Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV): update 14 February 2020

An outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in late December 2019.

The following advice has been updated on 14 February 2020 in accordance with new government restrictions. The advice has been prepared in consultation with the Departments of Health, Immigration and Education.

University attendance

 The Health Department has outlined the following circumstances for all students and staff:

  • Students and staff from Hubei Province who have arrived in the past 14 days will need to self-isolate for 14 days from the day that they departed Hubei Province and must avoid close contact with other students and staff.
  • Students and staff from other provinces of mainland China who arrived on or after 1 February 2020 will need to self-isolate for 14 days from the day they departed mainland China and avoid close contact with other students and staff.
  • Students and staff from other provinces of mainland China who arrived before 1 February 2020 do not need to self-isolate.
  • Students and staff from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, unless they have been in Hubei Province in the past 14 days or in any part of mainland China on or after 1 February 2020, do not need to self-isolate.

Under all scenarios listed above, if anyone in these groups develops symptoms, they need to call a doctor or health clinic, advise them that they have recently returned from mainland China or have been in contact with a confirmed case, and arrange an urgent assessment.

If a member of your household is in isolation, you do not need to do the same unless they or you have developed symptoms.

Orientation week, classes and most placements will start as scheduled unless advised by the Academic Registrar or your Faculty Executive Dean. 

If you are an affected student and have a scheduled clinical placement, alternative arrangements will be made for a later placement.

International students

If you have not yet arrived in Australia, you cannot leave or transit through mainland China to Australia.

If you have already arrived, you should remain excluded for 14 days after leaving mainland China consistent with the Department of Health advice.

If you are outside the exclusion period, you are able to attend ACU.

Students directly impacted by these restrictions have been granted an extension to arrive late by 9 March 2020.

Please contact ACU International 

Email: international.admissions@acu.edu.au, or

phone on +612 9739-2437 to:

  • to let us know your situation
  • if you are experiencing difficulties with the exclusion arrangements
  • if you are concerned about your enrolment, fees or other issues related to your studies.

If you are still not sure, please see the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website or contact international.students@dese.gov.au.

Staff

Orientation week, classes and placements will start as scheduled unless otherwise advised by your Faculty Executive Dean. 

The University will not approve any travel to China and Hong Kong, including transit arrangements via Hong Kong. This is in line with government recommendations and advice from the University’s insurer. Planned staff international travel to all other areas will continue as scheduled. Please check the Smart Traveller website for the latest updates.

Residences and accommodation

  • Please contact the student accommodation team in your state for support if you have recently returned from China or have been in contact with a confirmed case of novel coronavirus.
  • Students and staff from Hubei Province who have arrived in the past 14 days will need to self-isolate for 14 days from the day that they departed Hubei Province and avoid close contact with other students and staff.
  • Students and staff from other provinces of mainland China who arrived on or after 1 February 2020 will need to self-isolate for 14 days from the day they departed mainland China and avoid close contact with other students and staff.
  • Students and staff from other provinces of mainland China who arrived before 1 February 2020 do not need to self-isolate.
  • Students and staff from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, unless they have been in Hubei Province in the past 14 days or in any part of mainland China on or after 1 February 2020, do not need to self-isolate.
  • Concerned students can also contact the dedicated national novel coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398.
  • Students are advised to follow the Department of Health recommended hygiene practices.

Medical advice

If a student or staff member develops symptoms within 14 days of leaving mainland China or within 14 days of last contact with the confirmed case, they should arrange to see their usual doctor for urgent assessment.

They should telephone the health clinic or hospital before they arrive and tell them of their travel history or that they have been in contact with a confirmed case of novel coronavirus.

Their doctor will liaise with Public Health authorities to manage their care. They must remain isolated either in their home or a healthcare setting until Public Health authorities inform them it is safe for you to return to their usual activities.

What does isolate in your home mean?

People who must be isolated should not attend public places, in particular work, school, childcare or public areas of university and higher education campuses for example attending lectures.

 Only people who usually live in their home or other place of residence should be permitted on the premises. Do not allow visitors into the home or residence.

There is no need to wear masks in the home or residence. Where possible, get others such as friends or family, who are not required to be isolated, to get food or other necessities for you.

If the university semester has started, the person affected should notify their lecturer or tutor of their circumstance to determine whether alternate arrangements for remote learning can be temporarily put in place.

If people affected must leave the home or residence, such as to seek medical care, they are instructed to wear a surgical mask if they have one.

What if I have a student or staff member who is sick within 14 days of being in mainland China, or in contact with a confirmed case of 2019-nCoV?

If a student/staff member develops mild symptoms, they must:

  • isolate themselves in a single room away from others and seek an urgent medical review
  • when possible, isolate themselves at home while waiting for results of the assessment
  • call a doctor or hospital ahead of time and tell them they may have novel coronavirus infection
  • tell the doctor’s clinic or hospital again when they arrive that they may have novel coronavirus infection.

If the student/staff has severe symptoms, such as shortness of breath:

  • call 000 and request an ambulance
  • inform the paramedics that the student/staff may have novel coronavirus infection.

Staff and students should be excluded from attending the university until they are assessed by their primary care provider. The primary care provider will liaise with the public health authorities to determine when it is safe for them to return to university or higher education facilities.

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 mainland China is called ‘novel’ because it is new. It has not been detected before this outbreak. Most people currently infected live in, or have travelled to mainland China. There have been some cases of 2019-nCoV reported in 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 include (but are not limited to) fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath.

How can we help prevent the spread of 2019-nCoV?

Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. People should:

  • wash their hands often with soap and water before and after eating as well as after using the toilet
  • avoid close contact with others (including touching, kissing, hugging, and other intimate contact)
  • cough and sneeze into their elbow

Where can I get more information?

Visit the Australian Government Department of Health homepage

Call the Public Health Information Line on 1800 004 599.

Contact your state or territory public health agency:

Vic Health or call 1300 651 160

ACT Health or call 02 5124 9213

NSW Health or call 1300 066 055

Queensland Health or call 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84)

South Australia Health or call 1300 232 272

Smart Traveller

World Health Organisation

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