A complete blockage of non-essential services by the community, with school closings for all but the children of the most critical workers, could be the next step in combating the Australian coronavirus pandemic unless the epidemiology of the disease improves.
At midnight today, a number of other measures will take effect, including the closure of businesses and community centers, libraries, swimming pools, tanning stores, food courts with the exception of takeaways, spas, spinning mills, sex rooms and galleries.
MORE: See the full list of what’s prohibited in Australia
People have to avoid birthday parties, barbecues and house parties. Weddings are limited to five people and funerals to ten people, whereby a strict social distance must be observed.
Australians are also prohibited from going overseas as part of the most drastic government intervention in recent private life.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the new way of life would stay with us for at least six months and would require a “significant sacrifice” for friends and families who are prohibited from seeing each other.
“So that means a lot of friends, or even family members and extended families, come together to celebrate one-year birthday celebrations, and we can’t do things like that now.” This will be a significant victim, “he said.
“Australians should stay at home unless they buy the bare essentials, travel to and from work – where you can’t work from home, go to school, and do sports. Keep visitors to your home to a minimum. Do not gather in groups outdoors. “
However, the restrictions could continue in the coming days if the cases of COVID-19 did not lead to a plateau. The total number of Australian cases is now over 2000 with eight deaths.
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), which advises the National Cabinet on the strategy to deal with the virus, said the next step could be to completely block non-essential activities.
“The next step, if necessary, will likely be a carefully considered shutdown of all activities except the major industries and services,” it said.
“All states and territories are in line with the above position, with the exception of Victoria, which expressed the desire for even stronger action at that time.”
In a statement released earlier this week, the committee also outlined considerations about schools that are still open.
“School closures are likely to be more effective if they approach the peak of the epidemic and are enforced for a shorter period of time.”
“If at this later point in time there is a strong desire to close schools, it is important that children from key service providers, such as healthcare workers, are given the opportunity to go to school or receive other care,” it was said.
“AHPPC believes that school closings and total community closure should be kept in reserve at this time with a thorough daily review of epidemiology.”
The committee said a trigger for further bans would include strong evidence of local transmission of the disease. Currently, cases are mostly reported from overseas travelers, cruise ships, or superspreader events such as a recent wedding with 36 infected guests.
It also blamed the “slow implementation” and relaxed approach of many Australians for social distancing to the stronger restrictions that had to be introduced.
Many of the changes announced on Tuesday triggered online confusion over arbitrary boundaries, such as barber appointments that only lasted 30 minutes.
SPARK CONFUSION CLOSURES
In Queensland, an important decision for schools threatens with reports that they could be “half-closed” with skeletal personnel on board to educate the children of critical workers such as the police and health workers.
A similar system was introduced in England, where schools were closed last week but remained open to children of “essential workers” – a relatively large and vague list of healthcare workers, civil servants, supermarket workers, deliverers, press representatives and pharmacists, among others .
The Prime Minister will meet with representatives of the Australian Education Union on Wednesday to learn more about what could happen in reports where Queensland teachers could call for a strike.
On Tuesday, Morrison said that anyone who has a job in Australia is considered an “essential” worker.
“Every single job done in our economy with these strict restrictions is essential,” he said.
“For a service, it can be important whether it’s a nurse, a doctor, a school teacher or a civil servant who works tonight to make sure we have more capacity in our Centrelink offices and until 8:00 am Working hours under the new agreement These are all important tasks in the call centers.
“People who stack shelves is important. People who make money in their family when another family member has lost their job and can no longer earn it is an essential job. Jobs are essential. “
The AHPPC has also requested that cases be tracked on the go to ensure that people follow isolation measures such as those used in Hong Kong and Singapore.
“The continued growth in cases of returning travelers (including the Ruby Princess) requires even stronger measures to quarantine all returning travelers with phone checks, cell phone tracking, and other measures,” she warned.
“Similar attention needs to be given to quarantine case contacts. It is of the utmost importance to check the actually confirmed cases when they are isolated in their homes. It is not practical to keep them all in the hospital, but they must be checked daily to ensure formal, monitored isolation if not followed. “
South Australia police have already used phone tracking technology to track down infected cases and are authorized to fine those who are not considered non-essential travelers.
A police spokeswoman said The Australian: “Phone tracking can be used effectively to track movements of infected people,” but without specifying how often it was used.
Victoria’s police commissioner, Rick Nugent, also said the infected were monitored by video call and face-to-face to prevent the spread of the disease.