Australia Corona Virus

COVID-19 isolation for household contacts scrapped across Australia amid confirmation of Omicron BA.4

Source: SBSnews

Compulsory isolation for household contacts of people with COVID-19 is a thing of the past as the nation learns to live with the virus.

Household contacts of people infected with COVID-19 are no longer required to isolate in any Australian state.

Tasmania on Monday became the last jurisdiction to eliminate the requirement for people to isolate for a week if a member of their household had the virus.

There are around 330,000 active coronavirus cases around the country, with more than 3,000 in hospital with the virus.

Meanwhile, NSW and Victorian health authorities confirmed last week they had detected evidence of two new Omicron sub-variants – BA.4 and BA.2.12.1.

The World Health Organization has declared the BA.4 strain a highly transmissible variant of concern.

‘Huge challenges for GPs’

An article in the Medical Journal of Australia published on Monday documented the “huge challenges” the virus presented for general practices over the past two years.

Author Claire Jackson from the University of Queensland, said digital innovation, phone and videoconference consulting, remote monitoring, and new models of care offering optimal access had been “the big winners from the COVID‐19 experience”.

While telehealth rebates were modest, digital access to GPs had been embraced by patients “and will be hard to unwind”.

“At this time, the vast majority of those affected have mild disease and are able to manage well at home with practice telehealth support,” the report said.”

2022 will no doubt present new challenges as COVID‐19 continues to alarm, dismay and disconcert.

“The only certainty is our acknowledged inability to precisely predict its direction, impact and eventual defeat.”

Western Australia’s government meanwhile announced it will provide a further 10 free rapid antigen tests to close contacts who are asymptomatic.

The tests, which can be collected at vaccination and testing clinics across the state, are in addition to the 15 free tests that are already being distributed to every household.

It comes as Australia recorded another 13 COVID-19-related deaths and 31,415 new infections on Monday.

In NSW, in the last 24-hour reporting period there were 7,723 cases, five deaths, and 1,656 in hospital, including 72 in the intensive care unit (ICU).

In Victoria, there were 8,109 cases, one death, and 456 in hospital, including 26 in ICU.

In Queensland, there were 4,647 cases, no deaths, and 402 in hospital, 10 in ICU.

In Tasmania, there were 900 cases, three deaths, and 46 in hospital, including two in ICU.

In Western Australia, there were 5,847 cases, no deaths, and 240 in hospital, six in ICU

In Northern Territory, there were 248 cases, and 44 in hospital, one in ICU

In South Australia, there were 3,143 cases, three deaths, and 257 in hospital, with 15 in ICU.