Mar 30, 2020

Over 70s advised to stay home: strict new guidelines

The government has released strict new guidelines that recommend older people stay at home and “self isolate” as much as possible.

In a press conference yesterday, the prime minister said the government’s “strong advice” was for people aged 70 years and over to stay at home and self isolate “for their own protection”. 

The tougher restrictions also apply to those with chronic illness who are over the age of 60 and Indigenous persons over the age of 50.

What’s in and what’s out

Mr Morrison gave practical guidelines of what is and isn’t possible for older people.

“This does not mean that they cannot go outside,” he said. “They can go outside and be accompanied by a support person for the purposes of getting some fresh air, some recreation. 

“But they should limit contact with others as much as possible,” he said.

Mr Morrison said older people are not being asked to self isolate because they are believed to be carriers of COVID-19, but because this is believed to be the best way to protect them from contracting the virus.

The prime minister also said only two people will be permitted to gather in an outdoor area, with the exception of members of a single household.

“This is the strong advice of all states and territories, that unless it’s your household, the family, those who are living at your residence, that being with only one other person as a gathering outside is what is required. 

“That provides, importantly, for those who may be getting daily exercise, particularly for women, that they wouldn’t be required to walk on their own and they’d be able to walk with another person.”

Public areas, public playgrounds, outside gyms and skate parks will be closed from today. Exercise boot camps have been reduced to a limit of two.

The prime minister said all people must stay home as much as possible, but listed four exceptions: shopping for food and essential supplies; for medical care or compassionate needs; for exercise in compliance with new guidelines; and for work and education in situations where you cannot work or learn remotely. 

We are ‘flattening the curve’

Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, said the rate of Australians contracting COVID-19 is beginning to slow.

“So there is evidence that the public health measures that we’re putting in place and the social distancing measures are likely having some early effect,” he said.

But he added that more needs to be done to slow transmission in the community.

“It’s not enough. We have to slow it further. And we have to stop the thing that’s worrying us most, which is community transmission, that’s transmission without known links to a known case,” he said.

Professor Murphy said that a very high rate of compliance is required for social isolation to have its intended effect.

“For these interventions to take effect, the science shows that you need more than 90 per cent of the population to be doing it all the time. 

“So please continue to do what you’re doing. Continue to follow these rules. And hopefully these early signs of flattening will mean that we can keep going in getting a reduction in the rate of increase every day,” he said.

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  1. I am 73 and still working full time i cannot afford not to work full time. I live and work in the Western part of the state Dubbo area. The risk out here is extremely low .My boss has asked me to stay off work but when my leave entitlements run out i will be destitute. I still want to work but have to convince my employer he is doing the right thing allowing me to come back to work What argument do i have to return to work. Thank you Brian Lesslie

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