DIGEST

The Informer: Schools virus spike expected

Be prepared. Photo: file
Be prepared. Photo: file

Australia's COVID carousel may just accelerate again if concerns at National Cabinet are any indicator of what's in store next week.

And with the return to school imminent, that's no surprise.

The states and territories reportedly told National Cabinet they expected an increase in reported case numbers when school surveillance testing begins.

On the positive side of the ledger, pressure on the nation's hospitals, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was told, has begun to ease. Here's hoping frontline health workers can actually confirm that.

Flagged changes to the definition of what constitutes "fully vaccinated" did not come to fruition at national cabinet. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews earlier suggested the definition may be updated to cover three doses. But the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation is still considering whether to change its advice.

Meanwhile, in NSW about mid-morning you could have heard eyebrows raise and a collective sharp intake of breath. It was about then Premier Dominic Perrottet said the twice-weekly testing regime for students didn't have to begin on day one of the school term.

Six million RATs are being shared among the state's 3000 schools so students and staff can test themselves twice a week throughout February.

Yet some private schools are already back on deck and, you guessed, no RATs. But hey, we're adaptable and innovative we Aussies, aren't we? Or maybe we just get used to watching the goalposts move.

NSW isn't the only state where worries remain, as tthere are similar concerns in Victoria, where reservations exist about the level of immunisation.

But then there's goodness, too. In the NSW southern tablelands, for instance, parents at Goulburn High School were offered a RAT pick-up drive-through this week, ahead of classes beginning next week. Gold.

The ACT has managed an eight-day stretch of daily cases under 1000 and there's even talk of relaxing restrictions in South Australia and Tasmania.

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This story Schools virus spike expected first appeared on The Canberra Times.