Keeping Up With Coronavirus (COVID-19): Things You Should Know

Keeping Up With Coronavirus (COVID-19): Things You Should Know
byFYA

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus with cases in over 100 countries. Get the latest news and find out what to do if you need support on the FYA Newsroom.

Please see the Australian Government Department of Health website for the latest national information about COVID-19.


 

Friday 27 March 2020

The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and is updated daily. It is not intended to be a substitute for official sources of information and should not be relied upon as such.

Forced quarantine for arrivals to Australia

Today, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that all passengers who arrive in Australia after midnight on Saturday 28 March will go into mandatory quarantine in hotels for 14 days. The announcement comes after concerns were raised about people not adhering to self-isolation requirements, particularly those disembarking cruise ships.

Defence Force personnel will be brought in to support state and territory police in enforcing self-isolation rules for people already in Australia or who arrive before the Saturday deadline.

People in their 20s comprise the most cases of COVID-19

A database compiled by ABC News reveals that people in their 20s have the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 of any age group. with women in that cohort accounting for more cases than their male peers.

The database tracks confirmed cases by gender, age, location, source of infection and other information published in case reports from state and federal health authorities. It forms part of a national database of confirmed cases since January 25.

Indigenous youth workers get creative to debunk coronavirus myth

There’s a worrying myth circulating among young people in isolated areas of the Northern Territory: that Aboriginal people don’t get coronavirus. But Indigneous youth workers are tackling the myth in innovative ways, including games, dances and selfie videos, and spreading messages of the importance of good hygiene and social distancing.

Blair McFarland, the operations manager from the Central Australia Youth Link Up Service (CAYLUS), said there was misinformation circulating about how COVID-19 is contracted and transmitted, but is optimistic about educating young people on the facts.

“There’s a good history of that engagement and so those youth workers are really well positioned to give out information that people might trust…”Health messages that you receive passively are OK but to actually get involved and make one yourself is a way of really pulling that knowledge deeply into your mind and behaviour,” Mr McFarland said.

As of March 27, all remote communities will be closed and in lock down to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

This Saturday, get takeaway to support the hospitality industry

This Saturday 28 March, getting takeaway and posting about it on social media will all be in the name of good cause. The Great Aussie Takeaway is all about supporting Australia’s hospitality industry while people are forced home because of social distancing and lockdown rules. Whether you buy from a Michelan star restaurant or opt for a $10 laksa locally, every order helps. The campaign calls on people to post a photo of their meal and hashtag #thegreataussietakeaway, encouraging others to get on board.

The Great Aussie Takeaway was started by food writers Tristan Lutze, Sofia Levin and Dani Valent, the same people behind initiatives Saving Plates and #rescuepack, which promote restaurants and cafes now offering takeaway or delivery in Sydney and Melbourne.

 

Stay informed

Get updates from your local state and territory government:
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
New South Wales (NSW)
Northern Territory (NT)
Queensland (QLD)
South Australia (SA)
Tasmania (TAS)
Victoria (VIC)
Western Australia (WA)

• See the Australian Government Department of Health website for national information
• Listen to Coronacast, an ABC podcast with daily episodes answering your questions about coronavirus
• Keep up with The Age Live Blog and ABC Live Blog for reports on all new cases and locations

Go-to resources

• Check out 10 ways to reduce your risk of coronavirus from the Victorian Government
• Read these coronavirus myth-busters by the World Health Organization
ABC News is tracking data to reveal how the virus is spreading in Australia
• Get across this social distancing guide from the Australians Government
• In isolation? Here’s the family lockdown guide: how to emotionally prepare for coronavirus quarantine by The Guardian
• If you’re a casual/gig worker or independent contractor worried about how your income will be affected, read the latest government information— you may be eligible for payments
• Heard people talking about ‘flattening the curve’ and wondering what it means? Check out these cool data visualisations from The Washington Post
How young people can spot fake news online by The Conversation
• If you’re a person living with disability or you know/care for someone who is, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has Easy Read COVID-19 information
How to cope with stress related to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) by headspace
Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak by Beyond Blue

Take care of your physical and mental health

If your life is in immediate danger, please call 000.

