Major hospitals in Australia have become so overworked that they have had to set up emergency outdoor tents to help deal with the surge in COVID-19 The patients.
Temporary units have been set up outside two Sydney hospitals in response to an influx of patients as the city struggles to eradicate the rapidly spreading delta variant.
This desperate move came as Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern It defended its ‘Covid zero’ strategy amid concerns that the highly widespread delta variant outbreak has rendered the policy ineffective.
Australia and New Zealand are seeing a record number of Covid-19 infections despite their severity Close Measures that have proven incapable of preventing the spread of the infectious type.
New daily cases of Covid-19 in Australia today crossed 1,000 for the first time since the global pandemic began, while New Zealand recorded the country’s largest group of cases throughout the entire pandemic with 277 cases.
In Sydney, the rapid rise in the number of Covid-19 patients has forced major Westmead and Blacktown hospitals, which serve the outskirts of the sprawling city, to set up screening and screening tents to help manage capacity. Pictured: NSW Ambulances parked in the reception bay of Blacktown Hospital’s emergency department
Both Australia and New Zealand are seeing a record number of Covid-19 infections despite strict lockdown measures that have proven unable to prevent the infectious variant.
come next Ardern It decided to extend lockdown measures this week in response to the growing cases as its zero Covid policy is rolled back day by day.
Its decision to extend the lockdown has been described as “ridiculous” and “unfathomable” in an effort to completely eradicate the virus when faced with a delta variant, along with a slow vaccination process.
Scientists have warned that ‘zero Covid’ is almost impossible with the Delta strain, which is several times more contagious than the original virus that emerged in China.
In Sydney, the rapid rise in the number of Covid-19 patients has forced major Westmead and Blacktown hospitals, which serve the outskirts of the sprawling city, to set up screening and screening tents to help manage capacity.
The temporary unit in the emergency department for COVID-19 patients will help ‘unload delays’, according to a spokesperson for the local Western Sydney Health District.
New South Wales, where Sydney is the capital, reported 1,029 new locally acquired cases, topping the previous record of 919 the day before. Of the new cases, 969 were found in Greater Sydney, up from 838.
State Premier Gladys Berejiklian said authorities quadrupled the number of intensive care ventilators in the state to 2,000 early last year. Although the system is “under pressure,” it can withstand the current crisis once vaccination rates are high, she said.
“It may be different from the help you received before because of the situation, but please be aware that the system is starting to work,” Berejiklian said in a televised media conference.
Of the 116 people in intensive care in NSW, 102 have not been vaccinated. Three new deaths were reported, including a man in his 30s who died at home, bringing the death toll from the most recent outbreak to 79, although the death rate has slowed since last year.
In a video posted to Twitter on Wednesday evening, the Australian Paramedic Association said paramedics were given the option of waiting in their cars with the injured or ‘waiting outside in the freezing rain’ due to the high number of patients.
Meanwhile in New Zealand, Ardern said a strict nationwide lockdown to stem COVID-19 is helping to curb the spread of the delta variant, despite the high number of new cases on Thursday.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has defended her strategy to get rid of ‘Covid Zero’ amid concerns that the spread of the highly pervasive variable delta has rendered policy ineffective.
Delta’s case emerged in Auckland last week, ending six months without local transmission in New Zealand, one of the world’s last Covid-free regions.
Since then, this infection has swelled to become the largest cluster the country has recorded throughout the entire pandemic, with 277 cases.
Ardern said she believes that even the Delta strain can be eradicated back in the community and that health experts advise her to stick to an elimination approach.
“From their point of view, this is not only feasible, it remains the best strategy and I totally agree with it,” she said Thursday after announcing 68 new community cases.
Her Australian counterpart Scott Morrison said this week that trying to eradicate Delta is “futile,” adding: “New Zealand can’t do that.”
Australia has followed a Covid-zero policy for about 18 months, but the runaway delta outbreak means some authorities there are now talking more about containment than elimination.
The New Zealand Herald asked this week whether Ardern ‘chasing the rainbow’ was trying to crush Delta, and even the Covid-19 response minister, Chris Hepkins, acknowledged it was raising ‘big questions’ about the policy’s effectiveness.
Ardern said she was “not alarmed” by such concerns, noting the successful response to the epidemic in New Zealand, which has resulted in just 26 deaths among a population of five million.
We wanted to save people’s lives, and we have; We wanted to try to live people’s lives as normally as possible, and we had some of the shortest periods of restrictions in any country.
And we wanted to save jobs and the economy, with the economy running at pre-Covid levels, so we did.
Staff take a test at the Museum of New Zealand in Wellington amid harsh lockdown measures and rising COVID-19 cases
Ardern said Delta has forced adjustments to its removal strategy — such as a faster national shutdown and more extensive testing — but it remains a valid goal.
She said New Zealand could consider alternative policies when it improves vaccination rates, which are currently among the lowest in the developed world, where about 20 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.
“Nobody wants to use lockdowns forever and that’s not our intention…but for now, while we’re vaccinating, elimination is the goal and we can do that,” she said.
Meanwhile, a fast-moving Delta strain has dashed the luster of Australia’s early success against the virus that kept coronavirus numbers relatively low, with around 47,700 cases and 989 deaths. About 32 percent of people over 16 years of age have been fully vaccinated while just over 54 percent have received at least one dose.
Besides Sydney, Melbourne, the country’s second largest city, and its capital, Canberra, is also under tight lockdown, putting more than half of the country’s 25 million people under strict stay-at-home orders.
The number of cases in Victoria, home to Melbourne, rose to 80 on Thursday, compared to 45 the day before.
The federal government is pressing ahead with plans to reopen the country once vaccination rates reach 70%-80%, but some states have hinted they may be delayed given the rapid growth of cases in Sydney.
Berejiklian said NSW could reach 70% full vaccinations by mid-October, and airline Qantas said it was preparing to resume international travel in December.
Also Thursday, the Woolworths Group, a grocer, reported an increase in annual profits as the shutdowns fueled demand for household essentials.