Australians have been urged to stay away from aged care facilities and isolate themselves at home if they have travelled to mainland China within the past 14 days or have come in contact with a confirmed case of novel coronavirus in that same period.
The directives follow a government announcement of a China travel ban. Australia closed its borders to most people travelling from or through mainland China to address concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus. Only Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family will be granted entry.
The government’s aged care directive is contained in a fact sheet developed for aged care residents and family members.
The fact sheet also held that residents who have travelled to mainland China within the past two weeks or who have been in close contact with a case of novel coronavirus in that same period will be isolated for 14 days.
“If you need to be isolated, you will be placed in a single room and will not be able to engage with other residents or receive visitors. You will be monitored closely for symptoms of the virus and, if you become unwell, you will undergo further assessment and testing,” the fact sheet read.
“Health care and residential care workers will continue to provide support and care while you are isolated.”
Any resident who needs to leave that room to seek medical care will be required to wear a mask.
The Department of Health also released information for aged care workers. They were told to isolate themselves under the same circumstances and alert their employer if they develop symptoms during the isolation period, especially if they have been in the workplace.
Those who returned to work but should have been isolated were told to inform their employer and isolate themselves for the remainder of the two-week period.
Employers were instructed to brief all employees and contracted staff, including students and interns, on relevant information and procedures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus to people in their care.
Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) recommended employers seek out disclosure from employees, volunteers and consumers regarding any recent travel to China or contact with any confirmed novel coronavirus cases.
ACSA added that any employee who has been asked to stand down from work due to possible coronavirus exposure must be paid for the shifts they would have otherwise worked during this period.
Leading Age Services Australia chief executive Sean Rooney said aged care residences and home care providers were on high alert across the nation.
“The health of both older Australians in care and the staff who look after them is paramount, with rigorous infection control protocols in place.”Do you have an idea for a story?
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