We’ve been saying ‘post-pandemic’ but the frustrating reality is that although we are post-lockdown, we are definitely not out of the woods when it comes to COVID transmissions.
The highly transmissible BA.4 and BA.5 variants have been making their way around the country, with hundreds of thousands of people reporting positive tests in just one week. Thanks to the cold weather and rapid infection rate, the government has issued updated advice so as many people as possible can stay healthy.
Some of the latest covid updates include:
Face mask recommendations
There are no formal mandates in place but officials are strongly recommending that people get used to wearing face masks in crowded, indoor environments and on public transport once again.
It’s up to you as an individual to make the choice but you will probably notice face masks are on the rise when you are at work and out and about. If you’re worried about catching COVID, it’s of course best to err on the side of caution and wear a face mask in public.
The Prime Minister has been reported as saying he has sufficient trust in Australians to act responsibly without being told they must wear a mask by their respective leaders.
As shared by SBS in a recent covid update, Anthony Albanese said that, “We do want to encourage that behaviour. People have been incredibly responsible during this pandemic. People have done it tough. People have looked after each other, and I’m confident that they’ll continue to do so.”
At your workplace, the policy you have in place in regards to face masks may need to be updated, depending on the way people interact with each other. You could leave it up to individuals to decide but make a recommendation that’s in line with current health information.
Working from home
As the Sydney Morning Herald reported last week, State governments have not moved to reintroduce work-from-home mandates, leaving employers to review risks and make their own decisions.
Some companies that were previously asking people to return to the office at least a few days a week are winding back this requirement now the risk of infection has risen. These businesses are asking people who can work from home to do so, and telling them to wear a mask when they come into a populated space.
Again, it’s up to each organisation to make and enforce its own policies. You may decide one contact day in the office is enough, and on a rotating basis, or tell people they can work from home if they prefer to do so.
Covid update: Booster shots
Many Australians are now eligible for their fourth COVID vaccine.
Anyone who hasn’t had their initial booster (the third dose after the initial two) is strongly encouraged to do so, while the number of people adding an additional fourth ‘dose’ is rising steadily. If you are over the age of 30, you can now get your next vaccine. If you are over 50, you are strongly encouraged to do so.
If you have children who have turned five in recent months, now may be a good time to book their first vaccine appointment.
In terms of employing people who are not vaccinated, certain industries like healthcare still require people to have had their shots. However, a recent ruling found that “an employer can introduce a mandatory vaccination policy, even in the absence of a public health order requiring mandatory vaccination in respect of the employer’s industry or the location in which the employer operates.” There are thresholds to be met in relation to this ruling: take a look at this article to find out more.
COVID update: Isolation orders
You still have to isolate at home for 7 days if you come down with COVID.
According to current policy, “The people who usually live in your house with you can stay there if they are unable to live somewhere else during this time. If they stay, they are contacts and need to isolate too.
If you have a household contact who has a weak immune system, is elderly or has another risk for severe COVID-19, contact your state/territory health department to see if they can help with finding them places to stay.”
Dealing with delays
Delays have become part of life and we can expect more in terms of travel, freight and deliveries while this latest wave works its way through the population.
The best course of action is to take precautions, plan ahead as much as possible and have a few ‘Plan B’ options in place. This will help to minimise disruption to your business.
Need help to find a shipping company during the latest COVID surge? Speak to EFS today.