Novel coronavirus (COVID19)

Updated 28 February 2020

The University is continuing to closely monitor the situation around the continued spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) and we are taking advice from the relevant authorities, including the Australian Government’s Department of Health, DFAT Smart Traveller and the World Health Organisation.

Although cases have been identified in Australia, current advice from health authorities is that the risk of contracting the virus is low.

Below are some questions and answers for staff and students, which will be updated regularly

These are grouped by:

  • General questions and answers
  • Information for current and new students impacted by travel restrictions
  • Information for University staff
  • Further advice and information

General questions and answers

Can I attend La Trobe if I am overseas or recently returned?

  • From 1 February 2020, if you are a foreign national who is in mainland China (excluding Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families), you will not be allowed to enter Australia. As of 27 February, this travel ban has been extended to 7 March and will be reviewed again then.
  • As this affects many of our Chinese student community, we are actively working on a number of contingency plans to ensure as many affected students as possible can start and continue their studies while these border controls remain in place, and to successfully continue their studies with us once the controls are lifted.
  • If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident you will still be able to enter, as will your immediate family members (spouses, legal guardians or dependants only). However, you will be required to isolate yourself* for 14 days after leaving China and follow the health advice of the Department of Health.
  • On 18 February the Australian Government confirmed that any students who have travelled to other countries from mainland China to wait out the 14-day travel exclusion period, and who have had no recent contact with people with COVID-19, will be welcomed to Australia. Students who have spent more than 14 days in another country after leaving China do not require self-isolation, as long as they have not had contact with a confirmed case.
  • If you are already in Australia but travelled to mainland China (including Hubei Province) within the past 14 days, you must isolate yourself at your home/residence for 14 days after leaving mainland China and follow the health advice of the Department of Health.
  • If you have been in close contact with a confirmed case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), you must isolate yourself for 14 days after last contact with the confirmed case and call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398. Students and staff in these circumstances must not attend La Trobe and must avoid contact with other students and staff.
  • If you have been informed by Public Health authorities that you are a close contact of a confirmed case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and have developed symptoms (listed below), you need to call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398. Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only. You cannot attend La Trobe until Public Health informs you that it is safe for you to do so.
  • If you have developed symptoms but have not been informed by Public Health authorities that you have been a close contact of a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), you must call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398 and you cannot attend La Trobe until Public Health informs you it is safe to do so.
  • If you are currently overseas in a country outside China, please monitor the DFAT Smart Traveller website for information and updates. You can arrive into Australia from countries affected by novel coronavirus (COVID-19), as long as these countries are not subject to the travel ban. When you return to Australia you will receive advice from Border Protection on arrival.
  • Staff unable to come to work as a result of this should contact their supervisor to discuss work arrangements during this period.
  • Students will not be penalised for not attending classes.

*People who are recommended to be isolated should not attend public places such as campuses or shared spaces in halls of residence. For further information on isolation please refer to the Department of Health factsheets.

What if I am a student currently in mainland China and want to return to Australia for work/study?

As of 1 February 2020, if you are a foreign national (excluding Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families) who is currently in mainland China, you will not be allowed to enter Australia. On 27 February the Australian Government an extension of the travel ban by a further week to 8 March.

If you an Australian citizen or permanent resident you will still be able to enter, as will your immediate family members (spouses, legal guardians or dependants only). However, you will be required to isolate yourself in your home/residence for 14 days after leaving China and follow the advice of the Department of Health.

If you are a student from mainland China who plans to travel to another country to wait out the 14-day travel exclusion period, you will be able to enter Australia once the 14-day travel exclusion period is complete, as long as you have not had recent contact with people with COVID-19. You will not be required to self-isolate in Australia as long as you have not had contact with a confirmed case.

We recognise that this is potentially disruptive for new and returning students from China and we are actively working on a number of contingency plans to ensure as many affected students as possible can start and continue their studies while these border controls remain in place, and successfully continue their studies with us once the controls are lifted. If you have concerns about the impact on your studies please contact:

International Students Domestic students

Chinese students can follow the latest advice on social media channels WeiBo and WeChat:

Weibo WeChat

I am an Australian citizen/permanent resident currently in China and want to return to Australia for my studies.