If you become unwell and think you may have symptoms of coronavirus such as a fever, flu-like symptoms (coughing, sore throat and fatigue) or shortness of breath, seek medical attention. Call your doctor (or local clinic if you don’t have a regular doctor) and explain your symptoms.

It’s very important to call the doctor first. They will ask you a series of questions and tell you if you should be tested. They will arrange for the test.

If you have questions or concerns, call the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.  

It’s easy to feel unsettled and overwhelmed in times like these. You’re not alone.

Please take care, look out for one another, and reach out to these support services if you need to talk to someone: Beyond Blue (Ph: 1300 224 636), Lifeline (Ph: 13 11 14) and Headspace (Ph: 1800 650 890).


Thursday 26 March 2020

Victoria has first COVID-19 deaths

In the space of 24-hours, the state of Victoria has recorded three deaths as a result of coronavirus. This brings the national death toll to 12, with seven deaths in New South Wales, one in Queensland, and one in Western Australia.

NSW teachers urge Premier to shut down schools

The Australian reported that the NSW teachers union is calling on Premier Gladys Berejiklian to follow Victoria’s lead and order a school shutdown, expressing concerns for the safety of teachers.

On Tuesday 24 March, Premier Berejiklian requested parents to keep children at home if able to. This led to a fall in student attendanc­e at government schools of 75% across the state, but the NSW Teachers Federation wants the government to go further, stating that “normal school operations must end”.

Village Roadshow, Woolworths and Aldi unite to support workers in three states

Village Roadshow have struck a deal with supermarket operators Woolworths and Aldi to redeploy as many of their frontline staff as possible. The deal affects Village Roadshow staff who work in cinemas and theme parks across Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland. The company employs about 6,000 people across Australia, mostly part-time and casual staff. 

“We’re very much a family run company,” said Village Cinemas chief Kirk Edwards on Thursday. “Sorting our people was our first priority.”

The Red Cross Lifeblood Service still needs you 

Advice about social distancing and self-isolation have led to mass cancellations of blood and plasma donation appointments with Red Cross Lifeblood.

“A blood donation is a life-saving donation and much of modern health care depends on availability and support of blood donors, so it is definitely an essential service,” Lifeblood medical director, James Daly, said.

Red Cross Lifeblood needs 10,000 donations before Easter, and is urging people not to skip this activity as it is classed as an essential activity.

Check out the Red Cross Lifeblood website to see if you are eligible (there have been some changes made to this criteria recently) to donate, and to book an appointment.


Wednesday 25 March 2020

Australia moves to Stage 2 restrictions 

Some updates have been made to social restriction rules. The changes pertain mainly to beauty services, who from midnight tonight will close. Hairdressers and barbers can continue to have customers but must limit  visits to 30 minutes.

Stores and services that remain open include: 

-Supermarkets (including convenience stores)
-Pharmacies
-Banks
-Petrol stations
-Freight and logistics
-Food delivery
-Bottle shops

For more information on what’s restricted or closed, check out this ABC article. They include limits on weddings, funerals, personal training sessions and more.

A COVID-19 Coordination Commission has launched

The national commission has been set up by the Federal Government to better understand and solve economic and social problems arising from the coronavirus pandemic. The commission will advise the government on the best action to take. The Commission will include Australians from the private and public sector, headed by mining company Fortescue’s former CEO Neville Power, with CSIRO chairman and former Telstra chief David Thodey to be deputy chairman.

 

There’s a hold on non-urgent surgery 

Today, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that all non urgent, elective surgery will be suspended from midnight on Thursday 26 March.

“Cancellation of elective surgery will allow the preservation of resources like personal protective equipment and allow health services to prepare for their role in the COVID-19 outbreak,” Mr Morrison said.

