"Do what Korea and Singapore are doing"
Business advisor and founder of investment and advisory firm, Business Leaderz Group, Richard Bell, is calling on the government to look to Korea and Singapore as models for dealing with the coronavirus.
"Korea is a democracy and has managed to sharply reduce new infections while keeping their economy going," Richard said.
"Korea like other Asian nations including Singapore learned some valuable lessons from SARS.
"Korea's approach is simple - they have ramped up public health, communications and action. The rate of impact of the coronavirus comparatively is very low and declining."
1. They test early, often and safely - and put people into isolation fast. This ensures early detection, minimises the spread and helps those affected to get treatment quickly. People without symptoms are tested to ensure there are high levels of detection and rapid isolation. Stations have been set up everywhere, from drive thrus, to testing centres, to texting
2. They trace those potentially at risk, test, isolate and surveil. Nothing is left to chance
3. They communicate with the public through heavy messaging - ensuring everyone is listening and acting. Everyone has to wear face masks, sanitiser is placed everywhere and social distancing is reinforced. This happens through media, through messaging at public places, via phones, etc.
4. Public safety is foremost - temperatures are taken before people enter restaurants, information about where people have been who have tested positive are shared hour by hour, minute by minute with the general public - so people are informed and can respond immediately. They are essentially testing people who walk into every open business with thermometres and medical devices. Every person in the country needs to wear a medical mask which is being stated to reduce the risk by more than 80 percent of the disease spreading
"We need to act and act fast or we will hurt our economy more than we will be able to recover," Richard added.
"Korea has managed to cut down transmission and new infections significantly while keeping their economy going and businesses open.
"I encourage the government to look at Korea and Singapore and if possible adopt their approach without shutting down any further areas of our economy. If other countries can do it successfully - then so can we. We are supposed to be the smart country - why don't we get smarter. They are delivering simple, clear messages from one place - not the splintered approach that we are experiencing in Australia from different governments, etc.
"In Australia, you can still catch public transport including planes all over the country WITHOUT even being made to wear a protective mask. The average bus is dirty with recycled air conditioning and over one million people every day use it. The government is telling parents to keep kids at home but also saying schools are open and safe. Gyms and restaurants are being shut down and yet 50 people line up in the morning for coffee.
"Killing the economy is going to bring people to their knees. Heart attack rates will soar, strokes will soar, suicides will soar, marriage breakups will soar, alcoholism/drug use and mental health issues will soar if the economy is shut down any further - it will take 10 years for our country to recover.
"Let's urgently start doing what other countries like Korea and Singapore are doing and embrace a more proactive approach to public health. Let's do this and get parts of the country back up and operating again. We don't have to open our borders yet - but we can open our country for business.
"There is clearly another way and we should be looking at how we can move in this direction."
Richard Bell is the founder and head of Business Leaderz Group and also co owner of many businesses including fast growing fitness chain, Fitstop.