Members urged to sign open letter on COVID-19

27 March 2020

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (SA Branch) members are urged to sign an open letter to the Federal and State Governments supporting the immediate introduction of maximal measures to contain the transmission of COVID-19.

Sign the letter

“Australian doctors, nurses, healthcare and emergency workers applaud the difficult decisions that have been made by governments this week alongside comprehensive economic measures,’’ the letter by healthcare professionals to Federal and State Governments stated. “However, we are critically concerned that these measures remain inadequate to contain the transmission of COVID-19.

“We support the immediate introduction of maximal measures. This means dramatic limitation of physical contact, by requiring all people to stay home, and a shutdown of all services that are not absolutely essential to provide for the necessities of life and functioning of the healthcare system.

“We note that Australia is now an outlier amongst other nations that have moved to maximal shutdowns including the UK, New Zealand, Spain, France and Italy. These restrictions are inevitable, as at this stage of the pandemic they are the only way to avoid disastrous loss of life and profound economic damage. The demonstration of community transmission in NSW and Victoria now means that the virus has not and cannot be contained. We need to urgently move to minimise the impact COVID-19 will have on the health system and our community. Despite efforts to increase the capacity of intensive care units across Australia, it is clear from international experience that a surge of critically ill COVID-19 patients can overwhelm even the best health systems and result in much higher death rates. We remain on track for this catastrophic outcome in Australia.

“We explicitly endorse the Group of Eight advice of 22nd March, that recommended a “go now, go hard, and go smart” strategy as the best way to “increase the likelihood of a speedier move to a national social and economic recovery phase.” While there will never be perfect information, the risk of further delays is simply too great to wait any longer. We further explicitly endorse the call from the Australian Academy of Science that the data underpinning COVID-19 decisions in Australia be made public to enable scrutiny of key assumptions and input from frontline health care and emergency workers.

“Finally, we are continuing to experience alarming shortages of personal protective equipment at the front line. This equipment is vital to protect the lives of healthcare and emergency workers and our families, as well as reduce transmission to the general community. We acknowledge government efforts in this area, but request urgent, ongoing attention to increasing supplies of personal protective equipment.”

The Open Letter Working Group aims to get 10,000 doctors and 20,000 health care and emergency workers to sign the open letter before the National Cabinet meeting today, though signatures later than this will be accepted.

Sign the letter