Mr Morrison added that all Category 3 surgeries will be suspended, with only Category 1 and urgent Category 2 procedures to be performed in all capable hospitals. Category 1 surgeries include childbirth, urgent cardiac and cancer surgeries. Category 2 surgeries include colonoscopies or smaller amputations, such as that of a finger.

In Victoria, young people make up a considerable number of COVID-19 cases

The Age reported that there’s been more coronavirus cases in the state of Victoria among 25-29 year-olds than any other age group. Data from the Department of Health and Human Services revealed that of the 466 cases confirmed in that state this month, 54 have been people in their mid-late twenties.


Tuesday 24 March 2020

Newsroom call-out: I’m young and I’m taking COVID-19 seriously.

There’s been a lot of talk *about* young people—they’re going out, thinking they’re immune to COVID-19 and neglecting social distancing laws. But what about hearing *from* young people? 

The FYA Newsroom wants to show the world how seriously young Australians (aged 12-30) *are* taking social distancing, self-isolation and quarantine rules. Head to @fya_org on Instagram and tag us/direct message us a short video and pics now.

 

Students: you can now get $550 a fortnight extra too

The Government has now included full-time students on youth allowance, Austudy and Abstudy in the stimulus package—called the Coronavirus Supplement—that passed through parliament last night. This enables around 230,000 full-time students from around the country to access an extra $550 per fortnight on top of the welfare support payments they already receive. This does not apply to international students or part-time students.

To help speed up changes to welfare payments and services, the government no longer needs to pass legislation to make changes to welfare settings, giving the social services minister, currently Minister Anne Ruston, unprecedented powers. 

Where can I turn for help?

If you’re out of a job or need financial support, Services Australia (formerly Centrelink) have a range of payments available to young people who have found themselves without work during this time. 

  • If you’re currently on income support, or might be soon, you’ll continue getting your normal payments and the time-limited coronavirus supplement of $550 per fortnight for the next six months. 
  • If you run a small business, check out this state-by-state guide to the support you’re eligible for
  • If you’re a sole trader or freelancer, check out support from Services Australia
  • And from March 31, if you’re defined as a low-income earner, a one-off payment of $750 will be automatically made to all social security card holders, income support recipients and eligible concession cardholders. This includes those on Newstart and those receiving family tax benefits.

Head to Services Australia’s Affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) page for more information about available support.

Where possible, try to do as much as you can online by logging into your MyGov account or creating one. For the protection of Services Australia staff and to avoid unnecessary administration time, please only call or visit a centre if absolutely necessary. The majority of services and payments are provided automatically, or available online.

Follow this 7-step guide from the ABC on how to apply for a Jobseeker payment. 

Services Australia says that around 6.5 million Australians will receive a one-off payment as part of the Government’s response to COVID-19. The government has committed $189bn worth of economic support to Australians during this time. This is 9.7% of the annual gross domestic product (GDP), with more announcements of support to come.

COVID-19 affects all ages – including young people 

Tragically, eight people have now died from COVID-19 in Australia. 

Currently, there are people with COVID-19 in Sydney’s hospitals that are in their 40s and 50s. In Italy, records show that people in their 30s have died from the virus, and people aged 20 to 44 have accounted for 20% of COVID-19 hospital admissions in the United States

COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate. Younger adults are at risk too, and it affects children, young people and pregnant mums.

Stay home. It’s important that everyone limits physical contact with others. Follow the official strict social distancing and self-isolation rules and hygiene advice.

 


Monday 23 March 2020
 

Shutdowns begin across the country

Stricter social-distancing measures were announced yesterday by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, with many business closures now being enforced.

What’s closed? All pubs, clubs, cinemas, casinos, nightclubs, indoor places of worship, gyms and indoor sporting venues across the country must now close their doors. Many of Sydney’s beaches, including Bondi, have also been closed to reduce spaces for public gatherings at this time.

