Leaders push for immediate PPE supplies

Published: 27 Mar 2020

Local leaders have called for the urgent supply of personal protection equipment so local agencies can continue to support vulnerable people at home.

The Local Leadership Committee for the Cairns coronavirus response, consisting of Cairns Mayor Bob Manning, Member for Cairns Michael Healy and Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch, met this morning for the third time to prioritise the most urgent support needed from all levels of government.

The LLC is calling for the urgent supply of personal protection equipment (PPE), such as masks, and gloves, to protect frontline, Cairns-based agencies that provide in-home support for vulnerable people and community outreach.

Cr Manning said Council was able to provide some relief in terms of a shortage of hand sanitiser after securing units from a supplier.

“Somebody talked to us yesterday and we sourced this morning 2000 sanitisers to go to these agencies straight away,” Cr Manning said.

Mr Entsch said he will move quickly to secure adequate PPE supplies for the region.

“There is a concern among our not-for-profit providers, like Mission Australia, Salvation Army and Red Cross etc, that the numbers of PPE are very low,” Mr Entsch said.

“I know there has been a world shortage, but I also know a lot of this material is starting to arrive.

“It is not just our hospitals that require this equipment, but other agencies that are absolutely critical in continuing to provide services in a situation like this.”

Mr Entsch said the LLC was also developing a plan to support businesses.

“We have a 10-point plan on things that are required immediately for our small business community that I will relay back to the decision makers,” Mr Entsch said.

Cr Manning confirmed that the Local Disaster Management Group has been stood up, Council has established a dedicated webpage for coronavirus information, and from Monday a phone hotline will be activated that residents can call for local information, advice and support.

“There’s a lot of misinformation and myths out there at the moment,” Cr Manning said.

“I urge people to go to Council’s website where we have brought together specific information for residents and businesses, health advice, closures and the like.

Cr Manning asked people to respect the closure of facilities in response to the current coronavirus situation.

“We can’t lock some of these facilities up, such as playground and Lagoon, but we want people to realise that we are doing it for a reason and to use common sense.

“These closures are for their safety and for the safety of the community.”

Mr Healy confirmed that 12 people in Cairns region have returned positive results for coronavirus, including two residents from Mossman who are now in Cairns Hospital.

All cases are people returning from overseas; there are no cases of community transmission in Cairns at this time.

“As of next week we will begin a student free last week of the term in education sector,” Mr Healy said.

“This will enable teachers to prepare for digital learning, and for those who cannot access digital learning, we will be putting packs together.”

Mr Healy said that the children of essential workers, would be able to keep going to school.

The LLC will meet Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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Last updated: 28 March 2020