Currently students returning from China who are Australian citizens, permanent residents or their immediate families are able to enter Australia.

However, if you have travelled to mainland China including Hubei Province within the past 14 days, you must isolate yourself at your home/residence for 14 days after leaving mainland China and follow the health advice of the Department of Health. If you develop symptoms, you must isolate yourself from other people and call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398.

What if I have recently returned from mainland China, including Hubei Province?

All students and staff who have travelled to mainland China including Hubei Province within the past 14 days must isolate themselves at their home or hall of residence for 14 days from the time they left China and follow the advice of the Department of Health.

Monitor your health closely and if you develop symptoms, you need to call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398. Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only. You cannot attend La Trobe until Public Health informs you that it is safe for you to do so.

Staff unable to come to work because of this situation should contact their supervisor to discuss work arrangements during this period.

What if I have been in close contact with someone who has COVID19?

If you have been informed by Public Health authorities that you are a close contact of a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and have developed symptoms, you need to call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398. Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.

You cannot attend La Trobe University until Public Health informs you that it is safe for you to do so.

If you have not developed symptoms you must isolate yourself at your home/residence for 14 days and follow the health advice of the Department of Health.

Staff unable to come to work because of this situation should contact their supervisor to discuss work arrangements during this period.

What if I am sick now or develop symptoms within 14 days of being in Hubei Province?

If you develop mild symptoms:

  • isolate yourself from other people
  • call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398. Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only OR
  • call a doctor or hospital and tell them you may have novel coronavirus infection
  • when you get to the doctor’s clinic or hospital, tell them again that you may have novel coronavirus infection.

If you have serious symptoms such as shortness of breath:

  • call 000 and ask for an ambulance (this will work even if you don’t have phone credit)
  • tell the ambulance officers that you may have novel coronavirus infection.

Your doctor will test you for COVID-19 and provide advice on management. You will also be contacted by Public Health officers who will provide you with more information.

La Trobe provides free confidential counselling support for all La Trobe students. If you need support at any time, please visit our the health and wellbeing page of our website.

I visited other countries over the vacation. Can I return to La Trobe as usual?

Unless you can have come in direct contact with a confirmed coronavirus case or you are exhibiting symptoms of the virus, you can return to the La Trobe University as planned, unless you visited China.

However, as the situation is evolving, please monitor the DFAT Smart Traveller website for information and updates. 

You can arrive into Australia from countries affected by novel coronavirus (COVID-19), as long as these countries are not subject to the travel ban. When you return to Australia you will receive advice from Border Protection on arrival.

We understand that students may be travelling to and from Australia transiting in Hong Kong. We recommend you remain within the airport terminal for the duration of your transit.

What if I am a student from mainland China who has travelled to another country to wait out the 14-day travel exclusion period?


On 18 February the Australian Government confirmed that any students who have travelled to other countries from mainland China to wait out the 14-day travel exclusion period, and who have had no recent contact with people with COVID-19, will be welcomed to Australia. Students who have spent more than 14 days in another country after leaving China do not require self-isolation, as long as they have not had contact with a confirmed case.

I am a student travelling on University business. Am I insured?

Yes, provided you are travelling on approved University business, you are covered under the University’s travel policy for international travel to regions with a DFAT travel advisory level of 1 or 2, or level 3 provided your travel has been approved by our Risk Management Office. Travel to any DFAT level 3 (‘Reconsider your need to travel’) locations requires prior approval from the Risk Management Office prior to departure, and you will need to complete a Travel Risk Assessment. You can contact the Risk Management team at risk.services@latrobe.edu.au for further information.

The University does not permit travel to DFAT 4 ‘Do not travel’ locations. China is currently rated as a DFAT 4 country and travel there is not permitted at this time.

