‘Might come to it’: Top GP’s lockdown prediction
THE Sunshine Coast's top general practitioner says it would be a "reasonable" step for the country to follow New Zealand and go into total lockdown as the threat of coronavirus circles.
New Zealand has activated its level 4 of the COVID-19 threat system and will go into a four-week lockdown from 11.59pm tomorrow.
Schools will be closed, non-essential businesses will shut, and travel around the country will be "severely limited" to combat the spread of the virus.
Essential businesses - supermarkets, pharmacies, and medical clinics - will continue to operate.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the movement could save tens of thousands of lives.
AMA Sunshine Coast president Dr Roger Faint said the coronavirus storm would "go on for months" and that a lockdown was "reasonable".
"If people don't start to self-isolate, minimise contact and personal space, not go out or visit friends, it might come to that," Dr Faint said.
"Different countries decide to do different things and a lockdown is not unreasonable.
"Countries like Hong Kong, South Korea have done exactly that, it's so their medical system doesn't get completely overwhelmed.
"You can't imagine what is coming and it's difficult to understand but when you look at the number of cases in Europe you see the potential seriousness of it."
At his own practise, Dr Faint has started telemedicine which he said can help limit the spread of potential disease and doctor-patient contact.
"I am telling my patients to think about not coming in and we will to progress to telemedicine over the next few weeks. It's pretty obvious that's the answer," Dr Faint said.
"I don't want to close down the practise.
"I want to maintain usefulness.
"It's very important we balance the economic disaster with the health disaster, but it will go on for several months, no doubt."