What’s still open? Supermarkets, banks, petrol stations, pharmacies, convenience stores, freight and logistics, food delivery and bottle shops. Cafes and restaurants can open for takeaway and delivery only. Hotels are still allowed to offer accommodation. Most retail and department stores, hairdressers and beauticians can stay open if they comply with social-distancing guidelines, as challenging as that may be.

What rules do businesses have to follow if they stay open? Social-distancing means all public spaces must ensure there are four square metres for each person on the premises. Indoor gatherings are limited to 100 people or less. 

So can I leave my house? Mr Morrison said people can leave their houses for essentials, like if they have to go to the supermarket or the pharmacy, or go to work. Otherwise, it’s vital we all limit our physical contact with other people as much as possible, which means staying home as much as we can. 

For more information, the ABC has a great rundown of what shutdowns mean across Australia.

Schools shut down in Victoria and ACT

School holidays have come early for students in Victoria. Despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying on Sunday that Australian schools should stay open, Victorian State Premier Daniel Andrews announced that all Victorian schools must close on Tuesday 24 March, bringing term one holidays ahead by four days.

The ACT Government said most students should stay home from Tuesday 24 March onwards. Schools are working to get learning materials for pupils to complete from home this week, with a view to look at online and alternative teaching arrangements from term two onwards.

What about New South Wales? Premier Gladys Berejiklian said schools across the state will stay open but has encouraged parents to keep their children at home if possible to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

However, parents can choose to keep their children home from school in any state.

What’s the Coronavirus Supplement and what’s in it for me?

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced more money will be given to welfare recipients. Called the ‘Coronavirus Supplement’, it’s a top-up payment for people who are already on welfare payments.

It goes to anyone receiving the following payments: 

  • JobSeeker Payment (formerly known as the Newstart Allowance)
  • Sickness Allowance
  • Youth Allowance for jobseekers
  • Parenting Payment (partnered)
  • Parenting Payment (single)
  • Partner Allowance
  • Farm Household Allowance

It’s $550 extra a fortnight. Payments will begin on April 27 and will be available for at least six months. If you already receive one of the payments above, you’ll automatically receive this top-up. If you’re not currently receiving welfare, you’ll need to apply online at MyGov using a Centrelink account, or contact Services Australia by phone for more details.

The ABC has a good breakdown of the details.

State borders now restricting travel around Australia

Western Australia and South Australia announced they were closing their borders as of Tuesday 24 March, requiring any travellers to go into self-isolation for two weeks. Queensland will close borders as of Wednesday 25 March at midnight. Tasmania and the Northern Territory already have these restrictions in place.

 


Friday 20 March 2020

COVID-19 affects people of all ages

There’s a lot of talk about how COVID-19 is more serious for older people, however, evidence from the USA and Europe suggests it’s not just older people who are vulnerable.

“A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis of US cases from February 12 to March 16 show 38% of those sick enough to be hospitalised were younger than 55. Earlier this week, French health ministry official Jérome Salomon said half of the 300 to 400 coronavirus patients treated in intensive care units in Paris were younger than 65, and…half the ICU patients in the Netherlands were younger than 50,” the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Australia’s current death toll has risen to seven, due to the recent death of an 81-year-old woman last night. Continue to follow the Australian Department of Health’s advice on protecting yourself and others from COVID-19.

State and Federal Budgets have been postponed

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that the Budget will now be handed down on Tuesday 6 October, instead of in May this year. States and territories will follow suit, with Mr Morrison adding that they will be “working to similar timetables.”

New social distancing rules

These apply to indoor gatherings of less than 100 people, and require participants to be provided with four metres squared each (2mx2m) to avoid spread of the disease. For example, a premises that’s 100 square metres can have 25 people in it, according to these new conditions.

There’s an Aussie music festival on Instagram Live this weekend

Australia’s live music has been hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak. That’s why over 70 Aussie artists are performing 20-min sets from wherever they’re practising self-isolation and streaming live on their own Instagram accounts. Check the schedule and tune in from 12pm-12am on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 March to get behind the Support Act fundraiser, an organisation that provides relief services for music industry workers. Time to discover more Aussie bangers for your playlists!

