Canberra: Australians have been warned to prepare for multiple coronavirus waves throughout 2023 by the nation’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO).
Fronting a senate hearing on Thursday, CMO Paul Kelly said the most recent wave, among a “number of waves” to hit Australia in the last 14 months, is now settling, but that the population should still remain vigilant.
“There will be more waves in the future. I predict there will be at least another couple this year, so we need to be ready for those,” he said.
According to the latest update from the Department of Health, there were an average of 2,403 new confirmed cases every day in the week to Feb. 7, down from more than 15,000 daily cases at the peak of the current wave in December last year.
The number of cases being treated in hospitals has also fallen.
Kelly and his predecessor Brendan Murphy, now the secretary of the Department of Health, will appear on Friday before a senate inquiry into long COVID-19, which was established by Health Minister Mark Butler in September.
On Thursday, he predicted the pandemic would have a “long tail.”
“I think there will be a long tail to this pandemic even once the acute phase is slowing down,” Kelly said.
“I think it would be useful to look back so that we can learn lessons for the coming years, not only in relation to COVID but other disease threats. We have to learn lessons from this extraordinary time, so we can be more prepared for the future.”