Coronavirus causing ‘severe panic’ in school community

A PETITION to keep children returning to school after visiting China on Brisbane's southside is continuing to gain momentum.

Three days ago, Yini Shi, who identifies as Chinese, started a petition through change.org called coronavirus- voice of the concerns of our community.

Yini "strongly suggests" an exclusion period for students returning from China to help control the spread of the disease.

Students line up to sanitise their hands to avoid getting coronavirus. File photo: AP/Heng Sinith
Students line up to sanitise their hands to avoid getting coronavirus. File photo: AP/Heng Sinith

The petition has since amassed 4790 signatures with more names being added every minute.

Yini addresses the petition to the Federal Government, including Member for Moreton Graham Perrett, whose electorate covers most of the southside.

"The Coronavirus that has caused the shut down of cities in China is causing severe panic among the Chinese community which is largely based in the southern suburbs of Brisbane," Yini wrote.

"This includes many schools and childcare centres which majority of students and children are of Chinese ethnicity. i.e. MacGregor, Sunnybank etc.

 

" … A large number of students and families (from Brisbane) have returned to China to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

"(The) majority of these kids will return to Brisbane in the coming week or two for the start of the new school year."

"Our kids risk being infected and the spike in cases could increase over the coming days.

"Our Chinese language school already has taken the extreme step to close down for the first two weeks of term as this is said to be the exclusion period for the disease.

A thermal scanner checks on arriving passengers. Photo: AP Photo/Aaron Favila
A thermal scanner checks on arriving passengers. Photo: AP Photo/Aaron Favila

"Many parents have emailed schools and childcare centres to voice their concerns but (the) response has been that they are powerless to do anything without directive from health department or education department.

"We all need to realise the next two weeks will be critical in preventing the spread of this virus among our community as its our general population that will be returning home and not just tourists.

The coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has now killed 132 people – mostly in China – and as of Wednesday morning had 6000 confirmed cases while thousands more people remain under observation. Five cases have been confirmed in Australia, four in New South Wales and one in Victoria. Photo: Jenny Evans/Getty Images
The coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has now killed 132 people – mostly in China – and as of Wednesday morning had 6000 confirmed cases while thousands more people remain under observation. Five cases have been confirmed in Australia, four in New South Wales and one in Victoria. Photo: Jenny Evans/Getty Images

Anya Kloska wrote:"Absolutely agree with all the above and it is really important to prevent this virus to be spread.

"I live in Calamvale and my daughter will be back to school and her ballet classes this Tuesday, where most of the students are ethnically from China, also I know that many of them will return or already has return from their holidays in China. So it's very important to take an action and extend school holidays for at least two weeks."

 

"Concern(ed) about my kids and people in Brisbane," Amy Teng added.

Angela Chan wrote on the online petition: "For health and safety concerns, all students and teachers coming back from China should stay home in the next two weeks for the transition.

"It's a sensible option that could potentially save lives," Catherine Kidd added.

Mr Perrett responded to the online petition by saying: "The message from Australia's Chief Medical Officer is that if you have come from the Hubei Province of China in the last two or three weeks and you become unwell, visit your doctor or the hospital emergency department but call ahead and tell them your travel history, and be tested.

MP Graham Perrett has responded to the online petition and forwarded on the community’s concerns to Queensland Health Minister Dr Steven Miles.
MP Graham Perrett has responded to the online petition and forwarded on the community’s concerns to Queensland Health Minister Dr Steven Miles.

"Most people will probably be negative, but we need to capture anyone who's come from China, especially before they closed down that area late last Thursday.

"However, because people could have left the province before the lockdown and could come to Australia via a number of flights, officials are now meeting every flight from China, screening passengers and providing the passengers with an information sheet (in English and simplified), asking them to identify themselves if they're unwell on the flight, but also to identify if they become unwell, especially with fever or cough or other respiratory symptoms after they have been in Australia."

Mr Perrett said he would raise the Brisbane south community's concerns with the Queensland Health Minister Dr Steven Miles.


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