Update on coronavirus

30 January 2020

Dear all  

I am writing to update you about the novel coronavirus, including; 

  • advice if you are returning from Hubei
  • have been in contact with someone who has the virus
  • if you are in Hubei province and not able to travel to Australia
  • if you are considering travel to China. 

We're actively monitoring the situation and closely following the expert advice of Federal and ACT health authorities. There are currently no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the ACT.  

In the interests of all in our community, we are taking an evidence-based and proportionate approach. I hope that you will support that approach. 

I want to assure you that there is no immediate threat to the campus or our community, and the University is committed to ensuring semester one proceeds with minimal disruption.   

We're keeping our website up-to-date with comprehensive information for staff and students, so please check back regularly for updates.  We'll let you know any major updates via email, social media and the ANU OK App. 

If you are experiencing respiratory symptoms you should seek medical attention. If you are concerned about medical symptoms, please call the national helpline on 1800 004 599, visit the Department of Health's specialist coronavirus website or contact ACT Health on 02 5124 9213. 

If you have been in Hubei province or if you have been in contact with someone who has a confirmed case of the virus within the last 14 days, ACT Health has directed that you must self-isolate for 14 days following exposure and not attend campus. If you live on campus, we'll provide you with advice and support through residential services. 

If you are in Hubei province and are not able to travel to Australia we will communicate with you directly to support you with flexible arrangements for arrival and commencement of your studies or work. If you haven't been contacted, please call +61 2 6125 7257. Our aim is to support you as important members of our community. 

If you are considering travel to China please note that based on DFAT advice to "reconsider your need to travel to China", the University has suspended approval for travel to China.  No-one will be required to travel to China on University business.  

The most useful thing we can all do to help prevent the spread of disease is to follow basic health precautions:  

  • Wash your han ds often with soap and water, carry hand sanitiser with you and use it often;
  • Keep a distance from sick people, especially if they have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing; 
  • Monitor your health closely; 
  • See a health care professional immediately if you are start feeling unwell and share your full travel history with your health care provider immediately when booking your appointment; and 
  • Practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, wash hands).   

I acknowledge that this is a distressing time for many in our community and we know that many will be concerned about this virus. We understand news like this can be distressing or cause anxiety, and that this has been an unusually stressful start to the year. We have additional support in place for all in our community who need it.    

Counselling is available for staff and their family members through Assure - 1800 808 374 (this number operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week) and Relationships Australia - 02 6122 7100.  Appointments can be taken in person or over the phone.  Staff can also access counselling from the Advisers to Staff via staff.adviser@anu.edu.au or 02 6125 8383 / 02 6125 3616. 

Students can access support via ANU Crisis Support Line on 1300 050 327 or via SMS Text message service on 0488 884 170. You can find additional information on mental health and wellbeing, as well as links to critical services.  

Most importantly, the current situation once again shows it's important that we be kind to each other and that we look out for all members of the ANU community.   

This has been an extremely testing summer for many of us. But as we have shown time and again, in the face of these challenges we rise to meet them together as a community that is generous, caring, understanding and patient.   

I thank you all again for your resilience and for your commitment to supporting each other at this difficult time.