Coronavirus is the pathogen responsible for targeting respiratory systems of humans. In the past, coronavirus outbreaks have declared a threat to public health. At the end of December 2019, a bunch of patients were brought into the hospital with the symptoms of pneumonia in China. They all were somehow linked to wet animal and seafood wholesale marketplace in Wuhan, situated in China. Coronavirus has an incubation time of 5.2 days roughly. The time period from the showing of symptoms to death takes about 6- 41 days. The period is based on the patient's age and the situation of the immune system of the person. People below 70 years have this period shorter as compared to people above 70 years. The early symptoms of COVID- 19 are cough, headache, fever, diarrhoea, lymphopenia, haemoptysis and dyspnoea. In the world, there are a total of 2,13,391 new cases. A total number of the confirmed case around the globe is 21,989.366 and the total number of deaths occurred are 7,75,893 (World Health Organization, 2020).
Australia is a country situated between the Indian and the Pacific Ocean. The number of cases that occurred in Australia is 23,993. From which, 15,241 people have been recovered and 450 people have lost their lives. Estimated active cases of coronavirus are 7,434. In the state, New South Wales (NSW), the total tests performed are 19, 05,703. Among these, 3,782 are confirmed cases. Out of them, 242 people are still recovering whereas 54 people have lost their lives (New South Wales Government, 2020).
World Health Organization (WHO) have illustrated out 3 priorities for the engagement of the community in the COVID- 19 situations. The first one being: Strengthening of already active partnership and also forming new ones to reach a larger community. This action aims to maintain trust with the leaders of the community, the members of the community and the population which is vulnerable. The second one states to make the governance structure of the community stronger to engage, empower and support the communities in local and national coronavirus response efforts. The third action which needed to be taken is optimizing the community workers.
For making new partnership and strengthening those which already exist, WHO mentioned to find and formulate the communications that will be necessary for the engagement of the coronavirus response. This includes the government of every level, involvement of workers, National and International agencies, collaborating centres of WHO, NGOs, civic and community organization. WHO also talks about keeping a communication which is two- way. This will help in the better form of information transfer. They also focused on improving listening and feedback loops so that engagement with the community can take place through surveys, monitoring by media, polling and so on. WHO in addition to that, points out toward communicating via local leaders or mayor. It focuses on providing them with information which is relevant, providing the technical guidance so that they can work with health workers and help in isolation for the patients having mild symptoms. WHO also told to optimize the role of nurses, health volunteers and promoters, midwives for the community engagement as they can aid in the collection of data and surveillance, which will ultimately decrease the burden on health system caused by COVID- 19 (World Health Organization, 2020).
The emergency response made by health sector of Australia includes the actions like transmission minimization, preparing and supporting the needs of the health system, managing initial cases, providing information for sustaining best health care practice and to also to give power to communities. The government focused on planning and told territories and states to create operational plans for the health response. They also paid attention to protect the communities which are largely vulnerable such as Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people. The government has also the responsibility of checking the activity of communicable disease internationally and domestically. The government of the states and territory were given the task of collecting data through surveillance to contribute to the nationwide picture. In addition to all of this, the government of Australia joined hands with the territory government to produce novel methods of care to deal with the patients. State governments were also made responsible for making and safeguarding public hospitals, labs and health services (Australian Government, 2020). Other strategies used to contain coronavirus were restricting international flights and arrivals, isolation of the patient, home quarantine of the affected person family member, practising social distancing, complete lockdown and the closure of schools (Meehan et al.,2020).
The goal of this step is to share information amongst communities and their members and also with the agencies so that a mutual understanding can be reached. Everyone should be well informed and can make responsible decisions by themselves. The communication between everybody should be relevant, correct, focused, consistent and credible. It should be two- way. The information should be accessed by the audience easily and should be available via multiple channels. Methods are established to make sure the communication is coordinated with the individuals and organization. The messages which are important should be repeated (Australian Government, 2013).
The aim of this step is to share knowledge, questions or to gain ideas, information and feedback. An adequate amount of time should be permitted for the community to think about a problem or an issue and also for them to give their input. The time should also be allotted for considering the feedback given by communities to the agencies. The process of consultation should be as wide as possible and opportunities are created for the people so that their voices can be heard. Information given by the community should be properly recorded, kept and use suitably. The information about their input and its influence should also reach back to the community (Australian Government, 2013).
