Community and workplaces urged to help prevent coronavirus

Wash your hands 1182622704

The NSW Government is asking individuals and businesses to take steps to prepare for a possible COVID-19 pandemic converging with winter flu in the coming months.

The NSW Government is asking individuals and workplaces to take steps to prepare for a possible COVID-19 pandemic converging with winter flu in the coming months.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said NSW Health said that everyone plays a role in prevention.

“Simple hygiene measures like regular hand washing, sneezing into your elbow and, most importantly, staying home when sick, will not only help ease ED presentations for flu but also support existing COVID-19 pandemic plans,” Mr Hazzard said.

“Businesses also need to review their continuity plans now. Look at strategies for keeping workers safe with simple measures such as alcohol hand rub in the workplace, stress the importance of staying home when sick, and use technologies that allow people to work from home where necessary.

“We also ask everyone to please see your GP for minor illnesses and injuries where possible, to ensure we keep our EDs for emergencies only, particularly as we head into the busy flu season.”

Dr Chant said the emergence of community spread of COVID-19 in multiple countries outside mainland China demonstrates how quickly the virus can pass from person to person and, because it can present as mild disease, how preventing its spread can be challenging.

“While the few COVID-19 cases in NSW to date have been mild, the global spread of the virus, coupled with flu season fast approaching, means the situation for our hospitals could change quickly so we’re asking everyone to plan now.”

While the influenza vaccine won’t combat COVID-19, it will help reduce the severity and spread of flu. Face masks are not recommended for the general public unless you are unwell and masks should be saved for people to use when they are sick. Learn more on the NSW Health website or healthdirect.