Frequently Asked Questions
Please be aware that due to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 situation, advice and information can change rapidly. We advise all residents to check in on our dashboard and social media for updates on local information. QLD health should continue to be your first point of contact for any COVID-19 developments.
Below is a list of the our Frequently Asked Questions. Any questions you may have please submit a "Have your Say" and you will be responded to as soon applicable.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing.
Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.
Human coronaviruses are spread from someone infected with Covid-19 to other people in close contact:
- Through contaminated droplets spread by coughing or sneezing, or
- By contact with contaminated hands, surfaces or objects
Studies to date suggest that the virus that causes COVID-19 is transmitted through contact with respiratory droplets rather than through the air.
The time between exposure to the virus and the first appearance of symptoms is typically 5 to 6 days, although it may range from 2 to 14 days.
For this reason, people who might have been in contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19 are being asked to self-isolate for 14 days
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
- Cough into your elbow or into a tissue and immediately put the tissue in the bin, and
- Practice social distancing where possible – maintaining a distance of 1.5m between yourself and the next person
- Stay home if you are sick
Self-isolation is a precautionary measure taken to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and limit social interaction that may transmit the disease.
Self-quarantine is required when:
- You have been diagnosed with COVID-19
- You are suspected to have COVID-19
- You have had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case
- You have travelled overseas in the last 14 days
You should only be on your boat alone, or with no more than one other person; or with family who ordinarily live in the same household as you.
Some essential reasons you may need to use your boat could be to:
- Exercise (e.g. kayak/ sailing/ paddling etc)
- Get to and from work, where the work cannot reasonably be performed from home.
- Get Groceries; and
- Provide assistance, care or support to an immediate members of the person's family.
No, there are no confirmed cases currently in Weipa.
Yes. All travelers entering Weipa after 5pm Wednesday 25th March will be required to self isolate for a period of 14 days.
This excludes approved essential services:
- Qld Emergency Services
- Qld Health
- Royal Flying Doctor Service
- Emergency Breakdown Specialists
- Sea Swift/ Freight Providers
- Critical Mining equipment breakdown specialists
- Any other essential services as determined/ approved by the LDMG
Cooktown Shire currently have permit requirements in place for travelling on some sections of the PDR. Please refer to the Cook Shire for further information.
Supply of food and essential items such as medications into Weipa will continue as per normal. We strongly advise that there is no need to panic buy or hoard supplies.
Since Sunday 22nd March 2020 it is estimated that nearly 1 million jobs have been lost across the country. The health and economic impacts of Coronavirus are very real and even in our own community local business owners are seeing significant reduction in work due to changing work scopes as a result of Coronavirus controls.
At the local level Rio Tinto Weipa contributes significantly to the economic viability of the broader Cape region, contributing approximately $160 million back into local signatory communities in 2019 through salaries and wages. Simply ceasing this contribution will have a grave impact on the community’s ability to gain access to essential goods and services (ie. groceries, fuel, vital medications) and is something that we must consider when considering mining being essential to the Western Cape.
Over the last month Rio Tinto Weipa Operations have been implementing multiple initiatives to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 into Weipa:
- FIFO contractors (ie. HEQ Fitters and project contractors) have been relocated to Weipa for a period of at least 6 months to reduce the risk of transmission whilst supporting operations and employment to safely continue. We understand this is difficult for those contractors who have had to leave families and friends, we thank them for making this sacrifice to support a coordinated community effort.
Enforced the 14 day self-isolation requirements for project contractors despite their arrival prior to Wednesday, 25th March when these restrictions commenced (ie. Kaefer completing
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critical maintenance on the Mission River Bridge, currently observing self-isolation protocols when not at work). It is important to note that where we can reduce the risk of interaction by people being at work for the 14 days (for example the Mission River Bridge) we should do that.
Deferred a number of capital projects until 2021 to minimise risk of transmission through our contractor workforce. This has reduced further the number of people required in town to run our operations.
Developing clear definitions regarding what an “essential” service is, we want to be clear that simply working for the mine does not make a person an essential service who is not required to observe self-isolation rules.
