ANMF calls on the community to stay home to stop spread of COVID-19

23 March 2020

Frontline nurses, midwives and carers have urged members of the public to stay at home, where possible, and if going out, adhere to new social distancing guidelines, in a community-effort to stop the rapid escalation of COVID-19.

ANMF Federal Secretary, Annie Butler, who is in self-isolation after returning from a nursing conference in the UK, says people need to take COVID-19 and its wide-ranging ramifications very seriously, otherwise Australia faces the very real prospect of increased cases of transmissions, sickness and deaths throughout the community.

“What we saw on Bondi Beach on Friday night and again at beaches and pubs on Saturday, was very thoughtless behaviour which showed that not enough people have understood the seriousness of COVID-19, that it is a pandemic which could devastate communities if we don’t act comprehensively right now,” Ms Butler said today.

“Having seen what’s happening in Europe, we know that this type of behaviour is putting the health and safety of all of us at risk, including our critical health workforce. It’s hampering our ability to ‘flatten the curve’ and get on top of managing this disease while we have the chance. We need the Federal and all State and Territory governments to act now.

“We don’t want to be in a position of needing to ration health resources especially in states and regions with limited intensive care capacity. We must be pro-active in our response to the COVID-19 emergency and follow World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations, and that means the whole community needs to get on board.

“The ANMF is calling upon the Federal, State and Territory governments to act now and immediately implement nationally consistent strategies in order to save our families, communities and give our nurses, midwives and care workers a chance to defeat the escalating threat of COVID-19 to us all.”

Ms Butler said the ANMF welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of additional financial support for the aged care system, but reiterated that all additional funding must be directed toward recruiting urgently-needed staffing for nursing homes.

(Editor’s Note: The ANMF has now transitioned to remote work arrangements. Ms Butler is only available for phone interviews for radio and print media, given her self-isolation. Lori-Anne Sharp is available to conduct TV interviews).

ANMF media release authorised by ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler. 1/365 Queen St, Melbourne.

The ANMF, with over 280,000 members, is the industrial and professional voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia.

ANMF media inquiries: Richard Lenarduzzi 0411 254 390

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