If you are an international student in Australia, do not panic. The Australian government is doing what they can to ensure safety for all. But even with the Government’s effort, we have our own responsibilities too. In this article, we have compiled all the necessary measures you need to take in order to protect yourself and the people around you.
Previously referred to as NCov, an acronym for Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 19) is a newly identified strain of corona-viruses which ultimately targets the respiratory system of those infected. It is commonly associated with severe diseases such as MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).
The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose and mouth when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease and people can develop mild to moderate symptoms.
- Sore throat
- Body pains
- Difficulty in breathing
If you are expressing difficulty breathing, seek urgent medical attention.
Update: Australia has widened their qualifications for testing, so if you feel like expressing flu-like symptoms, get tested immediately.
If you are an international student in Australia, or is staying in the country, the chances of acquiring the virus is very likely if:
- You have been in a place or country with high risk (China, Korea, Japan, Italy, or Iran)
- Had physical or close contact with a person who has contracted the disease
- You have been exposed due to nature of work (health worker, military, grocery workers)
Note: Australia closed their borders to non-residents. Self-isolation for 14 days is also being implemented after landing in the country.
Furthermore, people who are most vulnerable to the disease are:
- Immuno-compromised Individuals
- Elderly people
- People with respiratory illnesses
- People with chronic illnesses
- People with underlying illnesses
- People in detention and rehabilitation facilities
- People exposed due to their nature of work (health workers, military, grocery workers, etc.)
It’s not that hard, but it requires twice, or even thrice of your usual efforts to stay clean and hygienic. To eliminate the spread of the virus, one must also practice proper hygiene such as:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Use a hand sanitizer with at least 70% ethyl alcohol
- Disinfect every surface that you touch often (Mobile phones, tables, laptops, etc.)
- Avoid covering your face with your hands when you cough. Use your elbows instead.
- In case you are feeling sick, use a surgical mask to avoid infecting others
You don’t have to isolate completely from the people you love, unless you have been in close contact with a person who is identified as a suspected carrier of the virus, or has travelled from a place of high risk, or worse, if you are feeling sick.
What you do need, however, is to practice social distancing in the household, workplace, and in schools.
- Avoid shaking hands.
- Avoid greeting people through physical contact. (Shaking hands, hugging, touching)
- Avoid going out of the comfort of your own homes unless necessary.
- Limit social gatherings. If it can’t be helped, do it online instead!
- Avoid sharing of food, plates and utensils.
- Keep a distance of at least 1.5 meters from each other. (This does not mean we hate each other, though!)
Note: Australia announced the cancellation of Anzac Day due to a number of elderly people who attends the said event.
If ever you experience the symptoms mentioned above, self-isolation is one way of protecting yourself and the people you care about.
In Australia, it is good to know the hotlines available if you wish to seek for medical advice. Anyone with flu-like symptoms are now eligible for testing. Seek the Australian National Coronavirus Healthline if you think you are expressing symptoms so you can get tested.
Australian National Coronavirus Healthline
1800 020 080
For urgent medical assistance (eg. Trouble breathing), dial 000.
COVID-19 APP IS HERE
Australia launched its COVID-19 app which is available in iOS and Android, an easy-access shelter of information for all COVID-19 updates, news and primary concerns. The government is also working to put a tracing functionality feature, which allows contact tracings via Bluetooth, similar to that of Singapore.
In addition to the App, The World Health Organization has recently released a WhatsApp chat for inquiries and FAQs.
Both are readily available under the touch of your fingertips.
IS THERE ANY CURE FOR COVID-19?
Scientists from all over the world are working nonstop to find a solution as soon as possible. But as of this time, there are no specific vaccines or treatments available for COVID-19. Many clinical trials are still ongoing to evaluate potential treatments.
BE SAFE, BE STRONG
The Australian government is constantly on the move against the deadly virus, so be updated with the latest news and protocols. For more detailed information and FAQs, refer to Coronavirus FAQ for International Students .
Stay hydrated and try to maintain a well-balanced diet. Health is the only wealth against this deadly virus.
Spread love and compassion amidst fear and panic.
Together, we can do this!