A war of words has erupted between medical leaders over how Australia should deal with visitors entering the country from Covid-hit China.
China is seeing an explosion of Covid-19 infections and deaths after Beijing reversed policy and spread the virus widely.
According to Italian authorities, 50 percent of passengers on China flights to the country have Covid-19.
The Victorian President of the Australian Medical Association, Dr. Roderick McRae drew the wrath of his industry peers after he called for arrivals from China to be quarantined for seven days at Mickleham in Victoria.
Authorities had to assume that every plane arriving at Melbourne Airport from China was “riddled with Covid”, said Dr. McRae Age this week.
“Do we want to fill our hospitals with tourists from China coming to the Australian Open or do we want to take care of Victorians who have already received delayed treatment, bigger cancers in their bodies,” he said.
“It was the circumstances in China that triggered SARS-COVID-2… if someone comes off a plane from China coughing or sneezing, they have Covid.”
Leading emergency physician and former AMA Victorian President Dr. Stephen Parnis took to Twitter to meet Dr. Bashing McRae for his harsh comments.
“I would expect these kinds of crude, inflammatory comments to come from an extremist politician, not a current state AMA leader,” wrote Dr. Parnis.
“Our responses to Covid in December 2022 are bound to be very different from those of February 2020.”
Australia has so far resisted calls to follow countries like the US, Britain and France in imposing restrictions or mandatory Covid testing on Chinese arrivals amid infectious disease experts fear new variants could be unleashed overseas.
Another Melbourne doctor, Dr. Kate Gregorevic, tweeted that she was Dr. “Totally disagree” with McRae’s comments.
“I look forward to the AMA issuing a statement confirming it does not support labeling people from any ethnic group or country as a threat,” wrote Dr. Gregorevic.
Victorian Covid cases are down more than 30 per cent from the previous week, according to new Department of Health data released on Friday.
Due to the virus, 745 people were hospitalized and 44 in intensive care, with 16,568 new Covid cases reported during the week.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton warned that the drop may be due to lower reporting levels during the holiday season.
“Covid hospitalizations have increased over the past week after stabilizing in early December,” Prof Sutton said.
“The risk of Covid infection can be increased by large family and social gatherings.
“It’s important to consider older family members and friends and those who may be more vulnerable to severe Covid illness.”
Spain, South Korea and Israel became the latest countries on Friday to impose mandatory coronavirus tests on visitors from China.
They join Italy, Japan, India, Malaysia, Taiwan and the United States in demanding negative Covid tests for all travelers from mainland China to avoid importing new variants of the Asian giant.
Chinese state media reacted furiously to the restrictions.
“…the real intent is to sabotage China’s three-year COVID-19 control effort and attack the country’s system,” the statement said Global Times stated in a report.
It also published a cartoon attacking Japan for its policies against Chinese citizens.
The paper called the restrictions “unfounded” and “discriminatory”.
Originally published as Top Victorian Era Medicine Figures Relating to Treatment of China Covid