Suppressing the spread of COVID-19

[The following resolution was adopted at the April 5 meeting of the Socialist Alliance national council along with an Action Plan for confronting the crisis.]

Socialist Alliance supports rapid action to suppress the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus in order to save as many lives as possible.

While mitigation, the declared strategy of the federal and state governments, will save lives compared to doing nothing, it will still result in many deaths because it assumes the majority of the population will still acquire the virus.

In contrast the strategy of "suppressing" the virus seeks to completely stop community transmission with extensive testing, tracking and quarantine.

A period of “lock down” or "shut down" can be used to support either the mitigation or suppression strategies. Socialist Alliance supports a period of shut down in Australia that includes schools and all non-essential industries where there is a risk of virus transmission (including construction and fossil fuel exports) in order to suppress the virus while seeking to accomplish the following:

  • a massive expansion of testing including all people with symptoms and then the wider population
  • implement a regime of tracing and quarantine (with social and material support for those quarantined)
  • rapid build up public health care capacity

In the practical implementation of shut downs Socialist Alliance favours an emphasis on public education rather than onerous punishments when dealing with those who fail to observe safe physical distancing.