There is currently a global outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
If you have returned from a country or region that is at higher risk for COVID-19, you need to follow the instructions below. Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses and include fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose, tiredness and difficulty breathing. This information sheet should be read in conjunction with the ‘What you need to know’ and ‘Isolation guidance’ information sheets.
What do I do if I am well?
If you have returned from a country or region that is at higher risk for COVID-19, monitor your health for the next 14 days. You can attend work unless you work in a setting with vulnerable people.
For the best protection of those around you, travellers from higher risk countries should practise social distancing and avoid crowds for 14 days after leaving the higher risk country or region. Social distancing means keeping a distance of 1.5m between you and other people when out and about in public.
Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses:
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet.
Cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand rub.
What do I do if I am sick right now?
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, let a member of the airline or ship crew know now. If you are in the airport or seaport contact a biosecurity officer now.
What do I do if I get sick while in Australia?
If you become unwell, you must go home or to your accommodation immediately and:
Isolate yourself from others and use a separate bathroom if available.
Put on a surgical mask if you are near other people and if you don’t have one, cover your cough and sneeze.
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water and use alcohol-based hand rub.
Seek medical testing for COVID-19. Call in advance before attending a medical facility and tell the staff about your recent travel history.
If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, call 000, ask for an ambulance and notify the ambulance officers of your recent travel history.
1. Cold weather and snow CANNOT kill the new coronavirus.
There is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the new coronavirus or other diseases. The normal human body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the external temperature or weather. The most effective way to protect yourself against the new coronavirus is by frequently cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water.
2. Taking a hot bath does not prevent the new coronavirus disease
Taking a hot bath will not prevent you from catching COVID-19. Your normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower. Actually, taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can be harmful, as it can burn you. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that coud occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.
3. The new coronavirus cannot be transmitted through goods manufactured in China or any country reporting COVID-19 cases.
Even though the new coronavirus can stay on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days (depending on the type of surface), it is very unlikely that the virus will persist on a surface after it has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperatures. If you think a surface may be contaminated, use a disinfectant to clean it. After touching it, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
4. The new coronavirus CANNOT be transmitted through mosquito bites.
To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes. The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Also, avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing and sneezing.
5. Are hand dryers effective in killing the new coronavirus?
No. Hand dryers are not effective in killing the 2019-nCoV. To protect yourself against the new coronavirus, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air dryer.
6. Can an ultraviolet disinfection lamp kill the new coronavirus?
UV lamps should not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation.
7. How effective are thermal scanners in detecting people infected with the new coronavirus?
Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have developed a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature) because of infection with the new coronavirus.
However, they cannot detect people who are infected but are not yet sick with fever. This is because it takes between 2 and 10 days before people who are infected become sick and develop a fever.
8. Can spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body kill the new coronavirus?
No. Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth). Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations.
9. Can pets at home spread the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?
At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus. However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This protects you against various common bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella that can pass between pets and humans.
10. Do vaccines against pneumonia protect you against the new coronavirus?
No. Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus.
The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV, and WHO is supporting their efforts.
Although these vaccines are not effective against 2019-nCoV, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health.
11. Can regularly rinsing your nose with saline help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?
No. There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus.
There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.
12. Can eating garlic help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?
Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.
13. Does the new coronavirus affect older people, or are younger people also susceptible?
People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.
WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.
14. Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus?
No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria.
The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.
However, if you are hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.
15. Are there any specific medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus?
To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation, and will be tested through clinical trials. WHO is helping to accelerate research and development efforts with a range or partners.
You have been identified as being at risk of infection with the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and you have now developed symptoms. You must isolate yourself in your home or health care setting until Public Health authorities inform you it is safe for you to return to your usual activities.
Please read this information carefully.
What does isolate yourself in your home mean?
People who are recommended to be isolated should not attend public places, in particular work, school, childcare or university. Only people who usually live in the household should be in the home. Do not allow visitors into the home. There is no need to wear masks in the home. Where possible, get others such as friends or family, who are not required to be isolated to get food or other necessities for you. If you must leave the home, such as to seek medical care, wear a surgical mask if you have one.
What is this virus?
Coronaviruses can make humans and animals sick. Some coronaviruses can cause illness similar to the common cold and others can cause more serious diseases, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
The virus seen in mainland China is called ‘novel’ because it is new. It has not been detected before this outbreak. Most people currently infected live in, or have travelled to mainland China. There have been some cases of 2019-nCoV reported in other countries. It is likely that the virus originally came from an animal, and there is now evidence that it can spread from person-to-person.
How is the virus spread?
The virus is most likely to spread from person to person through:
direct contact with a person whilst they are infectious;
contact with droplets when a person with a confirmed infection coughs or sneezes; or
touching objects or surfaces (such as doorknobs or tables) that were contaminated by droplets from secretions coughed or sneezed from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.
Close contacts of a person with a confirmed infection (such as people staying in the same house or sharing a closed space for a prolonged length of time) are most at risk of infection.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms can include (but are not limited to) fever, cough, fatigue, sore throat, and/or shortness of breath.
