Some of the early failures in Australia’s management of the novel coronavirus pandemic this year could have been avoided if all levels of Government had been trained using simulated exercises, leading health planners have told the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC).
Australia has not run a large-scale national pandemic exercise since 2008.
Experts say failure to continue pandemic practice exercises may have
contributed to confusion in the early days of Australia’s response to COVID-19, including contradictory public messaging from national and local leaders and delays in launching communication tools.
“One of the big examples, which would be at the forefront of many people’s
minds, is the Ruby Princess,” said Sydney University health security expert
Adam Kamradt-Scott, who was involved in a 2008 pandemic exercise.
“The fact that there was an element of confusion as to who may have had
responsibility for making the final decision, I think sort of points to the lack of preparedness that, in the event we were having these exercises more
regularly, some of these errors may not have occurred.”
The remarks by Prime Minister Scott Morrison about going to the football, and about shaking hands by Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy, could have also been avoided through more emergency exercising, says associate professor Kamradt-Scott.
Australia has done comparatively well in containing the virus. Exercising as all emergency people know irons out the wrinkles.
Read ABC’s Dylan Welch and Alexandra Blucher full report…