Testing new arrivals could save more lives

| March 15, 2020

I have just returned from Jakarta after spending 24 days on an oil rig.  They temperature test all new arrivals for 15 days on board the rig and had no positive indication of any temperatures which might indicate flu like symptoms of personnel aboard.

As news is limited where I was working, I had not fully appreciated the global impact of this pandemic until it was time to return home to Australia.

On my return to Perth I have chosen to self quarantine for 14 days on my own, and this is where my issue starts.

If the Western Australian government were serious about containing this outbreak, would they not be providing swab test kits to everyone who meets certain criteria, such as people returning from potential high impact/risk areas?

As I came through customs at Perth airport I was handed a piece of paper informing me what I should do if I start feeling ill – but the operative word here is should.

I’m quite willing to quarantine myself as a precaution, but are others prepared to do the same?  If returning travelers spend a week at home feeling as though nothing in wrong they are likely to start heading back out to socialise and perhaps spread the virus to the community.

As I mentioned above, if the government were serious about containment, they would provide people with swab kits automatically.  The cost of the swab kit is far less then that of a community in lockdown or, at worst, a whole hospital infected with patients.

It would be a tragedy if the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread because the authorities failed to give swab tests to everyone who meets the appropriate criteria.