How many people just one rule breaker can infect

 

THE National Cabinet last night was war-gaming intensive care unit capacities in the event of a surge in each state, while finalising what the next stage of the lockdown will look like.

Draconian lockdown measures shutting down pubs, clubs and many more businesses will be in place for "several months", but it is vital they are followed because one sick person breaking the rules could infect 400 others in just one month, health officials warned.

As the COVID-19 outbreak moves into the next stage, the range of people who can get tested for the disease has been expanded from just returned overseas travellers and those who have had direct contact with a confirmed case.

 

Scott Morrison met with National Cabinet to discuss the next stage of the lockdown last night. Picture: Mick Tsikas/AAP
Scott Morrison met with National Cabinet to discuss the next stage of the lockdown last night. Picture: Mick Tsikas/AAP

But still not everyone can get tested, as they try to preserve testing kits ahead of the coming surge.

Those who can get tested will now also include when there are two or more cases that have coronavirus-like symptoms in an aged care facility, boarding school, prisons and remote indigenous communities, as well as workers in health care and aged care can get tested.

But they will still need to either have a temperature or symptoms like a cough, shortness of breath and sore throat.

The National Cabinet, made up of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the state premiers and territory chief ministers, met again late into last night.

One of the key issues on the agenda was determining what the ICU capacity of each state's hospital system was in the event of a surge, and where they could assist each other if one region faces challenges.

 

 

Investigations are already taking place to surge ICU personnel, including bringing back retired ICU trained nurses and doctors, and additional training for nurses to be part of a team.

There were also discussions around what the next stage of the shutdown will look like and what will trigger them, with indications that states will be able to move separately to each other on this.

Rental assistance also came under consideration, but Mr Morrison warned there was unlikely to be a result for that today.

"This is obviously a complicated issue because you've got a tenant, you've got a landlord, you've got creditors and all of those issues and you need to solve for the entire chain that's there," he said.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said while difficult, it was vital that people observed social distancing measures and stayed at home where possible.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly says one person with the coronavirus who ignored restrictions could spread it to 400 people. Picture: Gary Ramage
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly says one person with the coronavirus who ignored restrictions could spread it to 400 people. Picture: Gary Ramage

He said if one person with the disease did not observe social distance and hand hygiene they could infect three people, who in turn could infect three more people each.

"Within a month one person will result on 400 other people," he said.

"That is the disaster situation we've been seeing in other countries. That is what we are trying to prevent. All of the things that have been announced over the last few weeks is really about that."

He said of the 2252 confirmed cases in Australia, just 197 of them or less than 10 per cent had been hospitalised. Of those just 17 ended up in the intensive care unit and eight of those had died.

Mr Morrison also foreshadowed there could be further easing of Newstart restrictions, as tens of thousands of Aussies find themselves in the dole queue for the first time.

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as How many people just one rule breaker can infect