Why we need a pandemic health intelligence plan
We must remain vigilant to prevent a ‘second wave’ of infection as public health-related restrictions are relaxed.
While the current number of COVID-19 cases in Australia is low, it is likely there are people who are unknowingly infected and could spread the virus.
The Pandemic Health Intelligence Plan is designed to inform decisions on adjusting the measures in place to suppress the spread of COVID-19 in Australia. By using intelligence and surveillance we can consider both our readiness to adjust restrictions and the outcome of changes we have already made.
The plan includes 4 broad intelligence inputs, delivering objective measures and indicators which will be the basis for decisions about safe, gradual adjustment of our response measures.
- We will continue to monitor numbers of cases, ages, severity, source of acquisition, where they are located, and changes over time.
- The plan includes expanding our current case detection approach to include looking for the disease where it might otherwise not be recognised.
Public health system capacity
- We will monitor how fast cases are detected and isolated, and contacts are traced and quarantined to reduce transmission.
- As measures are relaxed, the number of contacts per case increases.
- We need to be certain states and territories have the capacity to undertake additional contact tracing if necessary.
Health care system capacity
- With lower cases numbers, we have the opportunity to resume more normal health care activities.
- We need to monitor the burden COVID-19 is putting on the health system, and ensure we maintain enough surge capacity to manage any large outbreaks
Community acceptance and adherence
- Effectiveness of measures depends on the community understanding, accepting and following public health advice.
- The plan includes monitoring how well the public is adhering to health guidance, including community attitudes, transport and traffic movements, and movement data.
Gathering this information will allow Australian governments to make evidence-based decisions about the measures required to continue to suppress the spread of COVID-19 during the next phases of our response.