Dr Richard Abbott urges residents to stay calm during national Covid-19 outbreak

CREATING CLARITY: Covid-19 panel: David Dale, Janie Jordan, Alexandra Joel, Richard Abbott and Kerry O'Brien.
CREATING CLARITY: Covid-19 panel: David Dale, Janie Jordan, Alexandra Joel, Richard Abbott and Kerry O'Brien.

THERE is need for caution, but no need for panic; that is the message being spread by GP Dr Richard Abbott.

Speaking on a Covid-19 panel during the Scone Literary Festival, he revealed that residents have remained calm so far, and that staying sanitary and listening to proper medical advice is the best way to deal with the outbreak.

While there have only been five reported cases of the novel coronavirus in the Hunter-New England health district, he said it is still having an affect on people's mentality locally.

This was supported by comments fellow panellist Alexandra Joel, an author and psychologist, who said one of the major impacts she has seen in Scone so far is an increase in 'loss arousal'.

The term refers to people's desire for things they do not have, and in the context of the outbreak, it is causing mass hoarding of certain household items, or as she put it - trophies.

However, Dr Abbott said the local health system is yet to be flooded and that people are remaining relatively controlled in their response thus far, but it's important to remain vigilant.

"Locally we've been a little bit isolated from the major areas of infection," he said.

"But it is an evolving situation and I think people need to be starting to be well aware that there is an issue and start looking at measures to try and mitigate their exposure."

The other significant challenges the Covid-19 fallout has caused is the cancellation of major events in the region, including the Upper Hunter Show.

Regularly washing your hands, coughing into your elbows and not touching your face are among the actions being advised to avoid contracting or passing on the pathogen.

Dr Abbott even revealed he was hopeful this behaviour would continue beyond the outbreak's peak and eventually cause less people to get infected with the regular flu.

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