Covid-19 Information Hub for Businesses

With Covid-19 sweeping the planet and affecting virtually every industry Business News Australia has launched an Information Hub for businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
This hub is your go-to place for up-to-date information about Covid-19, what to do to support your business in this trying time, and resources to help manage the coming weeks and months.


Real-time tracking of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Australia

Data is based on media reports and verified with updates from state and federal health departments.  This site is run by volunteers.

Real-time tracking of global cases of the Coronavirus COVID-19

by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU)


$130 BILLION JOBKEEPER PAYMENT TO KEEP AUSTRALIANS IN A JOB

The Government is introducing a subsidy program to support employees and businesses. The JobKeeper Payment is designed to help businesses affected by the Coronavirus to cover the costs of their employees' wages, so that more employees can retain their job and continue to earn an income.

Employers (including non-for-profits) will be eligible for the subsidy if:

  • The business turnover will be reduced by more than 30 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month).

  • The business has a turnover of $1 billion or more and their turnover will be reduced by more than 50 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month)

  • The business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.

  • Employers must elect to participate in the scheme. They will need to make an application to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and provide supporting information demonstrating a downturn in their business.

  • Government will provide $1,500 per fortnight per employee for up to 6 months.

  • Eligible employers will receive the payment for each eligible employee that was on their books on 1 March 2020 and continues to be engaged by that employer including full-time, part-time, long-term casuals and stood down employees. 

  • Casual employees eligible for the JobKeeper Payment are those employees who have been with their employer on a regular basis for at least the previous 12 months as at 1 March 2020.

  • To be eligible, an employee must be an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, a Protected Special Category Visa Holder, a non-protected Special Category Visa Holder who has been residing continually in Australia for 10 years or more, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder.

  • Eligible employers who have stood down their employees before the commencement of this scheme will be able to participate.

  • Employees that are re-engaged by a business that was their employer on 1 March 2020 will also be eligible.

  • Self-employed individuals will be eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment where they have suffered or expect to suffer a 30 per cent decline in turnover relative to a comparable prior period (of at least a month).

  • The subsidy will start on 30 March 2020, with the first payments to be received by employers in the first week of May. 

    Click here to go to ATO's COVID-19 support page

 


International delivery delays Impact of novel coronavirus

Australia Post expects major international delivery delays due to flight cancellations and government restrictions because of COVID-19.

Australia Post is working with partner airlines and other postal operators to move items as quickly as possible.

Please note Australia Post will suspend its "Economy Air" international delivery service for parcels to all countries effective 3 April and until further notice.

Click here to see country specific updates




 

How is the coronavirus likely to play out, how does it end, and does our behaviour make a difference?

Infectious diseases expert Dr Siouxsie Wiles walks us through the epidemic curve.

Can I take the dog for a walk? Can I put the kids to bed? What you should and shouldn't do if you're in coronavirus self-isolation

COVID-19 risk on public transport: What we can learn from overseas

Australia can learn from how other countries are reducing the spread of the virus on public transport, writes Dr Yale Zhuxiao Wong


Latest information from the Australian Government

COVID-19 updates for exporters
Latest information on COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) for exporters.

This page has information to help Australian exporters manage the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on their business.

Recommendation for public gatherings and testing

Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) notes emerging evidence of community transmission in localised areas within Australia, current issues limiting the capacity to do widespread COVID-19 diagnostic tests and emerging international evidence that, for best effect, social distancing measures are best introduced at the earliest stages of community transmission.

AHPPC considers that, for these reasons, the time has come to put in place social distancing measures to mitigate spread.

These include:

  • Limiting non-essential organised gatherings to fewer than 500 people
  • Limiting non-essential meetings or conferences of critical workforce eg healthcare professionals and emergency services
  • Encouraging all Australians to exercise personal responsibility for social distancing measures
  • Initiating measures to protect vulnerable populations, such as reducing visitors to all residential care facilities and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

These measures are of most importance for people over 60, particularly those with chronic disease.


Information for employers

People who have returned from a country or region that is at high or moderate risk for COVID-19 should monitor their health closely. If you develop symptoms including a fever and cough you should isolate yourself immediately and urgently seek medical attention.

Click here to go to for the list of at-risk countries.

People who think they may have been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus, should also monitor their health and seek urgent medical attention.

This information sheet should be read in conjunction with the 'What you need to know' and 'Isolation guidance' information sheets found here.

