ScoMo should have shut schools to combat virus

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has just held a press conference relaying the outcomes of today’s COAG meeting with state premiers, which announced that public gatherings of more than 500 people would be banned from Monday. Prime Minister Morrison stated that the government’s goal is to slow the transmission of the virus throughout the community in order to ensure the health system is not overrun.

However, in doing so, Morrison stated that schools and universities will continue to operate as normal.

I firmly believe this is a mistake. Given we are only two weeks from school holidays, Scott Morrison should have announced an immediate closure of schools and a four-week school holiday period. Most schools (let alone universities) have many hundreds of pupils and teachers, meaning they are effectively large public gatherings. As such, they need to be closed to slow the transmission of the virus.

In any event, below is the full COAG comminque pertaining to the virus:

Protecting Australians from the impact of coronavirus

Australia is experiencing the impacts of coronavirus, but we are one of the best-prepared countries in the world, thanks to the early actions of all levels of government. Since January 2020, Australian governments have been working together to develop, implement and coordinate strategies to slow the spread of the virus, including through strengthening our world leading health system and implementing border measures. Today, leaders committed to leveraging their combined resources to slow the spread of the virus and ensure Australia stays ahead of the curve in minimising the impact of coronavirus on the Australian community and economy.

With the wellbeing and safety of Australians being their highest priority, leaders will continue to manage the risk of the virus based on the best and latest evidence and medical advice. The new National Partnership Agreement on COVID-19 Response, signed by all leaders today, is a 50-50 shared funding deal between the Commonwealth and the states and territories that will ensure the capacity of our health system to effectively assess, diagnose and treat people with coronavirus in a way that minimises the spread of the virus in the community and protects our most vulnerable. As part of the deal, the Commonwealth will deliver an immediate $100 million advance payment, on a population basis, to the states and territories to prepare the health system.

Coronavirus has been declared a global pandemic and Australia is well prepared, including across non-health sectors. On 25 February 2020, at the request of the Chief Medical Officer, the Australian Government activated the Emergency Response Plan for Communicable Disease Incidents of National Significance: National Arrangements (National CD Plan). The National CD Plan, developed and endorsed by all jurisdictions in 2018, outlines how non-health sectors (such as police, childcare, schools, transport and essential utilities) will support the health sector response. Today, leaders welcomed the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee’s (AHPPC’s) development of a risk based decision-making tool for mass gatherings. They agreed to work in a co-ordinated way and have regard to the advice of the AHPPC, should the need arise to adjust services in response to coronavirus. All decisions will be proportionate to the risk.

COAG agreed to commission real-time, transparent protocols, underpinned by advice from the AHPPC and working through the National Coordination Mechanism, to support a consistent approach to containment and preparedness for coronavirus. These protocols will include management of mass gatherings, school closures, health management in remote communities and public transport, with decisions on applying the protocols resting with states and territories. COAG further agreed that the AHPPC advice will have the status of COAG advice, and to implement and follow the advice, as necessary.

While coronavirus is first and foremost a health crisis, it is having significant economic impacts. Australia’s strong economy means we are well-positioned to respond to the economic impacts of the virus. Our economy has demonstrated its resilience during past shocks and we are in our 29th consecutive year of economic growth. All Australian governments will play their part in delivering complementary, targeted and proportionate responses to the economic impacts of coronavirus. Leaders noted presentations from the Governor of the Reserve Bank and the Secretary of the Australian Treasury, and accepted advice that current fiscal settings in jurisdictions should be adjusted to mitigate the economic impact on Australians and best position the nation for recovery.

Leith van Onselen
Latest posts by Leith van Onselen (see all)


    • That must be why the ASX has done a 10% volte-face, to close up! I know ‘being short’ this weekend is a big call, but it’s likely to be the right one.

    • Yes, it’s a bit like the Chinese telling Wuhan that it will be locked down after the weekend. Such foresight.

    • darklydrawlMEMBER

      He had to make it monday so he can go the footy on the weekend. Whilst I don’t wish this on anyone, I sort of hope large numbers of the cabinet get taken out by this virus. Idiots. It makes no sense at all to
      1: delay the start
      2: exclude educational facilities
      3: And is 499 people safe and 500 isn’t?

        • That’s classed as essential.

          I’m rather impressed by this virus. It apparently takes the weekend off and only attends non-essential gatherings. Can it also do my taxes and mow my lawns? If so, I am completely welcome it into my life.

        • Dahls ChickensMEMBER

          Cracking question! The rain is dependent on continuous prayer, so maybe Smoco will wangle an exemption for them…

  1. Scomo is insane – he says ban mass gatherings of over 500 people, but I’m still going to the Footy?

    what muppet message does that send?

  2. So, so agree. Too little, too late. WTF didn’t we close our borders. Biggest bunch of incompetent wankers with the head wanker way out in front as usual completely and sanctimoniously and patronisingly unaware of his stupidity and incompetence. He will never admit even to himself, Trump-like, all the needless deaths and tragedy about to befall almost every Aussie family. I despair.