Other fun stuff to do this weekend

For a solid serving of natural beauty, take a virtual tour of sites such as Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in the Northern Territory, and Yosemite National Park in California. Google has virtual tours from over 2500 museums and galleries around the world, and zoos are live-streaming animals

You could also find joy in getting into those hobbies you never started.


Thursday 19 March 2020

Show us your world!

We want to hear how COVID-19 is impacting you. How’s sharehouse life? What’s your work status? What does uni/work/school look like for you? Send a 30-sec video clip or pics with your 100-word story to newsroom@fya.org.au.

New travel bans 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced more travel restrictions from tomorrow night, this time for people who are not Australian citizens or residents.

New rules for buying Ventolin, paracetamol and prescription medications   

Pharmacists are being told to dispense only one month’s worth of prescription medicines at a time. They are also limiting purchases of Ventolin and paracetamol to one per person. It’s important to know that there are no medication shortages, according to the deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly. There’s just a lot of demand right now and these limits will help pharmacies keep up and ensure people get the medicines they need. 

If it sounds like you might be impacted by these limits, contact your doctor or local pharmacy for advice.   

State schools are still open

Officially, state primary and secondary schools are still open, but can close if a positive case of COVID-19 is identified at the school. Many independent and private schools as well as universities are closing and taking learning online as the COVID-19 situation unfolds. 

How is this impacting your school? We’d love to hear from students, teachers and parents about what it means to be and not be at school. Email newsroom@fya.org.au.

What’s happening in the world of work? 

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce announced today that around 20,000 Qantas and Jetstar employees will temporarily lose their jobs from late March until at least late May. With overseas travel bans and advice not to travel within Australia unless you need to from the government, it’s a tough time for airlines. Mr Joyce confirmed that some international flights would continue until late March to help people return home from overseas. Woolworths and other big companies are offering some jobs.

There’s a campaign called I Lost My Gig, which is recording all the lost money from postponed or cancelled events for those involved in the creative and events industries. This includes hospitality workers, performers, artists, production crew and more. The latest tally is $150 million. If this affects you, add to the data and tell your story.

Where they can, many people are now being told to work from home. Here are some answers on health and safety questions when your workplace becomes your home, and some tips for doing it well.

 


Wednesday 18 March 2020

Social distancing – we all need to do it 

To slow the spread of COVID-19, the government is telling all Australians to limit the amount of contact we have with other people. This is called social distancing. Here’s how to do it:

• Stay 1.5 metres away from other people as much as you can
• Limit physical contact – don’t shake hands, hug or touch other people
• Avoid gathering with other people
• Stay at home when you are unwell 

See the Australian Department of Health’s social distancing guide for more information. If you do need to be around others it’s important to follow correct hygiene advice.

New rules for overseas travel and public gatherings from the Australian government

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said today that:

• There’s a ban on non-essential indoor gatherings of 100 people or more. Outdoor public gatherings are still restricted to 500 people or more as per the announcement on Friday 13 March 2020. These bans don’t apply to schools, universities, airports, public transport, medical and emergency services facilities, aged care homes, prisons, courts, parliaments, supermarkets and some workplaces. Watch the Prime Minister’s announcement here

• There’s a full ban on overseas travel for all Australians. Mr Morrison said that air travel in Australia is low risk but is not recommended unless it’s essential. If you are overseas or know someone who is, the advice is to return home as soon as possible. Check Smart Traveller for more information.

Be aware of fake news 

With so many stories, videos and articles online about COVID-19, it’s important you’re getting information from reliable, verified sources. For COVID-19 information in Australia, these sources are state and federal government websites and official news media outlets. We’ve listed these for you underneath the ‘stay informed’ heading below.

A joint statement was released from Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Reddit, Twitter and YouTube a few days ago. They say they are working together to combat the spread of misinformation on the internet. Here’s what Facebook and Instagram are doing about it.

