Australia’s Acting Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Paul Kelly said that the spread of the novel coronavirus among the country’s healthcare workers was “unacceptable”.
Addressing the media on Wednesday, Kelly said that the federal government was seeking the “best expert advice” on how to protect workers in “high-risk settings” from the virus, reports Xinhua news agency.
“It’s unacceptable that so many people have been infected,” he told reporters.
“We need to really understand that’s why the case and what else can we be doing as a nation to protect our healthcare workers, our aged care workers, our disability workers who are on that frontline of caring for people with Covid-19, and therefore at higher risk.”
At the peak of Victoria’s second wave of infections earlier in August, healthcare workers accounted for about 11 per cent of the state’s active cases.
Kelly said that it was “absolutely fundamental” that health authorities identify the “main risk factor” responsible for the infections.
“And an important finding of this particular work is that 70 to 80 per cent were in healthcare settings,” he said.
“People should be able to go to work and feel safe from harm, and that’s a really important component.”
His comments came about a week after the Australian Medical Association (AMA) criticized the government for providing healthcare workers with “ill-fitting” face masks.