The Australian Government's response to COVID-19
Updated: Jun 1, 2020
The Coronavirus pandemic is sweeping not only the nation but the entire world. A pandemic of this size has not been seen for around 100 years. The last was the Spanish Flu in 1918.
And although technology and resources have advanced greatly in the last century, there is little historical data we can call on as an appropriate model to help the Government respond appropriately across all levels of the community.
Our response, however, has been largely successful, with Australia and New Zealand being two of the only countries to have successfully "flattened the curve" and keep our COVID-19 numbers - particularly fatalities - relatively low.
So, what is the Australian Government doing to support the community and ensure we retain our safe and healthy lifestyles post-COVID-19?
One of the first measures the Australian Government put in place were strict travel restrictions.
By reducing flights from overseas, refusing flights from certain destinations and establishing mandatory quarantine from arrivals into Australia, Australia directly limited the risk of introducing new cases of Coronavirus.
The government also provided a wealth of information to incoming travellers which encouraged them to take the proper precautions to avoid spreading the virus or become infected themselves.
Preparing health services
The rationale behind the campaign to 'flatten the curve' was to take undue strain off the health system, so enough resources were available to treat those people who were and would become infected with the virus.
The Australian Government has done their best to shift resources and prepare hospitals for the increase in numbers of people with a contagious disease.
Strategies have been put in place to increase the number of health staff available; identify health staff who have previously worked in Intensive Care Units; designating clinics as COVID-19 specialising; and channelling patients from Emergency Departments to different clinics to manage the caseload.
Health professionals have also developed guidelines for health services so that they can provide the best care possible.
Due to lock-down a number of small, medium, and large businesses have had to close to keep our community safe.
This has left a very large number of Australians without work or regular income.
To combat this economic recession, the Australian Government made sweeping changes to its financial assistance programs and introduced a number of new financial initiatives to support those in vulnerable situations.
Job Keeper: Eligible businesses can access $1500 a fortnight to help pay their employees. This payment is also available to people who are self-employed whose incomes have been effected by the virus.
Job Seeker: People aged between 22 and pension age who have lost or had their employment reduced are eligible for this financial assistance. The amount available is dependent on individual circumstances, but ranges from $500- $790 a fortnight.
While it is always wise to monitor the amount of coverage and the sources you consume during a crisis, the Australian media has been effective in consistently updating the public on the progress of the virus.
The media are continually updating the public on new measures to reduce the spread, expectations for the community and individuals, as well as providing sources of assistance to those in need.
The government has recently introduced a tracking app called COVIDSafe which aims to find and contain COVID-19 outbreaks quickly.
Using Bluetooth technology, the app connects with other people using the app around you.
If you or the people around you are tested positive for COVID-19 the app will notify you, so that you can be tested or seek treatment.
It is a safe, encrypted and automated way to support the work health professionals are already doing.
If you would like more information on how the app works, click here.
Whilst the state and countrywide restrictions may seem excessive, the government is doing what is right to keep coronavirus case numbers and deaths low, and it is working!
By following the guidelines set by the government there is a higher chance of avoiding the virus and keeping yourself and your family safe.
And if we follow the guidelines we will be able to get together again and enjoy our beautiful country as soon as possible.
If you would like more information on the Government's initiatives and response, read out 'The Australian Government's Response to COVID-19' module below.