WILL IT GO AHEAD? Opinions are divided as to whether music festivals like Bluesfest should still go ahead amid the coronavirus outbreak.
WILL IT GO AHEAD? Opinions are divided as to whether music festivals like Bluesfest should still go ahead amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Should music festivals go ahead amid coronavirus threat?

SHOULD Bluesfest and Splendour be cancelled or postponed?

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has health experts divided over whether it's OK to go ahead or to postpone or cancel the events.

With Bluesfest a month away, bringing 100,000 people to Byron Bay. and Splendour in the Grass in July sold out to 50,000 punters, the fine balance between keeping the economy going versus a possible health threat seems to be a delicate balance few agree on.

Professor Robert Booy is an infectious disease expert from the University of Sydney and chairman of the Immunisation Coalition.

He said healthy people should not go "looking for the virus" if they live with people at risk.

"Vulnerable people should keep their exposures down to small numbers. People with respiratory symptoms should stay home - watch for cough, fever and shortness of breath. If you are concerned, call (the Federal Government's advice line) healthdirect or your GP," Mr Booy said.

"If you're healthy but live with an elderly or chronic illness-afflicted relative, don't go looking for the virus.

"Many events are cancelling anyway.

"If you decide to go, keep at least a metre from other fans - smile at them, but no touching or kissing."

Associate Professor Adam Kamradt-Scott is an expert in the spread and control of infectious diseases at the Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney.

He thinks Australia is well prepared to face an outbreak like the COVID-19.

"I understand there are a number of prominent medical staff calling for cancellation of all mass gatherings and events across the country," he said.

"To be clear, though, our nation has been preparing for the possibility of a pandemic for decades.

"Our plans are nuanced, and permit variation to allow for a proportionate response to the threat we face.

"This is not a situation where blanket policies and measures are helpful.

"Each jurisdiction needs to have the flexibility and capacity to respond to an evolving situation - both when cases increase, as well as when they decrease.

"Further, they need the flexibility to be able to respond to situations where one area is affected while another is not.

"Our leaders and senior public health officials are receiving some of the best medical and public health advice that is available, informed by people who have been working on the possibility of this very scenario for years.

"I would appeal, therefore, to all commentators that we trust in our leaders, noting that they are being advised by some of the best experts in the world."


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