The Rural Doctors Association of Australia are urging people from rural and regional areas to stay away from the test match to be held in Sydney this week.
RDAA President Elect Dr Megan Belot said that while for many in the country the New Year’s Test was an annual pilgrimage, this was definitely the year to give it a miss.
‘With Sydney working hard to contain a COVID hotspot, the last thing we need is people bringing COVID home back to their rural communities that have so far been protected,’ said Dr Belot.
‘Consider your personal responsibility – you really don’t want to be the one person who brings it home and causes an outbreak in your home town among your friends and family.
‘We strongly advise that this year you just watch it on the telly. Have some local mates around and watch it on the couch instead’, she said.
COVID threat continues
RDAA is also encouraging rural residents to increase their personal vigilance when it comes to managing social distancing and risk reduction for COVID.
While masks have not been made mandatory, they say everyone in regional NSW should wear a mask when they are inside in a public space, including shopping centres, cinemas, and bars.
‘This was part of the Victorian response and it seemed to make a difference,’ said Dr Belot. ‘As much as anything it highlights to people that they need to social distance – it keeps it front of mind and serves as a reminder to everyone that they need to be aware of their space.
‘People travel a lot, especially around Christmas and you just don’t know who has been where and who they have been in contact with. Just because you don’t have any reported cases in your area doesn’t mean you don’t have to be vigilant.’
Dr Belot, also had some practical tips for managing mask wearing and COVID risk.
‘Wear your mask properly!’ she said. ‘I see plenty of people wearing it under their nose… there is no point in having it on.
‘Prioritise who you are going to catch up with and what you are going to do. Keep yourself safe – if you go into a shop and they have too many people in there, just don’t go in. It is as much your responsibility as the shop attendants to make sure you are not going over the recommended number of patrons.’
Dr Belot emphasised that if everyone doesn’t take responsibility for keeping one another safe, we will be heading for another lockdown.
‘Nobody wants to go through what Melbourne and other areas of Victoria have gone through,’ she said. ‘Stick to the precautions and work to keep everyone safe and going about their business.
‘If you have any symptoms – and I mean ANY symptoms – get tested and isolate until you get a negative result.’