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Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

Source: Australian Government, Department of Health

Information for university and vocational educations students and staff arriving from Hubei Province, China

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

Can I attend my university or vocational education facility?

If you have been informed by Public Health authorities that you are a close contact of a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and have developed symptoms (listed below), you need to contact your local Public Health unit for assessment (see contacts on page 2). You cannot attend your university or vocational education facility until Public Health informs you that it is safe for you to do so. If you have not developed symptoms, you should monitor your health closely but should not be excluded from attending university or vocational education.

If you have developed symptoms but have not been informed by Public Health authorities that you have been a close contact of a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus, you are advised to contact your usual doctor.

If you have travelled to mainland China, and have not developed any of the symptoms (listed below) you may attend your university or vocational education facility and should not be excluded.

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 Hubei Province, China is called ‘novel’ because it is new. It had not been detected before this outbreak. Most people infected live in, or travelled to, Hubei Province, China. There have been cases of 2019-nCoV reported in other Chinese provinces and other countries. It is likely that the virus originally came from an animal, and there is 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.

What if I have returned from Hubei Province in the last 14 days?

Monitor your health closely and report any symptoms to your usual doctor in the first instance who will liaise with the Public Health Agency in your state or territory. If you do not have any of the symptoms, you may attend your university or vocational education facility.

What if, in the last 14 days, I have been in close contact with someone who has 2019-nCoV?

If you have been informed by Public Health authorities that you are a close contact of a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and have developed symptoms, you need to contact your local Public Health unit for assessment (see contact below). You cannot attend your university or vocational education facility until Public Health informs you that it is safe for you to do so. If you have not developed symptoms, you should monitor your health closely but should not be excluded from attending your university or vocational education facility.

What if I am sick now or develop symptoms within 14 days of being in Hubei Province?

If you develop mild symptoms:

  • isolate yourself from other people
  • call a doctor or hospital and tell them you may have novel coronavirus infection
  • when you get to the doctor’s clinic or hospital, tell them again that you may have novel coronavirus infection.

If you have serious symptoms such as shortness of breath:

  • call 000 and ask for an ambulance (this will work even if you don’t have phone credit)
  • tell the ambulance officers that you may have novel coronavirus infection.

Your doctor will test you for 2019-nCoV and provide advice on management. You will also be contacted by Public Health officers who will provide you with more information.

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

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

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

Where can I get more information?

Visit the Australian Government Department of Health homepage at www.health.gov.au.

Call the Public Health Information Line on 1800 044 599.

Discuss any questions you have with the Public Health Agency monitoring you.

Contact your state or territory public health agency: