The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) is urging caution on the potential scaling-back of mandatory COVID isolation to be considered by National Cabinet, saying COVID-safety measures must always be based on considered, expert health advice.
Speaking as National Cabinet meets today, ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler warned that despite daily case numbers falling, ‘as much as we all desperately want it to be – COVID is not yet over’.
“While we are slowly emerging from this current COVID-19 outbreak, we must not risk further infection, disease and increased burden on our health system by removing COVID safety measures too quickly. We saw the devastation caused when the former Prime Minister and NSW Premier last year insisted the country had to ‘open up and live with COVID’ and decided to ‘let it rip’. The subsequent wave of the Omicron variant ran rampant in the lead-up to Christmas causing enormous stress on our health and aged care systems, enormous disruption and thousands of deaths,” Ms Butler said today.
“Our politicians must learn from their previous mistakes and ensure all decisions are based on expert health advice and that nurses, midwives and care workers, and other health professionals, are not overwhelmed and the most vulnerable in our community continue to be protected.
“Supporting and caring for the country’s most vulnerable is much more than personal responsibility, it requires a collective response led by well informed, committed politicians.
“We’ve all been dealing with the pandemic for almost three years now and we are all COVID-fatigued, but unfortunately, it’s not over yet and may not be over for some time yet. Latest health advice is indicating that Australia is facing the very real threat of another wave of infections in late November-December.
“As Governments do commence to ease COVID-safety protocols, based on health advice, the ANMF says we must adopt a measured, staged approach and be flexible enough for protections to be re-instated quickly if required and targeted for specific settings and circumstances. For example, in some countries, where isolation periods have been lifted, mask-wearing is still mandatory. That’s the type of sensible, considered approach we could adopt here.”