News

COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 Update

Published: 24 March, 2020

This is an update on the latest information surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak.

I want to start by reassuring you that my office is here to help. If I can be of assistance in any way or perhaps you would like information about the current health advice or the Government's economic response to COVID-19 then please email me at james.stevens.mp@aph.gov.au

Australian governments are focused on working together to slow the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) to save lives. Every extra bit of time allows us to better prepare our health system and put measures in place to protect Australian lives.

We will be living with this virus for at least six months, so social distancing measures to slow this virus down must be sustainable for at least that long to protect Australian lives, allow Australia to keep functioning and keep Australians in jobs.

The images below detail the importance of social distancing in stopping the spread of the Coronavirus.

Social_Distancing.jpg Social_distancing_2.jpg

 

The Prime Minister, state and territory Premiers and Chief Ministers met on 22 March 2020 as the National Cabinet. They agreed to further actions to support social distancing measures already put in place to protect the Australian community from the spread of Coronavirus.

Practising good hygiene and keeping a healthy physical distance between individuals is our most powerful weapon in fighting this virus and saving lives. The failure of some businesses and members of the public to do this puts people’s lives at risk.

We need every Australian to do their bit to save the lives of other Australians.

Leaders thank those members of the public who are adhering to social distancing measures. However, leaders expressed their disappointment at some members of the community who are disregarding social distancing measures and, by doing so, putting the lives of older and vulnerable Australians at risk.

If we want to slow the spread, everyone must implement appropriate social distancing in accordance with state and territory laws.

You can also find information on what to do if you have symptoms and current information on overseas travel restrictions.

To read the health advice being received by the government you can click here for the latest statement from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.

The Australian Government has also announced a second set of economic responses which, combined with our previous actions, total $189 billion across the forward estimates, representing 9.7 per cent of annual GDP.

You will find details below on the three part economic support package.

  • Support for individuals and households;
  • Support for businesses;
  • Supporting the flow of credit.

 

For up-to-date information on the Australian Government’s Economic Response to Coronavirus click here.

Again, if I can be of any assistance please do not hesitate to contact me at james.stevens.mp@aph.gov.au

Yours sincerely

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James Stevens MP
Federal Member for Sturt

P.S. It is important we look out for other members of our community during this time. If you know anyone that might be in need of information on the COVID-19 outbreak, please don't hesitate to forward the this update on to them by sending this link:

https://www.jamesstevens.com.au/covid_19_24_march_update

 

 


Important update for places of social gathering

National Cabinet agreed to move to more widespread restrictions on social gatherings.
 
Premiers and Chief Ministers agreed to implement, through state and territory laws, new Stage 1 restrictions on social gatherings, to be reviewed on a monthly basis.
 
Australians should expect these measures to be in place for at least 6 months.
 
The following facilities will be restricted from opening from midday local time 23 March 2020:

  • Pubs, registered and licenced clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation)
     
  • Gyms and indoor sporting venues
     
  • Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs
     
  • Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
     
  • Religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies).

Isolated remote community hubs are not included in these restrictions.

Other facilities are not impacted, but will be considered under stage 2 restrictions, if necessary.

These measures also apply to outdoor spaces associated with the above venues.
 
Leaders noted that these enhanced measures build on existing measures to slow the virus and save lives:

  • No non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people outside or more than 100 people inside.
     
  • All non-essential indoor gatherings of less than 100 people must have no more than one person per 4sqm. All Australians should expect their local businesses to be following this rule.
     
  • Where possible, keep 1.5 metres between yourself and others
     
  • Avoid non essential travel
     
  • Restrictions on entering aged care homes to protect older Australians

Leaders acknowledged that these new restrictions will change the way we live and expressed deep regret for those business owners and employees who will be impacted. The goal is to reduce the spread of the virus, to flatten the curve and to save the lives of fellow Australians.

State Premiers and Chief Ministers agreed they would give effect to these restrictions through their own legislative processes and make announcements accordingly.

Premiers and Chief Ministers will consider further Stage 2 restrictions if social distancing measures are not adhered to.


What to do if you develop symptoms

Support our health system - only seek medical attention if you have symptoms such as fever, cough or sore throat, and:

  • have returned from overseas travel in the last 14 days; or
  • are a contact of a confirmed Coronavirus (COVID-19) case; or
  • believe you may have been in close contact with a person infected with Coronavirus (COVID-19).
As the situation develops, the latest South Australian specific information is available at:
SA Health

Symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly.

People with Coronavirus (COVID-19) may experience:
  • fever;
  • flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and fatigue;
  • shortness of breath.

If you develop symptoms

If you develop symptoms within 14 days of last contact with a confirmed case or of returning to Australia, you should seek medical attention. Your doctor will tell you if you need to get tested.

You should telephone the health clinic or hospital before you arrive and tell them your travel history or that you may have been in contact with a potential case of Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

You must remain isolated either in your home or a healthcare setting until public health authorities inform you it is safe for you to return to your usual activities.

If you would prefer to speak by phone to a Health Professional call Health Direct on 1800 020 080.

If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing

  • call 000 and ask for an ambulance
  • tell the ambulance officers that you may have novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

Four Coronavirus (COVID-19) clinics are open at major metropolitan public hospitals to test and support people at risk of Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

When to present?

