Coronavirus infection: latest information

Refer to this page for the latest information regarding Coronavirus and potential impacts to Macquarie University students and staff.

Updated, 28 February 2020

The Australian Government has announced that travel restrictions implemented in light of the outbreak of COVID-19 have been extended to 7 March, 2020. The restrictions will again be reviewed around this date. The travel restrictions in place are as follows:

  • To expand the case definition for novel coronavirus infection from 1 February 2020 to apply to people from mainland China.
  • To increase travel advisory to level 4 – do not travel to mainland China.
  • That as of 1 February 2020, all travellers arriving out of mainland China (not just Hubei Province) be asked to self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the time they leave mainland China.
  • That to substantially reduce the volume of travellers coming from mainland China, additional border measures be implemented to deny entry to Australia to people who have left or transited through mainland China from 1 February 2020, with the exception of Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family and air crews who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment. This also applies to passengers transiting in Australia, unless they are Australian citizens, permanent residents or their immediate families

Macquarie University continues to monitor the situation and is striving to support our Community with a focus on those impacted by these restrictions.

Updated, 24 February 2020

We’ve recorded a video message from Macquarie University Vice-Chancellor, Professor S. Bruce Dowton to all students currently impacted by travel restrictions due to Novel coronavirus.

The Vice-Chancellor took some time out to record a personal message of support and express his sincere best wishes for our Chinese students who have been impacted by Coronavirus.

Please take the time to view the video and please rest assured that our thoughts are with you all during this difficult time.

Updated, 21 February 2020

We’ve put together a video featuring Professor Kevin Jameson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic and Nick Crowley, HR Director discussing the importance of our culture of inclusion and respect.

At Macquarie University we are defined by a strong sense of community and ethical values. At the start of our academic year, Professor Jameson and Nick took some time out to record a message to all students and staff. They particularly commented on the significant impact of the coronavirus on Macquarie community members – those who are worried about family and friends as well as students unable to start their studies on time.

Please take the time to view the video and commit to the University’s focus on inclusion, safety and respect.

Updated, 21 February 2020

The Australian Government has announced that travel restrictions implemented in light of the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) have been extended to 29 February, 2020. The restrictions will again be reviewed on this date. The travel restrictions in place are as follows:

  • To expand the case definition for novel coronavirus infection from 1 February 2020 to apply to people from mainland China.
  • To increase travel advisory to level 4 – do not travel to mainland China.
  • That as of 1 February 2020, all travellers arriving out of mainland China (not just Hubei Province) be asked to self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the time they leave mainland China.
  • That to substantially reduce the volume of travellers coming from mainland China, additional border measures be implemented to deny entry to Australia to people who have left or transited through mainland China from 1 February 2020, with the exception of Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family and air crews who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment. This also applies to passengers transiting in Australia, unless they are Australian citizens, permanent residents or their immediate families.

Macquarie University continues to monitor the situation and is striving to support our Community with a focus on those impacted by these restrictions.

Updated, 20 February 2020

We’ve put together a video featuring Nermeen Abraham, Director of Student Administration at Macquarie University who oversees out Student Administration Services

Nermeen Abraham took some time out to record a message to students impacted by travel restrictions resulting from the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus about options for deferring study at Macquarie University.

Please take the time to view the video and have your questions answered about deferral options in light of the outbreak of Coronavirus.

Updated, 19 February 2020

We’ve put together a video featuring Professor Sean Brawley, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Programs and Pathways discussing online learning options for students impacted by Novel Coronavirus.

Professor Brawley took some time out to record a message to all students impacted by travel restrictions related to the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus. Professor Brawley talks about the work that Macquarie University is doing in support of making online learning courses available for students impacted by Coronavirus. It is important to remember that Macquarie University will only offer units in a flexible online mode if we are satisfied they meet standards related to quality, accreditation and visa requirements.

Please take the time to view the video and learn more about the University’s focus on online learning provision for those impacted by Coronavirus.

Updated, 14 February 2020

We’ve put together a video featuring Kylie Ebert, Director of Student Life, who coordinates O-Week activities on behalf of the University.

Kylie took some time out this week to explain the University’s position on O-Week in light of the outbreak of Novel coronavirus and the travel restrictions that are in place and impacting students based in China.

Please take the time to view the video and have your questions answered about the impact of Coronavirus on O-Week.

