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Medical boss slams govt response

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Doctors are losing confidence in the WA government’s response to the coronavirus crisis amid a “constantly changing story”, the President of AMA WA warns.

Doctors are losing confidence in the government's response to the coronavirus crisis amid "constantly changing" announcements and backdowns, the President of WA's Australian Medical Association has said.

Dr Andrew Miller today called for the immediate closure of schools for all but those in greatest need, for the doubling or tripling of capacity at ICU and Emergency Departments and for medical teams to be pulled from elective surgeries in order to undergo training ahead of an impending spike in cases.

He said they expected to see a spike in WA today of "probably over 50" new cases.

Western Australia currently has 35 confirmed cases, with community transmission only now starting to emerge.

"The doctors on the frontline are losing confidence in what they're being told by government because a couple of days ago they were told it was not possible to close our border and that we had to make national decisions on these things," he told a press conference this afternoon.

"They wake up this morning and Tasmania has done what our senior doctors in our hospitals called for a couple of days ago and was told was impossible.

"That's the sort of thing that causes panic and causes people to start to get scared because they wonder whether they can rely on the information from the government."

Dr Miller had one key message for the Prime Minister: "Tell us what you know".

"We need to know about what is going to happen with restrictions on schools, restrictions on the borders and how you're going to prevent people from panicking," he said.

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He pointed the finger at the government's "constantly changing story" on closures, travel restrictions and health advise for fueling community panic, saying it was putting people's mental health at risk.

"What we would like to hear from the government is: what are your plans to slow this virus down in order to stop it from spreading too quickly for our system to handle it.

"We need to know about what is going to happen with restrictions on schools, restrictions on the borders and how you're going to prevent people from panicking in the community by providing them with guarantees around their food and guarantees around their money."

Dr Miller said a partial closure of schools should begin immediately, with all students sent home except for those with families in the greatest need – such as the children of health care workers and single parents.

"Thirty per cent of cases picked up in other countries come through the schools," he said.

He called on independent schools to lead the way and start sending students home.

He also expressed sympathy for those stocking up on groceries, saying the government needs to provide assurances that those forced into isolation would be supplied with food and other essentials if required.

Coronavirus: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of someone infected with coronavirus?

Coronavirus patients may experience flu like symptoms such as a fever, cough, runny nose, or shortness of breath. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia with severe acute respiratory distress.

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How can I protect myself and my family?

The World Health Organisation and NSW Health both recommend basic hygiene practices as the best way to protect yourself from coronavirus.

Good hygiene includes:

What is social distancing?

Social distancing involved minimising contact with people and maintaining a distance of over one metre between you and others.

When practicing social distancing, you should avoid public transport, limit non-essential travel, work from home and skip large gatherings.

It is okay to go outdoors. However, when you do leave home, avoid touching your face and frequently wash your hands.

Source: 9News

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