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COVID 19 - An open letter to Ministers
23rd Mar 20
An open letter to Ministers, Health and other Government Departments throughout Australia
The current COVID 19 pandemic within Australia is accelerating at an alarming rate and if not checked will mean tens of thousands of cases within Australia, within one to two weeks.
Cognisant of the most recent border closures and real attempts to limit the spread, Environmental Health Australia (EHA) believes that current measures that have been introduced are insufficient to check the progress of the disease. Most states have now recorded community transmission of COVID 19.
EHA believes that immediate and further action needs to be taken to check the progress of COVID 19 in Australia including, but not limited to;
• A substantial increase in testing of all persons exhibiting “any” flu like symptoms within any, and all, communities;
• Immediate self-isolation being compelled for all persons exhibiting “any” flu like symptoms;
• Clearer advice (simple messaging and via saturation of traditional and social media) on protocols for self-isolation and social distancing being communicated through all media outlets to the general public;
• More extensive tracing, testing and self-isolating of the contacts of all confirmed cases, enlisting the assistance of Local Government Environmental Health Officers to assist with this work;
• The immediate lockdown of areas where community transmission has already occurred;
• The immediate scaling down of all public school operations, or closure, or the bringing forward of the Easter holiday period for pupils. Scaling down should be immediately encouraged, such that wherever possible children that can be kept home, and be provided with educational materials through their school, are kept home;
• Direction being given to employers to enable “wherever possible” work from home arrangements for staff;
• The immediate approval and compulsion of bulk billing for all telephone medical consultations with General Practitioners.
EHA calls on the federal and all state, territory and local governments and government departments to assist in the undertaking of these and any other pragmatic actions to try and check the current spread of COVID 19.
Philip Swain LFEHA
Environmental Health Australia
22 March 2020