Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

On Sunday 22 March, the Premier announced additional steps to combat the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), including bringing forward the school holidays in Victoria to commence from Tuesday 24 March. Early childhood education, TAFE and training providers will remain open.

More information will be provided shortly.

Closures

On 13 March, the Prime Minister announced a number of measures that all Premiers agreed to, on the basis of the advice from Australia’s Chief Medical Officer and Chief Health Officers of the states and territories.

All non-essential planned gatherings of more than 500 people should be cancelled from 16 March.  These measures do not include the closure of early childhood services, schools or higher education institutions.

Closures will be made on the recommendation Victoria’s Chief Health Officer. Once this occurs, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will inform the Department of Education and Training, and we will then work with the school, service or institution to implement the closure.


The Commonwealth Government has updated travel restrictions this week.

The extension to existing travel restrictions now applies to visitors from Republic of Korea, Iran and mainland China. Visitors who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents, or their dependants, will not be allowed entry into Australia.

The Commonwealth Government has also advised that visitors from Italy will also be subject to enhanced health screening and temperature testing arrangements.

Anyone arriving in Australia from overseas will be forced to self-isolate for 14 days.


Everyone can protect against infections by practising good hand and respiratory hygiene.

Here are some tips that we all can follow:

1. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing with a tissue, or cough into your elbow.

2. Dispose of the tissue into a bin and then wash your hands afterwards.

3. Wash your hands regularly using soap and water, including after using the toilet, and before eating. Please refer to the Department’s coronavirus web page for the latest advice and information.


All students, except those as stated above, should be attending school.

 

Please reinforce with your child that it is very important to ensure good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene at all times:

  • Wash hands often with soap and running water, for at least 20 seconds. Dry with paper towel or hand dryer.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • 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.
  • Isolate yourself at home if you feel sick. If you take medication ensure you have adequate supplies.
  • Phone your GP first if you need medical attention. They will tell you what to do.
  • Continue healthy habits: exercise, drink water, get plenty of sleep.
  • Don't wear a face mask if you are well.
  • Buy an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with over 60 per cent alcohol.
  • Get the flu shot (available April).
  • Shaking hands is optional!

Many people who contract COVID–19 will suffer only mild symptoms. However early indications are that the elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions are more at risk of experiencing severe symptoms. 

The most common symptoms reported include:

  • Fever
  • Breathing difficulties such as breathlessness
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue or tiredness.

COVID-19 spreads through close contact with an infected person; mostly face-to-face or within a household. It cannot jump across a room or be carried for long distances in the air so we should all go about our lives as normal. 

Close contact means greater than 15 minutes face-to-face or the sharing of a closed space for more than two hours with a confirmed case.

A close contact could include any person meeting any of the following criteria:

  • living in the same household or household-like setting (for example, a boarding school or hostel)
  • direct contact with the body fluids or laboratory specimens of a confirmed case 
  • a person who spent two hours or longer in the same room 
  • face-to-face contact for more than 15 minutes with the case in any other setting not listed above.

Further information can be obtained on the DET website - 
https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorian-public-coronavirus-disease-covid-19