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Recommend taking time to read the latest Australian Health Protection Principal Committee statement in full, published today (23 March) following y'days meeting.…
While the increase in cases is worrying, the AHPPC is suggesting Australia in a better situation at this stage of the pandemic than other countries were, ie Italy & USA. The graph below compares 6 countries on the day they reported more than 1000 confirmed cases. #COVID19
"More than half our cases are still imported from overseas or their direct contacts. We have one of the lowest #COVID19 test positivity rates in the world (0.9% compared to USA 13%, UK 5% and even ROK 3%).
so far 7 deaths, all in people aged 75 or over, & less than 20 people have needed ICU treatment. "This suggests that we do not have as large a proportion of undetected cases in the population, as was likely the case in the USA, Italy and other countries."
AHPPC supports national discontinuation of all non-essential gatherings; recognises the importance of a nationally consistent approach to measures to reduce the spread of #COVID19
"AHPPC is also concerned about large informal outside gatherings and will come back to National Cabinet with more guidance. It is very important to encourage the community to adhere to social distancing outdoors, prior to the application of more stringent measures" #coronavirus
AHPPC does not support the closure of schools given the lack of evidence of significant disease in children and the lack of reported major disease spreading in schools...closure of schools poses a major risk to children's education, mental health and wellbeing...
AHPPC does not support full community lockdown at this time; the statement discusses the social disruption, and challenges re compliance & public messaging…
In wake of Ruby Princess, AHPPC stresses need for "even stronger action on enforcing the quarantine of any returned traveller, with phone checks, mobile phone tracking and other measures. Similar attention needs to be given to case contacts in quarantine.
"Of most importance is the checking on the actual confirmed cases, if they are in isolation in their homes. It is not practical to keep them all in hospital but they must be checked daily with provision for formal supervised isolation for any non-compliance.
"Social support may also be required. This must include progressive expansion in the testing criteria, subject to availability of testing. Major supplementation of the public health workforce is in train and must continue.
"A trigger for local lock down provisions in a part (or parts) of the country (as seen in Italy and elsewhere) would be a substantial growth in locally transmitted cases, which could be predicted to exceed the future capacity of the region’s health services."
The statement ends with these images: Australian cases – source of infection – as at 3pm 21 March (this is quite difficult to read due to 3 shades of blue being used), and testing data #coronavirus #COVID19
Given widespread concerns about public health messaging & communications around #COVID19, it is notable that there is no considered discussion of these issues in the AHPPC statement… #coronavirus
This is despite AHPPC signalling their intention to measure the efficacy of "all interventions". Effective risk & public health communications should be recognised as an important intervention in their own right. Am interested to hear what others think on this statement & related
PostScript. Re the critical importance of keeping communications updated & current, the 23 March AHPPC statement's table on testing said there had been 1,081 cases in Australia as of 21 March. By 7pm tonight, @abcnews is reporting 1,709 cases, w 37 % reported in the past 48 hours
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