The Beagle Editor
Sir, given the very serious situations we now face in the aftermath of the recent bushfire disaster - lives & homes lost, businesses ruined and many now unemployed thru a downturn in tourism etc.... how many of your readers are truly aware of warnings that there may be worse to come in the potential of a world pandemic thru the onset of - and now rapidly spreading Coronaviris. The virus has now reached over 40 countries and WHO warns that all other countries can expect to be hit and should now make some form of preparation. Even Donald Trump has 'accepted' its seriousness and is doing the "ESC Council thing" by promising to call a meeting at a later time! He's got over calling it a hoax! The current Australian Govt. Minister for Health has indicated that in each major areas (cities & towns) Health Officers should look at getting ready to set aside sections in hospitals where potential patients can be isolated. But they should also identify other areas, such as hotels, tourist and housing facilities, or any other establishments suitable to again take potential overflow from the hospitals and to keep patients in isolation for treatment. This now brings into vogue the use of emergency centres that were used in the fire disaster- where facilities such as extra beds, treatment, and isolation areas can be quickly partitioned off. Don't it make you wonder though ... since these areas have now been deemed unsuitable for healthy (but traumatised) bushfire refugees! (i.e.,gastro outbreak at Moruya shelter) Why I am writing this? Many would know Moruya hospital in particular has a constant over-flow now -with some patients kept in in medical storage areas, or like myself, one time, on a chair in a hallway covered in a blanket and to be kept there for the night... no beds there of course. I was 89yrs then and 90yrs now!
I have now, just this minute, watched as Ballarat City Council are looking at getting prepared.
As you know - Ballarat (with its history of Sovereign Hill) is probably the most popular destination for tourists in Victoria. Many of these, (particular from China ... but now from many other countries) could not only introduce the Viris there... but visitors from other countries could then be infected and take it back to other sources including their own country !! There has been much concern - as well as much evidence - that this council has absolutely no ability to handle emergency situations in the past--- just how the hell can we have any confidence they could hope to handle something that could more dire...and with no facilities? As all should know - tourism has been (till now) the life blood of our towns -- and the council must keep pushing it.There's been no consideration for them in the past (as has just been proven without proper access roads & food supplies etc) so where do we go from here? Maybe we should all give notice to Dept LG... that with already great concerns (and proof) this council (and its Management) has been unfit to handle the (still ongoing) situation of the bushfire disaster - and there is little hope that present facilities can handle an outbreak of Coronaviris... we should ask that this Council be replaced with an Administrator - capable of handling a situation should an outbreak of the caronaviris occur here, at least in the short term - and at the same time sort out the mess this council has contributed to. What does the Mayor and GM have to say about this? Is there any further proof needed to get that new hospital on the go now? Sincerely, Norm Moore.