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In January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of a new coronavirus disease in Hubei Province, China to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The WHO says there is a high risk of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spreading to other countries around the world. Public health authorities around the world are taking action to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, and it’s vital that businesses and employers play their role to stop the spread of the disease.
As such, PCBUs are being urged to keep up to date with the latest COVID-19 information and advice to ensure that any action taken is measured and appropriate.
According to the WHO, coronavirus spreads in a similar way to flu. When a person infected with COVID-19 coughs or exhales they release droplets of infected fluid which fall on nearby surfaces. Others can then catch COVID-19 by touching these contaminated surfaces or objects and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
If someone is in close proximity to an infected person (within 1 metre) it is also possible to catch COVID-19 by breathing in droplets exhaled by the infected person.
The WHO says most persons infected with COVID-19 experience mild symptoms and recover. However, some go on to experience more serious illness and may require hospital care. The risk of serious illness rises with age: people over 40 are more vulnerable than those under 40. Similarly, people with weakened immune systems and people with conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease are also more vulnerable to serious illness.
There is a dedicated COVID-19 national hotline number – 1800 020 080.
Latest updates from Department of Health
Minimising the risk of exposure to COVID-19: Office workers (SWA)
Minimising the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the building and construction industry (SWA)
COVID-19: WHS advice for small business (SWA)
COVID-19: WHS advice for workers (SWA)
Workplace Hygiene Checklist from Greencap
Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service from Beyond Blue
Australian Government information for employers
Latest coronavirus information from Smart Traveller (DFAT)
Live coronavirus updates from ABC