In order to keep the number of Australians who contract the coronavirus to a minimum there will be changes to the advice from time to time. Today the Prime Minister has reported on measures the newly formed National Cabinet (includes all Premiers and Chief Ministers) has recommended and I have set out a few below. If you have not seen or heard the PM’s address it is worth listening to – click on this link.
First of all I would like to remind the people of Grey that we have not had a case of the coronavirus in rural South Australia to date and people should not panic unnecessarily. However while we have no identified cases at this stage it would seem inevitable that we will and we must be vigilant with hygiene and adhere to the health measures I outlined yesterday.
Here are some of the new directives:
- Do not travel abroad, travel within Australia is fine.
- While the previous advice that gatherings of 500 or more at an outdoor event should be cancelled still stands, the new advice stipulates gatherings of 100 or more indoors should be cancelled.
- Schools will remain open unless a specific school has a need to close for a determined amount of time. This is based on advice from the medical experts who say closing schools could worsen the situation. This may change as things change but this is the advice at this time. Some of the reasons given for this decision include the low infection rates among children and the implications of how children would be cared for during school hours given that being cared for by Grandparents is very risky. It could mean that 30% of the health workforce would need to be at home with children and unavailable at a time of need.
- Restricted access to Aged Care Facilities with no visits from schools or groups. From 1 May, you must have your influenza vaccination in order to visit an aged care facility. Visits should be short, and conducted in the resident’s room, outside, or in a specific designated area (not a communal space). Each resident may have no more than two visitors, including doctors, at a time, and visits by children 16 years and under are not permitted except in special circumstances. All visitors will need to wash their hands before entering and leaving a resident’s room and will be encouraged to practise social distancing where possible, including to stay away when unwell.
- The response to the coronavirus will need to be sustainable as this situation may take a while (up to 6 months or more to alleviate). It is not feasible to shut the country down and panic buying should stop. Australia will have plenty of food and household items even if there are some short-term issues caused by the current panic buying. Hoarding is not a sensible approach. The shops are not going to run out. As I said, be measured in your approach and be sensible.
Lastly, thank you to all those who read my update yesterday – I received many responses and I appreciate them all. This is a fast moving situation and I am in regular contact with colleagues, including the Prime Minister and the Treasurer. I will be sure to pass on valued feedback from the electorate in my continuing conversations when discussing further measures to help Australians; however I may not be able to respond to all of your emails individually at this busy time.
If you would like further clarification about whether your business is currently eligible for stimulus measures (many business owners raised questions around this issue) I have included below the phone number for the Treasury Coronavirus Support Unit that you may wish to use.
Treasury Coronavirus Support Unit
For specific questions about the implementation of the cash flow assistance and investment support for businesses, contact the Treasury COVID-19 hotline directly on 02 6263 3030 or visit www.treasury.gov.au
If you have any feedback or questions please don’t hesitate to reply to this email or give one of my offices a call on the phone numbers listed below. I always welcome residents’ feedback.
Rowan Ramsey MP
Federal Member for Grey