Medicos call for stricter coronavirus bans

Finbar O'Mallon
Doctors are demanding the government shut schools and close non-essential workplaces now

Australian doctors are demanding the federal government shut schools and close non-essential workplaces to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Australian Medical Association president Tony Bartone says it is time for a UK-style shutdown.

"It is a big call for governments to direct the population to cease work, suspend schools, and only leave home for essential needs, but the AMA will back governments in making this call," he said on Wednesday.

Dr Bartone said too many Australians were already flouting existing rules while mixed messaging from governments had brought about confusion and anxiety.

"We need strong consistent messages from all levels of government," he said.

"More people need to be at home to flatten the escalation curve."

Dr Bartone acknowledged the effect stricter measures would have on the economy and people's wellbeing, saying more fiscal stimulus and mental health support would be needed.

The government announced further measures on Tuesday night, including limits on social gatherings and events like weddings or funerals.

Australia's Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said whether or not the government brought about stricter measures was dependent on how seriously Australians took the current arrangements.

The Community and Public Sector Union has also come out to say it is time for Australia's public servants to work from home.

National secretary Melissa Donnelly said government departments were dragging their heels and called for more support from the Morrison government to support the transition.

"We must flatten the curve, and this move is critical," she said.