• South Korea’s health ministry has confirmed two people have died from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), the country’s first fatalities from the virus.
• Office workers should stand up for at least two hours a day and take regular walks while on the job to reduce the health risks associated with long periods of sitting, a British study suggests.
• Tasmanian unions are warning more frontline health staff will be lost, even though the pressure to make departmental savings has eased.
The news on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 3rd June 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
South Korea’s health ministry has confirmed two people have died from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), the country’s first fatalities from the virus.
A 58-year-old woman, who had been treated as a suspected case of MERS, died of acute respiratory failure on Monday and tests later came back positive for the virus.
The second victim was a 71-year-old man, who had been on respiratory support with a history of kidney ailments.
The ministry confirmed 25 people have now been diagnosed with MERS, the emergence of which has triggered widespread public alarm.
CSIRO research scientist Gary Cremari told The World Today that not much was known about the disease.
Mr Cremari has been studying the virus at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong, partly to determine if Australian camel populations have been affected.
He said that despite the outbreak in North Asia, health measures to contain MERS had been strong.
More than 20 countries have been affected by the virus, which has no known cure or vaccine, with most cases in Saudi Arabia where it has claimed more than 400 lives since 2012.
Office workers should stand up for at least two hours a day and take regular walks while on the job to reduce the health risks associated with long periods of sitting, a British study suggests.
The study, commissioned by Public Health England and published in the British Journal of Sports medicine, was described as the first ever British guidelines aimed at reducing the health risks associated with too much sitting.
“For those working in offices, 65-75 per cent of their working hours are spent sitting, of which more than 50 per cent of this is accumulated in prolonged periods of sustained sitting,” the study said.
The report said people whose jobs were predominantly desk-based should do two hours of standing and light activity, such as walking, during working hours.
It even suggested workers eventually increase this to four hours.
“The evidence is clearly emerging that a first ‘behavioural’ step could be simply to get people standing and moving more frequently as part of their working day,” the study said.
“This is likely to be more achievable than targeted exercise.”
It also recommends workers break up their seat-based work by standing with the use of adjustable desks or work stations.
But merely standing all day is not the answer, with researchers suggesting prolonged static standing could be as harmful as sitting.
The report noted that studies in Australia found workplace interventions that encouraged standing breaks and the use of adjustable workstations had proven positive.
Tasmanian unions are warning more frontline health staff will be lost, even though the pressure to make departmental savings has eased.
Last year’s budget cut $210 million from the health system, so far 221 positions have been shed from health.
In the Liberal Government’s second budget released last week, health received $100 million over the next four years.
But the Health and Community Services Union (HACSU) secretary Tim Jacobson said that merely reduced the savings task still required.
“There is [a] substantial more degree of heavy lifting required right across the Department of Health over the course of this year,” he said.
“We estimate that to be in the order of 130 more jobs to go.”
Mr Jacobson said he expected some of those positions would have to come from the front line.
Premier Will Hodgman and Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff were … at Taroona High School talking up the Government’s high school upgrade package.
Taroona was the only southern school among seven to be added to the list to share in $68 million worth of school building improvements.
Mr Hodgman said updates on the savings targets would be provided in “due course”.
By the end of June, 870 public service positions will have been cut since the 2014 budget.
The Government expects the remaining 300 jobs to be shed by natural attrition over the next three years.
The State Opposition and the Greens will each get their chance to respond to the budget in Parliament …[today].
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