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After another deadly day, leaders gather to ask whether our health system is coping

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State, territory and federal leaders will discuss the capacity of Australia’s health system following one of the country’s deadliest pandemic days.

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Australia recorded 87 Covid-19 deaths on Wednesday alongside more than 50,000 cumulative new infections.

The capacity of the country’s health system, an update on the vaccine rollout and supply chain issues will be on the table at Thursday’s national cabinet with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, premiers and chief ministers.

Slightly more than 93 per cent of Australians aged 16-plus are double-dosed, while only about 75 per cent of Indigenous people aged 16 and older have had two doses.

Queensland recorded another nine Covid-19 related deaths and 13,551 new cases as the Omicron wave appears to peak on the Gold Coast.

The latest deaths were people aged between their 50s and 90s, none of whom had received a third vaccine dose.

“This is someone’s loved family member and it’s always a heartbreaking time when … tragedy strikes,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said from Townsville on Wednesday.

Victoria recorded 35 Covid-19 deaths on Wednesday. It marked the state’s deadliest day since the second virus wave in 2020. Another 13,507 new cases were also recorded.

In South Australia, 13 people died as that state recorded 2401 new infections.

NSW reported 29 new deaths and 21,030 additional infections, while the ACT reported 896 new case, the Northern Territory 492 and Western Australia 24.

Labor’s Indigenous Australians spokeswoman Linda Burney will use the resumption of federal parliament in February to demand transparency about first doses for under-12s as well as a breakdown of adult booster rates.

“The government should be reporting Indigeneity in the five-to-11 group, it doesn’t make any sense that they’re not,” she told AAP.

“We need to know what the vaccination rates are for our very young people. And it’s just remarkable to me and to many Aboriginal people that those those rates are not being reported.”

Federal data shows about 33 per cent of all Australian children between the ages of five and 11 have received a first dose.

Nearly 76 per cent of the overall 12-to-15 age cohort is double-dosed.

In comparison, about 64 per cent of Indigenous children aged between 12 and 15 have received at least one dose.

More than seven million adults have received a third dose, but the federal government’s daily vaccination tally does not show a breakdown for Indigenous people.

 

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