COVID-19 Community Update: Stage 3 restrictions, confirmed cases and changes to interstate travel (30 March)
31 March 2020
There have been further updates that you should know about following last night’s meeting of the National Cabinet.
The announcements included further social gathering restrictions, a new app with all the latest information and advice for those over the age of 70. The Victorian Premier also triggered Stage 3 restrictions today, which come into effect at midnight.
Here’s a summary of what it all means.
A new JobKeeper payment was announced yesterday. Eligible businesses impacted by coronavirus will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee to keep them on the payroll.
Employers can now register their interest in applying for the JobKeeper payment via ato.gov.au. Payments will be made from 1 May 2020.
Eligibility criteria and further details can be found here.
STAGE 3 RESTRICTIONS
- Public gatherings are limited to 2 people – except for your family you live with and for work;
- There are only four reasons to not be at home:
- Shopping for food and essential supplies;
- Medical care or compassionate needs;
- Exercise – adhering to social gathering and distancing rules; and
- Work and education – where working/learning from home is not possible
- Playgrounds and skateparks are now closed
Police now have the power to issue on-the-spot fines of $1600 to people who don’t adhere to the two-person public gathering limit.
Stage 1 & 2 restrictions also remain in place.
At this stage, all other businesses can continue to trade, while observing social distancing measures.
CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASES
As of this 9am this morning, Victoria had 821 confirmed cases of COVID-19, while Australia had 4163.
Please note that the figures on local cases below are current as of Saturday night, when they were last officially updated by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.
Some media outlets are now reporting that these numbers have increased, with one confirmed case in Benalla, 6 in Shepparton, 1 in Campaspe and 1 in Wangaratta.
IF YOU BECOME UNWELL
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, breathing difficulties, cough, sore throat, and fatigue or tiredness. If you suspect that you or someone you know might have coronavirus, please call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398. (Please keep Triple Zero for medical emergencies.)
You can also use this handy symptom checker.
Locally, screening and fever clinics have been set up at the following locations
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF (AND OTHERS)
- Good hygiene – hand washing, clean and disinfect surfaces frequently and avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose. More here
- Social distancing – keep at least 1.5 metres of space between you and others.
- Get your flu shot! – Check in with your pharmacy or GP to see whether the flu shot is available. It will not protect you from COVID-19 but getting the flu and COVID-19 at the same time can make you very unwell.
HELP IF YOU’VE LOST YOUR JOB
If you have lost work or are facing financial difficulty as a result of the pandemic, you can apply for financial assistance through Centrelink. If you are already receiving a Centrelink payment, you do not need to do anything else to receive the extra financial assistance.
Centrelink is encouraging people to visit the myGov website where application forms can be competed online. For assistance with My Gov, contact the MyGov Helpdesk by phone: 132 307.
SUPPORT FOR LANDLORDS AND RENTERS
A moratorium has been placed on evictions over the next six months for commercial and residential tenants who are in financial distress and are unable to meet their commitments because of the impact of coronavirus.
Commercial tenants, landlords and financial institutions are encouraged to sit down together to find a way through to ensure businesses survive. More information can be found here.
I have also asked the Victorian Government to provide land tax credits to property owners who give rent relief to tenants. You can read more about that here.
BUSINESS AND HOUSEHOLD SUPPORT
Previous editions of this update containing information on financial assistance available to households and business can be found here.
HELP FOR MENTAL HEALTH
If you are worried about coronavirus and how it is affecting your life or people you love, you’re not alone. It’s not always easy but try to remember that health professionals and governments are working to contain the virus and keep our community safe.
Make sure you get regular fresh air, exercise as appropriate and keep in touch with family and friends over the phone.
- Head to Health is a digital mental health service that can link you to trusted Australian online and phone supports, resources and treatment options.
- Beyond Blue also has some excellent resources to help you through this difficult time – you can find them here.
Please make sure you pass this information on to those that need it most.
NEW TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS
As of midnight Saturday, all travellers arriving in Australia are required to undertake their mandatory 14-day isolation period at a designated facility, such as a hotel. Travellers are being transported directly to designated facilities following immigration, customs and enhanced health checks.
Some state governments, including Queensland, Tasmania and South Australia, have also put in place border restrictions preventing people for entering unless it is essential.
Accurate and timely information is essential. The following resources are a great place to start:
- australia.gov.au is a great place to start for information on restrictions, financial assistance, community support and health advice;
- Coronavirus app – launched over the weekend, this app can be downloaded to your smartphone via the Apple or Google stores;
- Whats App – you can get updates directly from the government by downloading the app here. Subscribe by sending a message to +61 400 253 787