“To support fact-checkers in their work around COVID-19, we’re partnering with The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) to launch a $1 million grant program to increase their capacity during this time.”
– Kang-Xing Jin, Facebook’s Head of Health

But how can you tell the facts from the fiction? Think critically about the content you’re seeing in your newsfeeds and the messages you receive in messenger apps. Check-in with people you know and trust. Here are more tips for spotting fake news online.

 


 

Tuesday 17 March 2020

Relief packages from state governments in Western Australia and New South Wales 

The Western Australian State Government announced a $607 million package to support households and businesses through the COVID-19 outbreak. It includes stopping the usual rise in household fees and charges until 30 June 2021, giving grants and tax exemptions to small businesses, and paid sick leave for people who work in the public sector, such as healthcare workers, public school teachers, public transport staff, and more. Here are the details.

The New South Wales State Government is set to announce a $2.3 billion relief package, including healthcare funding to prepare for extra COVID-19 testing, buy critical equipment such as ventilators and set up respiratory clinics. There will be cuts to fees and taxes for small businesses, and more money to clean public spaces like transport and schools. Read more.

These state government packages are on top of the $17 billion stimulus package from the Federal Government, announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday 13 March. Reports suggest that another announcement is on the way from Mr Morrison to help industries being impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, including airlines, tourism, events, sports and the arts.   

Qantas and Jetstar stop a bunch of flights travelling in Australia and overseas

Travel gets trickier, with airlines Qantas and Jetstar announcing that about 90% of flights travelling overseas and 60% of flights within Australia won’t be running. They say there’s a drop in travel demand because of COVID-19.

Should you cancel your flight?
The advice from the Australian Government is to seriously reconsider your need to travel. If you can stay home, do that.

Schools are still open

We’re keeping a close eye on what schools and other education institutions are doing as the COVID-19 situation unfolds. Many university campuses around the country, including major unis in Victoria, are now closing and taking learning online, as are some private and independent primary and secondary schools. State primary and secondary schools are still operating as normal, despite low attendance in Victoria.


Monday 16 March 2020

 

Social distancing — what is it and how do I do it?

Authorities are advising all Australians to practice social distancing. It involves limiting the amount of contact between you and other people to slow the potential rate of people contracting and spreading COVID-19. There’s evidence that social distancing has been effective in other countries who have experienced COVID-19 outbreaks, especially once large gatherings have been cancelled and people have stayed at home. 

Who should be social distancing?
In short: everyone. As much as possible, especially if you’ve travelled from overseas recently or feel unwell. We know social distancing isn’t always possible, especially if you need to work, study or commute, but the best you can do will help.

Here’s how to practice social distancing, according to the Australian Department of Health:

• Stay 1.5 metres away from others
• Avoid physical interaction like shaking hands, hugging, kissing etc.
• Avoid physical interaction with vulnerable people, including the elderly or those with compromised immune systems
• Avoid gatherings (work remotely if you can, avoid cafes and restaurants, and dinners/drinks with friends and family)

What can I do?

Authorities say you can still go to work or school if you need to. Public transport, the gym and grocery stores are still okay for now as well. It’s important to follow the correct hygiene advice, keep your distance from others and make your trip quick.

Find out more about social distancing and get the official recommendations from the Australian Department of Health.

Returning from overseas? You must stay at home

Anyone who arrives in Australia from overseas must (it’s mandatory) now self-isolate for two weeks, no matter what country you arrive from.

There are still travel restrictions on visitors from China, South Korea, Italy and Iran, and the Government is still advising everyone to reconsider the need to travel outside of Australia. 

Visit Smart Traveller for the most up-to-date information.

I’m young and healthy, how does it impact me?

It’s true many older people are more at risk of COVID-19 being life-threatening. This doesn’t mean that being young makes you immune. There are many people in our communities who are vulnerable, particularly those who have illnesses, disabilities, and compromised immune systems.