We recommend you register your travel itinerary with the University’s Insurance Office. This provides us with oversight of your travel plans and means that if the situation changes in the region you are travelling to or there is an emergency we are in a better position to provide you with advice and assistance. You can notify the Insurance Office via a simple email to insurance@latrobe.edu.au to advise of your travel dates and destination.

If you are travelling to countries rated DFAT 3 or below and you contract COVID-19 related illness while overseas, you are covered by the University’s travel insurance policy and can access emergency assistance under the terms of the policy.

With the exception of China and other countries currently rated at DFAT 4, the University’s Travel Insurance policy will continue to cover you if you need to cancel your trip because the Government has raised the travel advisory level rating to a DFAT 4 after your travel has been booked.

As travel advice can change rapidly due to changed conditions, we recommend you check the DFAT status of your destination/s immediately prior to your travel to ensure the advice level has not been raised.

Information for current and new students impacted by travel restrictions

I am a new commencing student. What happens if I can’t travel to Australia to start my studies on 2 March?

La Trobe University defines an impacted student as a student who cannot travel from an impacted area (currently China) for the beginning of Semester 1.

Students who are unable to enter Australia to commence their studies have been offered personalised options, which may include being able to start their studies via online delivery. We have contacted every impacted student to discuss study options.

If you are a new or ongoing  student who is impacted by the travel ban, please check your La Trobe email account for further information and contact ASK La Trobe if you have any questions.

Impacted students are able to defer their offer until Semester 2, July 2020 (depending on the availability of relevant subjects). Impacted students who choose to defer will not be subject to financial penalties.

If you are a new student who has completed application formalities you will have been sent an email with instructions on how to enrol.

Enrolment will close at the end of Week 2, Friday 13 March 2020. However, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, International will consider extenuating circumstances for late enrolment on a case by case basis.

If you have any questions about your enrolment please contact ASK La Trobe via phone on +61 3 9479 6000 or online.

Where possible, online classes will be offered.

New commencing students will also be offered an online Orientation.

Will I still be able to attend Orientation?

Orientation commences the week of 24-28 February, 2020 on all campuses. We have prepared an online version for Orientation to assist new students who may not be able to arrive on time to attend the commencement activities.

Online Orientation is available to affected students through your online learning system (the LMS) which you will get access to after enrolment. Please check your La Trobe email account for information.

When travel restrictions are lifted we will endeavour to provide an on campus Orientation and induction activities as well.

I am a continuing enrolled student. Can I take any subjects online?

La Trobe University is currently exploring options for online delivery of subjects for students who are impacted by the travel restrictions.

We have contacted all impacted students with a personalised study plan. Students should check their La Trobe email account for further information.

If you have any queries please contact ASK La Trobe by phone +61 3 9479 6000 or online.

What will happen to my student visa if I take a leave of absence? (current enrolled students only)

Leave of Absence will be granted as compassionate and compelling. You will be able to pause your studies and return when ready.

If you have questions about program leave and your COE and visa, please contact La Trobe International Student Services via Ask a Question portal.

What happens to my studies when the travel restrictions are lifted?

We look forward to welcoming you to our campus and we will endeavour to provide you with a face to face Orientation and support in settling into studies.

What are my study options if I am a Chinese student affected by the travel ban?

Please see this infographic for further information:

Information for affected students - Mandarin [PDF 868 KB]

Information for University staff

How can I protect myself from contracting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?

All staff, including staff working directly with students, can protect themselves against the risk of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) by paying attention to good hand and respiratory hygiene. In particular this includes washing your hands regularly.

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services currently advises that face masks are not recommended for use by members of the public for the prevention of infections like the novel coronavirus.

Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. You should:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water or by using alcohol-based hand rub before including after eating as well as after attending the toilet
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and a cough
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands

Based on current health advice, the University is arranging for hand sanitiser to be available throughout the University’s buildings and provided to front line service areas.

What should I do if a student or staff member feels unwell or is seeking medical assistance?

If a student or staff member reports that they are unwell and suspects they may have symptoms of coronavirus they should seek medical attention.

