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What is the Coronavirus and what do we do to prevent infection?

What is the Coronavirus?

The Coronavirus is a large family of viruses. They cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). On 31 December 2019 there were several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. 

This new Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a new strain which has not been previously identified in humans. Other cases of this new virus have been reported in China, South Korea, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Macau, the United States and Australia.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of Novel Coronavirus include fever, flu like symptoms (coughing, sore throat and headaches) and difficulty breathing.

What measures can we take to reduce the risk of exposure and transmission of the illness?

To protect yourself and others from the Coronavirus the standard recommendations apply:

  • reduce exposure to and transmission of the illness;
  • maintain basic hand and respiratory hygiene;
  • maintain safe food practices; and
  • avoid close contact, when possible, with anyone displaying symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

For workers who are required to travel to China and/or affected areas, refer to travel advice on the Smartraveller website

It is recommended anyone displaying symptoms of the Novel Coronavirus within 14 days of travel to China or affected areas contact their medical practitioner. Additionally, employers are encouraged to refer any workers who display Novel Coronavirus symptoms to the workers’ health practitioner.

Further information

The Health authorities in Australia and globally are closely monitoring the virus as the situation develops. As such, it is recommended employers keep up to date on authority media releases and information as they arise for up to date information. Links to relevant authorities are below:

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