scorecardAustralia's Health Minister warned that "millions" could get COVID-19
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Australia's Health Minister warned that "millions" could get COVID-19

Australia's Health Minister warned that "millions" could get COVID-19
LifeScience2 min read
Australia's Health Minister Mark Butler has warned that "millions" of people could get infected with coronavirus in the coming weeks amid a winter surge.

Butler recently asked the Australians to wear masks and work from home when needed to mitigate the impact of a wave of BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariant infections.

There were 316,574 active COVID-19 cases in Australia by Wednesday -- a figure Butler said could increase within weeks.

"I think this is a very concerning wave. This is the third wave just this year that Omicron has thrown at Australia," he said on the TV programme Sunrise on Wednesday.

"It's likely over coming weeks that some millions of Australians will catch COVID-19, some of them catching it again after perhaps having caught it earlier this year."

Butler said employers had been asked by chief health officers to think about whether their business can deal with a short period of working from home arrangements.

"People are strongly encouraged in indoor crowded spaces to wear a mask because we know it will cut transmission and cut the number of cases," Xinhua news agency reported quoting Butler.

On Thursday, Australia reported more than 35,000 new COVID-19 infections and more than 70 deaths.

According to government data published by the Guardian Australia on Thursday, 91 deaths were reported by aged care providers in the week ending July 8, up from 58 the week prior, and well above the weekly average of 69 since the beginning of March, when the last Omicron wave ended.

More than 2,000 aged care residents have died with COVID-19 in 2022 -- more than twice as many as the 917 in 2020 and 2021 combined.

As of Wednesday afternoon, a total of 8,596,145 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Australia, including 10,437 deaths, according to the latest figures from the Department of Health.

There were 4,477 coronavirus patients being treated in Australian hospitals on Wednesday, up from 3,781 a week earlier.

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