83 - Coronavirus (COVID-19)
18 March 2020
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause illness in humans and animals. Human coronavirus illnesses are generally mild such as the common cold. However, some coronaviruses can cause severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which was identified in 2002, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which was identified in 2012.
COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. It is a new strain of coronaviruses that hasn’t previously been identified in humans. COVID-19 is closely related to SARS and in the same family of viruses as MERS.
The World Health Organization has announced that COVID-19 is a pandemic.
How does COVID-19 spread?
- People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus.
- The disease can spread from person-to-person through small droplets from nose to mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales.
- These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person – other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
- People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets – this is why it is important to stay more than 1 metre away from a person who is sick.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- Fever, tiredness, and a dry cough.
- Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea.
These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell.
Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who contract COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing.
Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.
How can you help to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is by practising good hand hygiene and sneeze/cough etiquette. This includes:
- Frequently washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or using an alcohol-based hand gel.
- Refraining from touching mouth and nose.
- If coughing or sneezing, covering your nose and mouth with a paper tissue or flexed elbow – dispose of the tissue immediately after use and perform hand hygiene.
- Avoiding close contact with anyone if you, or they, have a cold or flu-like symptoms (maintain a distance of at least 1 metre).
For more information
The risk of transmission in Australia remains low; however, the situation is evolving. Western Australia should remain alert, but not be alarmed.
You should be aware, keep up-to-date and follow all guidelines from medical and Government authorities.
For the most accurate and up-to-date information please refer to the following websites:
- Department of Health Western Australia: https://healthywa.wa.gov.au/coronavirus
- World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/
- Smartraveller - https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/
Point of contact
For further information or if you are experiencing symptoms, or a member of your household is experiencing symptoms or you or they have been in contact with an infected person, you must seek medical advice and report this to EGT and your host employer immediately. Both your host employer and you have an obligation to report your condition to EGT.
Please contact the General Manager of EGT on (08) 6241 6106 or firstname.lastname@example.org.