A grim insight into what could soon be reality for Australia has been exposed in a graph showing how numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases have rapidly skyrocketed in other countries.
Dr Dan Suan, a Sydney-based immunologist, collated numbers from the World Health Organisation (accurate as of Sunday, local time), to illustrate what could lie ahead for Australia if urgent action was not taken.
Drastic and immediate measures could be the difference between curbing the number of deaths and tracking the same disastrous path as seen in China, Italy, Iran and South Korea, according to Dr Suan.
He urged Australians to “wake up” and do everything in their power to save themselves, instead of waiting for those in power to enforce strict preventative guidelines.
Countries that have proven to dramatically slow the spread of the virus despite its early spread were colour-coded in blue on the graph, and included Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.
Dr Suan said that unlike what was seen in the Chinese coronavirus epicentre of Wuhan, major cities in those countries had not experienced a hospital disaster, and were likely to soon recover.
He put this down to the respective government’s quick response to the outbreak, and the preparedness that was shown by the people through their isolation and vigilant use of masks and protective gear.
These countries were in stark contrast to those depicted in red, which included the United States, Germany and Spain, which Dr Suan said were now facing the same hysteria as seen in Wuhan.
“Hospitals are completely overrun in Northern Italy like they were in Wuhan, many patients cannot even be treated now, multiple doctors and nurses sick and intubated, so many deaths,” he wrote in his post to Facebook on Sunday.
“Spain is soon to follow, as are cities in America. I am deeply sad for what we are about to see unfold.”
Australia was depicted by a yellow line on the graph, which while on the lowest end of the spectrum, could climb rapidly if residents don’t take public health advice seriously, Dr Suan said.
He listed several things people needed to implement into their lives to keep Australia from following the trajectory of the countries in red.
They included staying inside and only going outside if it was absolutely necessary, working from home where possible, trying not to touch anyone or surfaces unless required, and frequently washing hands.
He also advised people to cancel all non-essential meetings, to not touch their face, clean their phone several times a day, and find virtual ways to continue supporting local businesses.
Dr Suan said it was important, despite the severity of the outbreak, to find ways to laugh, keep busy and active, while continuing to stay in touch with family and friends, reminding them why social isolation was necessary.
“It is early enough for us to do this, we have time, but a narrowing window to act decisively,” he wrote.
“Think for yourself, fact check everything, use your feelings. If you agree that this is the right thing to do, please share this again as widely as possible, every day is critical now.”
State of emergency issued in Victoria and ACT
Victoria became the first state in the country to enact a state of emergency on Monday morning, with the ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr then following suit.
It came after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Sunday there would be heavy penalties for anyone found not to be obeying strict self-isolation after being instructed to do so.
Everyone arriving in Australia from midnight Sunday night was required to begin a mandatory 14 day self isolation period, with public gatherings of over 500 people being cancelled beginning Monday.
Five people have died in Australia from the disease, with 299 confirmed cases nationally.
NSW has 134, Queensland 62, Victoria 57, South Australia 20, Western Australia 18, Tasmania six, and two in the ACT.
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