Warning to consumers and advertisers about COVID-19 test kits

Source: Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration

Warning to consumers about self-test kits

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) warns consumers to be cautious when seeking to purchase products claiming to be home self-tests for COVID-19, either online or through other means.

In Australia, the advertising and supply of self-tests for serious infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, is prohibited under therapeutic goods legislation. COVID-19 tests are designed to be used under the direction of a health professional. Home tests may give a false positive or false negative result, which could be extremely dangerous for yourself and others if relied on.

Testing for COVID-19 should only be conducted in an accredited pathology laboratory, or by a healthcare professional at the point of care. This is so immediate clinical advice and treatment can be provided to the individual, and further information regarding possible limitations of the test, including the risk of false positive and false negative results, can be taken into consideration.

Warning to advertisers about test kits

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the TGA has taken measures to ensure Australia has laboratory and point of care tests available that are able to detect COVID-19 infections. These measures are designed to facilitate the legal importation, manufacture and supply of these tests. The measures do not exempt these test kits from the operation of the TGA advertising framework.

We remind advertisers of their obligations under therapeutic goods legislation. Specifically, compliance with the advertising framework including the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code (No.2) 2018 means that:

  • an advertisement for COVID-19 test kits when directed exclusively to health professionals is exempt from the legal requirements for advertising therapeutic goods to consumers. Appropriate measures must be in place to ensure the advertisement is only accessible by health professionals (e.g. use of firewalls, or a requirement to register to gain access to online advertising). If the online advertising can be viewed by the public, the exemption will not apply.
  • advertisements for test kits for COVID-19 infections cannot be directed to consumers. In Australia, the supply of self-tests for most serious infectious diseases, including self-tests for COVID-19, is prohibited under the Therapeutic Goods (Excluded Purposes) Specification 2010.

The TGA refers advertisers to its recent warning in relation to illegal advertising of therapeutic goods. The TGA will take action in relation to any advertisements that do not meet the requirements, including those that seek to mislead consumers. Penalties apply.

Search for missing boy Oliver Byrne

Source: State of Victoria Police

Wednesday, 1 April 2020 05:39

Police are appealing for public assistance to help locate missing teenager Oliver Byrne.

The 15-year-old was last seen leaving his Heidleberg West address about 11pm on 28 March.

It is believed he may be travelling to New South Wales in a white Holden Barina bearing plates 1IT 4OT.

He also could be heading to Mount Gambier, South Australia or Malmsbury, Victoria.

Police have released an image of Oliver in the hope someone recognises him and can provide information on his whereabouts.

Oliver is approximately 168cm tall, with a medium build, blue eyes and blond hair.

He was last seen wearing a black hooded jumper, black tracksuit pants and black shoes.

Anyone who sights Oliver or has information on his current whereabouts is urged to contact Heidelberg Police Station on 9450 8000.

Nikki Ladgrove

Media Advisor


Energy cost relief for Tasmanians

Source: State of Tasmania Government

Premier of Tasmania – Energy cost relief for Tasmanians

1 April 2020

Guy Barnett, Minister for Energy

Financial relief from energy costs is on its way for thousands of small businesses and individuals across the state.

From today, small business customers and community service organisations will have their next quarterly energy bill waived in recognition of the ongoing impacts that COVID-19 is having across the state.

In these difficult times, we want to do everything we can to help and this relief will make a difference to thousands of Tasmanians doing it tough.

Energy prices will also be capped for 12 months for all energy consumers, and Aurora is implementing a range of measures to help such as payment plans, freezing debt, bill relief, and waiving fees and charges.

In addition, Aurora Energy will not disconnect any residential or small business customers, without their agreement during this crisis.

We will continue to act in the interest of Tasmanians as we work through the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.

ABC expands education schedule to support students at home during COVID-19 crisis

Source: Australian Department of Communications

The ABC is launching an expanded schedule of free education content to support students, teachers and parents, with so many children forced to learn at home due to the coronavirus global pandemic.

To enhance its educational programming, ABC Education is working with state and territory education departments and other education providers to deliver additional curriculum-linked content to children of all ages.

