‘It’s up to you’: Urgent plea to stop second wave

 

 

WE'VE reached a critical juncture in our fight against COVID-19.

Either we continue to contain the virus or we suffer a second wave. It's that simple.

But it's up to you - not just us as a health authority - which way this goes. Since this pandemic began, I have issued more than 60 health directions, all of which are designed to help protect Queenslanders from COVID-19.

Not all of these directions have been popular but the overwhelming majority of Queenslanders have understood their purpose and complied.

Some, like funeral and quarantine restrictions, have caused sleepless nights and tearful moments for many people, including me and my staff, many of whom are working round the clock.

But, as a health official who has managed a global pandemic before, I take some comfort in knowing these measures will help save lives.

These directions, however, go only so far in combating ignorance, recklessness, arrogance and naivety.

While fines and penalties deter most people from wrongdoing, they cannot undo rash behaviour, which is a major threat to our ability to manage COVID-19.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young at Parliament House. Picture: Liam Kidston
Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young at Parliament House. Picture: Liam Kidston

We've seen this week some people test positive after failing to provide accurate information. Selfish action can put your health at risk and it has also jeopardised the health of other Queenslanders, including their own families.

Whether some irresponsible actions are the catalyst for a larger cluster - and potential second wave - remains to be seen. But they're not alone in their foolish behaviour.

If you're criticising these people for their actions, but have given fake names or false contact details at a cafe or restaurant, you're also a problem.

This information needs to be both accurate and readily available in the event there is a confirmed case at a venue you've attended.

How would you feel if you were exposed to an infected person, but did not know?

How would you feel if you actually had the virus and had infected loved ones because our contact tracers couldn't track you down to alert you?

All because you thought it would be amusing to sign in at a restaurant as a cartoon character or movie star. It's not just immature, it's dangerous.

Likewise, those people who provide bogus information or refuse questions by police at the state border are, in effect, undermining our efforts to keep this disease out.

Locals lining up for COVID-19 testing at Parklands Christian College in Park Ridge. Picture: Tara Croser.
Locals lining up for COVID-19 testing at Parklands Christian College in Park Ridge. Picture: Tara Croser.

Until now, Queensland has endured this pandemic relatively well, both by design and by luck, to the point where we managed to wind back many of our restrictions.

We are doing well on the testing front (though I would like to see more tests done), our contact tracing is meticulous and Queenslanders in general are compliant and responsible.

But we have said regularly in the past month or two, what is happening in Victoria could very well happen here.

Two cases can quickly become 200 cases, which can fast become 2000 cases.

That's just the nature of disease outbreaks. Yesterday, Victoria announced a record 723 new cases, taking its total tally to over 9300 cases. On June 9, less than two months ago, the state enjoyed a day with zero cases.

The stark contrast can be put down to breaches at the quarantine hotels.

In other words, inconsiderate behaviour.

That could be the difference between Queensland maintaining its control of COVID-19 and completely losing its grip on the virus.

If you are sick, stay home and get tested; maintain 1.5m distance whenever possible and wash your hands; and don't travel to places with a high number of cases. By doing these three things you will protect yourself, your family and the community.

Queenslanders are used to surviving emergencies.

We have a long history of fighting fire, flood and cyclones. We do it well. And we do it together.

This is an emergency also. It is slower moving and it is invisible. But you - every one of you - can actually do more to help fight it than any natural disaster.

We'll continue doing our best to protect the state from this devastating disease, but all Queenslanders have a part to play - even if it's just being sensible.

 

 

Originally published as 'It's up to you': Urgent plea to stop second wave



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