Mark Butler urges Australians to ‘take responsibility’ for rising Covid-19 cases

It became known how Australia is responding to the rapid increase in the number of cases and deaths from Covid-19, as well as what new restrictions may be introduced.

Australia will not return to mask mandates and lockdowns despite a surge in Covid-19 cases wreaking havoc on hospitals across the country.

Health Minister Mark Butler said Australia has “moved beyond” the era of sweeping measures now that it is “in its third year of this pandemic.”

Instead, he said the message to Australians was to “take charge” and make your own choices.

This comes as adults over the age of 30 qualify for a fourth shot, and people over 50 are now strongly advised to roll up their sleeves for another booster.

“We need to make sure people feel like they can take control of their own circumstances during this third year and so I encourage people to consider wearing a mask if they are indoors and unable to maintain social distancing,” Mr. Mr. Butler told ABC News.

Australia recorded 43,118 new cases and 61 deaths on Thursday, with a seven-day average of 42 deaths per day.

Asked if Australia should “sit back and take it easy” with a rising death toll and a high number of cases, Mr Butler said that after three years there was a line that needed to be saddled.

“We’re not sitting back and accepting this, so we’re increasing hospital capacity and making sure people get their vaccinations on time,” he said.

On Thursday, Mr Butler confirmed that adults over 50 will now be eligible for a fourth Covid-19 vaccination, and adults over 30 will be able to get another booster vaccine.

Mr Butler said there are still two months of winter ahead and all eligible Australians should show up to get their boosters.

“We must do everything possible to resume the booster campaign. I said this ahead of the campaign,” Butler said.

“However, there are over five million Australians who received their second dose over six months ago but still haven’t received their third dose – that important booster that boosts your immunity.

“Even if you had Covid earlier this year, it will not protect you from reinfection with Covid due to this new BA subvariant. 4 and BA. 5 will bypass the immunity you might have had during the summer.”

On Thursday, the Victorian health minister did not rule out the return of the mask mandate, with the Tasmanian prime minister “strongly recommending” that people wear masks indoors.

The Queensland General Health Authority has said some elective surgeries may have to be postponed to make more room in hospitals for Covid patients.

Originally published as Mark Butler urges Australians to ‘take responsibility’ for rising Covid-19 cases