done with reintroducing mandates.

Despite the rising number of cases, only 50 people were in ICU with the virus in the three states on Wednesday.

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The figures represent a fraction of the figures during the peak of the previous COVID wave in July.

Earlier this week, Federal Health Secretary Mark Butler said the government’s vaccine advisory body was not recommending rolling out a fifth vaccine dose or a third booster, despite an increase in patient numbers.

He said the group noted that an additional booster was unlikely to reduce the fourth wave.

Carnival Cruises has made wearing a mask mandatory again on its liners after a spate of suitcases on board. Management said the health measure would return out of an abundance of caution due to the evolving public health situation.

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The measure was abolished for passengers in February and for staff last month.

The Persistent Ailments of Lockdown

Meanwhile, a study of the impact of the first NSW COVID-19 lockdown on nearly 900 children and carers in home care found that restrictions had a major effect on young people’s education, behaviour, social and physical activities, as well as time spent with native families.

It had a huge impact on the financial situation of carers and on their access to services and support.

However, research published by the University of Wollongong, University of Canterbury and University of NSW shows that some families still had a positive experience.

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Twice as many children reported a positive experience than a negative one, which the authors say backed up other studies suggesting that the first lockdown gave children with complex needs access to more emotional support and a sense of security.

“It may also be that the limitations gave some children the opportunity to develop stronger relationships with their caregivers,” they noted.


  • NSW: 27,869 cases, 39 deaths
  • Victoria: 20,398 cases, 46 deaths
  • Queensland: 10,106 cases, 15 deaths
  • South Australia: 8346 cases, three deaths
  • ACT: 1194 cases, no fatalities
  • Northern Territory: 286 cases, no fatalities
  • WA: 9065 fallen, 15 killed
  • Tasmania: 2224 cases, two deaths.