Singapore, Taiwan, and luck have saved Australia from a community spread so far, but a far-sighted Prime Minister Scott Morrison relying on the dreaded data curve is not making any false promises to his people.
Highlights! Here is why the Australian government is gearing up for October in its coronavirus crisis management strategy.
- Lucky so far, unlike the west
- A far-sighted Prime Minister who doesn’t make false promises
- Best testing ratio in the world
- Preparing for a red October
Most countries have reacted to catastrophe instead of responding to an impending crisis. However, the Australian government’s Coronavirus Crisis Management helmed by Scott Morrison has been better than most. Australia’s coronavirus crisis management has been uniquely different and rather impressive compared to the other major nations.
Australian government has a far-sighted approach with a leader who doesn’t disrespect science, unlike the US hexed by Donald Trump.
But more than all that, what has saved Australia from community transmission and mounting fatalities among its old was prudent action on the part of Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan in social distancing before Morrison’s government even realized what was coming. But the 4500 cases but a low death toll of 19 puts Australia on an uncomfortable position on the dreaded curve.
Far-sighted no doubt
Australian government’s own action can’t be denied. Scott Morrison was the first country leader in the world to state this was an impending pandemic, even before WHO. They have launched their egalitarian $130 billion package with a job keeper subsidy to shore up the wage loss that its 6 million citizens will have to bear due to the coronavirus outbreak. The package is accompanied by an intricate system of social distancing that remains short of a complete lockdown but might well prove more effective in the long run.
PM Morrison ensured tighter social distancing norms for people over 70. Probably why the country is seeing a much lesser fatality rate and more cases among its young. Australians are advised and not ordered to leave homes only for food, other essentials, medical care, exercise, and even work or education if remote operation isn’t possible. Instead of the entire country and economy coming to a halt, states are gradually upping alert levels ensuring convenience for citizens and residents.
Checking community transmission
Unlike the western counterparts of the UK, the US, France, Italy, and Spain, Australia did not witness unchecked community transmission for weeks, or so it seems. In fact the spread there is closer to Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The three countries had a major role to play in the fact that Australia has evaded an explosion of cases till now.
Australia has had a very small percentage of positive results and no reported rush of people over 50 to hospitals with symptoms. The government has been testing people with respiratory conditions for weeks. Morrison has broadened the testing criteria – not just returning travelers but anyone from high-risk groups like healthcare workers, police, residents of an old-age home, remote Aboriginal communities, and prisoners.
Best testing ratio in the world
The Australian health minister Greg Hunt even went on to say recently that the rate of growth of reported cases has already slowed. The growth rate does actually stand at 9% in the last three days as compared to 25% last week. That may be credited to the fact that Australia has a 1.9% positive rate in the country when it has performed most tests for the number of confirmed cases globally barring Russia. Australia’s figures stand at 8,900 tests per million people.
The number of COVID-19 positive people over 60 only make up one-third of Australia’s cases.
With trustworthy testing credentials unlike Russia, till now the Australia’s data points out that there isn’t a silent widespread outbreak. In fact, medical experts in the country believe they can not only flatten the contagion curve but even make it go down. The number of COVID-19 positive people over 60 only make up one-third of Australia’s cases. But you can’t discount the fact that a week ago Prime Minister Morrison himself wasn’t sounding as serious about isolation and social distancing.
Preparing for a Red October
Most of the confirmed cases in Australia are connected to the demographic travels overseas. The major infection clusters are also affluent areas in Sydney and Melbourne. The fact that there are no signs of untraced community transmission has the government assuming the outbreak is slowed.
In fact, Morrison is strictly treading the scientific line that assumes that the Australian outbreak will reach its peak in October. The process of nationalizing the entire healthcare system to brace for what’s to come has begun. The government struck a deal to integrate private hospitals in the public healthcare system, thereby adding 34,000 beds.
Australian government is perparing its crisis managment plan estimating that the coronavirus outbreak will peak in October.
But while PM Scott Morrison sounds sensible, not giving his citizens false promises of only a few weeks of inconvenience, he still has been guilty of laxity despite his far-sightedness. Australia may be inching closer to a complete lockdown when a week or so ago it was allowing international travel, recreational gatherings, concerts, schools and offices open and the Qantas to function with 20,000 employees unprepared.
What matters is flattening the curve. While Morrison and his government talks about it all the time, it’s yet to take place. Cases have quadrupled over the last week. It remains to be seen if Scott Morrison and the Australian government’s coronavirus outbreak management can handle the current crisis better than the bygone bushfire incident.