SCU closes Lismore, Gold Coast campuses amid COVID-19 threat


SOUTHERN Cross University is monitoring the rapidly developing situation regarding COVID-19 and following the best medical advice to mitigate any risk to staff and students.

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The Gold Coast and Lismore campuses will be closed today as a precautionary measure after a staff member reported being diagnosed with COVID-19.

A spokesman for the university said the internationally-based staff member attended a series of workshops at the university's Gold Coast and Lismore campuses on March 4-6 before returning to The Philippines on March 7.

"The staff member fell ill and was tested for COVID-19 which returned a positive result Tuesday, March 10, according to reports from The Philippines," the spokesman said.

"Southern Cross immediately alerted Health authorities and is closely working with them.

"The University has identified 45 people who came into contact or proximity with the man during his time in Australia.

"In conjunction with the health authorities, the University is contacting each individual."

Anyone who is feeling unwell is being asked to self-isolate and seek medical attention.

The Filipino man reported feeling better by Monday.

SCU Vice President (Operations) Allan Morris said the campuses would close on Wednesday for cleaning and as a general precaution.

During this time, the university will seek further advice from health authorities.

"Our priority at all times is the well-being of our staff, students and visitors so we apologise for this short disruption but it is the right thing to do," Mr Morris said.

SCU's chief marketing officer, Dean Gould, this morning told ABC North Coast that the staff member with the confirmed COVID-19 case was not the reason why the Lismore clinic was closed last Friday.

He said that was caused by a member of the public who presented to the clinic with flu symptoms but later returned a negative COVID-19 result.

Mr Gould also said health authorities were now "taking the lead" on the matter going forward, and would be investigating whether the COVID-19 patient had contact with any other people in the area, including at hotels, restaurants, airports and on the plane coming in and out of the country.