Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly spoke at Parliament House today with the latest information on the evolving COVID-19 situation across the country.
He began by outlining the current COVID-19 statistics around the country. There are currently 5097 people that are in hospital with COVID-19. Morrison said up to half are being admitted for other reasons but have COVID-19, and more than half being administered are unvaccinated.
He said as 5-11 year olds are able to receive their vaccines from today, the country has contracted 3.3 million paediatric vaccines with 2.3 million already in the country. He said there are 2.3 million eligible children in this age group.
Morrison said there are 6,000 places where people can go and get their children vaccinated and 835,000 vaccines already distributed to these places as of last Friday.
He said that 5,100 5–11 year olds have already had their vaccine having early access due to medical requirements.
He said 1.3 million boosters have been admitted in the past week and the country is now running 8 times to administration rate for boosters compared to the first dose rate and 2 times the second dose rate.
Morrison said the AHPPC has endorsed new arrangements that relate to workers in critical supply chains in food processing, production and distribution, as well as emergency services.
The paper is now before national cabinet for endorsement.
He said what it involves is asymptomatic close contacts will be able to go to work in these sectors.
He said this is in regard to those in jobs such as driving trucks, stacking shelves, in food and grocery production, in distribution centres and manufacturing.
He said it does not apply to those in the retail sector working face to face with costumers. He said the next step is to take these guidelines into other critical sectors such as aviation, transport and other distribution tasks that are not costumer facing.
Morrison said it’s about getting workers where they need to go, and looking to maximise those who can remain in the work force. He said they are looking at taking these guidelines to the hospitality sector too.
Morrison said anyone who is symptomatic or has COVID-19 will not be going into work. Workers must have a negative test on day 1 to return to work.
Morrison said this is a tough time with lots impacted being close contacts and getting COVID-19. He said this is having impact of consumer spending and this will be the case for a while, as omicron moves to its peak.
Kelly also spoke in this saying the CEO of Woolworth said they’re finding a 30-50 per cent absentee rate with these being a mixture of close contacts and those sick with COVID-19.
Kelly said they cannot operate in those circumstances. The guidelines will become public shortly after the national cabinet meeting.
If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, please seek testing as soon as possible.
Find your nearest testing site at www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVIDtesting.
More information is available at www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVIDcontacttracing.
For more information visit https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/ or call the SA COVID-19 Information Line on 1800 253 787.