It’s important for each one of us, regardless of our age, to change our behaviour as best we can to protect everyone in our community. This way, we can reduce the pressure on the healthcare system so that they can focus on helping those who need it most.


Friday 13 March 2020

 

All gatherings of 500 people or more should be cancelled from Monday  

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has advised that all “non-essential” events with over 500 people or more attending (that’s concerts, sports matches, conferences, festivals etc.) should not go ahead from Monday 16 March 2020. Mr Morrison said this doesn’t include schools, universities, shops, public transport or airports. He also asked all Australians to reconsider any overseas travel.

If you’re a casual/gig worker or independent contractor and your income is affected by these cancellations, you may qualify for paid sick allowance from the government. Apply now. 

Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy added that coronavirus (COVID-19) is not considered widespread in Australia and that these precautionary measures are necessary to slow the rate of transmission.

Sports fan? Here are the teams, leagues and events being impacted


AFL: The Australian Football League Women’s (AFLW) aren’t allowing spectators into stadiums from this Saturday 14 March, with AFL doing the same when its season starts on Thursday 19 March.

Basketball (USA): The National Basketball Association (NBA) season was officially suspended yesterday after Rudy Gobert, player for Utah Jazz, tested positive to COVID-19. Today, a second player on the same team, Donovan Mitchell, tested positive.

Cricket: The three-match series between Australia and New Zealand will go ahead, but will be played behind closed doors with no spectators able to attend.

Motorsport: Early today, the Australian Formula One Melbourne Grand Prix didn’t go ahead. The remainder of the season is reportedly in doubt.

Rugby league: National Rugby League (NRL) will allow spectators to attend round one matches this weekend, but will play behind closed doors for round two.

Soccer: Mikel Arteta, Coach of Premier League Football Club Arsenal FC, has tested positive to COVID-19. The Premier League is deciding whether to suspend future fixtures, as other major European leagues have.

Tennis: The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tennis tour has been suspended for six weeks. 

 


Thursday 12 March 2020

As at 11 am today, Australia had 126 confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), including three deaths. Get the latest updates via the Australian Government Department of Health website.

It was officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) overnight

Hang on, what’s a pandemic? WHO says it’s “a worldwide spread of a new disease.” The ABC reported that experts said there’s no need to panic.

The announcement is about helping countries better prepare for the impacts of the spread of the virus, such as if lots of people need to access the health care system, or go into quarantine, isolate themselves and/or can’t work. Many countries had already begun these preparations before the announcement was made, including Australia. 

The Government released a plan + $$$ to help people most impacted

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the Federal Government’s $17.6billion economic plan today. Called a stimulus package, the money will help support Australian people, households and businesses who will be impacted by the spread of coronavirus. But how?

$750 cash for people who receive welfare payments including Newstart, the disability support pension, carers’ allowance, youth allowance, family tax benefits, veterans support payments, the Commonwealth senior health card-holders and aged pensioners. Payments will begin on 31 March but could take up until mid-April to be received. 

No wait time for those applying for sickness allowance for casual workers who need to self-isolate. This includes independent contractors and gig economy workers. The wait time is usually one week to 13 weeks but now it’s immediate. Are you eligible? Check now and apply here.

There are other benefits to help businesses of a range of sizes. Not sure what’s in it for you? Check out this explainer by the ABC.

Advice for those travelling to or from China, Iran, Italy, Japan, Mongolia and South Korea 

Smartraveller is the Australian Government’s official travel advice website, by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). It has raised its advice level for six countries despite there being more countries with confirmed cases of the virus. Currently, the advice is:

Do not travel: China and Iran
Reconsider your need to travel: South Korea and Italy
Need to exercise a high degree of caution: Japan and Mongolia

Australia has stopped International visitors from China, Iran, South Korea and most recently Italy. The United States of America (USA) has banned travel from Europe.

The situation is changing often and quickly so the best advice is to keep looking for the most up-to-date information via Smartraveller when making or changing travel plans.