A top infectious diseases expert has called Black Lives Matter rallies across Australia “risky” amid fears of a second wave of coronavirus infections.
Australia’s chief health officers are meeting to discuss the next step in easing coronavirus restrictions, which could see gatherings of up to 100 people, most employees returning to their workplace and interstate travel.Professor Senanayake noted that quarantining “tens of thousands of protesters” may not be a feasible option for authorities. (9News)
Infectious diseases physician Sanjaya Senanayake warned Today that recent protests could trigger a spike in infections.
“I think from a public health point of view in the middle of a COVID crisis it was a risky thing to do,” Associate Professor Senanayake said on Monday.
He pointed out that the conventional understanding of coronavirus has changed in the wake of “super spreading” events.
Associate Professor Senanayake gave the example of a recent infection of 187 people at a South Korean nightclub. That infection was ultimately traced back to a single person.
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee will meet today to discuss “stage three and beyond”, the deputy chief medical officer has confirmed. (Alex Ellinghausen)
“Anything is possible,” he warned.
“(A mass infection) will be a really interesting conundrum for public health officials.”
Professor Senanayake noted that quarantining “tens of thousands of protesters” may not be a feasible option for authorities.
He advised that while many protesters might be unable to social distance, they should still wear a mask and use proper hand hygiene to minimise any risk.
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee will today discuss “stage three and beyond”, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly confirmed yesterday.An iPhone device displays the CovidSafe app released by the Australian government on Tuesday, April 29, 2019. The app traces every person running the app who has been in contact with other app users who has tested positive for coronavirus in the previous few weeks. The automation of coronavirus contact tracing seeks to allow the easing of restrictions in Australia. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING (AAP)Prof Kelly said the committee would take into account the large rallies that occurred across Australia on the weekend when assessing the national cabinet’s three-step plan for states and territories to wind back restrictions.
“At the moment, it won’t change how we are viewing those processes, but in particular states it may do, depending what happens in relation to (any) cases that crop up,” he told reporters yesterday.
The deputy chief medical officer also implored Australians to download the COVIDSafe app.
“The majority of people who have mobile phones have not downloaded the app so far – I certainly would encourage people to reconsider that,” Prof Kelly said.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly after a press conference providing an update on COVID-19 coronavirus, poses for a photo with the active COVIDSafe app downloaded to his mobile phone, in Canberra on Wednesday 29 April 2020. fedpol Photo: Alex Ellinghausen (Sydney Morning Herald)
There have been 7260 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia and 102 deaths. More than 1.6 million tests have been conducted across the country.
The AHPPC is the key decision-making committee for health emergencies.