Get serious on social distancing

By Michael Roberts | posted on March 26, 2020

THERE isn’t some miracle vaccine around the corner that’s going to save our healthcare system from overloading.

The best weapon we have to fight this virus and reduce the stress on hospitals is socials distancing, and it’s time to take it seriously.

That’s been the message from Government, health officials and university researchers this week as Australia scrambles to contain the spread of COVID-19.

It’s simple; only leave your home when it is essential – either for work or to purchase the everyday items you need to live.

It also means you can’t host that party or barbecue you were planning and it’s time to cancel any Easter holiday travels.

“I know this is tough, I know this is confronting, I know I am asking a lot of everyone in our community, but I need everyone to do their bit,” Premier Mark McGowan said on Monday.

“That means listening to the advice, following the rules and performing your civic duty as West Australians.

“Thank you to those people who are adhering to the social distancing measures, but unfortunately it’s not enough.”

Whether the messaging hadn’t been clear enough, or people thought ‘she’ll be right’, there were reports over the weekend of many Australians who weren’t following the correct social distancing measures.

“Too many people in our community are disregarding the social distancing measures,” Mr McGowan said.

“By doing so they are not just putting themselves at risk, they are putting the lives of older and vulnerable Australians at risk.

“This is a matter of life and death.”

Research from the University of Western Australia backs up the Government’s focus on social distancing measures.

The study found working from home, self-isolation and community contact reduction was “highly effective” in reducing spread of COVID-19.

Research leader Professor George Milne said in the absence of a vaccine, social distancing was critical to controlling a pandemic situation.

With the numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases continuing to rise sharply in WA, WA Health Minister Roger Cook said more social restrictions would be put in place if people didn’t follow the rules.

“People didn’t social distance in pubs and clubs and cafes, and as a result of that we’ve closed them,” he said.

“If you want beaches closed, if you want parks closed, go about ignoring the directives.

“We want people to pull together, but if you’re not going to cooperate we will put in laws to make sure you comply.”