Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updated 3 April 2020

The University of Notre Dame Australia has convened a Critical Incident Response Team to manage our national response to the Novel-Coronavirus (COVID-19). The team is monitoring the situation closely and proactively following the advice of the Commonwealth Department of Health, NSW Health, WA Health, VIC Health and Smartraveller. Please access up-to-date information at the following links:

Commonwealth Department of Health NSW Health WA Health VIC Health Smartraveller

Notre Dame Coronavirus advice

General enquiries, notifications and advice related to the COVID-19 may be directed to coronavirusadvice@nd.edu.au

Your enquiries will be referred appropriately and answered as promptly as possible.

  • Latest news

    3 April 2020

    • Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned restrictions/social distancing could continue until October.
    • The government has announced free childcare for parents who need to work during the COVID-19 pandemic across some 13,000 centres. The free childcare would be in place for six months from next week and would not be means tested.
    • WA will be the first state to introduce hard borders. The WA Premier is urging residents to return to the state before Sunday night’s border closures. Exemptions include health services, emergency workers, transport/freight/logistics, national and state security, judicial services, FIFO workers and families.
    • The Queensland border at Coolangatta and Tweed Heads has now been shut to non-residents or those with a specific exemptions, such as work.
    • The NSW Premier has announced $10,000 grants for small businesses to help with fixed costs.
    • The Ruby Princess scandal has escalated, with another two passengers dying after contracting the coronavirus on the ship — the largest source of Australian deaths from the pandemic — and federal and state leaders accusing the cruise operator of lying. The Premier has ordered an investigation into the disaster.
    • The workplace tribunal has announced plans to give unpaid "pandemic leave" and more annual leave at half pay to millions of workers.

    1 April 2020

    • Over 200,000 businesses registered for the $130-billion JobKeeper wage subsidy in 24 hours. Parliament will join next Wednesday to consider the new legislation.
    • NSW Police are cracking down on people in public spaces, sending people home even if they are following social distancing rules. This follows a cluster in Bondi (thought to be caused by backpackers) and has led to a pop-up testing clinic in the area.
    • The NSW Premier is urging people who can to ‘retool’ their businesses to help manufacture medical supplies due to shortages in the global market.
    • Authorities are urging people aged over 65 to get a flu vaccine.
    • Over 40,000 doctors, nurses, midwives and pharmacists who are no longer practicing or registered will be encouraged to re-enter the workforce to boost Australia’s capacity to treat patients throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
    • Over 30,000 West Australians are currently in mandatory self-isolation at home after returning from overseas in recent weeks.

    31 March 2020

    • As part of the government’s $130-billion relief package, struggling businesses will receive fortnightly wage subsidy up to $1500 per employee on the books since March 1 (amendments could still be made but this will be a base point). Nearly 200,000 businesses have already registered. If you require information about the new JobSeeker payment, click here.
    • The NSW Premier has warned the public not to look at the drop in daily increase of positive COVID-19 cases because the threat is the cases we don’t know about that are occurring through community transmission. Testing will be increased in ‘hot spots’ such as in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney.
    • In WA, drones are being deployed to deliver audio warnings regarding social distancing rules. Stage 3 restrictions are now in place in WA and include hard closures of the border, as well as playgrounds, skate parks and outdoor gym equipment in line with the Federal Government’s recommendations.
    • NSW and VIC have begun issuing fines and enforcing the two-person gathering rules.
    • You can now download the Australian Department of Health’s official Coronavirus Australia app for updates. More information available here.

    30 March 2020

    • Federal Government offers $130b in coronavirus wage subsidies for businesses to pay workers, more information here.
    • WA Police drones will be deployed to public spaces to deliver audio warnings to those caught flouting social distancing rules.
    • Premier Mark McGowan has today announced stage three restrictions for WA residents which will include the hard closure of our border and the closure of playgrounds, skate parks and outdoor gym equipment.
    • COVID-19 clinics in WA are opening to the wider community who have symptoms such as a fever and respiratory illness.
    • Deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly says the government's social distancing measures are working, with a "stabilisation of the numbers" of new infections - but "this is not a time to take the foot off the brake”.

    29 March 2020

    • ​A WA Police Enforcement squad of more than 200 police officer will hit the streets of WA to ensure people are complying with quarantine and gathering requirements in response to COVID-19. The State Government will introduce $1,000 on-the-spot fines for individuals and $5,000 fines for businesses who disobey the rules. More details here.
    • Beyond Blue will set up a COVID-19 mental health support service which offers free information, counselling and referrals online and by phone for people struggling with the impacts of the pandemic. Get support here.
    • State and territories will put a moratorium on rental evictions of people in financial distress for the next six months.
    • From 30 March 2020, the Australian Government will expand Medicare-subsidised telehealth services (where treatment can be delivered by phone or videoconferencing) for all Australians. Services will include GP services and some consultation services provided by other medical specialists. Read the official statement here.
    • Public gatherings outdoors are now limited to two people only (previously 10 people).
    • The Government has launched a WhatsApp service to share information more quickly and easily. Access it at oz.gov.au/whatsapp.

