Federal Budget Warns Dreaded Covid-19 Restrictions Could Be 'Reimposed' During Winter
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Australia's Federal Budget has warned of the possibility of Covid-19 restrictions returning this winter.
With Australia expected to see a surge in Covid-19 cases in in a few months, the Budget predicted social distancing might be enforced again and restrictions could be 're-imposed in a targeted way', according to The Daily Mail.
The Budget also revealed the federal government is anticipating 'a more virulent variant’ to circulate in 2022, which might be followed by 'baseline public health measures such as physical distancing and density limits'.
To address concerns about a new variant emerging, the Morrison government has proposed a $6 billion plan to support the health care system by supplying more RATs and buying more Covid-19 vaccinations.
The Budget promised more than 250 million Covid-19 vaccines would be bought to Australia to ensure everyone is up-to-date with their vaccination status, along with 25 million rapid antigen tests (RATs), which will be distributed to over 4 million Australians.
Plans for the Federal Budget to tackle a new Covid-19 strain follows the approval of a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine, which will be made available to many Australians from April 4.
Next month, vulnerable people and those aged 65 and over will be eligible to receive their fourth jab four to six months after their third booster shot.
First Nations people over the age of 50 and people in aged care facilities will also be eligible.
The rollout of the booster shot comes after The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) made recommendations for another Covid-19 vaccine to coincide with the 2022 influenza vaccination program.
Health Minister Greg Hunt urged eligible Australians to get the vaccine ahead of winter flu season.
He told ABC News: "That dosing regimen will start in our pharmacies, in our general practices, in our state and Commonwealth clinics, in our Indigenous medical clinics from the fourth of April," he said.
He added: "It was an open question that was put to ATAGI … (and it was) their job was to recommend who should get it,"
"We have sufficient vaccines to dose all Australians, not just four times but five times.
"It's for a window for four to six months after you have had your first booster, and that's based on medical advice (from ATAGI)."
Despite the Federal Budget alluding to the return of Covid-19 restrictions during winter, Australia's international borders are likely to remain open to migrants and vaccinated tourists.