Updated, 14 February 2020

The Australian Government has announced that travel restrictions implemented in light of the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) have been extended to 22 February, 2020. The restrictions will again be reviewed on this date. The travel restrictions in place are as follows:

  • To expand the case definition for novel coronavirus infection from 1 February 2020 to apply to people from mainland China.
  • To increase travel advisory to level 4 – do not travel to mainland China.
  • That as of 1 February 2020, all travellers arriving out of mainland China (not just Hubei Province) be asked to self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the time they leave mainland China.
  • That to substantially reduce the volume of travellers coming from mainland China, additional border measures be implemented to deny entry to Australia to people who have left or transited through mainland China from 1 February 2020, with the exception of Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family and air crews who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment. This also applies to passengers transiting in Australia, unless they are Australian citizens, permanent residents or their immediate families

Macquarie University continues to monitor the situation and is striving to support our Community with a focus on those impacted by these restrictions.

Updated, 7 February 2020

Advice to students impacted by Novel Coronavirus

We understand that this is a very difficult time as you deal with the impacts of the novel coronavirus outbreak. Most importantly, we hope you are taking all the necessary steps to look after your health and that of your family and friends.

In terms of your future study plans, the current travel restrictions from China to Australia create a great deal of uncertainty. I assure you that Macquarie University is committed to doing all we can to support you in facing these challenges.  All members of the University community look forward to welcoming you to campus as soon as possible but we know that it is unlikely that you will arrive in Australia in time to commence Session 1.

At Macquarie, we are working very hard to confirm the range of available options. Your personal circumstances are important to us and we want to ensure that you have all information you need to make the decision that is right for you.

Session 1 study options

The University has considered options such as late enrolment, online and flexible delivery prior to your return to campus (for some units), reduced study load, deferral for commencing students to start in a later session or a break from study for continuing students.

For impacted students, it has been decided to:

  • Extend the last date to enrol in and commence a unit by one week until 15 March
  • Extend the last date to arrive on campus by three weeks until 30 March – if online studies have been undertaken
  • Extend the census date until 3 April

At this stage we ask you to do two things to help focus our response:

  1. Enrol in units via eStudent
  2. Complete this survey to tell us more about your circumstances:

With your completed survey, we will be able to advise you on the best plan for your future study at Macquarie University.

Once again, we remind you to keep up to date via our dedicated communication lines:

Email: studentcare@mq.edu.au

Phone: + 61 2 9850 7000

Updated Thursday, 6 February 2020

Message from the Vice Chancellor, Professor S. Bruce Dowton,

You are no doubt aware of the rapid changes in relation to the novel coronavirus outbreak. I write to advise you that the University continues to closely monitor the situation. We are working tirelessly to make sure that our campus is safe, that students affected by the travel restrictions are cared for, and the impact on our University community is minimised.

I appreciate that this is a challenging time for all our students, but especially for our students either from China or with family and friends in China. My thoughts are with you all in this challenging time. I also want to recognise the effort of colleagues who are assisting students to meet academic, logistical and support services and thank you for your ongoing efforts.

I have kept in close personal contact with Federal and State Government authorities as advice evolves while also making sure that authorities are aware of the impact that Government travel restrictions are having on our community. I am leading a University Taskforce, which draws on the resources and expertise of the whole University, which is developing and implementing strategies to assist students and ensuring that we communicate with you all in a timely and accurate manner.

I urge you to stay informed with the latest Federal Government advice for coronavirus for returning students and follow the guidance via our University’s coronavirus webpage, to keep up to date with the latest Macquarie University guidance as well as a range of helpful links to Government resources.

I acknowledge the great challenges and difficulties that our students, their families, and alumni from Wuhan City, across Hubei Province and throughout China are facing at the moment and the tremendous efforts made by China and the Chinese people to tackle this public health threat.

I am hopeful that the difficult times will pass and in the meantime we will continue our strong focus on doing everything we can to support our entire community.

Updated Tuesday 4 February 2020

Over the weekend the Government has updated its guidance in relation to the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus.

As such, Macquarie University is updating its advice to staff, students and visitors.

The Australian Government has accepted advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), which advises the Government on Public Health policy matters. This guidance is subject to review on 14 February.

  • To expand the case definition for novel coronavirus infection from 1 February 2020 to apply to people from mainland China.
  • To increase travel advisory to level 4 – do not travel to mainland China.
  • That as of 1 February 2020, all travellers arriving out of mainland China (not just Hubei Province) be asked to self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the time they leave mainland China.
  • That to substantially reduce the volume of travellers coming from mainland China, additional border measures be implemented to deny entry to Australia to people who have left or transited through mainland China from 1 February 2020, with the exception of Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family and air crews who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment. This also applies to passengers transiting in Australia, unless they are Australian citizens, permanent residents or their immediate families

Several international airlines, including Qantas, have also suspended travel to and from China from 9 February to 23 March.

