Notify WorkSafe Call 1300 366 322
Notify WorkSafe Call 1300 366 322


February 2020

What is novel coronavirus?

There is a new coronavirus affecting people who have recently been in the area of the Hubei Province, China. Most people infected have had a link with Wuhan, Hubei Province China. There have been cases reported in some other Chinese provinces and other countries, including Australia.

People who have not visited Wuhan, or come into contact with someone from Wuhan, are unlikely to be at risk of contracting coronavirus.

What are the symptoms of novel coronavirus?

Symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, nausea/vomiting, and difficulty breathing. Difficulty breathing is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

It can take up to 14 days for symptoms to show after a person has been infected.

PCBU responsibilities

Businesses with direct contact with sick or ill patients/customers should review their infection control policies and procedures and monitor the coronavirus situation as it develops. See Resources below for the state and national Department of Health updates.

Safe Work Australia has broad guidance on identifying and controlling the hazard of coronavirus in their workplace. See Resources below.

Worker responsibilities

Please ensure you monitor your personal health, consult with your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms and inform your employer of any infection risk to others.

If you believe you are at risk of infection of coronavirus, you should raise your concerns with your manager or WHS representative as soon as possible.

This will enable your employer to consider whether additional control measures might be needed (for example, asking you to seek medical clearance, or asking you to work from home, if possible, during the risk period).

What do I do if I’ve recently travelled to China and am unwell?

If you (or a family member) are unwell and have travelled to China in the last 14 days, please call Tasmania’s Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738. They will ask you questions and provide advice about next steps.

If you have severe symptoms, such as shortness of breath, you should get immediate medical help and call 000 for an ambulance. Inform the paramedics and health care professionals about your recent travel.

What do I do if I’ve been in close contact with someone with confirmed novel coronavirus?

If you have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with novel coronavirus, please call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738. They will ask you questions and provide advice about next steps.


Novel coronavirus: Department of Health Tasmania (external link)

Businesses must have measures in place to protect workers at risk from coronavirus: Safe Work Australia (external link)

News and current health warnings: Australian Government Department of Health (external link)

Updated: 7th February 2020