Staff are requested to:

  • Advise the person to take themselves to a nearby General Practitioner or health service for appropriate treatment
  • Advise the person to call ahead to the clinic to advise the reason for their visit
  • If you think the person can’t follow the directions to the clinic and may need someone from the security team to escort them, call 2222

If the person requires urgent medical help:

  • call 000 and ask for an ambulance, then dial university security on 2222 (this will allow security staff to also assist and to help direct the ambulance)
  • tell the ambulance officers that the person is presenting with symptoms that may be the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Let the Occupational Health and Safety team know about your interaction with the person ohs@latrobe.edu.au

I have an upcoming international business trip booked. Should I still go?

The situation is changing rapidly and all travellers are asked to monitor travel advice for their destination and check the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) travel level advisory status immediately prior to any travel. Travellers are also advised there is potential for you to experience significant time delays and disruption when travelling overseas.

Is there a ban on all international travel due to COVID-19?

International travel to regions with a DFAT travel advisory level of 1 or level 2 is still permitted.

Travel to any DFAT level 3 (‘Reconsider your need to travel’) locations require approval from the Risk Management Office prior to departure, and you will need to complete a Travel Risk Assessment. You can contact the Risk Management team at risk.services@latrobe.edu.au for further information.

The University does not permit travel to DFAT 4 ‘Do not travel’ locations

China is currently rated as a DFAT 4 country and travel there is not permitted at this time.

As travel advice can change rapidly due to changed conditions we recommend you check the DFAT status of your destination/s immediately prior to your travel to ensure the advice level has not been raised.

Will there be travel disruptions?

Due to increased entry/exit screening, cancellation of flights and rapidly changing travel advice, there is potential for you to experience significant time delays and disruption when travelling overseas, even in destinations with a DFAT rating of 1 or 2. Please consider this in your decision-making.  It is also important to prepare for possible disruption by factoring in extra time to pass through any transit screening points and monitor any updates issued that relate to your destination or transit points.

What is the advantage of booking my business travel through Locomote/FCM Travel Solutions (previously known as Campus Travel)?

Booking through Locomote/FCM Travel Solutions means the University is aware of your travel arrangements and can more easily provide advice and assistance if you require support. Further information about booking and managing travel can be found on our staff intranet. [intranet link - staff access required]

I am a staff member travelling on University business but have booked my flights directly with an airline, rather than through Locomote/FCM Travel Solutions. Do I need to register my travel plans with the University?

Locomote/FCM Travel Solutions is the University’s preferred method for staff to book business travel. We are aware that some staff sometimes choose to make alternative arrangements. If you have not booked through Locomote/FCM Travel Solutions we recommend before any business travel that you register your travel itinerary with the University’s Insurance Office. This provides us with oversight of your travel plans and means that if the situation changes in the region you are travelling to or there is an emergency we are in a better position to provide you with advice and assistance, as well as information on how to make a claim via our travel insurance policy. You can notify the Insurance Office  via a simple email to insurance@latrobe.edu.au to advise of your travel dates and destination.

Yes, with the exception of China and other countries currently rated at DFAT 4, the University’s Travel Insurance policy will continue to cover you if you need to cancel your trip because the Government has raised the travel advisory level rating to a DFAT 4 after your travel has been booked.

If you are travelling to countries rated DFAT 3 or below and you contract COVID-19 related illness while overseas, you are covered by the University’s travel insurance policy and can access emergency assistance under the terms of the policy.

Should I travel if I am sick?

No. If you are unwell, it is recommended that you do not travel. Travelling when unwell poses a safety risk for you and in the current environment it also increases your chance of being quarantined. Many countries are screening passengers in airports for signs of fever or other symptoms such as a cough or a runny nose. If you are exhibiting these symptoms or show other signs of being unwell, you may be quarantined.

Further advice and information

I am a student or staff member planning to travel to China soon for my studies or research. How will this issue impact on my University travel?

As your safety and well-being is our main priority, and due to escalating health and security matters in China, all travel to China is temporarily suspended.