Please only present for testing if:

  • You have travelled overseas in the past 14 days AND have symptoms.
  • You have travelled interstate in the past 7 days AND have new symptoms.
  • You have been in contact with a confirmed case AND have symptoms.
  • You are a healthcare worker with direct patient contact AND have a fever (≥37.5) AND an acute respiratory infection (e.g. shortness of breath, cough, sore throat).​

By triaging, testing, and referring suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19, these clinics will take pressure off our Emergency Departments in the event of an outbreak and help to minimise the spread of infection.


Update on South Australian border controls

South Australia's borders to close

The South Australian Government has taken unprecedented action in response to the Coronavirus pandemic requiring all people entering South Australia to isolate for 14-days from their arrival. 

This will apply immediately to South Australians, other Australians and other travellers, and will be supported by border control from Tuesday 24 March at 4pm.

The measure, which was recommended by Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier, will include exemptions for essential travel to maintain health, the food supply chain, and the State’s economic needs.

The move will help delay community transmission of the disease which is happening in other parts of Australia, in particular the eastern states.

Exemptions

Exemptions will apply for essential transport including:

  • health and medical supplies
  • health workers, health personnel and patients
  • food and commercial supply chains (i.e. the carrying of goods),
  • near border interactions
  • travel of a relative/carer of a dependant individual
  • emergency services.

Other travellers (for example fly-in-fly-out workers in the mining industry or national level sporting teams) could be exempt from this provision provided they have approved disease control mechanisms in place.

SAPOL will continue to conduct random checks to ensure those required to self-isolate are doing so.


Overseas travel advice

We now advise all Australians: do not travel overseas at this time. This is our highest advice level (level 4 of 4).

If you are already overseas and wish to return to Australia, we recommend you do so as soon as possible by commercial means.


Regardless of your destination, age or health, our advice is do not travel overseas at this time.

As more countries close their borders or introduce travel restrictions, overseas travel is becoming more complex and difficult. You may not be able to return to Australia when you had planned to. Consider whether you have access to health care and support systems if you get sick while overseas. If you decide to return to Australia, do so as soon as possible. Commercial options may become less available.

If you are overseas and cannot, or do not want to, return to Australia, follow the advice of local authorities. Take care to minimise your risk of exposure to Coronavirus (COVID-19) including by self-isolating. If you choose to stay, note our ability to provide consular assistance in some places may be limited due to restrictions on movement and other services.

If you decide to return to Australia, you will now be required to self-isolate for 14 days. This applies to all travellers, including Australian citizens. For details see the Australian Border Force website.

Contact your airline, travel agent or insurance company to discuss your travel plans and options for cancelling or postponing current bookings, or to arrange commercial flights back to Australia.

All cruise ships which have sailed from a foreign port have been banned from entering Australian ports for 30 days.

We have issued this advice for two principal reasons:

  1. There may be a higher risk of contracting Coronavirus (COVID-19) overseas. You may come in contact with more people than usual, including during long-haul flights and in crowded airports. Health care systems in some countries may come under strain and may not be as well-equipped as Australia’s or have the capacity to support foreigners. You may not have your normal support networks overseas.
     
  2. Overseas travel has become more complex and unpredictable. Many countries are introducing entry or movement restrictions. These are changing often and quickly. Your travel plans may be disrupted. You may be placed in quarantine or denied entry to some countries, and you may need to self-quarantine on return to Australia. Think about what this might mean for your health, and your family, work or study responsibilities.

All of the above advice has also been provided to Australian Government staff, who have been instructed to instead use video-conferencing and other communication technologies as much as possible.

The Foreign Minister decided on 17 March to offer voluntary departures globally for all dependants of staff at our overseas posts, staff at high risk due to underlying health conditions and staff the head of mission considers non-essential for ongoing operations.

For more information see our Coronavirus (COVID-19) – information for Australian travellers page.

For urgent consular assistance contact:

  • +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas 
  • 1300 555 135 from within Australia
  • +61 421 269 080 from SMS

For non-urgent inquiries, email smartraveller@dfat.gov.au


Find the facts

The Department of Health has provided a collection of resources for the general public and industry about Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Please find some helpful resources below:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – frequently asked questions

This information sheet answers common questions about Coronavirus (COVID-19) — including what it is, how it spreads, if you should get tested, who is most at risk and if you should attend public gatherings.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – what you need to know

This information sheet tells you what you need to know about Coronavirus (COVID-19) — what it is, how it spreads, who is most at risk, and what you can do to help stop it spreading. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for close contacts of a confirmed case

An information sheet with information for people who have had close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Information on social distancing

This information sheet answers common questions about social distancing — including what it is, how to do it and why it's important.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information about home isolation when unwell (suspected or confirmed cases)

An information sheet that answers questions about home isolation for those people who are unwell with a suspected or confirmed case of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information about returning to your community

An information sheet for people who have been required to be in home isolation or quarantined and have completed their 14 day period without showing signs or symptoms of being unwell due to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

More available at:

https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-resources


If you require further information, you can also call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing

  • call 000 and ask for an ambulance
  • tell the ambulance officers that you may have novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection
Collection of documents about COVID-19 symptoms

For more Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources

CLICK HERE