Overcrowding in Victorian hospitals ‘bigger emergency than Covid’, expert warns
Overcrowding in Victoria’s healthcare system is a “bigger public health emergency than Covid,” according to a leading emergency physician who says the state’s doctors and nurses were exhausted even before the latest outbreak.
Victoria is in a seven-day lockdown with 30 cases of community transmission, more than 120 exposure sites, and 15,000 primary and secondary contacts of cases in isolation.
The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine Victoria faculty chair, Dr Mya Cubitt, said on Friday that doctors and nurses in public hospitals had been dreading such a situation because they were still recovering from Victoria’s second wave in 2020.
At its height, that outbreak saw more than 700 new cases in a single day. There were 768 deaths overall with hundreds of healthcare workers infected.
“We are in the worst crisis that healthcare has faced in many years,” Cubitt said.
“You could even say – and I’d love to speak with [chief health officer Prof] Brett Sutton about this – that the access block and overcrowding of the system is the bigger public health emergency at the moment. Whether we have a Covid outbreak or not, emergency clinicians, and all of the many colleagues that we intersect with in the healthcare system, are under extreme pressure.”
Read more of Melissa Davey’s report here: Overcrowding in Victorian hospitals ‘bigger emergency than Covid’, expert warns
Japan expected to extend restrictions
Japan is expected to extend emergency coronavirus measures in Tokyo and several other regions by about three weeks, according to officials, as the country struggles to rein in a fourth wave of infections less than two months before the Olympics.
The state of emergency – the third in the capital since the start of the pandemic – was called in late April and was originally due to end on 11 May, but was extended until the end of this month, as restrictions on businesses failed to make a dent in infections. Media reports said the latest extension could last until 20 June.
Infections have fallen in Tokyo in recent days, but the daily caseload is still too high to justify an end to the measures, according to medical experts, while hospitals are contending with a record number of critically ill Covid-19 patients: