Since the Wuhan coronavirus was first brought to the public’s attention, Australian government health authorities including the nation’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, have consistently told members of the public that there was no need for “general concern”.
Since the controversial last flight out of Wuhan to Sydney on Thursday, just hours before Beijing started the lockdown of the city of 11 million people, Australia now has several cases of its own and the number of infected around the globe has more than tripled.
Unsurprisingly as the number of infected continues to drastically escalate, some members of the public aren’t heeding the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ message coming from health authorities and the government.
In the 48 hours since the confirmation of Australia’s first case of the virus, surgical and medical-grade masks went flying off the shelves both in retailers and online.
On Sunday, multiple online retailers of the masks and other medical supplies had their websites crash as they tried to keep up with the explosion in demand from the public.
Other medical suppliers have already withdrawn masks from sale entirely due to a ‘National Shortage’.
Meanwhile the trusty go-to for medical supplies for many Australian’s, Chemist Warehouse, has run out of medical-grade masks for online sale. Some isolated stores across the country still have some left, but when the stock levels were checked for most stores in our major cities it was a sea of red ‘Unavailable’ messages.
Yes, it should be noted that the recent bushfires likely contributed to the shortage of masks, as people across south-eastern Australia bought whatever mask they could get their hands to protect themselves from the smoke.
Health authorities and the government continue to press the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ message, but it’s clear from the crashing websites and the empty shelves that some members of the public aren’t heeding their calls.
As news about the virus continues to filter out from China, with stories of 56 million people now under lockdown and the number of coronavirus cases on yesterday’s official nearing 3000 – with around 6000 further people in the coutnry suspected of carrying the virus — it’s unsurprising that the public is concerned about this potentially deadly virus spreading further within our shores.
Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.