Experts call for nation-wide mask mandates as COVID-19 cases rise

Experts are calling for tighter COVID-19 measures as global infections caused by infectious Omicron sub-variants rise.

Epidemiologist and former World Health Organisation advisor professor Adrian Esterman told Today that numbers will not decline on their own, and cautioned that “vaccines alone will not stop this disease”.

“What we need is vaccination plus some other strategies,” he said.

Epidemiologist Professor Adrian Esterman said case numbers will not simply decline with vaccinations. (9News)

“We need to persuade state and territory governments to do those other things.”

Esterman called for face mask mandates, but acknowledged the reluctance of governments to impose them.

“I think the least we can do is to get much better messaging to the general public,” he said.

“How many (people) know that two doses simply don’t work against the new variants?”

The subvariants and mutations of COVID-19

The comments come after the British Medical Journal, one of the most prestigious health journals in the world, published a piece by senior doctors stating the United Kingdom’s National Health Service is “not living with COVID-19, it’s dying from it”, and Esterman warned Australia could be headed in the same direction.

Fourteen people have lost their lives due to COVID-19-related illness in the latest reporting period.

There are currently 2260 people in hospital across the state receiving care, with 56 of those in ICU.

Victoria recorded 9501 new cases of COVID-19.

Another 12 people have died due to the virus, and the state has 849 people undergoing hospital treatment.

Queensland has recorded 5804 new cases of COVID-19 overnight.

While no deaths were recorded in the latest period, the state has 1042 people with the virus undergoing treatment in hospital.

There are 23 cases in ICU.

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