Press Release: COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) Outbreak, 7th April 2020

The IMOParty offers our condolences to the families of those who have died following SARS–CoV–2 infection. We sympathise with those who are infected and suffering.  We wish them speedy recoveries. We also appreciate and thank health care workers for their dedication.
 
The IMOParty is deeply concerned for the hundreds of thousands of individuals who are suffering immensely because of the lockdown measures in Australia.  This lockdown will likely cause the collapse of many small businesses, unprecedented levels of unemployment, bankruptcy, homelessness, mental health issues, suicides and civil unrest.
 
We regret that the Australian mainstream media and the government have used fear tactics that have caused panic over COVID-19.  Fear increases stress levels, which aggravates mental and physical conditions, including infectious disease. The media and the government have a duty to provide unbiased information. They have not.  For example:
 
i) In Australia from January to March 2020, we have recorded 17,910 influenza cases [3] compared to 5,800 COVID-19 cases [2] to date. Yet we have never seen any significant response to those deaths from respiratory infections, including pneumonia and influenza (around 3,400 to 4,700 annually [1]), which occurs year after year, i.e. no distancing measures, no restrictions on gatherings, no masks recommended, no increased advice to frequently wash hands. 
 
ii) Instead of focusing on those countries with the worst case scenario, why isn’t our government focusing on those with the best case scenario and learning from them?  In Taiwan (a tiny country similar in population to Australia) due to their early distribution of masks, sanitizer dispensers and other precautions, authorities have kept schools, government and businesses functioning without a lockdown, thereby ensuring the wellbeing of its citizens and economy [4].   When Australia’s total cases was 2,809 Taiwan’s was 355 even though Taiwan’s first case was reported on 21/01/20 and Australia’s on 25/01/20 [2].   To date, the death toll associated with COVID-19 in Taiwan is only 5 [5] with total cases to date at a low 373 compared to Australian’s 5,882.  Why is Australia not following similar precautions in order to save our economy and the vulnerable?  Australian Professor Raina MacIntyre and her team led the largest body of randomised controlled trials of masks and found the N95 mask prevented more infection in all areas [6], and yet we have not seen these measures recommended by our government.
 
ii) Concerns raised by many medical professionals against lockdown actions have been ignored and not presented in media as per below screenshots (including another experts [7]):
The other concerns we acknowledge and would like to raise with our Prime Minster are:
 
1) BioSecurity Act
The IMOParty are currently investigating the implications of the enactment of the BioSecurity Act 2015 [8], “an Act relating to diseases and pests that may cause harm to human, animal or plant health or the environment, and for related purposes.” [9]
Examples of where this Act may remove the freedoms of individuals are as follows:
87  Restricting behaviour
88  Risk minimisation interventions
89  Decontamination
90  Undergoing an examination
91  Requiring body samples for diagnosis
92  Receiving a vaccination or treatment
93  Receiving medication
We will notify members as and when further information and clarification becomes available.
 
2) Mandatory Influenza Vaccination for Visitors into Aged Care Facilities
On 18th March, the Prime Minster announced that due to COVID-19, no visitors are allowed to visit their family in a nursing home unless they can provide evidence that they have received the flu vaccine [10].  IMOParty objects to this coercion. Where is the evidence that supports this measure?  Not only has the worth of the influenza vaccine been questioned, it also needs to be acknowledged that there are risks associated with it [11]. It would be less dangerous and more effective for both parties if visitors wore a N95/P2 mask and sanitised their hands upon entry.
 
3) The Prime Ministers Plans
The Prime Minster announced on 2nd April a potential 6-month lockdown with a clue that the end of the lockdown may depend on vaccine development.  He said “A vaccine ultimately enables everybody to go back to life as it was” [12]. This is of serious concern to IMOParty.  We already have the potential catastrophic consequences of a short-term lockdown, but now we are looking at 6 months!  Nowhere in the world has this been done, so what evidence is there to prove these measures will have the desired effect?
 
To further add to the problem, the Prime Minister suggested that the lifting of the lockdown is solely dependent on a non-existent vaccine. The Prime Ministers proposition lacks science. It is based on reckless assumptions. No trials of  lockdown periods or vaccination have been or can be conducted to observe the short or long term health consequences.
 
A 6-month lockdown in Australia cannot be justified when the risks from lockdown can be far greater than the virus. The Government seems happy to watch the economy collapse whilst a vaccine is being fast-tracked.
 
Will COVID-19 vaccines be rolled out in haste? Or even mandated? Would that cause some recipients to have more severe disease?   In the past, vaccines developed against SARS-CoV and given to mice resulted in hypersensitivity.  This was revealed when vaccinated mice were given a dose of the virus.  The authors of a peer-reviewed study stated, “So caution in proceeding to application of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in humans is indicated.” [14] Will citizens’ right to bodily integrity be ignored?  Will the livelihoods and the social, physical and economic well-being of current future generations be compromised for the uncertain worth of a vaccination campaign?
 
4) Suicide Rates
As there are no current statistics available on suicide (Australian Bureau of Statistics shows most recent figures at 2018 as an annual total), how will the Prime Minister observe suicide rates due to the lockdown? Professor Sarah Wilson quotes “….social dislocation could kill more people than the virus” [13]? So far in the last weeks, we have been made aware of 3 suicides as an effect from the lockdown.  We have scoring of COVID-19 statistics available daily, we therefore ask the Prime Minister to provide a more up-to-date tally of suicide for comparison.
 
Conclusion
There are still many uncertainties in the world regarding COVID-19, but one thing IS certain and that is good personal health measures are important in the prevention of and recovery from infectious diseases.  A healthy immune system is your best defence in fighting any illness along with a healthy mind. 
 
The IMOParty is dedicated to protecting the right of Australians to refuse or choose any medical procedure or product, without coercion.
 
The IMOParty believes that vaccination should be a choice. When COVID-19 vaccination becomes available, we will oppose mandatory vaccination in principle, but also because of the likely short and long term health risks. This health choice is a core human right that is compatible with reducing community risk.
 
We appreciate your support, so if you haven’t already done so, please sign up as a member to receive up-to-date information from us during the COVID-19 situation.
       
 
REFERENCES:
     Note: 2019 stats from ABS not yet available.
[9] A list of human diseases currently covered under the BioSecurity Act 2015 can be found here: https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/ohp-biosec-list-diseases.htm
[13] Quote from Professor Sarah Wilson “while the restrictions remained in place, it was imperative for people to access public health services. There is growing concern within the national cabinet that suicide and other deaths caused by economic and social dislocation could kill more people that the virus.” https://www.smh.com.au/national/victoria-enters-new-normal-in-pandemic-response-20200330-p54fdg.html[14
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