H1N1: Government May Soon Tell Australians to Stock 14 Days of Supplies

Australians could soon be asked to stock their pantries with food and water and prepare for an emergency, according to the Federal Government’s pandemic flu plan.

A manual outlining Australia’s response says that when the World Health Organization moves to phase five, which it did yesterday, Australia will be in its “delay phase”.

This phase recommends that the Government implement border surveillance. It also recommends people develop plans to stay at home. This includes a direction to stock pantries with supplies for 14 days.

A Government website suggests three litres of water for each person each day, dried and long-life food, toilet paper, batteries, candles, matches, manual can openers and water sterilising tablets.

Analgesics, masks, gloves, a thermometer, disinfectant and prescription medications should also be stockpiled.

Australians should also start thinking about babysitters if schools or child-care centres shut; tending to elderly people who may need help; and keeping by the phone a list of emergency contacts.

A Department of Health and Ageing spokesman said yesterday the department was not telling Australians to do anything more yet. “As soon as anything changes, we will be putting messages out on our website.”

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