AUSTRALIA

Mark Butler says the government will spend another $1.4 billion on Australia’s COVID-19 response

The Albanese government will spend a further $1.4 billion to deal with the impact of COVID-19, with the majority of the funding going to aged care providers.
The money will be used for continuing a range of response measures, which were due to expire on 30 September but will be extended until the end of the year.

The package includes financial support for aged care staff as well as funding for COVID-19 tests, protective equipment and medication.

More than 3000 people have died with the virus in Australian aged care facilities this year, almost triple the number of deaths that occurred in the first two years of the pandemic.
The government has been under pressure to respond to the mounting toll with more support for aged care centres.

Over $840 million from the funding will go towards the government’s aged care support program, while more than $235 million will be earmarked for protective equipment, tests and other supplies from the national medical stockpile for aged care, disability care and other services.

Health Minister Mark Butler said the funding would provide people with effective testing, medical care and treatments to protect the most vulnerable in the community.

“These investments also provide ongoing support and protection for our frontline health and aged care workers, and people living in residential aged care homes, as well as those people supporting the most vulnerable to severe illness from COVID‑19,” he said.

The announcement comes as public health experts express optimism that the pandemic may be nearing its end, with global deaths due to the virus in decline.

Last week, Australia recorded 279 COVID-related deaths and more than 40,000 new cases.

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