The objective of this step is to build well-linked relationships and systems and to maintain trust and ownership by active participation. The community should be given the opportunity to take part in making decisions that affect them or concern them. There should also be multiple pathways and entry points to contribute. Also, the community should be able to give the chance of telling how they desire to participate. Every member of the community should also be able to take part (Australian Government, 2013).
The goal of this step is to collaborate with communities to strengthen action, which includes making alternatives and finding a desirable solution. Opportunities should be made for communities to take steps that can influence their lives. Relationships should be developed where organizations and agencies work together with community and each one of them playing their part (Australian Government, 2013).
In this step, the main focus is to seek out and facilitate the involvement of everyone who will be probably affected (Australian Government, 2013).
The aim of this is to make individuals and as well as the communities aware of the risks and make them accept their responsibilities so that they can employ programs. For empowerment, knowledge and information should be shared amongst the communities and agencies. The community should also lead and posses the process. There should be the deployment of joint actions so as to give power to communities and individuals (Australian Government, 2013).
Some recommendations that can be made are: Health minister should encourage and promote community engagement as it will aid in response to COVID- 19. They should also ensure that proper human resource and financial aid is being provided to the communities for carrying out their operation smoothly (World Health Organization, 2020). Resources in hospitals should be made available (Craig et al., 2020). A strong obligation towards health systems and controlling of communicable diseases will make sure that the health system can keep hold of COVID -19, which include plenty of hospitals for the people suffering from a serious illness. To meet these challenges, a massive change in the system is required (Thevarajan, Buising & Cowie, 2020).
In conclusion, it can be said that COVID – 19 is a deadly disease, which is started from Wuhan, China and is now spread all over the globe. The individuals who suffer from this may experience various signs and symptoms such as fever, diarrhoea, cough and so on. Patients may take various days to recover and some can even die because of it. Coronavirus has killed over 7 lakhs people in just 7-8 months since it reoccurred. Australia also has experienced the cases of coronavirus and because of that many people of this country have lost their lives. In New South Wales, the reported numbers of cases are 3,917 and are continuously increasing. World Health Organization have also presented some important points to ensure community involvement so as to tackle the COVID- 19 situations. The Australian government also has taken various steps to help people during this pandemic. Their prime focus is to help the most vulnerable communities of Australia that is Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people. So, to combat this difficult situation a strategy has been made which include the following steps: Community engagement, consultation, participation, organization, capacity building and action and possibly empowerment.
Australian Government. (2013). National strategy for disaster resilience. Community engagement framework. Retrieved from https://www.emergency.nsw.gov.au/Documents/publications/National-Strategy-for-Disaster-Resilience-Community-Engagement-Framework.pdf
Australian Government. 2020. Australian health sector emergency response plan for the novel coronavirus (COVID- 19). Retrieved from https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/02/australian-health-sector-emergency-response-plan-for-novel-coronavirus-covid-19_2.pdf
Craig, S., Cubitt, M., Jaison, A., Troupakis, S., Hood, N., Fong, C., Bilgrami, A., Leman, P., Ascencio-Lane, J. C., Nagaraj, G., Bonning, J., Blecher, G., Mitchell, R., Burkett, E., McCarthy, S. M., Rojek, A. M., Hansen, K., Psihogios, H., Allely, P., Judkins, S., … Cameron, P. A. (2020). Management of adult cardiac arrest in the COVID-19 era: A consensus statement from the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine. The Medical Journal of Australia, 213(3), 126–133. https://doi.org/10.5694/mja2.50699
Meehan, M. T., Rojas, D. P., Adekunle, A. I., Adegboye, O. A., Caldwell, J. M., Turek, E., Williams, B. M., Marais, B. J., Trauer, J. M., & McBryde, E. S. (2020). Modelling insights into the COVID-19 pandemic. Paediatric Respiratory Reviews, S1526-0542(20)30099-3. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prrv.2020.06.014
New South Wales Government, (2020). COVID-19 (coronavirus). Retrieved from https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/find-facts-about-covid-19
Thevarajan, I., Buising, K. L., & Cowie, B. C. (2020). Clinical presentation and management of COVID-19. The Medical Journal of Australia, 213(3), 134–139. https://doi.org/10.5694/mja2.50698
World Health Organization. (2020) WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard. Retrieved from https://covid19.who.int/
World Health Organization. 2020. Role of community engagement in situations of extensive community transmission of COVID-19. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/acer/Downloads/WPR-DSE-2020-016-eng.pdf
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