The Australian Government has taken significant steps to contain the Coronavirus (COVID-19) virus and delay community transmission across the country.
“The core objective is to slow the spread of coronavirus in Australia by taking additional steps to delay the impact and slow the rate of growth of the virus,” Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie said.
“Specifically, measures are designed to slow the spread of the disease in at-risk groups – such as the elderly and vulnerable communities.
“The National Cabinet – which was established on March 13 comprising the Prime Minister, State Premiers and Territory Chief Ministers – has endorsed new advice from the Australian Health Protection Principals Committee (AHPPC) to introduce restrictions on mass gatherings and recommend social distancing measures.
“From today, (Monday 16 March 2020), non-essential, static mass gatherings of more than 500 people should not occur.
“These restrictions shouldn’t prevent the operation of essential functions including schools, universities and workplaces, or prevent the operation of public transport.
“There is no requirement for schools to close at this time. Management of venues and events will continue to be a matter for organisers and states and territories.”
Senator McKenzie said the AHPPC would provide further advice to the Government by Friday 20 March 2020.
In addition, AHPPC believed social distancing measures were now required and would need to be introduced progressively to reduce disruption.
The AHPPC said there was a range of personal social distancing and hygiene measures everyone could use to help our national response to COVID-19.
These included refraining from hand shakes and other close contact, and people standing 1.5 metres apart from each other where ever possible.
“There is increasing international evidence now that suggests very early introduction of some social distancing measures has the most benefit in delaying transmission,” Senator McKenzie said.
“The most important action is to practice good hand hygiene.”
Good hygiene includes:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water is not available, use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
• Stay home if you are sick and don’t expose others. If you are unwell with flu-like symptoms, do not go outside your property or home, do not go to work, school or shops unless it is essential.
• Get a flu shot this season when it becomes available. It is not yet known whether COVID-19 could significantly increase the risks of influenza infection.
For the latest accurate information visit the Australian Government’s department of Health Website: https://www.health.gov.au/.