EXPOSURE to coronarvirus in Victoria remains low but long-developed plans to manage such an infectious disease remain under review, the state's chief health officer says.
Professor Brett Sutton said the government and its health systems, which includes Ballarat Health Services, were working "around the clock" to keep Victorian communities safe.
In Victoria, coronavirus has been declared a class two public health emergency. The focus is on identifying possible cases, isolating those who are infectious and quarantining contacts.
Professor Sutton said regardless of international developments in the virus, this allowed health services in Victoria and Australia time and space to plan and prepare.
We are continually adapting to new information and circumstances as they arise.Victorian chief health officer Brett Sutton
A Ballarat Health Services spokesperson confirmed BHS was working with Department of Health and Human Services to ensure the response in this city to the rapidly changing coronavirus disease was ready to be enacted if required.
"We are confident in our process management, and any response in relation to the virus situation will be made in consultation, and under the direction of the department," a BHS statement read.
Professor Sutton said the health department was working through its emergency management systems to support all sectors should there be an outbreak in the state.
Victoria, in collaboration with the Commonwealth and other states and territories, has been working for weeks to prepare for a pandemic, which is becoming increasingly likely given the rise in infection in several countries and regions outside mainland China.
World Health Organisation deemed the virus is spread between humans with symptoms through coughing and sneezing. The spread occurs through close contact with an infected person, mostly face-to-face or within a household. The virus cannot be carried for long distances in the air.
Unless you among those asked to self-isolate, Victoria's Health Department advice is to go about your life as normal.
This advice comes as Alfredton mother and daughter Lyn and Clare Hedger remain quarantined in Darwin, having been evacuated from infected cruise ship Diamond Princess off the shores of Japan earlier this week.
The pair are likely to remain in the Howard Springs camp until late next week. Neither have shown any signs of the illness.
There are seven confirmed coronavirus cases in Victoria, three of whom are in isolation after being evacuated from the Diamond Princess and four who have recovered.
The Victorian Health Department has guidelines for health services, general practitioners and the education sector to help support their response to coronavirus, COVID-19. Symptoms can be treated based on a patient's condition.
Health department advice to protect yourself and your family is to pay attention to good hygiene:
- cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing with a tissue
- or, cough into your elbow
- dispose of tissues into a bin and then wash your hands afterwards
- wash your hands regularly, after using the toilet and before eating
- face masks are not deemed necessary in Victoria for protection from coronavirus.
- Those set to travel overseas are urged to visit the Smartraveller website for up-to-date information.
If you have travelled to an impacted area and are concerned you may have the virus, call ahead to your doctor's clinic before attending.
For more information on response planning from both State and Commonwealth Health authorities please go to: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has described racism in Victorian hospitals as "shameful". At least two health services, including Royal Children's Hospital, has reported the shunning of medical staff with Asian appearance.
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