We understand that this may be a cause of stress and concern for our Community. We want to reassure staff and students that we are doing everything possible to respond to the situation.  We are looking forward to welcoming all impacted students and staff to Macquarie when they are able to travel.

In order to further support students, either commencing or continuing their education at Macquarie University, a number of support measures have now been put in place and are detailed below.

Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Higher Degree Research Students

Students impacted by the travel restrictions can choose to defer until semester 2 without penalty or undertake online studies until travel restrictions are lifted. Additional course offerings will be made available in semester 3 2020 to support students who want to make up lost time if they choose to defer their studies. Students are encouraged to contact Student Connect on the email or phone numbers below to discuss their circumstances.

Contact email: studentcare@mq.edu.au Phone: 1800 774 964 or 02 9850 7000

English Language Centre (ELC) Students

Students unable to arrive for the start of the ELC intake on 17 February can defer to the start of the next intake which commences on 23 March.  If students are unable to commence their degree following their language study, they should make contact with Macquarie International admissions to update their offer.

Contact email: gc.admissions@mq.edu.au

MUIC Students

MUIC students impacted by the travel restrictions and unable to start this week are advised to defer to the next intake which commences 30 March. As MUIC has several intakes through the year we anticipate the disruption will be minimal. Students are encouraged to contact MUIC advisors on the email or phone number below to discuss their circumstances.

Contact email: MUIC.advisors@mq.edu.au Phone: 02 9850 5055

Updated Thursday 30 January 2020

The Federal Government has provided an update of advice for those impacted by Coronavirus and Macquarie University is now providing an update to previously issued guidance.

  • People who have been in contact with any confirmed novel coronavirus cases must be isolated in their home for 14 days following exposure.
  • Returned travellers who have been in Hubei Province of China must be isolated in their home for 14 days after leaving Hubei Province, other than for seeking individual medical care.

Given the lower number of cases in China reported outside of Hubei province, self-isolation for travellers from other parts of China or other countries is not recommended. The Federal Government is monitoring the development of cases outside of Hubei province and will update this advice if necessary.

Any students who have returned from Hubei Province in China on or after 15 January, or are impacted as a result of travel restrictions, are requested to immediately contact the University about their study arrangements.

Do Facemasks help to control the spread of Coronavirus?

NSW Health advises that face masks are not recommended for the general population.

A standard surgical mask, like the ones used by surgeons during operations, are designed to block liquid droplets and may lower the chance of catching the virus from another person. However, these masks don’t offer full protection against airborne viruses*.

People who have symptoms and might be infected with novel coronavirus should wear a surgical mask to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to anyone else whilst seeking medical advice.

The best way to protect yourself is to clean your hands with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub. You should cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or a flexed elbow and avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.

Advice can be found on the NSW Health website.

*Source – New Scientist

Updated Wednesday 29 January 2020

As you may be aware there has been an outbreak of a new human coronavirus originating in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.

A small number of cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in NSW. To date there are no confirmed cases at Macquarie University. The University continues to closely monitor the situation and advice from the Federal Government and NSW Health.

Guidance from NSW Health

NSW Health has issued a range of guidance and factsheets:

Travel advice

The Australian Government’s Smart Traveller website advises people not to travel to Hubei Province.

Staff should defer all non-essential travel to China for the foreseeable future. Urgent travel requests should be referred to the Office of the Vice-Chancellor on vc@mq.edu.au, for approval prior to travel being undertaken.

Consult the Smart Traveller website for up-to-date travel advice and for further information staff can contact: traveladvice@mq.edu.au

General advice

Anyone who has recently travelled to Australia from Wuhan (Hubei Province, China), or who has been in contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus, and is well, can continue to come into the University provided that they follow the advice below.

If they develop a fever, a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath within 14 days of exposure, they should:

  • Immediately isolate themselves from other people
  • Wear a mask (if available)
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible, preferably at the local Emergency Department – Ideally, they should phone ahead to speak to the doctor in the emergency department so that appropriate arrangements can be made to protect others. Royal North Shore Hospital can be contacted on 02 9926 7111

Please also continue to be mindful of good hygiene practices which include regularly washing hands and applying hand sanitiser. Further guidance can be found on the NSW Health website.