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Government failing to provide ‘clear advice’ on how to tackle coronavirus

The government has come under fire for not coordinating coronavirus advice for the public and medical professionals.

After the federal health minister’s advice that “we would rather people over-test, rather than under-test,” Deborah Knight thought she should get her own four-year-old daughter, Audrey, tested.

Audrey had a runny nose and a cough, not unusual for a preschooler, but after Minister Hunt’s advice for everyone to get tested, Deborah thought it was a good precautionary measure.

But she found an impractical system, especially for parents with young children.

“I was told, rather than coming in, they’d have to do a $30 phone assessment.

“Her advice was that we should not take the next step, we haven’t travelled overseas, we’ve had no contact with anyone we know that has coronavirus.

“If we did decide that we wanted to get her tested that is where things would get complicated.

“The soonest that we could make a booking would be Thursday, at the earliest, and in the meantime, we would have to isolate her before the test and until the results came through.”

The current advice is you should limit contact with someone in isolation, not spending more than 15 minutes with them.

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Royal Australian College of General Practitioners President Dr Harry Nespolon says that Minister Hunt has now revised his advice to get everyone tested and tells Deborah Knight the government needs to be clearer.

“We’ve been trying to get the government to be clear on what they think general practice, in particular, should be doing in this situation at the moment, we still don’t have very clear advice.

“We’ve been trying to get a single source of advice for everyone, we would like to see the Commonwealth provide that advice rather than every state and territory providing slightly different advice.

“We need some confidence in the system.”

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Image: Getty/Paul Kane