Young Australians are failing to grasp the importance of isolating and experts warn it could result in deaths.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton says the message around the importance of isolation and quarantining isn’t penetrating, and young people in particular aren’t understanding what coronavirus means for the entire population.
While younger people don’t get such severe infections there have been cases of people in their 20s dying, and cases of those in their 30s and 40s ending up in intensive care.
The warning comes as Sydney’s Bondi Beach is closed over concerns beachgoers have not been adhering to social distancing rules.
Similarly, the UN’s health chief is warning young people they are “not invincible” and disregard for best practice is not only putting themselves at risk but posing a threat to there communities at large.
Young people also risk passing on the infection to those in vulnerable categories, including older Australians or people with compromised immune systems.
“If you care about the people around you, if you think about protecting your family, your parents, your grandparents … then you have to think about making that distance between you and other people in all settings at all times,” he said.
There are also concerns about people of all ages not taking quarantine seriously enough.
Dr Sutton said he had heard of people leaving home isolation during their 14 day quarantine, and from newly-confirmed cases that they’d had close contact with people while they’re unwell.
“Everyone who has been told they’re in quarantine, must do so,” he said.
“If the trajectory continues regardless of the new travel restrictions, we will have to consider new measures.”
Dr Sutton wouldn’t speculate on what those restrictions might be, but said there are further steps available to authorities.
“We want to be able to take them when we can change the trajectory rather than at a point where we’re in the midst of a crisis, like Italy or the US,” he said.