How To Self-Quarantine, According To The Government

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How To Self-Quarantine, According To The Government
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With coronavirus spreading in Australian capitals, more workers and returning travellers are expected to self-isolate to prevent further spread. The thought of 14 days spent at home sounds like a nightmare for many but it’s unfortunately a necessity. Here’s what the Federal Department of Health suggests you do.

Do I have to self-isolate?

According to advice from the Department of Health, anyone who’s returning from overseas must self-isolate for 14 days, even if you’re not showing any symptoms.

Additionally, if you’ve visited South Korea on or after 5 March 2020 or been in contact with a confirmed coronavirus case, you’ll also be subject to the 14-day isolation process.

“You must stay at home or in your hotel and don’t go to public places including work, school, childcare, university or public gatherings,” the department’s guidelines read. “Only people who usually live with you should be in the home. Do not see visitors. If you are in a hotel, avoid contact with other guests or staff.”

Outside of those situations, there’s no need to self-isolate at this stage but that advice could change if the infected cases surge in the coming weeks.

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How to self-isolate if you have cold and flu symptoms

If you’re feeling sick, things change a little bit. If you develop some of the key symptoms including fever, a cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath, you should call your local health clinic or hospital to tell them of your concerns and they will inform you of what to do. Additionally, there are a number of hotlines you can call to confirm what your next steps should be.

It’s important you do not turn up unannounced to your local GP as you might risk spreading the virus to others unwillingly.

The department also recommends you self-isolate alone, getting others who live with you to temporarily move elsewhere if possible. If that’s not an option, people you share the house with will also need to be isolated.

“If you are sharing the home with others, you should stay in a different room from them, or be separated as much as possible. You should use a separate bathroom, if available. Avoid shared or communal areas and wear a surgical mask when moving through these areas,” the guidelines read.

“Surfaces in shared areas such as door handles, taps and benches should be cleaned daily with household disinfectant or a diluted bleach solution.”

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Can I take the bins out if I’m in coronavirus self-isolation?

If you’ve been confirmed to have the virus, you’ll need to make sure you’re staying at home during the isolation period. There is some lenience if you need to briefly leave the apartment to do a necessary task like emptying the bins. The department recommends you wear a surgical mask and move quickly.

“If you live in a private house, it is safe for you to go into your garden or courtyard. If you live in an apartment or are staying in a hotel, it is also safe for you to go into the garden but you should wear a surgical mask to minimise risk to others and move quickly through any common areas,” it reads.

If supplies are running low, get someone to duck down to the shops for you and drop some stuff off.

“You must remain isolated either in your home or a healthcare setting until public health authorities inform you it is safe for you to return to your usual activities,” the guidelines say.

Can I leave coronavirus self-isolation if I need to work?

While full-time and part-time workers have entitlements such as paid annual leave and sick leave, those employed in casual jobs do not. That means taking a forced 14 days of leave would leave many without an income for two weeks.

It’s a concern the Australian Council of Trade Unions’ (ACTU) secretary, Sally McManus, has been vocal about.

Some employers, like Macquarie University, have committed to making adjustments and providing casual workers who cannot work from home or cannot rearrange shifts with pay but a lot more needs to be done.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to deliver a stimulus package in response to the economic downturn coronavirus is wreaking on Australian markets but whether the extenuating circumstances affecting the nation’s casual workforce will be taken into account remains to be seen.

How to keep yourself occupied while in self-isolation for coronavirus

The department’s guidelines admit a self-isolation period of 14 days can be stressful and boring so it offers some tips.

  • Keep in touch with family members and friends via telephone, email or social media;
  • Learn more about coronavirus and talk with others. Understanding coronavirus will reduce anxiety;
  • Reassure young children using age-appropriate language;
  • Where possible, keep up normal daily routines, such as eating and exercise. Exercise is a proven treatment for stress and depression;
  • Reflect on your resilience and on how you have coped with difficult situations in the past.
  • Remember that isolation won’t be for long

For the latest updates and developments, check in with Health’s site as well as your state’s health department for more local advice.

Here's Australia's Hotlines For Coronavirus Advice

The World Health Organisation declared coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) back in January 2020. Since then, the tally of infected has only risen. If you're concerned you might be affected by the virus, however, a number of hotlines have been set up in addition to websites. Here are the numbers you can call.

Read more

Comments

  • Posted at 8:30am already out of date.
    All new arrivals (not just Iran, China … as stated) have to self isolate if you arrive in Australia after midnight Sunday 15 March.

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