Persons who are not required, under the biosecurity declaration, to isolate prior to arrival into Weipa will be managed under a strict COVID-19 personal health management plan. This management plan will detail appropriate controls that are required to be put in place and will include but is not limited to conditions such as segregated accommodation, observing selfisolation protocols whilst not at work, dedicated transport to and from work that is cleaned after each use and limiting interactions with vulnerable personnel or community.
Supporting the Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) in their efforts to develop clear and transparent processes for self-isolation and travel restrictions as they are released by Federal and State governments. Establishment of a dedicated Coronavirus Response Team (CRT) – a dedicated group of RT employees who are supporting Weipa Operations leadership, the Business Resilience Team (BRT) and the LDMG on emerging issues, developing processes and providing fast, factual communications to our broader workforce. Release of a daily Situation Report to leaders that provides regular, consistent and most up to date information regarding the COVID-19 situation so our workforce receives relevant information in a timely fashion that helps explain what an employee needs to do, in order to apply these requirements in the workplace. Working to develop a Local Business Capability Register that will allow us to match opportunity to local capability that is now available due to reduced activity in town (ie. accommodation for project contractors now living in town, use of Weipa Mine Tours bus for crew transportation requirements). Redirection of $250K of the Western Cape Community Development Fund to support COVID19 specific initiatives such as donations towards health improvements, local business support and community mental health initiatives. Our focus is first and foremost on ensuring the health of our employees and our communities and we will continue to implement controls that are above and beyond what is required under legislation to prevent unnecessary risk.
We have converted the vast majority of roles to being locally based for a period of at least 6 months to reduce the risk of transmission whilst supporting operations and employment to safely continue. We understand that this goes beyond the legal requirements and is disruptive to contractors but our management team made the decision to reduce the risk to our communities and numbers of vulnerable people in the Western Cape.
Under the conditions of a biosecurity zone, Napranum community members may still access Weipa for essential services such as groceries, fuel, the bank and the school. We understand this was confusing initially but please understand all parties are trying to work through an evolving situation and interpret new laws or guidelines being made almost daily.
The Federal Government has mandated the following closures to the public:
- Pubs and registered clubs, except for the purposes of selling food or beverages for people to consume off-site and providing accommodation (including allowing food and drinks to be consumed in a person’s room).
- Food and drink premises, except for the purpose of selling food or beverages for people to consume off-site (or in a person’s room if in a hotel or motel) (for example restaurants and cafés).
- Places of public worship, except for the purposes of conducting wedding services (with a maximum attendance of no more than five people) and funeral services (with a maximum attendance of no more than 10 people). In hardship cases, States and Territories can provide exemptions in relation to attendance at funerals.
- Spas (including where they are part of a hotel), nail salons, beauty salons, waxing salons, tanning salons, massage parlours.
- Community facilities (for example community halls).
- Entertainment facilities (for example Kumrumja centre, Revive Centre and any music or dance halls used for aerobic activity)
- Amusement centres (for example places to play billiards, pool, pinball machines or video games).
- Indoor recreation facilities (for example squash courts, indoor swimming pools, gyms, table tennis centres, health studios, bowling alleys and ice rinks).
- Public swimming pools.
- Caravan parks and camping grounds, except for staff, permanent residents, or those who have no other place of permanent residence.
- Food courts within shopping centres, noting that any food and beverages premises that are part of the food court may remain open and serve products for people to consume off the shopping centre premises. This means the Bakery and Café are able to serve takeaway but not have people physically meeting at their premises.
- Markets, except for food markets.
- Micro-breweries or small distilleries holding a drink on-premises authorisation under the Liquor Act 2007 or cellar door premises, except for the purposes of selling food or beverages for persons to consume off the premises.
- Galleries, museums and libraries.
- National Trust properties and Historic Houses Trust of QLD properties.
- Auction houses.
- Betting agencies and gaming lounges.
- Casinos, except for the purpose of providing hotel or motel accommodation (and providing food and beverages to persons using that accommodation to consume in their rooms).