ABC Managing Director David Anderson said the national broadcaster was ready to launch the extra resources, in line with its Charter requirement to broadcast programs of an educational nature. “With so many Australian children now studying at home or preparing to do so, the ABC is boosting its support for students, teachers and parents to help young Australians receive the education they need,” he said.

“Our expanded schedule will complement the many hours of education content already available on the ABC across multiple platforms and we will build on that programming as required.  Australians trust and rely on the ABC and this is another way we can contribute to and support the community.”

From Monday 14 April – with students having started Term 2 or readying to do so, depending on their location – the ABC will extend its educational programming on ABC ME to support children and caregivers at home, from 10am to 3pm each weekday. The expanded schedule moves from blocks of primary school content in the mornings through to secondary school content in the afternoons, featuring programs such as Ecomaths, ScienceXplosion, Numberblocks and English on the Go.

The ABC will offer additional online support through its portal ABC Education,  with access to more than 4000 free videos, interactive resources and games mapped to the Australian curriculum – across subjects such as English, maths, science, history, geography, media Literacy, financial literacy and the arts and technologies, including STEM. Sign up to the ABC Education weekly newsletter for engaging online resources, competitions, news and events to help teachers and parents.

Working in partnership with the states and territories, ABC Education will also create original teacher-led mini-lessons, which will be broadcast on the ABC Education portal and ABC ME, to support students learning at home. The NSW and Victorian education departments have provided initial financial assistance to help produce this content.

Behind The News is also ramping up its vital education offering to make sure parents and teachers have plenty of trusted, quality video content mapped to the Australian curriculum, including its daily and weekly programs Newsbreak and BTN Classroom.

BTN will expand its network of Rookie Reporters delivering news, views and opinions via mobile video, so that kids who are working remotely or in isolation will still have a voice in our news. Parents will also be able to access BTN’s teaching resources and lesson plans in the “Teachers” section of the BTN website.

ABC iview’s enhanced collection of carefully curated education content features informative and engaging programs across multiple subject areas, including BTN, The Storybuilding Tool Kit, This Place, Citizen Code and Teenage Boss.

Pre-schoolers are also in safe hands with trusted content on ABC Kids, ABC Kids listen and the ABC Early Education website, which includes Reflective Journal blog posts for educators and shows and podcasts across the five curriculum areas of family, community and culture, sustainability and nature, creativity and self-expression, STEM and health and wellbeing.

Special collections of learning content and family activities are also available on the newly enhanced ABC Kids app and ABC Kids Community Facebook page, which engages and inspires ongoing conversations with families, carers and educators.

James Merlino, Victorian Minister for Education, said it was great to partner with the ABC to ensure kids keep learning. “Learning from home is going to be new and challenging for everyone involved; students, their families and carers and for our teachers – it’s fantastic to partner with the ABC in expanding its educational programming.”


For more information:
Peter Munro, ABC Communications

Series of break-ins at Blackwood

Source: South Australia Police

Police are investigating a series of break-ins on business premises in Blackwood over the past two weeks and are searching for at least two men.

Between Thursday 19 March and Friday 27 March, 13 victims have reported their businesses were broken into. Those premises include two cafés, a pharmacy, two optometry clinics, two hairdressing salons, speech pathology clinic, dance studio, a supermarket and a podiatrist on Main Road.

Also the subject of a break-in were a café, hairdresser and speech pathology clinic on Coromandel Parade, a dance studio on Young Street and a podiatry clinic on Shepherds Hill Road.

In all incidents the doors to the premises were jemmied open.  Items stolen from the businesses include cash, food, toiletries, plants and hair products.

CCTV footage was captured of the suspect at the dance studio on Young Street about 2.50pm on Wednesday 25 March.  The second CCTV footage was captured at 2.45am on Thursday 19 March from the pharmacy on Main Road at Blackwood.

Operation Hurricane detectives are investigating these break-ins and ask if anyone recognises the men pictured in the CCTV footage or has information relating to the crime series to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or online at http://crimestopperssa.com.au.

All information can be provided anonymously and will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Police would like to remind the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity by phoning 131 444.

