The coronavirus situation continued to develop over the weekend. Let’s begin with local updates.
Last night the Prime Minister issued further ‘strong advice’ to Australians – included in this announcement, was several significant new measures. First, it was announced that there will be a six-month freeze on rental evictions.1
Second, Australians are now strongly advised to only leave the home for necessities, work or education. Necessities were defined as food, medical help, medication, and supplies to help you see this crisis out.2
The Prime Minister also announced, that Australians over 70, those with chronic illnesses over 60, and Indigenous Australians over 50, should leave their homes as little as possible.3
For those who do go outside, they should not go outside with more than one other person.4 The Prime Minister suggested that some states will introduce laws to fine Australians who breach this requirement. Victoria this morning announced that it will be fining people who violate this rule.5
For understandable reasons, the ‘two-person rule’ does not apply to those who live in the same house (families, housemates etc.).6
Finally, late Friday it was announced that any Australians returning home from overseas will be forced into quarantine at hotels for fourteen days. These international arrivals will not be able to return home after they land at an airport. Rather, they will be taken directly to a hotel or an appropriate premise.7
There will likely be further information on these announcements at some stage today. The full announcement can be found through this link.
In terms of figures, as of writing, Australia has 3,966 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of those, unfortunately 16 people have died from the illness.8
Reflecting on those figures, Australia’s Chief Medical Officer reminded the public last night, that Australia was managing the threat of COVID-19 quite well relative to other countries, and presuming that Australians follow the ‘strong advice’ issued by governments and medical experts, he expected to see positive medical outcomes in the not too distant future. Fingers crossed that this prediction is correct.
Speaking of other countries, we are seeing rates of infection continue to rise globally. There are now 718,685 cases world-wide. The most affected states remain, the United States, Italy and China. All of which have 139,675, 97,689, and 82,122, cases respectively.9
Interestingly, this weekend the Chinese city of Wuhan, the place where the virus first emerged, re-emerged from a two-month lock-down.10
Alison Schrager, an economist specialising in risk, wrote in the Wall Street Journal last week on the distinction between risk and uncertainty during this crisis. Schrager wrote:
“Risk can be managed. Uncertainty makes it impossible to weigh costs and benefits, such as whether reducing the spread of a virus is worth the cost of an economic shutdown that could last several months… The goal should be to move from uncertainty to risk, which will take time and data.”11
When we work with our clients, we endeavour to help them collect detailed information about their critical business functions, and critical business procedures to allow them to make informed decisions about how they can incorporate resilience practices into their business as usual.
It may seem obvious, but during times of elevated stress, whether it is in business, or our personal lives, it’s often because of uncertainty. Information is the salve of uncertainty.
1 Australian Government Department of Health, ‘National Cabinet Statement on coronavirus’ Media Statement, 29 March 2020, accessed 30 March 2020 <https://www.health.gov.au/news/national-cabinet-statement-on-coronavirus-covid-19>.
5 ABC, ‘Victoria in ‘stage three’ coronavirus shutdown restrictions as cases climb to 821’ ABC, 30 March 2020, accessed 30 March 2020 <https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-30/victoria-coronavirus-cases-rise-to-more-than-800/12101632>.
6 Australian Government Department of Health (n 1).
7 Australian Government Department of Health, ‘Update on coronavirus (COVID-19) measures from the Prime Minister’ Media Statement, 27 March 2020, accessed 30 March 2020 <https://www.health.gov.au/news/update-on-coronavirus-covid-19-measures-from-the-prime-minister-0>.
8 Australian Government Department of Health, ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) current situation and case numbers’, accessed 30 March 2020, last updated 29 March 2020 <https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-current-situation-and-case-numbers#current-status>.
9 John Hopkins University, ‘Coronavirus Resource Centre’, accessed 26 March 2020, last updated 26 March 2020 <https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html>.
10 SBS, ‘China’s Wuhan, where the coronavirus emerged, begins to lift its lockdown’ SBS, 29 March 2020, accessed 30 March 2020 <https://www.sbs.com.au/news/china-s-wuhan-where-the-coronavirus-emerged-begins-to-lift-its-lockdown>.
11 Allison Schrager, ‘Risk, Uncertainty and Coronavirus; We don’t have enough data to know whether drastic lockdowns are worth the economic damage’ Wall Street Journal, 23 March 2020, accessed 30 March 2020 <https://www.wsj.com/articles/risk-uncertainty-and-coronavirus-11584975787>.