Update 3 April
Australia’s Curve is Flattening – but the Marathon Continues
Your sacrifice of social distancing and quarantining is working. Australia’s new cases of COVID-19 have steadily declined each day, which is flattening the curve. Looking at graphs from other countries who were in the stage we’re now at, this means that together we’ve probably already saved about 5000 lives.
But we can’t get too excited yet. This result may not last. We haven’t hit winter yet, when people become more susceptible to sickness. The Chief Medical Officer, Dr Brendan Murphy, and Health Minister, Greg Hunt, have both stressed the importance of keeping up with social distancing, despite the good progress. We’re in this for the long haul – at least 6 months.
Virus testing and tracing has played a huge role in Australia getting ahead. These tools have enabled the more concerning list of cases arising from community transmission – people who don’t know the source of their infection – to be identified and monitored.
Can We Stop the Spread to Remote Areas?
This risk gains attention now as remote farming regions recruit labour following a season of rainfall, causing their crops to grow. Productive farms are great news for farmers who have recently suffered droughts and bush fires. They don’t need COVID-19. Especially since hospitals and ICU wards with ventilators are not always close by.
To support farmers, backpackers and other casual labourers are now allowed to travel interstate for this work, but must quarantine on arrival. Employers will require a certificate of quarantine before workers will be permitted to start.
For at-risk indigenous communities in remote areas, the minister of health has issued a biosecurity order which places a ring of containment around them, preventing movement in and out, other than for essential workers.
If you Can’t Pay the Rent
ScoMo previously announced protection for private renters by placing evictions on hold for 6 months.
Today’s announcement was for businesses who rent property, particularly small and medium sized businesses. Legislation is underway, but in the interim ScoMo outlined a number of principles. Negotiation between both parties to find payment solutions is encouraged. The principles include supports like reducing rent based on business turnover, and not having increases, penalties or additional charges for unpaid rent. Landlords who sign up to the new code of conduct may be eligible for tax waivers.
Religious Restriction Eased
That lonely guitarist who had to lead worship on his own, staring at a camera, can now have his (socially-distanced) band back for livestreamed church services.
Places of worship that livestream their services can now have more than two people involved in the recordings, as they will be considered places of work. This will be helpful around Easter where ceremonies may include more than two people.
There are more than 5,315 confirmed cases in Australia and sadly 27 people have died.
520 people in Australia have recovered from COVID-19.
Hope Over Fear
Australians from all walks of life are rallying to boost the supply of medical equipment.
- Owners of 3D printers, including local high schools, are making face shields for their local hospitals. (Watch Ferny Grove High School’s video on Facebook here)
- A curtain maker in Cairns has shifted gears to help make face masks for health workers in Queensland’s Far North.
Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed that 15 million face masks arrived in Australia in recent days, with 30 million more expected. The current order is for 400 million masks in total, which will be distributed by the National Medical Stockpile.
Your Tip for Today
A primary school chaplain recently told me that she had to reassure one child that the coronavirus is not a monster that comes to kill children in their beds.
So how do you share the facts with children?
Beyond Blue has these suggestions:
- Discuss news of the virus in an open and honest way
- Try to relate the facts without causing alarm, taking into account their age and their temperament
- Listen to any questions they may have
- Let them know they are safe and that it’s normal to feel concerned
- If the media or news is getting to them, limit their exposure. You’ll find a handy YouTube video on ‘Helping Kids Cope With Scary Stuff in the News’ here.
For younger children:
- Maintain regular routines and rituals where possible
- Help them to explore their feelings.
- Use play to stay connected, and to help them feel valued and accepted. Play often helps children to express their feelings before they have the words to say how they feel.
- Look for changes in behaviour – stress and anxiety could come out as tiredness, withdrawal or moodiness, among other things
Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800 Kids Helpline WebChat counselling
What About You?
I’d love to hear from you. What’s your story?
- How are you managing social distancing? What tips do you have for enjoying your home environment?
- Have you had to stare down a camera for a livestreamed event? Which event?
- What strange thoughts have your children expressed about the coronavirus?
Please leave me a comment below.
Prime Minister’s Media Release – 3 April
Prime Minister’s Press Conference – 2 April
Health Minister – 1 April
John Hopkins University COVID-19 interactive Map
Paul Murray (Sky News) podcast 3 April 2020 – PM in the AM
Local High School Makes Face Shields
Beyond Blue – Supporting early learning communities
Beyond Blue – Helping Kids Cope With Scary Stuff in the News