State won’t follow NSW lead on coronavirus
THE Queensland Government has ruled out a blanket ban on students who have travelled to China, insisting parents should be confident sending their kids to class.
It comes after parents in NSW were told by the state's Health Minister Brad Hazzard to keep their children home if they had travelled to any part of China in the past 14 days.
But last night Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace said there had been no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the state and the government's advice had not changed.
"The current advice is that students should continue to attend classes - except for pupils who are unwell after having travelled to China in the last 14 days," she said.
"If children become sick (e.g. fever, flu-like symptoms, sore throat, headaches, breathing difficulties) or come into contact with someone who is a confirmed case, they should present immediately to a doctor and not attend school while unwell."
A Queensland Health spokeswoman said the department had no current plans to change advice regarding children returning to school.
"The current national agreed response - and the Commonwealth Government's current guidance - is that the only schoolchildren who should stay home are those who have been in contact with a confirmed coronavirus case, or those who have travelled to China and are showing symptoms within 14 days of returning to Australia," she said.
Brisbane Grammar School headmaster Anthony Micallef yesterday issued a statement saying students who visited the Wuhan or Province of Hubei in China during holidays were advised to stay at home for the first two weeks of school until February 10.
But no boarding students were in isolation or prevented from starting school.
Brisbane Boys' College said yesterday all boarders who recently arrived in Australia from China had been assessed by both Department of Health officials at the airport on arrival and by qualified nurses in the school's health centre, with students deemed "all clear".
Meanwhile many Chinese tertiary students were isolating themselves following advice from two University of Queensland Chinese associations.
UQ's Chinese Association of Postgraduates and Scholars urged students in a Facebook post to "segregation for two weeks after returning to Australia".
And the Australia-China Youth Association said many international Chinese students had been isolated at home due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
It comes as Coles supermarkets across the nation confirmed it is experiencing a shortage of antibacterial handwash and sanitiser due to extremely high customer demand.
Additional reporting Janelle Miles, Domanii Cameron & Cloe Read