    28 March 2020

    • From midnight AEDT on 28 March 2020 all people entering Australia will be required to undertake their mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated facilities (for example, a hotel), in their port of arrival. Travellers will be transported directly to designated facilities after appropriate immigration, customs and enhanced health checks. More information about travel restrictions is available here.
    • Australian Defence Force personnel will support state and territory police to ensure travellers comply with mandatory self-isolation measures.
    • The WA Government will introduce further restrictions on travel within Western Australia from 31 March 2020 (12.00am AWST Wednesday morning 1 April 2020). Western Australian intrastate travel is defined as movement through the boundaries of the regions of Western Australia. For information on what the regions are, visit the state government website here.

    27 March 2020

    • The University can confirm that a student enrolled at our Sydney campus has tested positive for COVID-19. The student has been in self-isolation since 17th March, and tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday, on 26th March.

      Contact tracing and additional cleaning is being undertaken, and the University is working closely with NSW Health to minimise any further risk of transmission. The student is receiving appropriate medical care and is recovering at home in isolation. We are in contact to provide support and counselling through what is undoubtedly a difficult time.

      The university’s rapid transition to digital learning platforms, supporting social distancing to protect students and staff has been both rapid and successful. We want to again acknowledge the tremendous effort by everyone involved to ensure course work can continue as much as possible with little disruption.

    26 March 2020

    • The Government is offering $750 one-off support payments to 6.5 million Australians including some eligible students. Click here to find out if you’re eligible and what you need to do to ensure you receive the payment.

    25 March 2020

    • The Commonwealth Government will implement a ‘do not travel’ ban on Australians travelling overseas under the Biosecurity Act 2015. Exemptions will be managed by the Australian Border Force and will apply to a range of categories of travellers, including for those citizens ordinarily resident overseas, where travel is essential or necessary, where travel is in our national interest, and on compassionate and humanitarian grounds. Read the Prime Minister’s official statement here.
    • The Prime Minister further tightened COVID-19 lockdown, restricting social gatherings including weddings and funerals. Other services to close include real estate auctions, beauty salons, community centres such as pools and libraries, shopping centre food courts (takeaway permitted) and entertainment venues. See the full list here.
    • There will be enforcement of the required self-isolation measures (for those who have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or returned from international travel) with penalties – this will be managed by the States.

    22 March 2020

    • NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced that NSW will proceed to a more comprehensive shutdown of non-essential services over the next 48 hours, with more specific details to come. Read her official statement here. Check nsw.gov.au for further updates.
    • Victoria will also shut down non-essential services in the next 48 hours, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced.​ Read his statement here.
    • WA has announced it will be shutting its borders from 1.30pm (AWST) Tuesday. Exemptions apply for essential services and workers. Interstate arrivals will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Check wa.gov.au​ for further updates.

    19 March 2020

    The Australian Government announced that from 9pm AEDT 20 March 2020, only Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members can travel to Australia.

    18 March 2020

    • The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade has raised travel advice to Level 4 today, advising all Australians to not travel overseas at this time. It’s recommended that people travelling overseas who wish to return to Australia should do so as soon as possible. For more information, visit Smartraveller.
    • The Australian Government has banned non-essential, indoor gatherings of more than 100 people. However, this will not impact universities at this stage. The pre-existing ban restricting mass gatherings to 500 people will remain in place for outdoor events. For the official statement, click here.

    16 March 2020

    The Australian Government announced all travellers arriving in Australia will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. For more information about what this means, visit the NSW Department of Health website or the Department of Home Affairs for travel advice.

    13 March 2020

    • The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade has advised all Australians to reconsider their need to travel overseas at this time, regardless of destination, age or health. For more information, visit smartraveller.gov.au/crisis/covid-19-and-travel.
    • Prime Minister Scott Morrison has advised against organised, non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people to limit the spread of coronavirus. Currently this does not impact “essential services such as schools, workplaces, hospitals, public transportation, domestic travel and universities as well as public transient places such as shopping centres.” To read the full media release, visit https://www.pm.gov.au/media/advice-coronavirus.
  • Working and studying online

    For information about learning online and off-campus, visit learning online.
    For information about teaching or working online and off-campus, visit working online.

  • Mental health and wellbeing

    If you are feeling anxious or distressed about the evolving COVID-19 crisis, there are professional counselling services available to Notre Dame staff and students:

    • Students can visit our Counselling page for information about how to get in touch with a counsellor.
    • Staff can access counselling support here.

