As you may be aware, the situation regarding the emerging outbreak of novel coronavirus has continued to evolve.
The Commonwealth’s Chief Medical Officer and Victoria’s Chief Health Officer have recommended a stronger precautionary approach to managing coronavirus for travellers returning from mainland China (not including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) from 1 February, 2020.
This recommendation is that parents/guardians/carers should ensure that any student returning from mainland China (not including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) who was in mainland China on or after 1 February, 2020 is isolated at home and should not attend school until 14 days after they were last in mainland China.
This recommendation does not apply retrospectively. It applies only to students who were in mainland China on or after 1 February, 2020.
The existing advice remains that parents/guardians/carers of students should ensure that any student is isolated at home and should not attend school for 14 days:
- following exposure to any confirmed novel coronavirus case; or
- after leaving Hubei Province.
This same advice applies to any impacted staff.
The Commonwealth has also advised that: “additional border measures will be implemented to deny entry to Australia to people who have left or transited through mainland China from 1 February, 2020, with the exception of Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family and air crews who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment”.
Please refer to the Department’s coronavirus web page, where the latest advice including fact sheets (with translations) for schools and parents will be uploaded as soon as available.
Additional advice and information on the steps to take can be found on the coronavirus web page which also includes advice on:
- continuity of learning for students who are not attending school
- international students and families hosting international travel
- maintaining good health hygiene at school
- health promotion posters and materials
- information, resources and contacts related to coronavirus.
This new advice is based on the latest expert recommendations of the Commonwealth’s Chief Medical Officer and Victoria’s Chief Health Officer.
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 seen in Hubei Province, China is called ‘novel’ because it is new. It has 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 now evidence that it can spread from person-to-person.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, or shortness of breath. Symptoms can take up to 14 days to develop.
Where can I get more information?
For Victorian updates to the current incident, go to: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/novelcoronavirus
For national updates: https://www.health.gov.au/news/latest-information-about-novel-coronavirus
For international updates: https://www.who.int/westernpacific/emergencies/novel-coronavirus
WHO resources https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus