As a further 64 Australians were declared COVID fatallities, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has signed off on an extra $760 million to help the states and territories deal with the stubbornly lingering pandemic.
Federal pandemic-related funding arrangements were set to expire in September but will be extended by three months, the Prime Minister says.
“(The pandemic) clearly isn’t over yet and it would be very brave to suggest you can make that projection,” Mr Albanese told reporters after chairing Friday’s national cabinet meeting with state and territory leaders.
Mr Albanese said there were about 3000 Australians in hospital as a result of the virus, which was why the federal government committed to extending support until December 31.
Scores more lives lost
More than 60 additional COVID-related deaths were reported on Saturday.
Meanwhile, a new study points to ongoing brain fog and memory loss in long COVID-19 patients.
The ADAPT study, which follows patients diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection and is carried out by Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital, found about 20 per cent of people with long COVID suffered cerebral impairment for at least 12 months without improvement.
Long COVID is categorised as people suffering from symptoms like brain fog, fatigue and shortness of breath a month or more after contracting the virus.
Elsewhere, Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley says changes to the state’s COVID-19 rules will come into effect next weekend. Positive cases will be allowed to drive members of their household to work or classes and masks will be scrapped at airports.
Victoria relaxes COVID rules
Three-dose vaccination mandates for workers will stay in vulnerable settings like aged care but be lifted in other sectors like education, food distribution and quarantine accommodation.
Rules requiring others to work from home if not double-dosed will also be scrapped, although workplaces can still set their own vaccination policies.
Visitor caps at care facilities will be removed, with residents able to see as many people as they want as long as they return a negative rapid antigen test that day.
LATEST 24-HOUR COVID-19 DATA:
- NSW: 8119 cases, 25 deaths, 1344 in hospital with 45 in ICU
- Tas: 850 cases, one death, 31 in hospital with two in ICU
- ACT: 865 cases, no deaths, 86 in hospital with two in ICU
- Vic: 6601 cases, 29 deaths, 419 in hospital with 25 in ICU
- Queensland: 4016 cases, eight deaths, 428 in hospital, eight in ICU
- Northern Territory: 212 cases, no deaths, 19 in hospital, one in ICU
- WA: 4052 cases, one death, 277 in hospital, 13 in ICU
- SA: 2327 cases, no deaths, 211 in hospital, seven in ICU