Australia’s federal health minister Greg Hunt announced on July 13 that it will be mandatory for aged care workers in locked down zones to wear surgical face masks, concerned by the outbreaks of the CCP virus.
Speaking on Nine’s Today Show on July 15, Hunt said, “I think if we are honest, there will be more lives lost, and there will be people admitted to ICU and more on ventilation.”
Four million masks were made available for over 60,000 aged care staff. This is in addition to one million masks provided for health workers last week.
According to Hunt, this will immediately assist an estimated 449 residential aged care facilities and 425 home care providers, with a total of 60,427 aged care recipients in these services.
Currently, eight Victorian aged care facilities have residents with COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus. Staff at a further 24 nursing homes have tested positive for the virus.
There are 111 people hospitalised with COVID-19, the highest in a day since April 29, where there were 93 patients. Also, 28 people are in ICU and Hunt said 21 are on ventilation.
Australia Trials New Anti-Viral Drug
Australia has also become one of the first nations in the world to offer treatment with an anti-viral drug known as remdesivir, commonly known as Veklury.
Remdesivir received provisional approval from Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) on July 12, the health minister announced in a media release on July 13.
The drug which has been touted as being able to reduce recovery times for COVID-19 will be used as part of a strategy to enable patients “to leave hospital earlier, freeing beds for those in need,” said Hunt.
“Australia, through TGA, is one of the first regulators in the world to authorise the use of remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19, following on from recent approvals in European Union, Japan, and Singapore,” said Hunt.
Trials on remdesivir were held in the United States and China earlier this year but yielded mixed results.
Trials held in Wuhan, China, between February and March 2020 were dismissed because an insufficient number of people were tested to conclude the drug’s effectiveness.
Of the two trials held in the United States, one showed that COVID-19 recovery time reduced from 15 days to 11.
“It is not a prevention or a cure for those with mild symptoms, but it is an important part of our response to support those who are most impacted. Remdesivir has been shown to assist those who have been hospitalised with COVID symptoms,” Hunt said
Victoria has already recorded three more deaths in the past week from COVID-19, taking the state’s total in 27.
On July 14 and 15 a man and woman, in their 80s, and a woman in her 90s, died from the disease.
Nationally, 111 deaths have been attributed to the CCP virus.