Australians urged to wear masks as Covid-19 cases skyrocket

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Health authorities have issued a major mask warning after Covid-19 cases skyrocketed in the run-up to Christmas.

A new wave of the virus is now sweeping the country, with new cases spiking at 23.6 percent.

There have been 6,550 new cases of Covid-19 reported across the country in the past week, with the Department of Health and Aged Care confirming a reported average of 936 cases per day.

In NSW, Covid-19 activity has increased ‘across all indicators’ over the past two weeks, with more than one in 10 PCR tests carried out returning a positive result.

“The number of emergency department presentations about COVID-19 increased in most age groups, particularly in young children and in people aged 65 and over,” the latest data from NSW Health revealed.

The rise in cases has led to a recommendation from health authorities to return to pandemic habits of washing hands and staying home if you feel sick.

“Consider wearing a mask in crowded indoor spaces and be kind to people who choose to wear a mask,” NSW Health said in a statement.

NSW Health Pathology virologist and infectious disease physician Dominic Dwyer said health departments across the state had noticed more positive cases, supporting reports of a “new wave” of Covid-19.

“PCR testing at NSW Health Pathology, which serves public hospitals across NSW, showed 8.6 per cent of PCRs were positive for SARS-CoV-2 last week,” he said.

He said cases of SARS-CoV-2 were being monitored through testing, adding that the size and length of the wave were “unknown” at this time.

“This wave reinforces the importance of booster vaccinations against Covid-19,” he added.

NSW residents aren’t the only ones being urged to wear masks, with Victorian officials also offering similar advice.

“This is an expected part of the continued evolution of the coronavirus in the community as our immunity to both infection and vaccination wanes over time and COVID-19 continues to circulate,” the acting Chief Health Officer said.

Victoria recorded its highest daily average of new cases since June, with 321 people testing positive on Friday.

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