The MCG has been listed as an exposure site after a person attended day two of the Boxing Day Test and later tested positive to coronavirus. The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) are urging people from rural and regional areas to stay away from the test match to be held in Sydney this week. Dr Megan Belot, RDAA President Elect, said that while for many in the bush the New Year’s Test was an annual pilgrimage, this was definitely the year to give it a miss. “With Sydney working hard to contain a COVID hotspot, the last thing we need is people bringing COVID home back to their rural communities that have so far been protected,” Dr Belot said. “Consider your personal responsibility – you really don’t want to be the one person who brings it home and causes an outbreak in your home town among your friends and family. “We strongly advise that this year you just watch it on the telly. Have some local mates around and watch it on the couch instead. “At the end of the day, it’s just a cricket match, it’ll be on again next year and the risk really just isn’t worth it.” RDAA is also encouraging rural residents to increase their personal vigilance when it comes to managing social distancing and risk reduction for COVID. “While masks have not been made mandatory, everyone in regional NSW should wear a mask when they are inside in a public space – shopping centres, cinemas, bars… absolutely. “This was part of the Victorian response and it seemed to make a difference. As much as anything it highlights to people that they need to social distance – it keeps it front of mind and serves as a reminder to everyone that they need to be aware of their space. “It’s summer, so if you are eating out and the weather is nice, take the opportunity to dine outside. If not, consider getting takeaway and eating at home. Most restaurants are used to catering for this now. Buy a nice bottle of wine to go with it and really enjoy the experience. “People travel a lot, especially around Christmas and you just don’t know who has been where and who they have been in contact with. Just because you don’t have any reported cases in your area doesn’t mean you don’t have to be vigilant.” Dr Belot, who works in the Victorian border town of Echuca, also had some practical tips for managing your mask wearing and managing your COVID risk. “Wear your mask properly! I see plenty of people wearing it under their nose… there is no point in having it on. Put it on, and leave it on. Don’t keep touching it to lift it on and off. “Some people struggle with the cloth masks and I have had some elderly patients finding them hard to cope with. “Disposable masks are easier to wear, especially in hotter weather, so even though they can cost a bit of money, if you are finding the cloth masks difficult then they could be a good option for you. “Prioritise who you are going to catch up with and what you are going to do. Keep yourself safe – if you go into a shop and they have too many people in there, just don’t go in. It is as much your responsibility as the shop attendants to make sure you are not going over the recommended number of patrons. “If you don’t take responsibly for keeping yourself and others safe, then we will be heading for another lockdown. Nobody wants to go through what Melbourne and other areas of Victoria have gone through. Stick to the precautions and work to keep everyone safe and going about their business,” Dr Belot said. “And as always, social distance and wash your hands. Keep hand sanitiser handy if you are out and about. If you have any symptoms – and I mean ANY symptoms – get tested and isolate until you get a negative result.”
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