The following is general information available about the Novel Coronavirus that originated in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province in China late December of last year.
- The virus can be spread through droplets of various sizes when people sneeze or cough. It can also survive on surfaces (like most flu viruses).
- The best precaution that can be taken at the moment is to wash your hands after operating a vehicle or performing duties on shift. Advice on hand washing techniques are included below.
- When working avoid touching your face. This is because your mouth, eyes, and nose are direct conduits to the inside of your body.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing using the crook of your elbow and not your hands.
- Masks are only useful if rated N95 and if fitted properly. Surgical masks are not designed to stop germs coming in but rather to stop germs of the person wearing the mask going out.
- Employers are currently following NSW Government Health guidelines on actions to protect their employees. Currently the Health Department advises the following-
“As a precautionary measure anyone in contact with a confirmed case, or anyone who has travelled to Hubei Province, must isolate themselves for 14 days after last possible contact or travel.”
- Any member that wishes to wear a mask is within their rights to do so, at this stage no employer will be issuing masks. That will change should the Government Health advice change.
- Members are encouraged to follow the advice of the NSW Government Health Department which can be found here- https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus.asp
- A help sheet with answers to general questions can be found here – https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/alerts/Pages/coronavirus-faqs.aspx
- While the World Health Organisation today declared the Novel Coronavirus to be a ‘Global Health Emergency’. This is not a reflection of the seriousness of the outbreak itself but a step to mobilise WHO resources to assist poorer countries who have less capacity to respond to any disease outbreak. Previous incidents of declared ‘Global Health Emergencies’ include the Swine Flu in 2009, polio in 2014, the Zika virus 2016 and Ebola in 2014 and 2019.
If members have any further questions, raise your concerns with management to find out the latest.
NSW Tram and Bus Division
Rail, Tram and Bus Union