Business guide to Coronavirus

Glossary of terms

Last updated: 10:18am 25 March 2020

We have put together this glossary of terms to help you better manage the impact of Coronavirus to your employees and business.

Asymptomatic: showing no evidence of disease. Just because a person is asymptomatic doesn’t mean they aren’t infected with COVID-19. 

Business hibernation: as part of the Federal Governments stimulus package, big and small business will be paid wage subsidies to keep workers employed during the crisis. This is being referred to as 'business hibernation'. 

Community spread: the transmission of the virus in the absence of relevant travel history or contact with a confirmed case.

Communicable: capable of being easily spread or transmitted. COVID-19 is a communicable disease. 

Confirmed case: an individual with a laboratory-confirmed positive test for COVID-19.

Contact: direct contact with respiratory droplets from a confirmed case (e.g. being coughed on) within 2 meters of a confirmed case for a prolonged period of time, such as attending a conference or sharing a workspace with a confirmed. 

Coronavirus: Coronavirus belongs to a large family of viruses causing illness ranging from the common cold to more severe respiratory diseases. Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. 

COVID-19: COVID-19 is a highly infectious respiratory disease caused by a new coronavirus. COVID is short for coronavirus disease and the number 19 refers to the fact the disease was first detected in 2019. Most people can recover from COVID-19 at home, and severe cases need hospitalisation. However, for elderly patients, those with pre-existing health conditions or who are immunocompromised, the disease can be fatal.  

Droplet transmission: a mode of transmission for a contagious disease that involves large, short-range (within 2 meters) respiratory droplets produced by sneezing, coughing or talking. 

Epidemic: a large outbreak of a disease in a short period of time. Epidemics often happen when a new disease emerges or if something happens to make people less immune to a disease.  

Essential travel: travel that is absolutely necessary for the success of an individual, the company, or a customer. Businesses should consider the goal of the visit and whether or not it can be achieved by an employee already in the location or through remote communication.

Flattening the curve: when health officials say they’re focusing on 'flattening the curve', it means they’re putting in place interventions and restrictions to slow the spread of a virus so there isn’t a large spike in cases in a short period of time. The intention is to keep the number of infections manageable to health-care systems are not overwhelmed. 

JobKeeper: the JobKeeper payment is designed to help businesses keep their employees on the payroll during government-ordered closures and dwindling profits. The payment equals $1,500 per eligible employee, per fortnight.

JobSeeker: the JobSeeker payment is an unemployment benefit paid by the government if you're looking for work. 

Immunocompromised: having an impaired or compromised immune response. 

Isolation: the complete separation from others of a person suffering from contagious or infectious disease. In public health, isolations happen when a person is infected with a communicable disease and is separated from people who are healthy. 

Non-essential service: To view the full list of what is considered a 'non-essential' service click here.

Pandemic: typically declared when an epidemic has spread to multiple continents or countries. On March 11 2020, the World Health Organisation declared the spread of COVID-19 a pandemic.

Quarantine: a strict strategy to restrict the activities and movement of a person who has been exposed to the virus but has not necessarily tested positive. Quarantine should be 14 days long, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Self-isolation: voluntary isolation. People can self-isolate when they aren’t infected and are social distancing. 

Social distancing: social distancing is a set of infection control actions intended to stop or slow the spread of contagious disease. Examples of social distancing include isolation, quarantine, cancellation of mass gatherings (e.g. sports events), school closures and workplace closures. 

The above information has been sourced from the following resources: 

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