Coronavirus update: schools and store closures likely but no need for panic

- March 9, 2020 2 MIN READ

It’s looking likely that some workplaces, childcare centres and schools may be headed for closure as the impact of coronavirus continues to be felt across Australia. Experts are suggesting its time to prepare.

On Friday Vodafone’s HQ in North Sydney was shut down after an employee returned from overseas with flu-like symptoms. The person has since tested negative for coronavirus. While store branches in Perth were shut after they were visited by a member of staff who has since tested positive for the virus.

Similarly tech company Cisco shut it’s Perth office after a worker experienced flu-like symptoms and ViacomCBS has shut its Darlinghurst offices. Last week Epping High School was closed after a 16-year old student tested positive with the virus.

Edith Cowan disaster and emergency response Associate Professor Erin Smith told ABC News it’s likely many workplaces will soon be shut down as employees opt to work from home to avoid illness or because family commitments have caused them to do so.

While work shutdowns may be an inconvenience, Smith said people should see it as a practical way to dela with the spread of the disease.
Smith suggested businesses that had the ability to allow staff to work remotely should enact plans now in order to allow people to prepare.

“It would be good for staff morale too, employees would think ‘our employer is looking after our wellbeing well before this hits’,” Smith told ABC.

The advice comes as the third death from Coronavirus is reported in Australia. There are now 75 cases of Coronavirus in the country.

Meanwhile, NSW Health suggests people who think they may have been exposed to the virus should call (not visit) their GP or ring the national hotline on 1800 020 080.

Retailers are suggesting the financial impact of coronavirus is already being felt, with shopping centres and retail strips reporting slowed foot traffic and deserted shopping malls. The Sydney Morning Herald reports a number of shoppers and shop owners at the Macquarie Centre on Saturday said there had been a significant decline in foot traffic.

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