Recommendation for public gatherings

Crowds at the Long Jetty Street FestivalCrowds at the Long Jetty Street Festival. Archive 2017.

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) about coronavirus (COVID-19) has issued a statement in regard to gatherings.

AHPPC notes emerging evidence of community transmission in localised areas within Australia, current issues limiting the capacity to do widespread COVID-19 diagnostic tests and emerging international evidence that, for best effect, social distancing measures are best introduced at the earliest stages of community transmission.

AHPPC considers that, for these reasons, the time has come to put in place social distancing measures to mitigate spread, rather than a strategy based primarily on case finding. These include:

  • limiting non-essential organised gatherings to fewer than 500 people
  • limiting non-essential meetings or conferences of critical workforce eg healthcare professionals and emergency services
  • encouraging all Australians to exercise personal responsibility for social distancing measures
  • initiating measures to protect vulnerable populations, such as reducing visitors to all residential care facilities and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

These measures are of most importance for people over 60, particularly those with chronic disease.

AHPPC will meet again on 14 March to consider the implementation issues arising from these measures which AHPPC recommends should commence on Monday 16 March or as soon as practicable thereafter.

Source: AHPPC Media Statement, March 13, 2020

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