Thousands Of Doctors Urge Australian Prime Minister To Place Country In Lockdown
Thousands of doctors are begging the Australian government to order a full-scale lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison stopped short of that measure during an address last night (March 24) and instead banned more types of social gatherings and advised people to stay at home.
However, two petitions have gathered thousands of signatures from medical professionals on the frontline who want Mr Morrison to go further.
The latest call has come from intensive care specialist Greg Kelly, who says Australia is on the verge of looking like Italy, which has the highest death toll from Covid-19.
"Italy has continued to suffer very high mortality rates and other developed countries including the United Kingdom, United States, Spain and France are all now suffering from hundreds of deaths as severe COVID-19 cases overwhelm their health systems," Mr Kelly wrote.
"We are very concerned that Australia, with 1,700 cases but thankfully few deaths, is currently in a similar situation to the UK's of 14 March, when they had 1,100 cases and 21 deaths."
Australia now has a little less than 2,200 cases and the UK now has 422 deaths.
Mr Kelly added: "Given our current rate of case increases and the fact that it takes infected patients some time to develop critical illness, we are very concerned that we are little more than one week from a comparable situation.
"Therefore, we support immediate, further action, including a national shutdown of non-essential services and enforcement of strict social distancing
The petition also highlighted the concern that many hospitals are still putting in systems and plans in place to prepare for a spike in patients.
The intensive care specialist warns that if Australia isn't put into lockdown (which would force people to stay indoors), we could have more infections and more presentations to hospitals that might not be ready for large influx.
Mr Kelly wrote: "Preparations remain incomplete.
"These include obtaining adequate supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), training to use it properly and environmental changes to minimise the risk to staff from COVID-19.
"Also, measures to increase our capacity to care for critically ill patients are lagging - many hospitals are still performing elective surgery, repurposing of areas remains incomplete and vital equipment has yet to arrive.
"We need more time for this preparation."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the medical advice at this time hasn't warranted a full-scale lockdown like Italy or the UK.
Last night, Mr Morrison advised people to stay inside unless they were performing necessary tasks like grocery shopping or visiting a doctor.
However, these doctors are concerned that too many Australians will take that for what it is: advice.
Featured Image Credit: PA