    Please remember you should not attend an in-person counselling appointment if you are experiencing flu, viral or respiratory symptoms as explained by the Australian Government Health Department, or if you meet the Australian Government Health Department self-isolation criteria for COVID-19.

    For more tips about how to look after your mental health during this challenging time, visit Beyond Blue.

    You can also access general mental health support through the following national services:

Preventing respiratory illness

To reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections, please wash your hands frequently (including before and after eating) using soap and water, practice cough etiquette - if you need to cough or sneeze cover your mouth and nose with a flexed elbow and dispose of tissues immediately - and avoid contact with people suffering from an acute respiratory infection.

You can also call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 or call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).

COVID-19 Factsheet

FAQs

  • What is COVID-19?

    We know that coronaviruses cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

    The most recently discovered coronavirus causes a coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19.

    COVID-19 is characterised by mild symptoms including runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever. Severe cases can lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties. Older people and those with medical conditions (such as asthma, lung disease, diabetes or heart disease) may be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill.

    Diagnosis of COVID-19 is currently made by nasopharyngeal swab. A blood test has been developed in China but not yet available in Australia. The Australian Government in collaboration with states are increasing swab testing sites and logistics including ‘drive-through testing / assessment clinics’ to improve access and timely results.

    A key concern in all countries impacted is the increasing and potential overwhelming burden on healthcare facilities and healthcare workforce who are at an elevated risk of exposure.

    Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 and those returning from significantly affected international locations – currently China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy - are at an elevated risk of exposure.

    WHO have declared COVID-19 a global pandemic - 118 countries with active cases. Total global cases are over 180,000 (14 March), with a high transmission risk and the death rate is approximately 3.7%. Australia has relatively contained the spread thus far.

    At this time, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it, symptomatic relief is the only available management. The most effective management at this stage are public health interventions and actions that people and communities can take to help slow the spread. Personal health measures, restrictions of international travel, appropriate home isolation, social distancing including avoiding non-essential exposure to crowded events, can all play a role.

    Key personal health measures include:

    • stay away from university and work if sick, seek medical review and possible testing
    • handwashing, alcohol-based hand rubs, cough/sneeze etiquette, no touch greetings
    • social distancing, self-solation and quarantine as required
    • avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
    • if in close contact with a confirmed case or returned from overseas travel follow advice.

    As Australia approaches flu-season, flu vaccination may offer some protection against respiratory vulnerability to COVID-19.

    Work is progressing at pace by many scientists globally to develop:

    • COVID-19 vaccine – noting risk of virus mutation adds to the complexity
    • Treatments – such as tailored anti-viral medicines
    • Blood tests – that look for coronavirus antibodies – which will confirm recent or previous infection and have less false negative results
    • Understanding COVID-19 - epidemiology, characteristics of the virus and natural history.
  • What can I do to prevent Coronavirus?

    To protect yourself and others from infection, practice good hand and respiratory hygiene including:

    • cleaning hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs
    • covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing
    • avoiding contact with anyone who has symptoms of respiratory illness such as a cough, fatigue, sore throat or headache
    • staying home if you are unwell

    From 13 March 2020, the Australian Government advised against organised, non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people. People who are unwell should not attend public events.

  • Are classes being cancelled?

    Classes are not cancelled, however to help reduce transmission of coronavirus we are moving online wherever possible. Some clinical and/or creative classes and laboratories require a form of alternate on-campus attendance and students will be notified about this by their Schools. The University has adopted a staggered approach to the transition, so for information specific to your courses please contact your School directly and keep checking your student email for further information. For information about learning online, visit online-learning.

  • Will students be penalised for non-attendance?

    In line with advice from Australian health authorities, students have been asked to stay home if they are unwell. We understand this has caused concerns around course attendance requirements. Although most courses have minimum attendance requirements, the University will take a proportionate leniency approach to absences as the community exercises COVID19 containment strategies and Notre Dame transitions to online learning. As is the normal case with absences, it is the student’s responsibility to catch up on the content and learning outcomes covered in missed classes using the resources on Blackboard at a minimum. At a course level there will also be consideration for individual extensions to assessment due dates. It is important for you to regularly check your student email and course-specific Blackboard sites for updates.

    For some courses and programs, minimum attendance requirements are being reviewed with the relevant external professional accrediting bodies. Your School will keep you informed of any ongoing changes to regulations.

  • What are the latest travel restrictions and how do they affect me?

    On 28 March 2020, all people entering Australia will be required to undertake their mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated facilities (for example, a hotel), in their port of arrival. Travellers will be transported directly to designated facilities. More information about travel restrictions is available here.

