COVID-19 update – March 18

Hi,

We know that the COVID-19 situation is growing more severe by the day, so I’m hoping to keep you updated as best as possible on what is happening.

I understand the reasons why people may be concerned, and those reasons are valid. But there is no need to panic and by accessing the right information and using common sense measures we can and will get through this crisis.

Here’s an update on where things currently stand.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19?
Fever, cough, tiredness, shortness of breath and other symptoms. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia or severe respiratory distress. It is important to note that you should NOT attend hospital unless you have travelled overseas in the past 14 days and also have symptoms similar to a cold or flu, OR if you have had close contact with a loved one or another person who has a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.

In you don’t fit the above categories, make contact with your GP or the Health Direct hotline (1800 022 222) for an assessment, which will dictate what further course of action should be taken.

HOW IS IT SPREAD?
COVID-19 virus is spread through contaminated droplets spread by coughing or sneezing, or by contact with contaminated hands, surfaces or objects.

HOW IS IT PREVENTED?
You should:
• Clean your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or a flexed elbow.
• Avoid close contact with anyone with fever, cough or flu-like symptoms.
• Practice social distancing, for example by avoiding crowds, mass gatherings, handshakes, hugging or kissing.

WHAT IS BEING DONE?

On Tuesday, a $2.3 billion stimulus package was announced by Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet.

This package has two key components: $700 million in extra health funding and $1.6 billion in tax cuts and other measures to support jobs and businesses.

We know businesses are going to be hit hard by COVID-19, and when businesses are impacted so are jobs.

This package will ensure payroll tax for businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million will be waived for the final quarter of the 2019/20 financial year.

That, along with the waiving of fees and charges for small businesses, means money back in the pocket of businesses which will hopefully give them to stimulus to keep staff employed.

It is important to note that because of the sound financial position that NSW is in, this stimulus is not coming at the expense of any drought or bushfire relief funding.

SCHOOLS UPDATE

For the time being there is no plan to shut down NSW public schools. This is consistent with advice being received by the Chief Medical Officer and in consultation with the ‘War Cabinet’ set up by the Federal Government, which includes representation from each state.

However schools will have enhanced safeguards including students not being required to attend assemblies, excursions or sports carnivals, and other measures to ensure a focus on increased physical separation.

The NSW Education Minister, Sarah Mitchell, is receiving constant updates on the situation and is working closely with the NSW Department of Education to ensure students aren’t being endangered.

PANIC BUYING

We recently saw that the bushfire crisis brought out the best in so many people, but this current crisis is unfortunately going the opposite way.

The situation with panic buying is well-documented but the simple message is it is not necessary. It is vital we be community-minded and only purchase items we need, when we need them, so there is enough for everyone, especially the elderly.

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