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Undercutting Public Health Irresponsible

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Monday, 25 May 2020

Tags: COVID-19, Health, Hospitals

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson

Constant pressure by some elected representatives for the Premier to accelerate the easing of social restrictions is irresponsible, and risks undermining Tasmania’s public health response to COVID-19. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic far from over, it is disappointing to see the Labor Party and Senator Eric Abetz have lost their commitment to being guided by our state’s public health experts. They also seem to have forgotten the principle of putting our most vulnerable first.

Labor has been drip feeding calls for an earlier start to the racing, tourism and hospitality industries, ahead of public health advice. Yesterday they went further, demanding a date be set for the state’s borders to reopen - despite public health’s recommendation this could not be declared until July.

A thoughtful discussion around how to move forward could be productive, but instead Labor seem to be encouraging a tide of discontent and scepticism in the community about our public health response. 

There is nothing more dangerous than crystal ball gazing when it comes to responding to a crisis. Viruses don’t work to human calendars, and it is naïve and harmful to want to pluck a date from the air that is not grounded in the reality of Tasmania’s COVID-19 epidemic.

Every business and person in the community craves to know when specific restrictions that affect them will be removed. However, the bullish pushing by Labor and some industry lobbyists is a populist strategy that risks undermining community belief in the need for restrictions and eroding confidence in public health advice.

To prevent a second wave of infections, Tasmanians will need to continue with recommended restrictions until Public Health are confident there is the testing, contact tracing and health services in place to instantly and effectively respond to an outbreak.

All elected members need to respect the sacrifices people have already made to get us to this point, and move forward in this next stage of the pandemic response with the principle of saving lives remaining our first and foremost priority.