Coronavirus Disease COVID-19 – VPS Update

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On Wednesday 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared that the current global Coronavirus outbreak is now being described as a pandemic, as it
spreads in more than 100 countries.  

You can read the actual media statement from the WHO Director here: https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-19—11-march-2020

We firmly believe that in order to best prepares ourselves, we need to have all the relevant facts at hand. What is a pandemic? 

The word “pandemic” comes from the Greek “pan” and “demos” meaning “all the people,” but using big words does not change that much from a pragmatic, disease-fighting perspective. 

We understand the WHO had been hesitant to refer to this Coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic in recent weeks, fearing that the moniker would lead to widespread panic and saying it was perhaps not yet warranted. This changed on Wednesday 11 March. 

It is important to keep in mind that a pandemic is another level of categorisation and a call to action, and not a reason to give up. 

Over here in Australia, the prime minister @ScottMorrisonMP addressed the nation yesterday, 12 March to outline the government’s response plan. You can view the public address at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-13/scott-morrison-addresses-the-nation-coronavirus/12051642 

At a state level, Victoria’s Department of Human and Health Services (https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorian-public-coronavirus-disease-covid-19) state that: 

At the present time there is no evidence of transmission in the community in Victoria so you should continue to go about your business. You don’t need to take actions like limiting your movement in the community or staying at home.” 

That being said, at VPS, we have started working on preparing the organisation in case of a state-wide outbreak. Where possible and feasible, our business continuity plan outlines the processes and procedures to be followed should things escalate to the next level. This is of course a living document and we will keep you abreast of any developments. 

In the meantime, we have put in place a few measures, namely: 

  • All staff to refresh their Infection Control training- this is an online module that can be readily accessed by our workers, and a certificate issued at completion
  • Making arrangements for non-frontline workers to work remotely from home 
  • Staff coming from overseas travel will not be rostered for the next 14 days
  • Unfortunately, we have had to make the decision to cancel this year’s
    A Taste of Harmony Lunch scheduled for next week 
  • We are confident and comfortable that our IT and cloud-based infrastructure will  ensure business continuity in case of an outbreak
  • Open and regular communication with staff at all levels, on necessary precautions to be taken, such as washing hands regularly, and not touching your face or eyes.


Wishing you all a healthy and happy week. We will continue to keep updated on how we go about supporting our team and participants during this time