Coronavirus volunteer army builds in Cairns
A VOLUNTEER army is ready to mobilise and support elderly and quarantined residents when a wave of coronavirus diagnoses inevitably hits Cairns.
Feelings of helplessness are unavoidable when every indication points to a global pandemic sweeping through the population - but hundreds of Cairns locals are refusing to sit back and do nothing.
They have answered a call to register their willingness to chip in and help out community members in need through the Cairns Community Helping Those in Quarantine page on Facebook.
The group was the creation of RE/MAX Cairns real estate agent Tiffany Krause and two friends, Megan Palmer and Rachel Prince, who wanted to do their bit for the community.
The premise is simple - able-bodied community members willing to pick up groceries, supplies or even just chat with lonely residents in lockdown have been called to sign up via an online form.
Already more than 100 formal registrations have been garnered in less than 24 hours, and several hundred more people have followed the page.
Ms Krause said the group was meant to act as a co-ordination point for anyone in self-isolation, either due to suspected COVID-19 infection or their potential susceptibility due to age or immunity issues, and men and women ready to help out.
"We're just three businesswomen in different fields of business," she said.
"We just stepped back and thought about Cairns.
"Some people are very fortunate to have people around them to help if they do get quarantined.
"But there are a lot of vulnerable people who don't have anybody.
"We're all volunteers and we have volunteer backgrounds, so we just thought what could we do?
"There's a lot of negativity in Cairns of late but there are really good people out there."
Nobody has required the service yet, although a few concerned residents have flagged their potential need for a helping hand as the weeks drag on.
"They don't need it at the moment, but we've had a couple reach out just in case," Ms Krause said.
"There are a lot of carers looking out for those close to them who may not be able to get out, and we've had a couple express that they may need help."
Ms Krause said volunteers would take precautions to protect themselves from infection.
"We've got to be careful ourselves," she said.
"We're not a charity, we're not an organisation, we're just three people who are local Cairns community members who want to give back."
It may come down to a simple chat.
"Particularly with the elderly when they're isolated and can't go anywhere, they might have nobody to talk to," Ms Krause said.
"It can get really lonely, so even just having a bit of a chat about the weather can help - just basic human conversation."
It is by far the only measure being taken by the Cairns community.
Cairns Tropical Transfers shuttle bus company owners Helen and Greg French have offered free deliveries of essentials like medical supplies, food and (if available) toilet paper to people in need.
Multy Cut Meats at Yorkeys Knob has also offered to deliver meat cuts all day tomorrow to elderly residents from Smithfield to Clifton Beach without charging a delivery fee.