Australian Government take steps to stop spread of coronavirus before its too late.

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As a doctor with an understanding of epidemiology I am watching the coronavirus pandemic unfold across the world. In Australia we are lucky to be an Island continent with the capacity to enforce quarantines and travel bans. The old adage "a stitch in time saves nine" is apt here. 

It is time to put stricter travel bans and quarantines in place. We should, for the next month, be placing all inbound travellers from all countries into 14 days of quarantine. We should also be postponing large public gatherings. We should continue with contact tracing and quarantine of cases and contacts of cases appearing within Australia. 

These guidelines may seem like a burden to the public and undermine the economy, but not taking them will deal the economy an even bigger blow

The Diamond Princess (sadly) serves as a good science experiment for looking at the health impact that coronavirus would have on Australia if it is allowed to spread unchecked. Of 696 people infected on the boat - 7 died and 32 continue to be in a serious/critical condition.
This gives an (up until now) mortality rate of 7/696 = 1%
and a serious+critical+dead rate of 39/696 = 5.6%

If even 20% of our population was infected and 5.6% them require high dependency or ICU care - this equates to 268 800 people. If 60%  of the population is infected this means 806 400 people. 

If we want to protect both the economy and our health we need to stop this now before its too late. The quarantine measures  would allow Australia to halt the spread of the disease sufficiently to observe the outcome in other countries enabling us to be better prepared. If after observing other countries, a decision is made to allow the pandemic to take its course, one could then aim to slow the spread, but at this stage its not too late (to at least temporarily) postpone it..