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‘Go now, go hard and go smart’: the strategy Group of Eight universities experts urged the government to take

You might have seen recent media reports in various outlets of a paper, commissioned by the federal government, reporting the coronavirus advice of a group of experts from Group Of Eight universities.

Dated March 22, the letter said “we support the stronger decisions being now taken by government and what we term as the ‘go now, go hard and go smart’ strategy.”

As demand grows for greater transparency around the advice informing government measures aimed at fighting the coronavirus spread, The Conversation is publishing the letter in full below.

The four key recommendations in the paper are that:

  1. Australia without delay implements national stronger social distancing measures, more extensive banning of mass gatherings, school closure or class dismissal.
  2. Australia urgently seeks mechanisms to enable a much-enhanced and coordinated regime of COVID-19 testing without delay. This should include community testing to estimate the rates of disease in the population – and this should guide further decision making.
  3. Strengthen the messaging around the importance of people complying with all of the requirements of isolation or quarantine and having increased compliance monitoring and support to allow them to do so (estimated that around 20-30% will not comply).
  4. Social distancing, especially when introduced vigorously across so many areas of life, will have significant costs for individuals and groups in society. These consequences will impact unequally. Governments should plan for this and ensure flexible and supportive policy responses for all who may be disadvantaged.

Some of these recommendations informed stronger measures enacted last week. However, schools in some states remain open but parents are being urged to keep children home where possible.

Read more: Grattan on Friday: Which leaders and health experts will be on the right side of history on COVID-19 policy?

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