Temporary closure of some Service Centres

Source: Government of Australia Capital Territory

Released 01/04/2020

A number of Access Canberra Service Centres will close for the rest of this week to support forward planning on future service delivery for community.

Tuggeranong and Gungahlin Service Centres will be closed from 1 April 2020 and will re-open at 9am on 6 April 2020. The Civic Shopfront also remains closed.

The Belconnen and Woden Service Centres remain open at this time.

Access Canberra Executive Branch Manager, Engagement and COVID-19 Response, Emily Springett said the temporary closures this week would alleviate some immediate pressures across Service Centres.

Like the rest of the community, Access Canberra staff are also impacted by the changed arrangements of COVID-19, such as increased caring responsibilities, which means continuity of staffing is a current pressure.

“The closure will also enable us as an agency to finalise some forward planning arrangements so we can continue to provide continuity in our service delivery, while supporting the health and safety of our teams and our community,” she said.

“We would like to remind our community that they can continue to do more than 450 services and transactions online with Access Canberra at www.act.gov.au/accessCBR from the comfort of their homes. There are only a small number of services that we undertake in which our community need to come to a Service Centre and we are also looking at those to see how we can reduce it further.”

Ms Springett said that if the community was unsure how they could do a transaction digitally, or if they needed to attend a Service Centre, they could call 13 22 81 for support – before they went to a Service Centre.

“It’s important that our community reduces their time outside their home unless it is essential and the majority of Access Canberra services and transactions can be completed online or by phone, which prevents the need for our community to transact face-to-face,” she said.

“For those members of our community still choosing to attend a Service Centre, we have implemented a range of measures to support their health and safety of our team members.

“This includes putting physical distancing arrangements in place, reducing the number of people queuing inside Centres, having hand sanitizer available and undertaking regular cleaning throughout the day.

“Our clear message to the community is there is no better time to do it online with Access Canberra.”

All Service Centres – Woden, Belconnen, Tuggeranong and Gungahlin – are expected to be open from 9am on Monday 6 April 2020.

– Statement ends –

Section: Access Canberra | Media Releases

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ADF to work with police to conduct COVID compliance checks

Source: Tasmania Police

ADF to work with police to conduct COVID compliance checks – Tasmania Police


ADF to work with police to conduct COVID compliance checks

Wednesday, 1 April 2020 – 3:58 pm.

The Australian Defence Force will join police in conducting compliance checks of people in self-isolation from tomorrow.

Police have conducted over 2300 checks on people in quarantine across the State since 6pm on Wednesday 25 March to 3pm today. Police are being supported by about 40 personnel from the Australian Defence Force, as well as personnel from the State Emergency Service and Tasmania Fire Service and these checks are ongoing.

Penalties enforced so far include:

A 29 year old Rocherlea man has been charged with a range of offences, including failing to comply with a direction from the Director of Public Health, after his vehicle was intercepted by police last night.

A group of 10 people will be proceeded against for entering a restricted area at an East Coast camp ground on the weekend.

A number of non compliance cases also remain under active investigation.

Police continue to conduct a number of checks of businesses and in public places across the State.

There have been very high levels of compliance and understanding of the requirements, but we continue to get reports of people flouting the requirements in some public places and it must be clear that this is not acceptable.

Those required to isolate must fully adhere to the requirement and be aware that if they blatantly disregard these directions, they will face prosecution.

Those entering Tasmania since 21 March have been given instructions at their arrival points on what they are required to do and they must adhere to that direction.

Under the Emergency Management Act, there is a penalty of up to 100 penalty units ($16,800) or imprisonment not exceeding 6 months for failing to comply with a lawful requirement or direction of an emergency management worker.

Influenza vaccines released for 2020 season

Source: Australian Department of Health

Six influenza vaccines are available in Australia in 2020. All of these vaccines are quadrivalent, which means they contain four strains of influenza.

To date, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has released over 150 batches of influenza vaccine, consisting of over 12.2 million doses for supply in Australia for the 2020 season. This includes over 3.8 million for private supply, including through pharmacies, and over 8.4 million for Government-funded programs.

Every year, the TGA is responsible for reviewing the quality of all brands of the influenza vaccines released to the Australian market.