    • He will have blood on his hands, and so will the inept bureaucrats that fasten themselves to government like the parasites they are. Shame on these people.

  3. Insane ineptitude and complete disregard for facts as seen in Italy and other nations now in the cluster * boom* stage. There needs to be a lock down and quarantine to halt it, so we can flatten the curve at least! There also needs to be no arrivals internationally. I love how there is a warning not to travel anywhere overseas, but hell… People can still arrive as they please. All the bogans going to holidays in Bali during the term break are going to bring it back and then it will be game on proper.. Nice knowing you all.

    • Arthur Schopenhauer

      We’re 2 to 3 weeks behind Italy. I think closer to 2 because we’re not testing local transmission.

      150 cases on the 23/2
      ~2000 cases and first death on 2/3
      9172 cases on the 9/3
      15,000 yesterday 12/3

      Collapsing health system.

      In 18 days.

      What are our leaders thinking. There is no time to garner community consensus. Act you fakers, act!

      • It’s heartbreaking Arthur. I have friends who have close relatives in Lombardy, they are terrified.

        • darklydrawlMEMBER

          Fair enough too when the ER has to triage who gets treatment and who is left to their own devices.

          • Agree. The Horror, like triage WW2 style. It’s shocking for people to have to regress to this in our supposedly advanced and egalitarian world.

        • Know IdeaMEMBER

          My wife recently had feedback from a friend who lives in Milan. In addition to the trouble with treating the virus patients, it is the other patients that also lose out. The story was relayed about a woman who was scheduled to have an epidural when giving birth. That did not happen as there were no available doctors. Luckily there were no complications in this case. Others, however, are not so lucky.

          Don’t break your leg in the next few months or be involved in a car crash. There will be no room at the inn for you. Try finding a local stable instead.

      • Why is everybody in Australian government so dense? We can see what is unfolding in real time in Italy. Yet, rather than learn from the Italian experience, the authorities in Australia seem determined to replicate that situation here.

  4. Scott Morrison is asked if gatherings of large churches — like Horizon Church, of which he is a parishioner — will manage this ban, and whether they are essential or non-essential.

    (I think this is a bit unfair. Religious services are essential for people of faith.)

    Morrison says that church groups and other organisations may have to make arrangements to ensure their gatherings aren’t too large.

    Now, I know, because I go to one of those churches where a lot of people go along — I suspect they will do something common sense like hold multiple services at different periods of time over interest course of the weekend. So all their parishioners can come along.

    Hillsong Church in Sydney will this weekend host the second weekend of the Colour Conference 2020, an annual women’s conference which thousands of people attend. It was held last weekend as well.

    But, if we apply Morrison’s Saturday football rule — so long as it’s over by Monday it’s technically OK.

    So this tard at the Guardian thinks it’s essential for happy clappies to attend church. Jeez, we are really finding out quite quickly that this country is full of complete morons. I guess this reporter has forgotten the korean need to test 200000 sect crazies for coronavirus.

    • Let them all lick the bible and hold hands and sing hymns and partake in the goblet sharing of the divine blood of Christ. Amen.

    • let’s get all biblical on their ass. More mega-church prayer gatherings is exactly what we need to rid the world of happy clappies

    • Vs PM Lee “”The issue is of course not religion itself, but that the virus can spread quickly to many people in crowded settings, like religious gatherings and services,” he said, adding: “I hope Singaporeans understand that during this period we may need to shorten religious services, or reduce our attendance at such gatherings.”
      Followed by religious leaders cancelling services. Gotta love Singapore.

  5. Arthur Schopenhauer

    Claytons shutdown.

    All sizzle, no sausage. Regular playbook.

    Border is open. Schools are open. Unis open. Public transport open.

    20% infected is a gross underestimate. Minimum 40% infected.

    No fancy math is necessary now, because we have data. Look at Italy to see what the future holds.

    This is a disaster in motion. The Doctors on the front line know it. We know it.

  6. Australia will be like Italy in a month. These useless idiots are guaranteeing it.Once community spread takes hold, and they stop testing as their criteria isn’t “working anymore” They will institute then, what they should be NOW. Fools.

  7. “Coronavirus has been declared a global pandemic and Australia is well prepared”

    Yes, always prepared for an outbreak or other health emergency with an ever-present and worsening chronic shortage of healthcare services, across all states.

  8. Arthur Schopenhauer

    When this is through, let’s get together to push both sides out of parliament, by the ballot box of course.

    • I’m with you on that.
      Every voter should give Liberal a lifelong vote ban.
      Every voter should give Labor a lifelong vote ban.
      Every voter should give Greens a lifelong vote ban.

      • All well and good but what about the damned preferences. That’s what roots this election charade. Can we avoid prefs going to the majors? Alt, spoil ballot paper – but even so, don’t they just allocate the spoiled ballots even stevens to the majors? Someone must know.

        • sure, you just need a non major party candidate that enough of the electorate will vote for rather than spraying votes all over the place.
          In practice this is not so easy though.

  9. This is the problem when a Prime Minister sees themselves as effectively only responsible for managing an economy, for massaging the mystical GDP numbers (like a good marketer does).