- Tattoo parlours
The restrictions about mass gatherings do not apply to the essential gatherings for the ordinary business of the following places:
Transportation (including vehicles, stations, platforms or stops)
- Hospitals or other medical or health service facilities
- Emergency services
- Disability or aged care facilities
- Prisons, correctional facilities, youth justice centres or other places of custody
- Courts or tribunals
- Supermarkets, food markets or groceries
- Office buildings, factories, mines, farms and constructions sites
- Schools, universities, other educational institutions and child care facilities
- Hotel, motel or other accommodation facilities
- Outdoor thoroughfares
Shopping centres are also exempt from the 100 person indoor rule and the 4 square metre rule. However, retail stores (including those in shopping centres) are required to follow the 4 square metre rule.
- Australia’s borders are closed. Only Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members can travel to Australia
- There is a ban on all overseas travel, with few exceptions
- If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident returning to Australia you must selfisolate for 14 days from the day you return. This isolation is required to be completed in a designated location like a hotel determined by the Federal Government
- Australians must avoid all non-essential domestic travel
- States and territories are applying their own restrictions, including closure of state borders.
- The Australian government is restricting travel to certain remote communities to protect Community Elders and those already sick. Before entering a designated area or biosecurity area you must self-isolate for 14 days.
Weddings and Funerals
Further restrictions apply to the number of people who can attend weddings and funerals at places of worship, with:
- 5 people only for weddings
- 10 people only for funerals.
Businesses and activities that can continue must still adhere to existing restrictions on mass gatherings by providing 4 metres square of space for each person attending and limiting attendance to:
- 100 people for indoor gatherings and
- 500 people for outdoor gatherings
The Federal Government has declared several areas across Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia & South Australia as designated biosecurity zones. A biosecurity zone is a part of the state
that has legal movement restrictions placed on it to limit the spread of pests and diseases within that area.
The vast majority of Cape York including Weipa and surrounds has been included as designated area in order to restrict non-essential movement into high-risk remote communities. This means anyone travelling into these communities that is not conducting an essential service* will be required to selfisolate for 14 days before entering into a designated area.
If you are a resident of the Cape and are travelling back through Weipa you will be required to fill in a Special Consideration to Enter Communities. This form is located on the Weipa Town Authority website and will ask you to outline how you have met the conditions of self-isolation during the 14 days prior to your entry.
This form will then be submitted to the representative of the LDMG and QLD Health for approval with any evidence included for consideration. If declined, the person will be notified by the LDMG.
If you think you have symptoms that reflect those of COVID-19 you are advised to call the Weipa Fever Clinic on 4082 3678. On receiving your call the Clinic will discuss your symptoms and any recent travel history and advise next steps. Please remember, in case of emergencies always call 000.
In accordance with the government’s restrictions on limiting the number of people in public places most public places including parks, recreational areas, swimming pools, libraries, entertainment areas and sporting clubs are closed until further notice.
On 29th March 2020, the Queensland Chief Health Officer announced the Home Confinement Directive that people must stay in their homes except for:
• Shopping for essentials - food and necessary supplies;
• Medical or health care needs, including compassionate requirements;
• Exercise with no more than one other person (unless from your household);
• Providing care or assistance to an immediate family member;
• Work and study if you can’t work or learn remotely
Organisations and employers who are responsible for a workplace should take actions to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19:
- Consider whether activities can be postponed, reduced in size/frequency or cancelled
- Cancel non-essential activities such as business travel, study visits, extra-curricular activities and sporting events
- Encourage flexible working arrangements including working from home and off-peak travel, and consider whether staff workstations can be more widely spaced
- Ensure adequate handwashing facilities and soap are available
- Provide and promote hand sanitisers at building entrances
- Ensure high standards of routine environmental cleaning (standard cleaning products are fine)
- Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces regularly, including desks and keyboards
- Open windows, enhance airflow, adjust the air-conditioning
- Encourage preventive actions including personal hygiene (handwashing, reducing face contact, cough etiquette), physical distancing and taking time off when unwell
- Avoid large indoor meetings and lunchrooms and use outdoor venues, if possible
- Plan for increased levels of staff absences
- Plan for what to do if staff arrive sick at work.