Masks could become mandatory across Australia again as a looming Covid and flu crisis threatens to bring the nation to a standstill.
Nearly 250,000 Aussies have tested positive for Covid in the past week, with states including New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia, recording more than 8,000 cases in the past 24 hours.
Over the past week, NSW recorded the most infections with 61,000, while more than 50,000 people tested positive for the virus in Victoria.
And those figures are expected to get worse in the coming weeks as the winter chill grips the nation and new, highly infectious Omicron strain BA.5 becomes dominant.
Australia is also now facing a double whammy with rising cases of the flu making this winter the worst influenza outbreak in years, causing chaos in the workforce.
Now Queensland is tipped to be the first to bring back mask mandates in a bid to stem the tidal wave of infection.
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard revealed there had been ongoing talks with his interstate colleagues about mask mandates returning.
‘I can say that nationally, there is increasing pressure,’ he told 4BC’s Peter Fegan.
‘There is a school of thought that we should be mandating masks again.