A Northern Tasmanian specialist has called for more aggressive measures from the state government to combat the coronavirus.
Dr Christopher Reid says Premier Peter Gutwein needs to consider closing Tasmania's air and sea terminals to stop the spread of the virus.
"That is the only way to truly lockdown the virus before it's too late. That's why Hong Kong and Singapore have managed to control it. We need Mr Gutwein to take control for our state's sake," he said.
Coronavirus: Latest COVID-19 updates for Northern Tasmania
He said Tasmania needed to learn from the experience of other countries which had been too slow in their responses and had let exponential increases take place.
Dr Reid also took out a full-page advertisement in TheExaminer today (page 21) to urge a more serious approach.
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He said that the declaration of a Public Health Emergency on Tuesday did not go far enough.
"If people don't start to take this seriously there will be a tsunami of cases and the hospital system will be overwhelmed," he said.
Dr Reid said that in three weeks' time Australia could be like Italy.
He said one of the unique characteristics of the virus was that it made about 20 per cent of those infected unwell enough to need hospital treatment.
"The main problem with this is that it will stretch the hospital system, which makes it hard for the doctors and nurses to treat people who need treatment for normal conditions or emergencies," he said.
"We need to avoid what has happened in Iran, Italy, Spain and now the USA .
"Those countries were complacent in their management of the virus SARS-CoV-2 and they have paid dearly with thousands of lives.
"Italy did not take strong action early on and within three weeks they went from 200 cases to over 24,000 cases.
"They went from zero deaths per day to over 450 deaths per day. Their economy is now essentially shut down, the health system is overwhelmed and they cannot cope."
Dr Reid said Australia was at 400 cases where Italy was three weeks ago.
"If we don't act strongly and decisively now, in three weeks time we could be where Italy is today," he said.
"I believe that Launceston still has a good chance of avoiding a major health crisis... if we act now!"
Dr Reid said that if large numbers of people in Launceston became sick at the same time there would be a shortage of hospital beds, ICU beds, ventilators and ECMO machines.
"We are worried about running out of doctors and nurses as they get sick," he said.
"People need to take this very seriously and realise that every infection that can be prevented now will stop thousands of infections in three weeks."
He said people needed to practice good personal hygiene, stay away from others if you or your children have a viral illness and avoid large gatherings of people.
The Examiner approached Health Minister Sarah Courtney for comment.
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