Novel Coronavirus Fact Sheet #4 – What’s New (16 Feb 2020)

Novel Coronavirus – #4 What’s new

NOTE: This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and updates will be provided as information on the virus becomes clearer. All information will be derived from official Government sources.

With 15 confirmed cases (as at 16 Feb 2020) in Australia, 67,267 confirmed cases internationally (1,528 deaths) and a global fatality rate of 2.3%, Novel Coronavirus is continuing to prove concerning for people and governments everywhere. The Australian government has implemented highly precautionary measures to detect and control the virus spreading further. Some practical information is below for you, your staff and others

What are the latest facts about the virus?

  • There is still much research being done across the world to find out how the virus spreads, and also how it can be controlled.
  • The latest information is that the virus is most likely spread by having direct contact with a person in the contagious stage, being exposed to droplets from a confirmed case or touching objects that have been contaminated by a confirmed case, then touching your own eyes, nose or mouth.
  • There is no vaccine available at this stage. Vaccines for pneumonia type illnesses are not effective.
  • You are only at risk of contracting the virus if you have recently been in mainland China or been in close contact with a confirmed case.
  • The best way of preventing the spread of virus is washing your hands with soap and water (and drying your hands thoroughly), the use of hand sanitiser and practising good hygiene particularly when coughing and sneezing.
  • There is a Do not Travel to China directive issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs

Should I wear a mask?

  • If you are healthy, the World Health Organisation recommends that you only wear a mask if you are treating a suspected or confirmed case of Coronavirus.
  • You may choose to wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are only effective when used properly and in conjunction with good hygiene practices.
  • Hands are to be clean when putting a mask on.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it.
  • Remove the mask from behind without touching the front. Dispose immediately and wash hands.
  • There must be a good fit between the mask and the skin. Note that facial hair will affect that contact.
  • Always practice good personal hygiene including cough and sneeze hygiene (using tissues to catch coughs and sneezes, washing hands thoroughly and regularly, use hand sanitiser)

What to do with staff that have been in mainland China since 1 February?

  • Any person travelling from (or transiting through) mainland China since 1 February is required to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • If staff have already returned to work without self-isolation, they are to stay home for the rest of the isolation period.

For accommodation providers, is there a risk from incoming guests?

  • You should provide information about coronavirus to your guests on arrival, including the requirements for the prevention of the virus.
  • If patrons need to self-isolate in your hotel, all staff need to be advised of their presence and the precautions needed to be in place to prevent the spread of the virus.
  • Meals are to be delivered to the patron’s room and no close contact is allowed.
  • Cleaning staff are to wear masks and gloves when cleaning the room and avoid close contact.

For more information or help with risk mitigation strategies, email Michelle at [email protected]


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