Tuesday, 28 January 2020
The University of Western Australia is closely monitoring developments surrounding the coronavirus outbreak in China. This is a rapidly developing situation and UWA is taking precautionary measures to increase our response activities as required.
Our highest priority is the safety of our students and staff, UWA is following advice from:
- World Health Organisation
- Department of Health
- UWA’s travel partner Healix
- Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
Presently DFAT has raised the travel advice to Hubei province to the highest precautionary level, Level four: Do Not Travel.
As a precautionary measure, the University has suspended all travel for UWA business to the Hubei province. Future travel advice for University business to China will be based on advice from the DFAT, see www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/asia/china
The Australian Department of Health has also provided information for travellers arriving in Australia from China . This resource includes information about what to do if travellers from China experience symptoms while in Australia.
The following precautions are advised for UWA staff and students in Australia:
The virus can cause a variety of symptoms. Symptoms can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Affected people may experience:
- flu like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and headaches
- difficulty breathing
The World Health Organisation’s standard recommendation is to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses by improved hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water;
- When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands;
- Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough;
- If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider;
- When visiting live markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals;
- The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices
What should I do if I have recently travelled to the Hubei Province?
We ask staff or students who have recently travelled in or have planned non-UWA travel to the Hubei Province to be alert to symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness (including shortness of breath and fever) both during and after their visit.
If you experience symptoms you are encouraged to remain at home or at your place of accommodation and immediately contact a healthcare provider by telephone (not online), and inform them of the travel history and your symptoms. Do not attend a medical centre, clinic or surgery in person without an appointment. This is to enable reasonable precautions to be put into place for your visit and reduce risk to other patients.
What should I do if my travel plans have been impacted by the current travel restrictions across China?
- If your travel plans to return to Australia have been impacted by any of the travel restrictions in place in China – please contact the UWA Safety Health and Wellbeing team via the contact details below. We have resources in place to support you if you are not able to make orientation or classes due to the travel restrictions or have other concerns.
What to do if you have symptoms
If you experience symptoms you are encouraged to remain at home or place of accommodation and:
- Immediately contact a healthcare provider by telephone (not online), and inform them of the travel history and your symptoms.
- Do not attend a medical centre, clinic or surgery in person without an appointment. This is to enable reasonable precautions to be put into place for your visit and reduce risk to other patients.
- Please contact the University and advise them of your circumstances.
The Department of Health advise that if you have developed symptoms, you are NOT to attend a University Campus until your health provider informs you that it is safe to do so.
If you DO NOT have symptoms, continue to monitor your health closely and you will not be excluded from attending the University campuses.
The University will provide you with updated information as it becomes available.
- UWA Safety Health and Wellbeing team
- Phone +61 8 6488 3938
- Email [email protected]
- Updated security, travel and medical advice – contact Healix 24/7:
- Phone + 61 731 649 532
- Email [email protected]
- Updated information on the spread of the virus, screening controls and guidance - please refer to the World Health Organisation’s advice
Professor Dawn Freshwater
- UWA Forward