A group of Australian doctors have come together to call for a nationwide lockdown until the coronavirus pandemic is under control.
Scott Morrison introduced a raft of new health and safety measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 on Tuesday, but stopped short of imposing a complete shutdown.
As the number of confirmed cases in the country soared to 2,431 on Wednesday, ten doctors from across the country banded together in an online video pleading for people to stay home.
‘We believe in our community. Please Australians, listen to our message. We can do this together. Stay home. Please share our message,’ they said.
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Ten doctors from across the country banded together in an online video pleading for people to stay home
President of the Australian Medical Association in WA Andrew Miller led the team of doctors in their appeal, calling for people and the government ‘to jump on the breaks.’
‘This virus is out of control, and we really got it to stop it to avoid a lot of necessary deaths, not only of healthcare workers, but also of people out there in the community,’ he said.
‘We really want people to and for the government to please to impose lockdown until we’ve got this under control. We know the people will understand.’
Dr Miller’s message was followed by an emotional 30-second clip showing members of the health community asking people to follow social distancing rules to prevent spread of infection.
‘We can do this, if we listen. We can do this, if we keep our distance. We can do this, so our country can go back to normal soon.
‘Stay home, please,’ they said.
Australian doctors have joined the global effort to call for people to stay at home. Pictured: Doctors holding up signs reading ‘we stay here for you, please stay home for us’
The video is just one of many public pleas that have been issued by members of the health community in the last week urging for a complete lockdown of the country.
There was speculation Mr Morrison could announce an Italy-style home lockdown on Tuesday night, but health officials advising him said the ‘trigger point’ for when those drastic measures should be considered had not been reached.
Doctors in hospitals around the world have shared powerful messages of advice in recent days holding up signs which read ‘we stay here for you, please stay home for us’.
In another joint video message released on Monday, Sydney neurologist Dr Kate Ahmad said she was ‘terrified’ the rapidly increasing case count could overwhelm the country’s health system.
‘I am terrified the increasing number of cases are going to overwhelm our hospitals and we are going to have to make terrible triage decisions and we are not going to get the care we need,’ Dr Ahmad said.
‘I’ve been a doctor for 35 years and I’m scared,’ associate professor David Allen added.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison imposed further restrictions on areas of large social gatherings, including food courts, galleries, museums and other venues as part of ‘stage two’ measures to combat spread of COVID-19 on Tuesday
The editor of the Medical Journal of Australia Nick Talley meanwhile said more had to be done by the government to stem the virus’ spread.
Front line health workers are also being put at risk by the lack of a shutdown, the chair of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists warned.
‘All non-essential services should be shut down now, we ask governments of all persuasions to act now,’ Dr Angelo Virgona said in the video uploaded on Sunday.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 2,431
New South Wales: 1029
Western Australia: 205
South Australia: 197
Australian Capital Territory: 44
Northern Territory: 5
TOTAL CASES: 2,431
‘The spread of this virus is going to lead to a catastrophe for health workers who are on the front line and we need to protect them.’
Queensland will shut its borders from midnight on Wednesday to slow the spread of coronavirus after the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Tasmania and South Australia announced the same move.
New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT still have open borders.
The Australia Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) on Tuesday said it had previously considered European-style lockdowns necessary when more than half of national cases were locally transmitted.
‘But recent international evidence suggests that action needs to be taken earlier than that point, given the lag in epidemiology,’ the AHPPC said in a statement.
The AHPPC said any potential lockdowns would be considered for specific areas where local transitions significantly spiked, rather than nationwide.
Beginning on Wednesday night, Australians will be banned from eating at shopping centre food courts, only five people will be able to attend weddings, only 10 people can be present at funerals and social gatherings will be limited to 10 people.
The new rules come after registered and licensed clubs, entertainment venues, cinemas, casinos, nightclubs, indoor sports venues, including gyms, and places of worship were ordered to close as part of ‘stage one’ restrictions rolled out on Monday.