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Leukaemia Foundation encourages blood cancer community to get behind COVIDSafe app

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

The Leukaemia Foundation is encouraging all members of the blood cancer community to download the Federal Government’s COVIDSafe app as a measure to help protect and support the 110,000 Australians living with a blood cancer.

“As a leading national authority on blood cancer, we stand together with every Australian living with this complex set of diseases and their health and safety is our utmost priority,” Leukaemia Foundation CEO Bill Petch said.

“Using the COVIDSafe app is one extra measure we can all take to help support and protect Australians living with blood cancer. Supporting these vulnerable Australians is more important now than ever before.”

Recent research suggests patients with blood cancers are at a higher risk of death if they contract COVID-19 (6-11 per cent)[1].The fatality rate in people living with blood cancer with COVID-19 is also the highest amongst all cancer patients (33 per cent)[2].

Mr Petch said he had downloaded the COVIDSafe app and encouraged all of the organisation’s staff and is now asking the broader blood cancer community to follow suit to help lessen the impact of COVID-19 within Australia.

“This app is another part of the Federal Government’s management of COVID-19. Strong hygiene measures and social distancing remain vital tools to tackle this pandemic, however this app complements these initiatives by helping to track those who have been in contact with a positive COVID-19 case, adding another important layer to efforts to manage the spread of this virus,” he said.

“The Leukaemia Foundation is just one organisation within the broad and vast blood cancer community, and that is why we are calling on every member of the wider blood cancer community, wherever you are and whatever your role, to echo this sentiment by downloading the app and encouraging colleagues, family and friends to do the same.

“We all have a role to play in protecting the vulnerable in our community in the current environment. So by practising social distancing, keeping up good hygiene, and downloading this app, you are sending a message to Australians living with blood cancer that you’ve got their back at a time when they need you the most.”

More information on the app and links to download it are available on the Australian Government’s website.

– ENDS –

[1] Wenhua Liang,Weijie Guan,Ruchong Chen et al. Cancer patients in SARS-CoV-2 infection: a nationwide analysis in China. The Lancet Oncology Mar 2020 DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30096-6

[2] Hui Li, Liang Liu, Dingyu Zhang et al. SARS-CoV-2 and viral sepsis: observations and hypotheses. The Lancet. Published online April 17, 2020 https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30920-X

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