    We need to federalise critical services and start assessing leaders in the context of critical service and living standard KPIs (beds to patient ratios, waiting times, ambulance response rates, literacy, employment, housing affordability rates etc).

  10. robert2013MEMBER

    Presumably the states could choose do to more, if they were so inclined given that hospitals and schools are state government run.

    • My daughter is at a non-government secondary school. She was sent home today with all her books, as she was told that it is likely that she won’t be back at school for one month. But the school hasn’t announced anything yet.

      • The FallMEMBER

        My wife works at a state school in Melb as a teacher. Also told to take everything home this afternoon to be prepared for school shutdown if called over the weekend.

  11. stop the stoats

    The ban was announced today but starts on monday? Is coronavirus taking the weekend off?

  12. roylefamilyMEMBER

    From my MP.

    Dear Steven,

    Thank you for getting in touch with your concerns.

    I am sure you were reassured this morning as I was when Daniel Andrews announced the necessary step of allowing no fans into the Grand Prix, and then the subsequent cancellation of the event.

    This is the right call and I applaud the leadership shown by the Premier.

    It is clear that large scale public gatherings should not be going ahead right now. We’ve seen overseas that early intervention through social distancing is key.

    If that means watching our favourite sport from home for a few weeks to contain a major outbreak, that’s better than the alternative.

    It was disappointing to hear the Prime Minister say this morning he’ll still be going to the footy.

    There are many things the Prime Minister should be doing right now to ensure the health and safety of Australians.

    Encouraging people to attend mass gatherings is not one of them.

    Kind regards,


    (03) 9534 8126
    219 Barkly Street, St Kilda, Victoria 3182
    [email protected]
    joshburnsmp joshburnsmp joshburnsmp

    (03) 9534 8126
    219 Barkly Street, St Kilda, Victoria 3182
    [email protected]
    joshburnsmp joshburnsmp joshburnsmp

  13. FACT: Morrison cannot win with the audience here or anywhere.. no one could.
    Put in place harsher measures – 50% will complain that it is overkill and unnecessary.
    Put in place less harsh measures/keep them as they are – 50% will complain they have not gone far enough.

    I’m not a booster of the guy, nor a detractor (I think all Australian governments for the last 60 years have been rubbish), just calling it as I see it. People will die with harsh action (and not just from the virus), people will die without harsh action.
    It does seem incredibly foolish to have kept borders open for foreign students to come in, only to close Australian schools and so on with such malarky, but the fact is EVERY expert and commentator has been jumping each way. We would have seen similar flip-flops from Labor in government – we have from them in opposition (e.g. border measures too harsh (racist), flips to border measures not harsh enough..)

  14. Mining BoganMEMBER

    Had to do the school run this arvo and the mums aren’t happy with schools staying open.

    Also work near a Costco and cars were lining up to get into the carpark.

    The F1 banning has spooked the cattle.

    • Coles – very wealthy inner urban suburb – never more than 20 people – was the most packed I have ever seen a super market.

      • Was in Woolies earlier and it was pretty busy and ‘tense’ but one brand of pasta was ‘on sale’ ffs. Why? People have been gladly filling their trolleys with it at full price recently! Nothing seems to make sense anymore. Strange times.

  15. Side DishMEMBER

    My wife works in health care with 450 plus patients a week through the clinic she works at. She is at home sick at the moment, rang doctors about coming in and getting tested, was told no point they don’t have any test kits and to stay at home, call if her symptoms get worse.

  16. Hopefully the NTG ( Northern Territory Government) will go in hard on this, as we have a very large cohort of disadvantaged and homeless people who are indigenous, and also protect vulnerable, overcrowded ( housing wise) communities within the NT. They need to go harder than this half AR$ED effort, because even when H1N1 hit, the indigenous up here suffered much worse than others. This needs to be taken seriously and looked at separately considering our geographical remoteness and lack of healthcare facilities. Shocking that the NT footy grand finals are on this weekend on the Tiwi Islands and there is no ban on the attendance..This will spread if there is not tough control here. Bring in the ADF. Seriously.

  17. Just got an email from Brisbane Roar about tonight’s game at Suncorp — going ahead as scheduled, all fans and members welcome. However, if you’re exhibiting Coronavirus symptoms please stay away.


  18. I reckon it will come to pass that the small pox on our nation just went against the advice of his top medical advisor.

    • I had to search ‘Dutton’ before I posted. I knew it was too good to be true that I’d be first to break the news… From the news.

  19. I still put most of the blame for the worldwide spread of Covid19 on the head of WHO. To consistently advise all countries not to ban travel from China is criminal. He won’t be remembered kindly.

  20. “.. strengthening our world leading health system”

    What piffle. Our health system is already stressed due to the pressures placed on it by the Population Ponzi. It has no spare capacity to deal with an epidemic.

  21. OMG, I’ve just seen video of people celebrating and being thankful that they will get to pile in to a stadium with thousands of other people on the weekend. Are strayan’s fckin braindead?