“In response to the spread of the COVID-19/ Coronavirus, The Institute of International Studies (TIIS) have developed a COVID-19 Management Procedure to ensure the health and safety of TIIS employees, students and of all persons associated with TIIS and its operating entities and manage risks of COVID-19 so far as reasonably practicable in accordance with National and State government guidelines and that of our customers.
What is COVID-19/Coronavirus
COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. It was first identified in Wuhan, China, where it has caused a large and ongoing outbreak.
As at 18th March 2020, we have 452 confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Australia, including 3 deaths – 77 cases in New South Wales, 20 cases in Queensland, and 22 cases in Victoria. Of the total cases reported, 24 of these cases are reported to have recovered. Sadly 3 people have died.
Globally there have been more than 117,000 cases, including approximately 4,200 deaths (3.5% mortality rate), reported from 113 countries and regions outside mainland China.
How it Could Spread?
Transmission of COVID-19 is believed to low risk before a person displays symptoms, and very high risk from 24-hours prior toshowing symptoms and onwards.
Exactly how the virus spread is not yet fully known. It is believed that it spreads through close contact with those persons who have COVID-19 through exposure to contaminated airborne droplets from coughing or sneezing, or when touching contaminated hands, surfaces or objects.
The Australian Government Department of Health has identified countries where travellers are at ‘Higher risk’ of contracting the virus. (https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/ohp-covid-19-countries.htm)
The time between when a person is exposed to the virus and when symptoms first appear is typically 5 to 6 days, although it may range from 2 to 14 days. For this reason, people who might have been in contact with a confirmed case are being asked to self-quarantine by home-isolation for 14 days.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include any combination of chills, fever, cough, runny nose, breathing difficulties, body aches, sore throat, headache, muscle pain or diarrhoea. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia with severe acute respiratory distress and kidney failure.
Initial information suggests illness is more likely in the middle-aged and elderly.
Mild symptoms in an otherwise healthy individual may resolve over just a few days and similar to influenza, a person with other ongoing health issues, such as a respiratory condition, recovery may take weeks and in severe cases, it could be potentially fatal.
Prevention strategies against COVID-19 may include (however not limited to):
(a) Asking about a person’s TRAVEL HISTORY before arranging for them to arrive at TIIS. TIIS staff should ask if the person has travelled to a country listed by the Australian Government Department of Health as –
‘HIGHER’ RISK in the last 14-days:
- directing the person TO NOT visit TIIS’ premises,
- directing the person to self-quarantine through home-isolation and monitor their health over the next 14-days, and
- directing the person to obtain a medical clearance prior to re-entry onto TIIS’ premises.
(b) Avoiding touching areas around the mouth and nose where possible.
(c) Avoiding close contact by keeping one or more metres away from anyone showing symptoms.
(d) Practicing good etiquette when coughing or sneezing by keeping away from other people and covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue or clothing, and by keeping hands clean.
(e) Covering the nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or a flexed elbow.
(f) A thorough washing of hands. Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, or by using an alcohol-based hand rub:
- Before, during and after preparing or eating food.
- Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick.
- Before and after treating a cut or a wound.
- After using the toilet or assisting a child with using the toilet.
- After blowing the nose, coughing or sneezing.
- After touching an animal, animal feed, food, or animal waste.
- After handling garbage or waste.
Use a hand sanitiser when soap and water is not available.
Note that no evidence is available to suggest a medical mask is useful in protecting non-sick persons.
Persons Suspected of Having COVID-19
If a person attends TIIS and displays symptoms of a cold, flu or (at worse case) pneumonia, they may be suspected of having COVID-19
Any person who have had contact with a suspected person, or any suspected persons should:
- self-quarantine by home-isolation
- avoid public spaces including taking public transport or entering the main foyer of a medical clinic (calling ahead will allow the clinic to meet the suspected person outside, where a doctor will discreetly escort the suspected person to a specialised room for testing),
- monitor their health for 14 days after contact, and
obtain medical clearance from a doctor before ending the self-quarantine by home-isolation. Remember to call ahead before arriving at the clinic and advise of suspected COVID-19.
Any persons displaying signs of pneumonia should immediately seek medical attention by contacting triple ‘0’ (‘000’) or going to the nearest Emergency Department. Remember to call ahead and advise of the symptoms and of possible COVID-19
Symptoms of Pneumonia
- include coughing and the production of green
- yellow or bloody mucus
- sweating and shaking chills
- shortness of breath
- sharp or stabbing pains in the chest which gets worse with each breath
- loss of appetite
- low energy/ fatigue
State/ Territory: New South Wales
Department/ Unit: Healthdirect
Contact Number: 1800 022 222