The Federal Government has raised the spectre of a more virulent mutation of COVID-19, leading to the reintroduction of nationwide restrictions in its budget documents.
The economic forecasts have been made on the assumption that further major outbreaks of COVID-19 occur later this year.
The budget papers describe two possible scenarios, the first being grimmer.
“In this scenario, a more virulent variant of concern emerges in the middle of 2022,” the papers read.
“This outbreak coincides with the winter flu season and is assumed to lead to higher numbers of cases for a longer duration and more severe illness than the initial Omicron wave.
“As a result, at the peak of the outbreak, workforce absenteeism returns to levels similar to those experienced in January 2022.”
The second scenario is more optimistic.
“In this scenario, it is assumed that vaccines, new treatments and rising levels of immunity result in fewer cases and a more stable health environment than assumed in the forecasts,” the budget papers read.
The papers also forecast the January Omicron surge, as well as the east coast floods and high petrol prices, will dampen consumption this quarter.
22 Covid deaths across NSW, Victoria
COVID-19 cases are on the rise in both New South Wales and Victoria, with 25,235 and 11,749 new cases recorded respectively.
There were 22 deaths recorded across the two states – 15 in NSW and seven in Victoria.
Hospitalisations have increased to 1301 in NSW, with 46 people in ICU.
However, Victoria has seen a slight drop with 280 recorded. Of these, 18 are in ICU.
Yesterday NSW recorded 21,494 infections, while Victoria 10,916.
Queensland recorded 10,326 cases on Tuesday, an increase on Monday’s 7816 new cases.