Given the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment for health workers and the shortage of test kits, Australia appears unprepared for Covid-19 to accelerate rapidly. Governments have a duty of care to take all necessary steps to prevent infection or face another catastrophe. If the Australian government is not getting this advice, it is consulting the wrong people. If Government is getting sound, evidence-based advice (including on the level of preparedness) and ignoring it, then that is a significant issue. The advice of the Australian Medical Association should be heeded now. Is this a re-run of the bushfire disaster? I’m hopeful for a better response this time around. Much is at stake.
Irrespective of official advice, organisations that run public events and employ staff should consider the legal implications for their organisations, including the potential personal liability of directors/officials, if their event or business acts as a host for the spread of Covid-19. They should also consider their duty of care to participants, staff and the wider community, including the impact on local health systems and critical supply chains. Risk management should be part of all organisations’ planning. Thankfully, many are doing just this and are leading the way in responding to the crisis. Organisations/companies should not expect governments to indemnify them for bad decisions taken, should they?
Without a vaccine, enough PPE, or test kits, social distancing appears to be the only practical option to buy more time. This is not business as usual. Now where have I heard that before?
There is no time to waste, Australians. I went to my doctor for my pneumococcal vaccine last week. I overheard the receptionist talking on the phone about a potential Covid-19 patient who they had sent back to their car to wait to be triaged there. The office staff gave the distinct impression of rabbits caught in a spotlight.
UPDATE – I have been hearing from friends who work in the health system that our governments have been too slow to ban community gatherings. Those are on the front line are asking citizens to voluntarily quarantine themselves right now. NOT TOMORROW BUT TODAY. Act now to prevent the transmission of this virus in the community.
We (governments and the community) must do everything possible to protect front line staff and if that means being overly cautious, so be it. Be calm, but act.
How apt this video seems now. Sorry about the political stuff tacked on the end of it though. Let’s keep politics out of it and be guided by best practice.