Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus that has now spread to 74 countries and regions outside mainland China. New cases are rapidly increasing, especially in South Korea, Italy and Iran. The number of cases worldwide has now reached more than 80,000, leading several countries to impose stricter travel restrictions in an attempt to limit infection. The Australian government is monitoring the situation and providing the latest travel and medical advice on a daily basis. As of 5 March 2020, 52 cases of coronavirus and two fatalities have been confirmed in Australia.
What is the current advice from the Australian government?
In Australia, the people most at risk of contracting the virus are those who have:
- recently been in mainland China, Italy, Iran and South Korea;
- been in close contact with someone who is a confirmed case of coronavirus.
Individuals must isolate themselves for 14 days from the date of:
- leaving or transiting through mainland China and Iran;
- close contact with a proven case of coronavirus.
Presently, individuals do not need to isolate if they have only travelled through Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan.
If an individual has recently returned from mainland China and Iran, it is recommended that they monitor their health for the next 14 days.
If an individual has recently returned from Italy or South Korea and works as a healthcare worker or a residential aged care worker, they should not attend their regular work for 14 days.
Practical considerations for employers