In breaking news overnight, the Australian Government has announced new measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
As of today, 16th March 2020:
1. All travellers to Australia will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
This includes Australian citizens and residents returning home. This rule was made effective from midnight last night and will continue indefinitely until further notice.
2. All passenger cruise ships from foreign ports will be banned for 30 days.
Cruise liners from foreign ports arriving at Australian ports are now banned from entering for at least the next 30 days. 10 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia, including 1 death, is linked to the Diamond Princess cruise ship repatriation flight from Japan last month. Note this does not extend to international freight cargo coming either by air or sea.
3. All non-essential, organised public gatherings of more than 500 people will be banned.
In an effort to slow and limit the spread of coronavirus, social gatherings over 500 people are now banned. Essential services such as schools, workplaces, hospitals, public transportation, domestic travel and universities as well as public transient places such as shopping centres will not be impacted.
+ The AHPPC also recommends limits on visits to vulnerable groups
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has also recommended measures to protect vulnerable people. These include reducing visitors to:
- residential care facilities
- remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
The news comes after the first-ever meeting of the National Cabinet was held yesterday. The National Cabinet is newly formed and is made up of the Prime Minister, State Premiers and Chief Ministers who will meet at least weekly to manage the country’s national response to coronavirus or COVID-19. They are advised by the AHPPC.
Information about self-isolation
If you are arriving/returning to Australia from overseas, or if you think you may they have been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus, you are required to self-isolate for 14 days.
It is suggested that workers should contact their supervisor/manager by phone or email to discuss self-isolating.
During the 14 days of isolation;
- do not go to public places such as work, school, shopping centres, childcare or university
- ask someone to get food and other necessities for you and leave them at your front door
- do not let visitors in — only people who usually live with you should be in your home
What you need to know about coronavirus (COVID-19)
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus that originated from Wuhan province in China. It has since spread to over 30 different countries. The World Health Organisation has declared it a global pandemic and health emergency.
- Symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat and shortness of breath.
- The virus can spread from person to person, but good hygiene can prevent infection.
- There are limited testing kits available around the world, including Australia.
- There is also no known vaccine for COVID-19. Only medication for symptoms.
How to prevent the spread of coronavirus
There are no special precautions that have officially been advised, however, practising regular good hand hygiene (using soap, water, and the use of hand sanitizer) is beneficial in helping prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses. This is of particular importance when travelling or working in heavily populated areas such as airports, schools, hospitals etc.
Everyone has an obligation to take reasonable care to avoid adversely affecting the health and safety of any other person.
Stay up to date with the latest coverage across the world
In Australia, there have been over 250 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and at least 3 deaths.
Across the world, there have been more than 154,480 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 5,700 deaths.
Find out how COVID-19 is affecting other countries on the World Health Organisation (WHO) website. View the:
If you’re planning to go overseas, keep up to date with the latest advice for travellers.
Helpline and further resources
If you have questions or concerns, you can call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.
It is highly recommended that you visit the health.gov.au website for daily updates. The site also has fact-sheets, resources and videos available here.
The Federal Government has also introduced a 17 billion dollar stimulus package in response to the impact of the coronavirus COVID-19 on our local economy.