Victorian Government must confront spread of COVID to suppress this wave: Greens

Australian Greens

The Victorian Greens have urged the Victorian Government to help reduce the spread of COVID in a bid to protect our hospitals from buckling under another wave.

COVID-19 hospitalisations have increased for six consecutive weeks, meaning we’re in another wave as was recently predicted by the Chief Health Officer and others.

Victoria’s health system has had a reprieve with fewer than 150 COVID inpatients for most of October but with inpatient numbers now at 550, clinics, hospitals and ambulances are getting busier.

We must do all we can to protect our hospital system from a repeat of the chaos of January and that means reducing COVID transmission.

That’s why the Greens are calling on the Victorian Government to start the intensive promotion of:

  • Wearing masks in crowded indoor spaces such as public transport, planes, events and venues
  • Improving indoor air quality, particularly where people are eating or drinking and unlikely to wear masks, using air purifiers, open windows or moving outdoors

The Greens have said the government must also be prepared to adopt other measures to reduce COVID transmission, such as density limits or compulsory masks on public transport, as advised by the CHO, if hospital workloads continue to increase.

The government should also ensure that diagnosis and antiviral treatment is readily available in low socioeconomic status postcodes where people with COVID are more likely to be hospitalised.

As stated by Victorian Greens health spokesperson, Dr Tim Read:

“If we’re serious about helping our ambulance and hospital system, we can’t keep watching these numbers increase without doing something.

“Victoria went into this pandemic with fewer hospital beds per capita than NSW and after years of coping with thousands of COVID cases and COVID-induced staff shortages, our health workers are exhausted.

“Unless we retain some basic public health measures there will be nothing to slow the next increase in COVID which may not be far away.

“Asking Victorians to mask up in indoor spaces, use an air purifier or have a COVID booster, is preferable to asking them to wait longer for an ambulance or a hospital bed when they need one.

“We can’t sleepwalk towards another health crisis.”

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