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Information on Coronavirus

28 January 2020

Coronavirus information for residents and visitors - advice from the Australian Government Department of Health

An outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in late December 2019.

Family members and visitors to residential care are advised that they must not attend these centres if they have travelled in Hubei Province, China within the past 14 days or have come into contact with a case of novel coronavirus within the past 14 days. If you are in either circumstance, please review information on when and how to isolate yourself on the Department of Health’s website.

Residents of residential care who have travelled to Hubei Province, China within the past 14 days, will be isolated for 14 days after leaving Hubei Province, China. Residents of residential care who have been in close contact with a case of novel coronavirus within the past 14 days will be isolated for 14 days after last contact with the case.

If you need to be isolated, you will be placed in a single room and will not be able to engage with other residents or receive visitors. You will be monitored closely for symptoms of the virus, and if you become unwell, you will undergo further assessment and testing. Health care and residential care workers will continue to provide support and care while you are isolated.

What if, in the last 14 days, a family member has been to mainland China?

 Given the lower number of cases in China reported outside of Hubei province, we do not currently recommend self-isolation for travellers from other parts of China or other countries. We are closely monitoring the development of cases outside of Hubei province and will regularly consider updating this advice. Returned travellers should monitor their health closely and report any symptoms to their GP or health care provider.

What does it mean to be isolated?

People who are isolated should not attend public places, in particular work, school, childcare, university or public gatherings. You will be placed in a single room away from other residents and will not be allowed to see visitors. Health care and residential care workers will continue to provide support and care while you are isolated. If you need to leave your room, such as to seek medical care, you will be asked to wear a mask.

What is this virus?

Coronaviruses can make humans and animals sick. Some coronaviruses can cause illness similar to the common cold and others can cause more serious diseases, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). 
The virus originating in mainland China, in particular Hubei Province is called ‘novel’ because it is new. It had not been detected before this outbreak. Most people infected live in, or travelled to, Hubei Province, China. There have been cases of 2019-nCoV reported in other Chinese provinces and other countries. It is likely that the virus originally came from an animal, and there is evidence that it can spread from person-to-person. 

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include (but are not limited to) fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath. 
Who is most at risk of a serious illness?
Some people who are infected may not get sick at all, some will get mild symptoms from which they will recover easily, and others may become very ill, very quickly.
From previous experience with other coronaviruses, the people at most risk of serious infection are:
people with compromised immune systems;
elderly people;
very young children and babies;
Aboriginal and Torres-Strait Islanders; and
people with diagnosed heart and lung conditions.

How can we help prevent the spread of 2019-nCoV?

Practising good hand hygiene and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence. Encourage all residents and visiting family members to:
wash their hands often with soap and water before and after eating as well as after attending the toilet; 
avoid contact with others by keeping family members, including children, at home if they are unwell; and
cough and sneeze into their elbow.

Where can I get more information? 
Visit the Australian Government Department of Health homepage at www.health.gov.au 
Call the Public Health Information Line on 1800 004 599.
Discuss any questions you have with the Public Health Agency monitoring you.
Contact your state or territory public health agency:
NSW call 1300 066 055
Qld call 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84)

Vic call 1300 651 160