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Coronavirus: What you need to know and how to prepare

As the coronavirus spreads to more countries, fuelling fears of a global pandemic, a leading Australian immunologist says there are gaps in the information the public is being given.

Associate Professor Ian Mackay from the University of Queensland, who worked on diagnostics for the COVID-19 coronavirus, said Australians don’t feel prepared to deal with the inevitable widespread onset of the virus in Australia.

“It’s coming, it’s just how long it takes to come. China has slowed that down so we’ve got time to prepare … but it will get here eventually,” Mr Mackay told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

“We’re talking about the community here and what they aren’t being given lots of information about, and that’s what to do so they feel like they are getting prepared.”

What you should do to prepare for the coronavirus:

  • Stock up (but be reasonable)

“Now is the time to buy a few extra things,” Mr Mackay said.

“Think about your pets, think about your grandparents and parents, how they’re going to go.

“Talk to your doctor about getting a few extra prescriptions stocked in the cupboard, just in case.

“There’s no point hoarding things or panic buying so that we empty the shelves. We don’t need to do that.

“It’s not panic preparing, it’s just thinking ahead to what happens if there are interruptions in our day to day life.”

  • Be aware that daily life may change temporarily

Mr Mackay warned the outbreak may get to the stage where schools are closed and large functions are cancelled.

“We will see, perhaps, interruptions to services. We might see big gatherings closed, you might not be able to go to that big NRL game,” Mr Mackay said.

“That sort of stuff might happen and it’s different from what we usually see, so can be scary but it doesn’t have to be if we talk about it now.”

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Image: Koydo News / Getty