Black Lives Matter protesters warned: 'One can infect 40'

 

The Federal Government's Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy has warned Australians against taking part in the Black Lives Matter rallies saying large gatherings are "fundamentally dangerous".

He echoed Prime Minister Scott Morrison's words to avoid going to mass gatherings, where COVID-19 could spread.

"A mass gathering, even if people try to make it safe by trying to practise distancing and hand hygiene, is inherently dangerous because people can't really keep apart," he said.

"They can't stop touching each other. We don't know who is there. We can't contract trace. "Avoid mass gatherings."

Prof Murphy said one high viral load person, can infect 30 to 40 people.

Health Minister Greg Hunt is also urging people not to attend the protests.

"It is fundamentally important for people to be able to express their democratic right," he said.

"But a mass gathering whether it is a protest or a football match...at this time is not safe.

"It undermines and risks all of the work that Australians have done to save lives and protect lives."

Mr Morrison has also called on Australians to "respect their liberty" and not join Black Lives Matter rallies planned this weekend.

He said liberty came with responsibility, particularly after Australians went through the "absolute agony" of not being able to attend funerals during the coronavirus crisis.

"Australians owe all those Australians a great duty of responsibility, so I say to them, don't go," Mr Morrison said.

He said he had spoken this morning to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian about the proposed protests.

He said he understood the operational decisions made on public order grounds by police.

"Let me be clear ... while those public order decisions have been made, that's not an invitation or a licence for this," Mr Morrison said.

"The health risks of gathering in such large numbers ... are real."

Mr Morrison said there was a health risk to those who attend, which could lead to an increase in COVID-19 cases.

"Let's find a better way and another way to express these sentiments, rather than putting your own health at risk, the health of others at risk, the great gains we have been able to make as a country in recent months, and let's not forget the terrible economic consequences of that as well, let's not put that at risk, let's exercise our liberties responsibly," he said.


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