Despite the current COVID-19 pandemic, the TGA has not experienced any delay in processing influenza vaccines through the batch release program and has continued assessing the quality of the influenza vaccines for this season.

The Department of Health works closely with influenza vaccine manufacturers to ensure timely availability of influenza vaccines for all Australians, particularly those individuals identified at risk.

Vaccine manufacturers are responsible for prioritising vaccine supply to individual pharmacies and distributors.

To find out more about the 2020 flu vaccines, see 2020 seasonal influenza vaccines: Information for consumers and health professionals.

Gentamicin 40 mg/mL Injection (Hospira UK Limited)

Source: Australian Department of Health

Safety advisory – alternative product filling shortage may cause airway irritation if administered via inhalation

Consumers and health professionals are advised that Gentamicin 40 mg/ml Injection (Hospira UK Limited) may cause constriction or irritation to the airways if used as an inhalation to treat certain infections in the lungs, due to the presence of the preservatives, sodium metabisulfite, methyl hydroxybenzoate and propyl hydroxybenzoate.

Gentamicin 40 mg/ml Injection (Hospira UK Limited) is an unregistered product (sourced from overseas) that has been approved for use as an alternative product during the current shortage of Pfizer (Perth) Gentamicin 80 mg/2 mL (as sulfate) injection BP ampoule. This product is not expected to be available again until 30 April 2021.

In the meantime, the TGA has granted approval under Section 19A of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 to Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd to supply the alternative product, Gentamicin 40 mg/ml Injection (Hospira UK Limited), for the following indications:

Gentamicin 40mg/ml Injection (Hospira UK Limited) is approved for the treatment of infections due to susceptible organisms including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and species of Proteus, Escherichia, Klebsiella, Enterobacter, Serratia and Staphylococcus (including strains resistant to other antibiotics such as penicillin). In vitro, gentamicin is also active against Salmonella and Shigella. Gentamicin may be used for the treatment of the following conditions when caused by susceptible organisms:

  • Bacteraemia
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Skin and skin structure infections
  • Burns
  • Sepsis

While Gentamicin 40 mg/ml Injection (Hospira UK Limited) is a suitable alternative in most situations, clinicians using this product for off-label use via inhalation may need to take the presence of preservatives into account and the possible effect they may have on a patient’s airways.

Although Pfizer (Perth) Gentamicin 80 mg/2 mL (as sulfate) injection BP ampoule has not been approved for use via inhalation and its Product Information references only intramuscular or intravenous use, the TGA is aware that there is some off-label use via inhalation.

Information for consumers

If you have any questions or concerns about this issue, talk to your health professional

Information for health professionals

During the shortage, health professionals who would have used Pfizer (Perth) Gentamicin 80 mg/2 mL (as sulfate) injection BP ampoule via inhalation for a patient may need to consider other products for the patient’s treatment.

If a preservative-free gentamicin product is required, health professionals may wish to request supply via the Special Access Scheme (SAS).

Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd can be contacted on 1800 675 229. Information about this Section 19A approval has been published in the TGA’s online Section 19A database.

Reporting problems

Consumers and health professionals are encouraged to report problems with medicines or vaccines. Your report will contribute to the TGA’s monitoring of these products.

The TGA cannot give advice about an individual’s medical condition. You are strongly encouraged to talk with a health professional if you are concerned about a possible adverse event associated with a medicine or vaccine.

Search for missing Lara girl Skye Reardon

Source: State of Victoria Police

Wednesday, 1 April 2020 04:08

Police are appealing for public assistance to help locate missing girl Skye Reardon.

The 16-year-old was last seen at her home address in Lara on 9 March.

Police have concerns for her welfare due to her age and amount of time she has been missing.

Skye is described as Caucasian with brown shoulder length hair and was last seen wearing a black singlet, light blue jeans and a light blue jacket.

She is known to frequent the North Shore and Belmont areas.

Police have released an image of Skye in the hope that someone recognises her and can provide information regarding her current whereabouts.

Anyone with information about Skye is asked to contact Geelong Police Station on 5255 3100.

Nikki Ladgrove

Media Advisor