GRPN Supports Isolation as Best Strategic Protection against Exposure to COVID-19

The Global Risk Policy Network (GRPN)  urges isolation as the best protection against Exposure to the spread of COVID-19. Prevention is better than cure.
GRPN introduced Strategic Risk Policy to provide Early Notice and Early Warning on important global issues to society in general, governments and corporate and community sectors, of Exposures and Vulnerabilities to enable Informed Decision Making, ideally before risks arise. Without the right information on the right issue at the right time, decision-making (and non-decision-making) can be less effective, misguided and even wrong – with dire consequences.
Disclosure of COVID-19 in December enacted a Strategic Risk Policy approach which recommended:
1. Aligning warning alerts with national resilience plans;
2. Identifying and mapping whole networks potentially involved – from travel to health;
3. Examining available network information and augmenting it urgently as required;
4. Determining Exposure and Vulnerability including using decision scenario planning;
5. Implementing strategic Protection measures on an urgent but gradual, as-needed basis;
6. Should total protection be impossible, recognising and managing COVID-19 as a ‘Systemic Risk’ which can only be successfully managed formally and collaboratively among the group of ‘legal owners’ of the risk; – countries and sectors; and
7. Noting that failure to manage the Systemic Risk formally and collaboratively can result in it becoming a Wicked Problem (e.g. undefined pandemic) like the Global Financial Crisis.
In the case of COVID-19, some of the steps above have been hindered and it has become
an ‘unknown’ and moved quickly to a Wicked Problem requiring retro-engineering of
solutions and now meta-analysis of lateral and consequential impacts on society e.g. economic.
The opportunity for pre-emptive, informed decision-making has been impacted and even today conflicting information exists, thus we are now dealing with the unknown, with untraceable individual exposure and society trying to contain the spread, whilst urgent medical efforts are underway globally to fast-track a vaccine.
Australia, whilst close to China in terms of travel, both direct and indirect via other countries, has an inherent, strategic and practical protection measure available – at least to minimise harm. That is, border control – closing borders (both air and sea) based on risk assessments and ensuring all people of any nationality identified as ‘potential’ exposures are quarantined offshore as has already successfully started.
Within Australia and elsewhere, some additional practical steps are available:
a. Focus on highest exposure locations – retirement homes, hospital waiting areas, doctors’ surgeries and pharmacies (including removing the need to visit for sick certificates), day care centres, schools and universities;
b. Encourage tele/remote/electronic funded diagnosis, self-reporting and quarantine (strong local campaigns to guide sick people to phone ahead to maximise isolation). Explore ways to incentivise early safe self-identification and home-based care (noting that hospital-based care is expensive and risk-laden for most mild cases);
c. Expedite the move to internet-based teaching, recognising that some courses require access to specialised equipment and resources; and
d. Explore ways employees and employers can minimise exposure and risk in workplaces
27 February 2020