Wednesday April 8th Headlines
- UK: Downing Street has said that Boris Johnson is in good spirits, but remains in intensive care in a stable condition
- Modelling released yesterday has indicated that Australia is in a fortunate position, but that COVID-19 is here to stay
- The $130 billion Job Keeper Package will by be passed by Parliament in a special sitting today
- Health Minister Greg Hunt has told Channel 9 that Australia is the best place in the world to be during the crisis
- The first Australians who were forced into mandatory quarantine, will be released today from their Sydney hotel
- The Australian Embassy in Cambodia is looking to charter a flight so that stranded Australians can return home
- New York once again becomes ground zero as the coronavirus death toll surpasses the 9/11 attacks
- Italy has recorded its lowest increase in new infections in almost a month
- In France, lockdown measures have been tightened, with Parisians now banned from outdoor sports including jogging, between the hours of 10am and 7pm
- The Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli will live stream a performance from the empty Duomo Cathedral in Milan on Easter Sunday; he will be accompanied only by the cathedral organist with the performamce being streamed on his YouTube channel
Latest Update from Queensland Health
As of 7 April 2020
Queensland has 13 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) raising the state total to 934.
|HHS*||Total confirmed cases to date|
|Cairns and Hinterland||30|
|Torres and Cape||0|
* HHS level case data may include a patient’s residential address, Public Health Unit managing or location where test was ordered.
** Changes may occur in the number of notifications reported from day to day. This is due to ongoing maintenance and update of notification details as new information becomes available, or where discrepancies are detected through data quality assurance activities.
Contact tracing is underway for the 13 new cases. Queensland Health will notify the community if any other public health alerts are required.
Among the Queensland cases is an infectious diseases nurse from the Princess Alexandra Hospital, who is currently resting in isolation after contracting novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The nurse was working in the infectious diseases Unit with COVID-19 patients and then reported feeling unwell.
The nurse has followed all procedures including staying home as soon as symptoms emerged immediately notifying superiors to help protect colleagues and close contacts.
Metro South Public Health unit has determined six other staff members who came in contact with the nurse will now self -isolate for the required 14 days.
Most of the other cases are from patients who have travelled overseas, or have had direct contact with a confirmed case who had travelled overseas.
The number of confirmed cases we see each day is expected to vary as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 situation across the state.
Queensland Health has decided to pause, delay or discontinue some projects to allow for the further re-deployment of staff to assist with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response.
Queensland Health Director General Dr John Wakefield said the global pandemic is being felt on an unprecedented global scale and is forcing health administrators all over the world to rethink the way organisations are resourced and staffed.
“Maintaining the health and wellbeing of our workforce, including relieving the pressure of staff having to continue non-critical business as usual activities, is critical to the way we respond to this crisis,” Dr Wakefield said.
“A large part of our workforce is dedicated to the COVD-19 response and while planning is becoming more robust every day, more can be done.”
Queensland Health has changed the scope of some projects to free up resources. This will include the pausing the Queensland Health Climate Change Strategy, delaying the Rapid Results Program, pausing work on the Medicines and Poisons Framework and discontinuing the Laboratory Information System Project to ensure pathology services are not disrupted during the outbreak.
This is in addition to implementing the national decisions to limit non-urgent elective surgery and National, State-wide and QAS Performance Testing.
“More programs may need to be suspended as we scale up our efforts to fight the pandemic.
“We need to make difficult decisions to ensure our workforce is kept safe and in the best position possible to help fellow Queenslanders.”
We want everyone to know they can play their part to protect themselves and the more vulnerable in our community. Please follow the recommended advice from us and our federal counterparts in regards to social distancing, public gatherings and general wellbeing.
Critically, make sure you are practicing good hygiene and staying home, especially if you’re sick. Washing your hands properly and often is the gold standard of health advice that can help prevent viruses from entering your body.
A person is eligible for testing if they have a fever (or history of fever) or acute respiratory symptoms, and, in the last 14 days:
- they were a close contact or a household contact of a confirmed case
- they had been overseas, including on a cruise.
Testing is also possible for people who have a fever (or history of fever) or acute respiratory symptoms, AND:
- work in vulnerable settings such as healthcare, aged or residential care, military, correction facilities, detention centres and boarding schools.
- live in Brisbane, Gold Coast or Cairns (Brisbane includes the Metro North and Metro South Hospital and Health Services)
- live in a First Nations community.
Queensland Health is urging anyone who meets this criteria for testing, to contact a doctor immediately.
Before your appointment, please call ahead and advise of your symptoms and recent travel they can prepare for your visit.
The most up-to-date reliable information on COVID-19 in Queensland is available on the Queensland Health website at www.health.qld.gov.au/coronavirus
Home Confinement Direction
This direction applies to all residents of Queensland.
