Black Lives Matter protesters told to self-isolate for two weeks to reduce risk of a COVID-19 outbreak

Black Lives Matter protesters told to self-isolate for two weeks to reduce risk of a COVID-19 outbreak

Photo by Johan Mouchet
Words by Kate Streader

Not all health officials agree that the blanket recommendation is necessary.

President of the Australian Medical Association Tony Bartone has advised Australians who attended a Black Lives Matter rally over the weekend to self-isolate for 14 days.

Indigenous activist collective and rally organisers Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance have also recommended attendees self-isolate for two weeks as a precautionary measure.

The protests saw tens of thousands of people gathering around the country against advice from the Chief Health Officer, police and the Prime Minister. Officials have said it will take up to two weeks to see whether the protests caused any new cases of coronavirus.

Although the majority of protesters wore face masks and adhered to social distancing measures where possible, Bartone told 3AW anyone present still needs to self-isolate as a precaution.

“No matter how much hand sanitiser, no matter how much the masks were being worn, for those periods of time there is a risk of the virus passing,” he said.

“If everyone was wanting to keep the rest of the community safe, anyone who attended those rallies really should stay home and keep away from the rest of the community for at least two weeks.”

The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation has also issued a statement backing the call for protesters to self-isolate, though not all health officials agree that this is necessary.

VACCHO Chief Executive Jill Gallagher told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald that she did not agree that self-isolating was strictly necessary. The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, comprising state and federal chief medical officers, also do not support the advice of the AMA.

The Victoria Department of Health and Human Services has advised anyone who spent time outside of their home over the long weekend to get tested for coronavirus if any symptoms arise.

Visit the VDHHS website for more information about testing.

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