WA urged to keep up physical distancing, even if there is no community transmission of virus
Jul 24, 2020
By Daile Cross
It is crucial that people living in states such as Western Australia, where there is currently no community transmission of COVID-19, must continue physical distancing, stay at home if sick and practice good hygiene, federal authorities have warned.
Acting Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly said personal protective measures must be practised across the nation.
“They remain important, even in the states where there is no community transmission,” Professor Kelly said.
The National Cabinet on Friday affirmed continuing the suppression strategy, aiming for no community transmission – which is the current situation in WA.
Professor Kelly said an aggressive approach to contact tracing in states like Victoria and New South Wales, where there were currently outbreaks of the disease, must be stepped up in line with the national "aim of no community transmission".
"That's our ultimate goal. Six out of eight jurisdictions are in that spot at the moment and our absolute focus now is to continue to work particularly with Victoria to get back to that situation," he said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned the states: “The virus is still out there, it will still make its way and it will still throw everything at us and we must be prepared to respond”.
“I want to stress that all other states and territories remain on alert and there is very much that sense around all the other premiers and chief ministers today, where in many cases like in SA and WA they haven’t had community transmission in over 100 days, they are just as alert to the risks in their jurisdictions as NSW and Victoria are," he said. "And that’s important.”
Professor Kelly said no state in Australia was doing as New Zealand had done and getting back to normal pre-COVID lifestyles.
"Everyone agrees now that that alert phase that we're in at the moment is important, so everyone has slowed down their three, or four, or five-step plan [roadmap to recovery] in the case of WA," he said.
Victoria was continuing to see large numbers of cases diagnosed every day.
The National Cabinet agreed to tighten up processes enabling states to integrate emergency management and health responses.
States also agreed to use a more comprehensive set of data measures to ensure leaders across the country were “collectively” aware of what was happening and potential vulnerabilities across the nation were picked up at the earliest possible opportunity.
The National Cabinet also agreed to move to a new code for the moving of freight across state boundaries. States and territories would move independently on that.
There are currently 3105 Australian Defence Force personnel deployed around Australia actively engaged in dealing with coronavirus-related issues.
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