The Commonwealth’s Chief Medical Officer and Victoria’s Chief Health Officer updated their advice over the weekend, which now advises that staff and students who have recently travelled in parts of China other than the Hubei Province or in other countries, prior to 1 February 2020, and are not showing any symptoms of the virus, do not need to be isolated at home.
As of 1 February 2020, the advice is that:
· Any person who has an acute respiratory infection and has been in mainland China or has had close contact with a confirmed case of novel coronavirus in the 14 days prior to onset of illness should be tested for the infection
· As a precaution, people who have been in mainland China (excluding Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) on or after 1 February 2020 are advised to self-isolate as this is when the risk of human to human transmission was identified to have significantly increased
· If a person who has been in mainland China on or after 1 February 2020 begins to feel unwell and develop shortness of breath, a cough or respiratory illness in the 14 days since they were last in mainland China, they should seek medical attention. Call your GP or the emergency department and mention your travel to mainland China
Prior to 1 February 2020, the previous advice remains in place for travellers who have returned from Hubei province.
Returning students or staff should self-isolate at home and should not attend TAFE for 14 days following exposure to any confirmed novel coronavirus case or after leaving Hubei Province.
· If someone left the city of Wuhan in Hubei Province on 22 January 2020, they are required to isolate until 6 February 2020
· If someone left Shanghai on 28 January 2020 and comes to Australia via another country on 3 February 2020, they would not be required to isolate because they left China before 1 February 2020
· If someone left Beijing on 3 February 2020 and arrived in Australia the same day, they would be required to isolate for 14 days until 17 February 2020
Everyone can protect against infections by practising good hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing and sneezing, or cough into your elbow, dispose of the tissue into a bin and then wash your hands afterwards. Wash your hands regularly, after using the toilet and before eating.