Furious doctors: ‘For God’s sake stay at home’

 

FRUSTRATED doctors say selfish Gold Coasters putting others at risk by flouting coronavirus restrictions only need to look at the "war zones" in countries such as Italy.

Health experts and city leaders are furious that a small portion of the city is ignoring the self-isolating message and treating the crisis as a holiday.

The Bulletin was sent photos of long lines of cars at Springbrook in the past nine days as people went on bushwalks, and beachgoers hit the surf again yesterday.

Gold Coast residents have been out and about on beaches and at national parks, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Picture: Glenn Hampson
Gold Coast residents have been out and about on beaches and at national parks, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Picture: Glenn Hampson

Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said yesterday officers would get tough on offenders after the number of complaints cops attended at the weekend went up 300 in a week, and Mayor Tom Tate says he will close the beaches if people do not stay at home.

Victoria enforced a crackdown on rogue revellers hitting leisure hot spots and Queensland authorities said they would follow suit if Gold Coasters failed to heed the warning.

"The Queensland Government must make it an offence to break the regulations and ask the police to enforce them," Gold Coast Medical Association head Dr Philip Morris said.

Visitors at Springbrook National Park during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Supplied
Visitors at Springbrook National Park during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Supplied

"The regulations about preventing individuals meeting in groups is for one reason only - to prevent Australians dying from coronavirus infections that are caught from other Australians.

"Surely Queenslanders can show a good example and avoid the scenes photographed at Springbrook?"

A Gold Coast hospital doctor on the frontline of the coronavirus fight told the Bulletin: "Our colleagues in New York are in a medical war zone. It's a disaster.

"In places like Italy, they're having to choose who to give life support to. Over 30,000 people are dead around the world.

"For God's sake, stay at home. It's the only way we can prevent this disaster from descending on Australia.

"Some countries are arresting people for going out. Maybe that's the right thing to do if people don't get it. If we let this disease spread, it will kill thousands of Australians. It'll change life forever. We can stop this now."

The frustration comes as the city notched one of its most significant jumps in new cases as another 15 locals were confirmed infected yesterday. The tally on the Gold Coast is 136.

State-wide cases surged from 555 on Friday afternoon to a total of 689 by yesterday. Contract tracing is underway for all new cases.

General Practitioners Gold Coast boss Dr Katrina McLean said: "Any groups of people meeting in close proximity, regardless of where, places our entire community at risk."

Gold Coast Medical Association head Dr Philip Morris. Picture: Luke Mortimer
Gold Coast Medical Association head Dr Philip Morris. Picture: Luke Mortimer

Though Springbrook residents earlier this month encouraged Gold Coasters to use the spot as a "perfect" isolation getaway, many businesses in the area have now closed.

A sign outside one closed business told visitors: "If you are reading this please go home. Help stop the spread. Keep safe. We are all in this together."

Commissioner Carroll said the community had been compliant but police had been called to a surge in house party noise complaints over the past two weekends.

"What that means for us, obviously, is an extraordinary amount of resources that have been diverted to looking after complaints and noisy parties and not where we should be concentrating our efforts," she said.

Visitors to Springbrook National Park during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Supplied
Visitors to Springbrook National Park during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Supplied

"However, a result of … the new rules from today, police should not be getting any more noisy party complaints."

Councillor Tate reiterated his threat to close Gold Coast beaches if the public failed to adhere to new restrictions.

"There are more serious things afoot so stay at home, that's the message from the Prime Minister," he said.

"We have to take that seriously.

"I know we are easygoing people on the Gold Coast but … if you contract something, either at the beach or because you did not maintain social distancing, you are putting your family in danger and you will never forgive yourself."

Originally published as Furious doctors: 'For God's sake stay at home'



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