Journal article

On a knife’s edge of a COVID-19 pandemic: is containment still possible?

COVID-19 Infectious diseases Quarantine Pandemics Public health Disease management Australia

Australia could see higher proportional death rates from the novel coronavirus outbreak than in China, due to our relatively older population and the more severe symptoms of the virus in older people, according to this perspective by Professor Raina MacIntyre, Head of the Biosecurity Program at the Kirby Institute.

The possibility of a proportionally greater morbidity and mortality impact in Australia means that we should persist with all feasible prevention measures for as long as possible.

Professor MacIntyre’s wide-ranging perspective looks at the likely impacts of novel coronavirus disease in Australia and elsewhere, informed by a rigorous training simulation for a pandemic in Sydney she undertook with colleagues in 2018.

Travel restrictions and quarantines are proven interventions for disease control, Professor MacIntyre says, but travel bans are not sustainable indefinitely because of our close economic ties with China.

“Countries everywhere will have to make choices between the economic and public health consequences of COVID-19."

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