Coronavirus is a story that is changing daily as we slowly but surely isolate ourselves from the world and call our people back from overseas to shores where they can be safe and loved. There is no better place to tackle this virus and no others we want to tackle it with more than the community we call home.
We have looked into the eyes of the tiger before in the form of swine flu, Sars, meningitis and more recently measles. As a country we have come through and we will do so again.
If the overseas experience holds then not everyone will make it and we mourn for that but also commit that everything that could be done will be done, and it is to that end that we now must turn.
We need to move now, all together as a community in a synchronised dance that requires of us several actions. If we develop flu-like symptoms we must be vigilant with cough, sneeze and hand-washing etiquette and maintain a social distance. Many people think antibiotics saved the greatest number of lives last century but it may well be that simple public health measures such as sanitation, water and clean air saved more. We must do these simple things, and learn from history not reinvent it.
We need to move as a community because the science tells us if there are any gaps in our defences, the "R nought" or reproduction number for Coronavirus at 2.0 will eventuate, meaning one person will infect two others and so it will spread.
Our health services will be stretched, especially as the flu season approaches and every symptom will look like coronavirus. Primary-care professionals like GPs make a social contract with you to provide cradle-to-grave care. This will not change. What will change is the timeliness, the access and the face time which we have come to expect. This will be replaced with telephone calls, motor vehicle-based consultations and some delays, but you will not be lost and someone will be on the end of the phone.
There is a role for everyone. As MPs and your elected representatives we will work together and push the envelope with the best thinking and science we can muster. There is a wide range of experience across the House of Parliament and the probing and questioning that accompanies politics will shape the response, which by demand will be timely. We will each bring the specific needs of our electorates to Parliament so your unique concerns and voices are heard.
Our strength is in community.