Coronavirus: Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton’s advice for Victorians

Coronavirus: Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton’s advice for Victorians


Hello, I’m Dr Brett Sutton, Victoria’s
Chief Health Officer. The challenges we’ve faced since the emergence
of novel coronavirus are significant and continuing. Victorians can be reassured that our actions
are aimed at containing the spread of this virus. This coronavirus is new and with numbers of
cases in China growing so rapidly anxiety is completely understandable. But misunderstandings have arisen about how
the virus is transmitted and the risks it poses. Let me be perfectly clear, spread of coronavirus
occurs through close contact with an infected person, mostly face-to-face or within a household. It cannot jump across a room or be carried
for long distances in the air so we should all go about our lives as normal. And face masks are not currently recommended
for use by members of the public in Victoria for the prevention of infections like novel
coronavirus, although anyone who wants to be cautious can of course choose to wear one. The outbreak in China remains a great concern
to us all. However, the situation in Australia is significantly
different, with small numbers of cases and no transmission in the community at this time. False assumptions are being made about people
of Asian appearance which is causing great distress to individuals and communities. We should be reaching out to the Chinese and
broader Asian community at this extremely difficult time for them and support the businesses
and events that are now a part of the Australian fabric. Racism and xenophobia have no place in the
response to this or any emerging infectious disease. Much of the current burden has fallen on the
Chinese community who are sharing the current information; supporting people in quarantine
and isolation; and encouraging actions to protect all of us. We greatly appreciate their actions and they
deserve our support in return.

Daniel Yohans

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