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Back in 2005, the then Health Minister, Tony Abbott had some sage words to say. 

I provide an excerpt here for us to reflect upon and wonder what on earth went wrong in our Nation when we saw him not only lose his role as Prime Minister, but later voted out of his Parliamentary Seat and replaced with a wind turbine loving leftie with no clue. Since then, things have gone from bad to worse. 

PANDEMIC PREPAREDNESS

Monday, 2 May 2005

Source: INFECTIOUS DISEASES CONFERENCE

" On February 4 last year, I read an urgent brief from the Chief Medical Officer. Ministers receive all sorts of urgent departmental documents, usually to do with cabinet, legislative or regulatory deadlines. This one made the stuff of daily politics and routine administration seem utterly trivial. It advised of a possible re-run of the Spanish Flu outbreak of 1919. Since then, a significant part of Australia's health policy establishment has been considering how to deal with a far-from-merely-speculative influenza emergency which could dwarf the health
consequences of a conventional terrorist attack. "

Part of this is recorded below. The original appears here. in it's entirety. Tony Abbott said this in 2005:

" Once a decision to impose border security measures had been made, every incoming passenger would be required to make a health declaration, thermal scanners would operate at international airports to detect possible flu cases on entry and quarantine isolation areas would be established. Influenza surveillance networks would be activated immediately and detection and treatment information would be sent to every GP and other health professionals such as pharmacists. Today I am releasing a pandemic influenza awareness kit which will be sent to every GP in the next few weeks.

In a severe outbreak, health authorities would have two objectives: first, containment to try to prevent the spread of disease; and second, once a lethal flu strain was generally established, maintenance of essential services. . "

" Once pandemic flu was present in the Australian community, depending on its severity, the Government would have to decide whether to discourage or ban large gatherings and close schools. Any such measures would have serious economic consequences but they could slow the spread of disease and allow more people to be protected by any vaccine that's ultimately developed. Once pandemic flu had spread beyond designated quarantine areas, the Government would also have to decide whether to rely on home quarantine of flu cases with mobile medical teams treating most patients and designated hospitals dealing only with the most serious cases.

1918

Not since World War Two have Australians had to cope with very large numbers of premature deaths. Australians are unused to contemplating the possibility of death on a massive scale, especially from "natural causes". The competing temptations are "it won't happen here" complacency, "there's nothing we can do" fatalism, or "no precaution is too great" alarmism.

All these grave scenarios come from material already published and in the public domain. Even so, it's hard to discuss potential disasters outside people's ordinary experience without generating the sort of lurid headlines which make some scoff and others panic. It's important not to over-react to potential threats. On the other hand, people and their governments need to take credible threats seriously and take reasonable and proportionate precautions against them. If a deadly flu pandemic ever seems imminent, no preparations will be enough.



Since 1998, and with much greater urgency since late 2003, all Australian governments have been preparing for a flu outbreak that might, if not prepared for, overwhelm the health system and paralyse normal society for months. Those preparations are far from complete. It's clear that we cannot guard against all contingencies and that a severe outbreak would test our national capacity in ways unknown for half a century. Even so, much work has been done and it's important that experts and policy makers take the Australian public into their confidence
lest people one day say they had never been warned. "

pan20

 

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