Covid-19 coronavirus impact
The first known case of a new SARS like coronavirus occurred on 1 December 2019 and a public notice on 31 December. On 23 January, significant numbers of cases had been found in China and the quarantine of Wuhan province commenced. Travel bans and other precautions began to be instituted from that date onwards.
It’s now almost 2 months since those actions were taken. The rate of new infection has now slowed significantly. Since then there have been significant outbreaks in Japan, South Korea and Italy. Cruise ships have proven to be susceptible to transmission of viruses.
As a result of the global spread it has now been declared a Pandemic – a worldwide infectious disease.
Australian Government Announcement
On Friday, the Federal government announced that all public events with more than 500 people will be cancelled. They subsequently announced that all international arrivals will be forced to self-isolate for 14 days. The Easter Show & Vivid festival have been cancelled. AFL, NRL & NBL are playing without crowds but it is likely they will stop playing soon.
All Australians are now advised to reconsider their need for overseas travel at this time. This includes travel to countries that have not reported coronavirus infections. Popular travel destinations such as Bali, Fiji and Thailand have reported only a few cases however they are not testing many people and their health systems may not be able to cope with significant outbreaks. They may have a lack of awareness of precautions or fail to follow them for cultural/religious reasons. Travel insurance may not cover the costs.
All non-essential travel has now been advised against. Inbound international arrivals will need to isolate for 2 weeks. Most of them will consider it no longer worthwhile to travel here.
Qantas and Virgin have announced that they will waive some cancellation charges. Some travel agents and hotels may allow free cancellation of bookings. You should cancel any trips planned within the next few weeks. For trips further into the future it is not necessary to cancel. I had to wait on hold for 2 hours to cancel my flight to Melbourne next week so you should wait until closer to the date before attempting to cancel any flights.
What to do to stay safe?
The coronavirus is spread by coming into contact with an infected surface, coughing & sneezing.
By avoiding coming into contact with other people and frequently washing your hands you can minimise the risk of infection. Shaking hands or touching objects that other people have touched or breathed on (e.g. microphones) should be avoided.
Crowded spaces should also be avoided e.g. public transport, bars, cinemas, malls, restaurants. If you are coughing or sneezing then you should also avoid going to gyms and other places where you may come into contact with people.
Things that should be ok:
- Walking in the park
- Driving your own car
- Riding a bicycle
- Sitting in an office by yourself
- Outdoor café with more than 1.5 metres space to the next person.
- Visiting the local shops
- Swimming pools with chlorinated water
Many industries and businesses will struggle during this crisis. People working in affected industries will not be able to earn an income. Try to support your local small businesses and your neighbours.
This crisis might be over in 1-2 months or it might take 12-18 months but eventually we will get through it.
New infections may cease if enough people isolate. A vaccine may be developed that can prevent infection or sufferers who recover may develop immunity going forward.
Financial Support to pensioners & business
The treasurer announced that the government will make one-off payments of $750 to welfare beneficiaries to support them during this crisis.
They also announced payroll subsidies to small businesses who pay PAYG wih-holding for their employees.
It is likely that more stimulus measures will be announced to attempt to reduce the shocks faced by the economy.