The ANU has announced that they will begin to take precautionary methods in response to the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe. This is the most recent in a number of developments across the country, including actor Tom Hanks’ diagnosis in the Gold Coast and the ACT’s first case of the virus. 

The Vice-Chancellor has released a statement saying that events, such as social gatherings and public lectures, will be cancelled for the remainder of the semester. At the moment, essential university activities will continue to run, including classes, team meetings and community services like childcare. 

Additional precautionary measures for classes, residential colleges and other working environments will be released in the coming days. It was also announced that the ANU has a pandemic plan in place, but the details of this plan have not been made available.

The Vice-Chancellor’s statement further encouraged staff and students to practice good hygiene and avoid unnecessary contact with others, including group selfies. Students were also encouraged to avoid eating in common rooms, and to eat in their rooms instead. 

The ACT Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman said that despite the first diagnosis of the novel coronavirus in the territory, there was no immediate threat to the wider community. ANU Media emphasises that the ANU’s approach is ‘conservative’ and ‘precautionary’, with an aim to slow the spread of COVID-19 across campus.