COVID-19: A message from President Tim Game SC
Staff and I have received a number of enquiries regarding CPD seminars and conferences with the developing spread of COVID-19 through the community. As you know this is the busiest time of the year in the CPD Calendar.
At present all our CPD seminars and conferences are planned to go ahead. This is consistent with other associations we have talked to and consistent with the advice we have received. Circumstances may change quickly and we will keep you advised of any changes as they come to hand.
From today as a necessary precaution we will ask all attendees to register their attendance at CPD seminars. You will appreciate that if we learn that someone attending a Bar Association seminar has tested positive for the virus we will be obliged to share your attendance details with the relevant health authority. You can register for a CPD event here.
As an immediate basic precaution if you are attending Bar Association seminars and conferences:
- If you are feeling unwell with cold or flu like symptoms do not attend Bar Association events;
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before attending Bar Association events;
- If you do cough and sneeze cover your mouth or nose with a tissue or flexed elbow, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
Please note that most of our CPD seminars are recorded and released within 5 days of the seminar. You can access CPD online. Visit www.nswbar.asn.au and sign-in. Once at the Member Dashboard, select 'CPD online'.
If you have misplaced your login and password details you are able to reset your details by clicking on 'member sign in' which appears in the top right-hand corner of the screen on our homepage. You then click on 'unknown password or username', this will then prompt you to add your surname and date of birth. This will trigger an email to be sent to you with your new details. The email will be sent to the registered email address on our records.
The above measures may also be instigated in your chambers and chambers should instigate appropriate practices. NSW Health has also issued specific COVID-19 resources for businesses.
The World Health Organisation has issued workplace guidelines concerning precautions that should be taken in workplaces to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the full guidelines can be found here
The Guidelines include:
- Make sure your workplaces are clean and hygienic - Surfaces (e.g. desks and tables) and objects (e.g. telephones, keyboards) need to be wiped with disinfectant regularly;
- Promote regular and thorough hand-washing by employees, contractors and clients - Put sanitizing hand rub dispensers in prominent places around the workplace. Make sure these dispensers are regularly refilled. Promote their use throughout the workplace. Make sure that staff, contractors and customers have access to places where they can wash their hands with soap and water;
- Symptoms of COVID-19 – All floor members and staff should be advised that if anyone with even a mild cough or low-grade fever (37.3 C or more) needs to stay at home. They should also stay home (or work from home) if they have had to take simple medications, such as paracetamol/acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin, which may mask symptoms of infection. That message should be regularly relayed. Make clear to employees that they will be able to count this time off as sick leave;
- If your workplace is holding meetings or events - Consider whether a face-to-face meeting or event is needed. Could it be replaced by a teleconference or online event? Could the meeting or event be scaled down so that fewer people attend? Pre-order sufficient supplies and materials, including tissues and hand sanitiser for all participants. Advise participants in advance that if they have any symptoms or feel unwell, they should not attend. Make sure all organisers, participants, caterers and visitors at the event provide contact details: mobile telephone number, email and address where they are staying. State clearly that their details will be shared with local public health authorities if any participant becomes ill with a suspected infectious disease. If they will not agree to this they cannot attend the event or meeting. Retain the names and contact details of all participants for at least one month. This will help public health authorities trace people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 if one or more participants become ill shortly after the event. If someone at the meeting or event was isolated as a suspected COVID-19 case, the organizer should let all participants know this. They should be advised to monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days and take their temperature twice a day;
- COVID-19 response plan - Develop a plan of what to do if someone becomes ill with suspected COVID-19 at one of your workplaces, which may involve isolation from others in the workplace.
Health Warnings Generally
The WHO has also issued public health guidelines regarding basic protective measures against the new coronavirus
More generally if you return from a country or region that is at high or moderate risk for COVID-19 you should monitor your health closely. If you develop symptoms including a fever and cough you should isolate yourself immediately and urgently seek medical attention. The Department of Health has issued a list of at-risk countries.
At the time of writing there are particular restrictions for travellers from mainland China, Iran or the Republic of Korea. In such cases the following special restrictions apply:
- If you have left, or transited through mainland China or Iran in the last 14 days, you must isolate yourself for 14 days from the date of leaving mainland China/Iran.
- If you have left, or transited through the Republic of Korea on or after 5 March 2020 you must isolate yourself for 14 days after the date of leaving the Republic of Korea.
- If you have been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus, you must isolate yourself for 14 days after the date of last contact with the confirmed case.
Travellers from Italy must present for health screening upon arrival in Australia, as directed at the border.
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. The Government has issued information for those who have had casual and close contact with someone who is infected with COVID 19.
More information can be found at the NSW Health website.
The number for the National Coronavirus Health Information Line is 1800 020 080 and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you have concerns about your health, speak to your doctor. Please note that BarCare is available on 0427 317 958.
Tim Game SC
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