Update on COVID-19 in Australia
A joint media release with Professor Brendan Murphy, Chief Medical Officer.
The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health
Australia now has a total of 30 confirmed cases of COVID-19, following three additional cases of people with direct links to Iran.
The latest confirmed case is in Tasmania, a 40 year old man who has recently returned from Iran.
This follows the first death of an Australian with COVID-19 infection early yesterday. The Government offers its condolences to family and friends of the deceased.
The Australian Government continues to act on the latest medical advice and has responded to the evolving risk of the virus by extending existing travel restrictions including a further update today for people travelling to Italy.
Due to a heightened risk of sustained local transmission of COVID-19 in Italy, on 1 March DFAT expanded the area covered by its travel advice to ‘Exercise a High Degree of Caution’ (level 2 of 4) to all of Italy, and advised to ‘reconsider your need to travel’ to ten small towns in Lombardy and one in Veneto, which have been isolated by the Italian authorities.
In addition, people returning from Italy and South Korea need to monitor their health for the following 14 days after their arrival and practice good hygiene. Healthcare or residential aged care workers should not attend work for 14 days and practise social distancing.
Foreign nationals (excluding permanent residents of Australia) who are in Iran and Mainland China are now not allowed to enter Australia for 14 days, from the time they have left or transited through Iran.
Australian citizens returning from mainland China or Iran must self-isolate for 14 days to support Australia’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Anyone who has symptoms of a virus should practise social distancing, especially if they have recently travelled overseas.
The best defence for COVID-19 remains good hand hygiene, cough and sneeze etiquette, and to isolate when unwell.
The message for Australians is that it is perfectly safe to go about their daily business and do exactly what they would normally do.
With the international spread of this virus, it is almost inevitable that we will see more cases of COVID-19 in Australia in coming weeks.
Australians can be safe in the knowledge that we are well prepared and considering every outcome.
The Government’s decisive actions have been taken on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee and Australian Border Force, in the interests of public health.
We will continue to provide regular advice to Australians on the steps they can take to stop the spread of the virus and best protect themselves, with a range of resources available on the Department of Health website.
Australia is not immune to COVID-19, but there is no country in the world better prepared for a health challenge like this.