Go to www.health.gov.au/covid19-travellers for the current list of higher risk countries.

Can staff go to work?

Specific requirements are in place for people who have returned from a country or region that is at high or moderate risk for COVID-19, or think may they have been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus. Click here for the list of at-risk countries and isolation requirements.

Employees who are in isolation should alert their employer. Depending on the type of work, and provided the employee is well, they may want to discuss alternative arrangements such as working from home. See the 'Isolation guidance' information sheets here

What should I tell my staff?

Employers should provide information and brief all employees and contract staff, including domestic and cleaning staff where applicable, on relevant information and procedures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. You should inform staff who meet the above criteria that they should remain isolated in their home.

Employees should advise their employer if they develop symptoms during the isolation period, particularly if they have been in the workplace.

Public health authorities may contact employers in the event an employee is confirmed to have coronavirus.

What precautions should I take when cleaning?

When cleaning, staff should minimise the risk of being infected with coronavirus by wearing gloves and using alcohol-based hand sanitiser before and after wearing gloves. If cleaning rooms or areas of the workplace where a person with a confirmed case of coronavirus or a person in isolation has frequented staff may wish to wear a surgical mask as an added precaution.

If a confirmed case of coronavirus or a person in isolation is in a room that cleaning staff need to enter, they may ask them to put on a surgical mask if they have one available.

Can food and water spread coronavirus?

Some coronaviruses can potentially survive in the gastrointestinal tract however, food-borne spread is unlikely when food is properly cooked and prepared. With good food preparation and good hand hygiene, it is highly unlikely that you will become infected with coronavirus through food.

It is unknown at this time if the virus is able to survive in sewerage. Those who work closely with sewerage should take the same precautions as those outlined above for cleaners.

Drinking water in Australia is high quality and is well treated. It is not anticipated that drinking water will be affected by coronavirus.

How can we help prevent the spread of coronavirus?

Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses.

You should:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet.

  • Cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser and if unwell, avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people).

While coronavirus is of concern, it is important to remember that most people displaying symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or tiredness are likely suffering with a cold or other respiratory illnessnot coronavirus.

For the latest advice, information and resources, go to www.health.gov.au or call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Further resources for businesses

Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19 published by World Health Organisation

COVID-19: Implications for business, published by Matt Craven, Linda Liu, Mihir Mysore, and Matt Wilson, McKinsey

Advice on event and travel cancellations due to COVID-19

The ACCC has issued advice for consumers and businesses on their rights and obligations if events, flights or travel services are cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), or if people wish to cancel their travel plans.

If events, flights or other travel services such as cruises are cancelled, the ACCC expects refunds or other remedy such as a credit note or voucher will be offered in most circumstances.

However, if the event, flight or travel service is cancelled due to government restrictions, consumer rights under the consumer guarantees may be impacted. In these situations consumers may be entitled to a refund under the terms and conditions of their ticket, or potentially may make a claim under a travel insurance policy.

The ACCC is alert to any instances of unfair or unconscionable conduct on the part of businesses in dealing with consumers during the current crisis.


Travel

Latest update from Smart Travellers

The Australian Goverment's information for travellers.

Airline travel updates and flight status:

Qantas

Virgin Australia


Flights into Sydney with confirmed cases of COVID-19

Flights into Adelaide, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne and Sydney with confirmed cases of COVID-19

Flights into Perth with confirmed cases of COVID-19

Current status and contact tracing alerts in Queensland


State or territory public health agency contact details 

Australian Capital Territory Government's Department of Health.

Business hours
Ph:02 5124 9213

After hours
Ph:02 9962 4155


New South Wales Department of Health

Contact for the New South Wales Government's Department of Health.

Ph: 1300 066 055



Northern Territory Department of Health

Contact for the Northern Territory Government's Department of Health.

Ph:08 8922 8044


Queensland Department of Health

Contact for the Queensland Government's Department of Health.

Ph: 13HEALTH or 13 432 584


South Australian Department of Health

Contact for the South Australian Government's Department of Health.

Ph: 1300 232 272


Tasmanian Department of Health

Contact for the Tasmanian Government's Department of Health.

Ph: 1800 671 738

Victorian Department of Health

Contact for the Victorian Government's Department of Health.

Ph: 1800 675 398


Western Australian Department of Health

Contact for the Western Australian Government's Department of Health.


The Australian Government's Coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert

The Australian Goverment's information about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) for employers

 


Click here for Live news updates about the Covid-19 coronavirus


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