    On 24 March, 2020, the Commonwealth Government implemented a ‘do not travel’ ban on Australians travelling overseas under the Biosecurity Act 2015. Exemptions will be managed by the Australian Border Force and will apply to a range of categories of travellers, including for those citizens ordinarily resident overseas, where travel is essential or necessary, where travel is in our national interest, and on compassionate and humanitarian grounds. Read the Prime Minister’s official statement here.

    On 19 March 2020, the Australian Government announced that from 9pm AEDT 20 March 2020, only Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members can travel to Australia.

    On 18 March 2020 the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade raised travel advice to Level 4, advising all Australians to not travel overseas at this time. For more information, visit Smartraveller.

    On 15 March 2020 the Australian Government announced all travellers arriving in Australia will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

    The Department of Home Affairs has advised that Travel restrictions are subject to change. To stay up to date with alerts, visit https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/news-media/current-alerts/novel-coronavirus.

  • What do health authorities advise?

    You must self-isolate if:

    1. you have COVID-19
    2. you have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19
    3. you arrived in Australia after midnight on 15 March 2020.

    Self-isolation means staying at home and not accepting visitors. In the scenarios listed as b) and c) above, the Department of Health advises that if you become unwell and think you have symptoms of coronavirus, seek medical attention.

    Your doctor will tell you if you should be tested. You will only be tested if your doctor decides you meet the criteria:

    • You have returned from overseas in the past 14 days and you develop respiratory illness with or without fever
    • You have been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the past 14 days and you develop respiratory illness with or without fever
    • You have severe community-acquired pneumonia and there is no clear cause
    • You are a healthcare worker who works directly with patients and you have a respiratory illness and a fever

    For more information about who is most at risk, how to check your symptoms and how to protect yourself and others, visit the Department of Health website.

  • Can I attend campus?

    Students, staff and visitors who are well, have not had a direct close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19 and have not arrived or returned from an international destination in the last 14 days are unaffected and can attend campus.

    Students or staff must not attend the University if they have:

    • symptoms of respiratory illness such as a fever, cough, fatigue, sore throat or headache
    • been in close contact with a confirmed case of Coronavirus in the last 14 days (they must isolate themselves for 14 days after the date of last contact with the confirmed case)
    • arrived in Australia from any overseas destination must self-isolate for 14 days from the date of arrival in Australia

    Self-isolation means staying at home and not accepting visitors.

    Do not return to the University until you have been assessed by your primary care provider, such as your GP. Your GP will liaise with the local public health authority to determine when it is safe for you to return to Notre Dame.

  • What does home isolation mean?

    Home isolation is remaining in your home environment.

    If you are sharing your home with others, you should stay in a different room from other people or be separated as much as possible. Wear a surgical mask when you are in the same room as another person, and when seeking medical care. Use a separate bathroom, if available.

    Make sure that you do not share a room with people who are at risk of severe disease, such as elderly people and those who have heart, lung or kidney conditions, and diabetes.

    Visitors who do not have an essential need to be in the home should not visit while you are isolating.

    For general advice on who should be isolating and how, click here. For advice on home isolation when unwell, click here.

  • What is social distancing?

    Social distancing is a measure to slow the spread of infectious diseases, although it is recognised that it cannot be practised in all situations, and the aim is to generally reduce potential for transmission of the virus. It means less contact between you and other people.

    While practising social distancing, people can travel to work (including public transport). For non-essential activities outside the workplace or attendance at schools, universities and childcare - social distancing includes:

    • avoiding crowds and mass gatherings where it is difficult to keep the appropriate distance away from others
    • avoiding small gatherings in enclosed spaces
    • attempting to keep a distance of 1.5 metres between yourself and other people where possible, for example when out and about in public place.
    • avoiding shaking hands, hugging, or kissing other people – perhaps nod a greetings
    • avoiding visiting vulnerable people, such as those in aged care facilities or hospitals, infants, or people with compromised immune systems due to illness or medical treatment

    For more guidance on social distancing, visit the Department of Health website.

  • Staff and student travel

    The University is ceasing approval of all study or business-related international and interstate travel by staff and students until further notice. In the case of exceptional circumstances please contact coronavirusadvice@nd.edu.au for review and consideration.

    Importantly do not book any business travel without seeking approval from the University.

    Please contact Fabian D’Mello, Manager Risk and Compliance on fabian.dmello@nd.edu.au for information and advice on Travel Risk and Insurance.

    Study Abroad Students please contact:

    Fremantle and Broome Campus 
    Call us: +61 8 9433 0121
    Visit us: ND1 (opposite Foley Hall)
    Email us: fremantle.studyabroad@nd.edu.au

    Sydney Campus
    Call us: +61 2 8204 4382
    Visit us: Pioneer House
    Email us: sydney.studyabroad@nd.edu.au