All people must stay in their homes except for:
- shopping for essentials – food and necessary supplies;
- medical or health care needs, including compassionate requirements;
- exercise with no more than one other person (unless from your household);
- providing care or assistance to an immediate family member;
- work and study if you can’t work or learn remotely.
Direction from Chief Health Officer in accordance with emergency powers arising from the declared public health emergency
Public Health Act 2005 (Qld)
On 29 January 2020, under the Public Health Act 2005, the Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services made an order declaring a public health emergency in relation to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The public health emergency area specified in the order is for ‘all of Queensland’. Its duration has been extended by regulation to 19 May 2020 and may be further extended.
Further to this declaration, l, Dr Jeannette Young, Chief Health Officer, reasonably believe it is necessary to give the following directions pursuant to the powers under s 362B of the Public Health Act 2005 to assist in containing, or to respond to, the spread of COVID-19 within the community.
Preamble and effect on previous Public Health Directions
- This Public Health Direction is to be read in conjunction with other Public Health Directions issued under section 362B of the Public Health Act 2005 that have not expired or been revoked.
- However, to the extent of any inconsistency, this Public Health Direction overrides any previous Public Health Direction issued under section 362B of the Public Health Act 2005.
- This Public Health Direction may be referred to as the Home confinement Direction.
PART 1 — DIRECTION – Home confinement requirements for residents of Queensland
- The purpose of this Part is to prohibit:
- persons from leaving their residence except for permitted purposes; and
- groups of more than two persons who are not members of the same household from gathering in any place except for permitted purposes.
- These directions apply from 11.59pm on Sunday, 29 March 2020, until the end of the declared public health emergency, unless they are revoked or replaced.
- A person who resides in Queensland must not leave their principal place of residence except for, and only to the extent reasonably necessary to accomplish, the following permitted purposes:
- to obtain food or other essential goods or services;
- to obtain medical treatment or other health care services;
- to engage in physical exercise, either alone or in the company of no more than one other person; or in the company of a family group who ordinarily live in the same Household;
- to perform work on behalf of an employer that is engaged in an essential business, activity or undertaking, and the work to be performed is of a nature that cannot reasonably be performed from the person’s principal place of residence;
- to visit a terminally ill relative or to attend a funeral, subject to any applicable restrictions under other relevant Public Health Directions;
- to provide assistance, care or support to an immediate member of the person’s family;
- to attend any Court of Australia or to comply with or give effect to orders of the Court; or
- to attend a childcare facility, school, university, or other educational institution, to the extent care or instruction cannot reasonably be obtained in the person’s principal place of residence.
- A person who leaves their residence for a permitted purpose may be accompanied by members of their household or, alternatively, by no more than one person who is not a member of their household.
- The Queensland Chief Health Officer may grant an exemption to part or all of these directions on compassionate grounds or for other exceptional circumstances.
For the purposes of this Public Health Direction:
Essential business, activity or undertaking means a business, activity or undertaking that is not prohibited by the Non-essential business, activity and undertaking Closure Direction (No.3) or another Public Health Direction.
Essential goods or services are food and other supplies, and services, that are needed for the necessities of life and operation of society, such as food, fuel, medical supplies, and other goods.
Household means persons who ordinarily live at the same residence, including if family or kinship customs or cultural obligations have the effect of a person living across multiple residences.
Principal place of residence means:
- For a person who permanently resides in Queensland, the residence where the person ordinarily resides.
- For a person who temporarily resides in Queensland, the residence where the person ordinarily resides when the person in present in Queensland.
Residence means premises used, or intended to be used, as a dwelling or mainly as a dwelling, and includes the land on which the residence is situated, and includes:
- a single detached dwelling;
- each of one or more attached dwellings that are separated by a common wall;
Examples for paragraph (b) — villa unit, townhouse, terrace house, row house, unit in an apartment block.
- A manufactured home as defined in section 10 of the Manufactured Homes (Residential Parks) Act 2003;
- a caravan as defined in section 7 of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008;
- any other building or structure situated on the same land as the premises or dwelling.
Examples for paragraph (e) – shed, pool house, carport, granny flat. But does not include a corrective services facility or detention centre.
PART 2 – PENALTIES
A person to whom the direction applies commits an offence if the person fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with the direction.
Section 362D of the Public Health Act 2005 provides:
Failure to comply with public health directions
- A person to whom a public health direction applies must comply with the direction unless the person has a reasonable excuse.
- Maximum penalty—100 penalty units.
Coronavirus Health Information Line
Call this line if you are seeking information on novel coronavirus. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
1800 020 080
Australian Government’s Response Plan – Download
The Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (the COVID-19 Plan) guides the Australian health sector response. It includes an overview of the national approach and operational plan.