Salvos respond to novel coronavirus (COVID-19)
16 March 2020
As the world steps up its response to the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), all Australians are urged to take necessary precautions to protect themselves and others. Mass events are now being cancelled, as state and federal governments continue to respond to this evolving situation.
With the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring the spread of COVID-19 a pandemic, The Salvation Army is taking considered action to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of our personnel, people who access our services, guests, suppliers and contractors.
The Salvation Army has a business continuity plan in place to reduce the impact of this pandemic on our charitable services. It is vital that our work with the most vulnerable in the community is not negatively impacted and we are aware that people already experiencing hardship may be significantly affected by the immediate threat as well as the longer-term repercussions of this emergency.
The Salvation Army will continue to care for the most vulnerable in our community and meet human needs. While the means of delivering our services might be changing, our mission hasn’t.
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new strain of virus. Symptoms range from a mild cough to pneumonia. While some people recover easily, others may get very sick, very quickly.
People with coronavirus may experience:
- Flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and fatigue
- Shortness of breath
There is evidence that the virus spreads from person to person but good hygiene and avoiding hand-to-face contact can drastically reduce the risk of infection. The wearing of face masks does little to prevent contracting the virus. However, face masks should be worn by those exhibiting symptoms of the virus to prevent further spreading.
The Salvation Army has advised all personnel to be vigilant in practising personal hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus. This includes practicing proper hand sanitising procedures and cough etiquette. We are providing our workplaces with hand sanitiser and disinfectant to facilitate a hygienic work environment and are supporting all personnel with cold-like symptoms to seek medical assistance and perform duties remotely wherever possible.
Protecting the community and personnel
Our work with the community, particularly vulnerable members of the community, commands us to take all potential risks seriously. We have a team of senior leaders meeting regularly to discuss our ongoing response and ensure we closely follow all advice received from Australian medical authorities, as well as the World Health Organisation (WHO), regarding precautions that are needed to minimise risks associated with COVID-19.
In line with the recent Australian Government announcement, all Salvation Army personnel who have returned from overseas, as of 15 March 2020, have been asked to self-isolate for 14 days.
Additionally, we have asked all personnel who have travelled or transited through Mainland China, Iran, Italy or South Korea since 1 February 2020, to self-isolate for 14 days and provide a doctor’s clearance (medical certificate) before returning to work. Personnel who have travelled or transited through Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore or Cambodia since 1 February 2020, have been asked to monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days post travel. Should they display any symptoms, they have been asked to seek medical assistance and self-isolate.
Together with Salvos across the country, we hope and pray for the health and safety of all Australians during this time.
Visit the Department of Health website for the latest information on COVID 19 in Australia.