Group of Eight universities have recommended the government take quick, decisive action to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Professor Peng Bi is one of two University of Adelaide representatives, to report the coronavirus advice of a panel of experts from Group Of Eight universities. Based in Public Health, Professor Peng Bi’s primary research interest is the environmental health, climate change, infectious diseases, emergency public health event response and population health.
Commissioned by the federal government, this letter of recommendations has been produced. Dated March 22, 2020, the document said “we support the stronger decisions being now taken by government and what we term as the ‘go now, go hard and go smart’ strategy.”
The four key recommendations in the paper are that:
- Australia without delay implements national stronger social distancing measures, more extensive banning of mass gatherings, school closure or class dismissal.
- Australia urgently seeks mechanisms to enable a much-enhanced and coordinated regime of COVID-19 testing without delay. This should include community testing to estimate the rates of disease in the population – and this should guide further decision making.
- Strengthen the messaging around the importance of people complying with all of the requirements of isolation or quarantine and having increased compliance monitoring and support to allow them to do so (estimated that around 20-30% will not comply).
- Social distancing, especially when introduced vigorously across so many areas of life, will have significant costs for individuals and groups in society. These consequences will impact unequally. Governments should plan for this and ensure flexible and supportive policy responses for all who may be disadvantaged.
Whilst some of these recommendations were enacted last week. Schools in some states remain open but parents are being urged to keep children home where possible.