The University will advise if previously approved travel applications to affected locations will be cancelled and will work directly with affected staff.

Can I travel to other countries apart from China for my studies or research?

Travellers to other countries (outside China) should closely monitor and adhere to the advice issued by Smart Traveller.

While there are no active travel bans (except China) for DFAT 1 and 2 countries, please be aware that you may encounter global disruption to flights (mainly to and around China, but may affect wider Asian region too), increased quarantine zones and possible delays due to lengthy screening processes at airports.

Staff and students who have work/study-related travel upcoming, and who have concerns, should raise this with their supervisors to assess the options.

How do I get help and assistance while I am travelling?

Any travellers who require emergency medical or travel assistance should contact our insurer Chubb who can be contacted 24 hours a day on +61 2 8907 5995, and quoting the following policy numbers:

  • Staff - 93101253
  • Students undertaking University approved travel associated with their studies – 93131586

If you need to submit a claim upon your return, please refer to our website for a copy of the claim form and further instructions. If you have any questions, contact insurance@latrobe.edu.au

If you are travelling on leisure, please contact your travel insurer.

How can I help prevent the spread of COVID19?

Everyone can protect themselves against the risk of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) by paying attention to good hand and respiratory hygiene. In particular this includes washing your hands regularly.

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services currently advises that face masks are not recommended for use by members of the public for the prevention of infections like the novel coronavirus.

Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. You should:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water or by using alcohol-based hand rub before including after eating as well as after attending the toilet
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and a cough
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include (but are not limited to) fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath.

Where can I get more information?

List of Medical Service near La Trobe's campuses

Albury / Wodonga


Gateway Health

155 High Street, Wodonga, VIC 3690
PH: (02) 6022 8888
Monday to Friday 9am - 6pm
Saturday / Sunday - closed

Albury Hospital - Emergency Department

201 Borella Road, Klbury, NSW 2640
PH: (03) 6058 4506
Open 24 Hours


Bendigo


Bendigo Clinic

63-65 Bridge Street, Bendigo, VIC 3550
PH: (03) 5454 2300
Monday to Friday 8.30am - 5pm
Saturday 9am - 12pm / Sunday - closed

Bendigo Health - Emergency Department

Bendigo Health, Drought Street & Arnold Street, North Bendigo, VIC 3550
PH: (03) 5454 6000
Open 24 hours


Bundoora


La Trobe University Medical Centre

Corner of Kingsbury Drive and Plenty Road, Bundoora, VIC 3083
PH: (03) 9473 8885
Monday to Friday 8:30am–5pm
Saturday 8:30am–1pm / Sunday Closed

Mill Park Superclinic

250 Childs Road, Mill Park, VIC 3082
PH: (03) 9436 4155
Open 24 hours

Austin Hospital - Emergency room

145 Studley Road, Heidelberg, VIC 3084
PH: (03) 9496 5000
Open 24 Hours


Mildura


Deakin Medical Centre

255 Deakin Avenue, Mildura, VIC 3500
PH: (03) 5022 1488

Monday to Friday 8.30am – 5pm
Saturday 9-11am / Sunday Closed

Mildura Base Hospital - Emergency room

Ontario Avenue, Mildura VIC 3500
PH: (03) 5022 3333

Open 24 hours


Shepparton


Shepparton Lister House Medical Centre

56-60 Nixon Street, Shepparton VIC 3630
PH: (03) 5831 2333

Goulburn Valley Health - Emergency Department

Goulburn Valley Health Graham Street, Shepparton, VIC 3630
PH: (03) 5832 2322

Open 24 hours


City Campus


Medical One

Level 3, 23 QV Terrace, 292 Swanston St, Melbourne, VIC 3000
PH: (03) 8663 7000

The Alfred

55 Commercial Rd, Melbourne VIC 3004
PH: (03) 9076 2000

The Royal Melbourne

300 Grattan Street (corner of Royal Parade), Parkville, VIC 3050
PH: (03) 9342 7000

St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne

41 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy, VIC 3065
PH: (03) 9231 2211