October 19, 2021

Australia Covid live news update: Victoria’s daily case numbers officially overtake NSW; new Qld restrictions after four local cases

Victoria records 867 Covid cases and four deaths; NSW records 863 cases and seven deaths;...

Victoria records 867 Covid cases and four deaths; NSW records 863 cases and seven deaths; ACT records 13 new cases; home testing approved by TGA; Byron and Tweed to come out of lockdown as scheduled. Follow the latest updates live

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6.08am BST

Back to the Covid committee, the health department secretary Brendan Murphy is being asked about the ability of the health system to cope when restrictions are eased under the national plan.

Murphy said work by ANZICS – the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society – had estimated there were currently 2,000 ICU beds in use, with the potential for this to scale up by another 2,500 if necessary, with 500 of these staffed and ready to go.

“The important thing is that the jurisdictions are now doing significant additional work to refine what they will see as able to be staffed in that additional capacity,” he said.

Murphy added that the prime minister had considered “high-level aggregated data” about the ability of the health system to cope when the country reopened under the terms of the national plan. He said:

At an aggregate level we are comfortable that with the various mitigations that are proposed in phase B, with the ability to tailor the testing, tracing and quarantine and public health and social measures, at that vaccination rate, we should be able to control outbreaks and we are already seeing evidence of that in NSW.

Do we have any understanding of how this is going to roll out across the community? Because I can say, having just been through it, I was completely unprepared for what happened at my house, and I am worried that we are going to have thousands of families in the same situation as me, completely unprepared for what’s coming their way.

5.57am BST

State governments have released reopening roadmaps and are on their way to vaccinating us to freedom, and while the thought of a return to the great Australian summer has provided a morale boost, the knowledge of all the days we have lost to lockdowns this year remains difficult to scrub from our minds.

Among my peers of twentysomethings, there is a sense we have been robbed of an uncomfortable enough chunk of what is meant to be the best time of our lives.

Related: Australia can’t get back the time lost to lockdowns – but an extra hour of daylight saving would help | Elias Visontay

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