DIGEST

The Informer: COVID-19 is 'in every community in the world'

"We're still in the midst of an accelerating, intense and very serious pandemic," Dr Margaret Harris, from the World Health Organisation says.

Australia's response to the coronavirus pandemic is ongoing but how it is/was being handled in aged care already is being examined.

While much was done to prepare the health system, counsel assisting the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety insisted today that neither the Federal Health Department nor aged care regulator developed a sector-specific plan.

Peter Rozen QC told Monday's hearing that COVID-19 was the greatest challenge facing aged care.

The aged care sector, Mr Rozen continued, had not been offered virus advice from either body from June 19 to August 3, a "crucial period" in the pandemic.

He said 68 per cent of all virus deaths in Australia related to aged care, with the country among the worst in that measure.

" ... older people are not less deserving of care because they are old. Such an approach is ageist," he said bluntly.

It is important to remember that Victoria's aged care outbreak is not included in the commission's realm due to a lack of time and sensitivities around the state's current situation.

The Prime Minister weighed in on the topic of ageism when he expressed his disgust at suggestions older Australians should have been "offered up" to the virus in order to reduce restrictions.

"That is just a hideous thought," Scott Morrison said. "An absolutely amoral, hideous thought. One I have had no countenance with from the very first time it was suggested."

His comments come on the day the nation recorded its worst daily death toll from the virus - 19 - taking the national count to 313. Of that number, more than 200 people have died from COVID-19 related issues in the aged-care system.

There were 322 confirmed new cases in the last 24 hours in Victoria and that is the lowest that daily figure's been for 12 days.

In the 24 hours reported today, NSW recorded 14 new coronavirus cases, with the majority linked to outbreaks in Sydney schools or childcare centres.

South Australia is doing its best to contain a cluster in a large and diverse school community with 94 close contacts of the five cases taken into hotel quarantine.

It has been little more than six months since the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the arrival of a new virus a global emergency.

Confirmed cases now, globally, sits at more than 19 million and the death toll is more than 700,000.

"We're still in the midst of an accelerating, intense and very serious pandemic," Dr Margaret Harris, from the WHO, told the BBC. "It's there in every community in the world."

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This story COVID-19 'in every community in the world' first appeared on The Canberra Times.