health

Chief Medical Officer says no ‘sufficient public health rationale’ for… – SBS News

Key Points
  • Travellers from China to Australia must return a negative COVID test within 48 hours of departure from 5 January.
  • Treasurer Jim Chalmers says he is concerned about strains on supply chains due to the current outbreak in The far east.
  • The US, UK, France, India, Japan, Spain and South Korea have all imposed similar testing measures on arrivals through China.
Australia doesn’t need to impose additional travel requirements for people coming from China because domestic vaccination rates plus local surveillance systems are strong, the chief medical officer says.

The Albanese government moved upon New Years Day to require people travelling from China in order to test negative for COVID-19 within forty eight hours associated with departure.

From Thursday, passengers who board flights in Tiongkok, Hong Kong or Macau that arrive in Sydney will need a negative check, while those transiting through will not be affected.

Those who test positive after arriving in Australia will need to follow the local health advice, including the recommendation to isolate while symptomatic.

‘Inconsistent with the particular current national approach’

In a letter to the health minister, dated 31 December, Professor Paul Kelly said any additional measures on Chinese travellers would be “inconsistent with the current nationwide approach to the management of COVID-19 and disproportionate to the risk”.

Professor Kelly recommended the particular government consider enhancing monitoring capabilities, especially for international arrivals.

Suggested measures included testing plane wastewater, voluntary sampling of arrivals, an increase in community wastewater screening and following up with people who check positive with regard to the virus and had recently returned from overseas.
Health Minister Mark Butler said while there was simply no evidence of an imminent threat to Quotes, he made the decision out of “an abundance associated with caution”.
He cited the need regarding more data from Cina to ensure authorities were able to quickly detect and assess the impact of any new COVID-19 variants plus maintained the measure was modest.
“Other countries have expressed concern we don’t have information about a very fast-evolving COVID wave in the largest country on the planet, ” he told Adelaide radio station 5AA.

Mr Butler said similar measures will not be put in place for travellers from other countries such as the United States due to the timely reporting of information and genomic sequencing data.

Situation ‘closely’ monitored

Professor Kelly acknowledged in his advice to the government that accurate COVID surveillance data from China was scant.
But this individual also noted experts within China are predicting three winter waves of COVID transmission with the current event expected to run until mid-January, followed by two waves in late January plus late February to early March.
“We continue in order to monitor the particular situation very closely, ” Professor Kelly said.
Mister Butler has said that while there was no evidence of new variants emerging in China, the government was taking a cautious approach.

“There’s simply no imminent public health threat and we’re very well positioned right now in the fight against COVID here in Australia, ” he or she said on Monday.

Mr Butler said the World Health Organisation describing an absence associated with information from China formed part of his considerations to pull the trigger.
“We’re just ensuring we’ve got the most information we can possibly get to protect the health of Australians, ” he said.
Beijing last month announced it was scrapping strict “zero-COVID” measures in favour of a new policy of living with the particular virus.
A wave associated with infections has since erupted across The far east after borders had been kept all but shut for 3 years amid a strict regime of lockdowns and relentless testing.

Professor Kelly acknowledged in his advice that experts in China are predicting three winter waves associated with COVID transmission with the current occasion expected to run until mid-January, followed by 2 waves within late January and late February in order to early March.

‘Damned if you do, damned if a person don’t’

Infectious disease expert Robert Booy agreed with the government’s decision, saying the health minister has been correct to say better surveillance had been needed.
“The potential for a brand new subvariant is truly there in Tiongkok, with tens of millions getting infected, ” Professor Booy told Seven’s Sunrise program.

“You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. They’ve made a reasonable choice. inch

Opposition assistant wellness spokeswoman Melissa McIntosh questioned why the particular government would pull the trigger without the health guidance recommending to do so.
“Why would you have the particular chief medical officer say one thing, plus the government ignore that and do another? ” she told ABC TV.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the government always produced decisions within the best interests of the nation and took into consideration the actions of other countries.
The US, UK, France, India, Japan, Spain and South Korea have all imposed similar screening measures upon arrivals through China.
Cina also requires travellers in order to produce a negative COVID test.
“We’ve already obtained a big enough challenge right here managing COVID without unnecessarily exposing ourselves to part of the particular world that’s got a good extraordinarily large wave right now, ” Dr Chalmers informed ABC radio.

“We take the medical suggestions seriously. ”

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