For how long can a person spread the infection to other people?
The length of time that a person is infectious, that is, can spread the infection to others, is not yet known. However, there has been emerging evidence of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic infection and pre-symptomatic transmission in at least one case cluster. It is therefore likely that a person can spread the infection from before the time they first develop symptoms until up to one day after symptoms stop.
What happens now?
Your doctor will arrange for you to be tested for the infection. It may take a few days for the test results to be returned.
If your symptoms are serious you will remain in hospital isolated from other patients to prevent further spread of the virus.
If your doctor says you are well enough to return home while you are waiting for your test results:
remain in your home and do not attend work or school;
wash your hands often with soap and water;
cough and sneeze into your elbow;
avoid cooking for or caring for other members of your household; and
wear a mask (provided by your doctor) if close contact with other people is unavoidable.
Public Health officers will make contact with you each day to check on your condition and provide you with a phone number to contact if you have questions.
Your family and other close contacts do not need to remain isolated unless they develop symptoms. If they develop symptoms, they must return home and contact the Public Health Unit.
What happens if my test is negative?
You no longer need to remain in isolation. You may return to normal activities on the advice of Public Health authorities. You should continue to carefully monitor your health for up to 14 days after your last contact with the confirmed case. Report any new or returning symptoms to Public Health in this period. You may be required to be tested again.
What happens if my test is positive?
You must remain in your home or accommodation until Public Health officers advise that it is safe to return to normal activities. This will normally be 1 day after your symptoms end.
If your condition deteriorates, seek medical attention:
Notify the Public Health officers managing your care by calling the number provided to you;
Follow the direction of the Public Health officers who may advise you to go to a doctor’s surgery or a hospital;
Call ahead to a doctor or hospital and inform them that you are a confirmed case of novel coronavirus;
Put on the mask provided to you if you need to leave the house;
When you arrive at the doctor’s surgery or hospital, tell them that you are a confirmed case of novel coronavirus.
If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as shortness of breath:
Call 000 and request an ambulance; and
Inform the ambulance officers that you are a confirmed case of novel coronavirus.
People who you have had contact with including family members and people you live with will need to isolate themselves for 14 days since their last contact with you. More information for close contacts can be found onwww.health.gov.au
How is the infection treated?
There is no specific treatment for 2019-nCoV infection. Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections. However, most of the symptoms can be treated with supportive medical care. Your doctor will explain this to you.
During the 14 days of isolation, you stay at home or in your hotel and don’t go to public places including work, school, childcare, university or public gatherings. Only people who usually live with you should be in the home. Do not see visitors. If you are in a hotel, avoid contact with other guests or staff.
When in isolation, monitor yourself for symptoms including fever, cough or shortness of breath. Other early symptoms include chills, body aches, sore throat, runny nose and muscle pain.
What do I do if I get sick?
If you develop mild symptoms:
Isolate yourself from others at home and use a separate bathroom if available
Put on a surgical mask and if you don’t have one, practise good sneeze/cough hygiene
Practise good hand hygiene
Call a doctor or hospital and tell them your recent travel or close contact history.
If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing:
Call 000, ask for an ambulance and notify the officers of your recent travel or close contact history.
How can I prevent the spread of coronavirus?
Practising good hand hygiene and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. You should:
wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser
and if unwell, avoid contact with others (touching, kissing, hugging, and other intimate contact)
If you live in a private house, it is safe for you to go into your garden or courtyard. If you live in an apartment or are staying in a hotel, it is also safe for you to visit the garden but you should wear a surgical mask to minimise risk to others and move quickly through any common areas.
Advice for others living with you
Others that live with you are not required to be isolated unless they meet one of the isolation criteria outlined above. If you develop symptoms and are suspected to have novel coronavirus, they will be classified as close contacts and will need to be isolated.
To minimise the spread of any germs you should regularly wash surfaces that are frequently touched such as door handles, light switches, kitchen and bathroom areas. Clean with household detergent or disinfectant.
Managing the 14 day isolation
Being in isolation can be stressful and boring. Suggestions include:
Keep in touch with family members and friends via telephone, email or social media.
Learn about coronavirus and talk with others.
Reassure young children using age-appropriate language.
Where possible, keep up normal daily routines, such as eating and exercise.
Arrange to work from home.
Ask your child’s school to supply assignments or homework by post or email.
Do things that help you relax and use isolation as an opportunity to do activities you don’t usually have time for.
It is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus. Symptoms range from a mild cough to pneumonia. Some people recover easily, others may get very sick very quickly. There is evidence that it spreads from person to person. Good hygiene can prevent infection.
What is coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can make humans and animals sick. They cause illnesses that can range from the common cold to more severe diseases.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) was first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan City in China.
Other coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Symptoms can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. People with coronavirus may experience:
flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and fatigue
shortness of breath
Who is at risk
Most cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) are in Wuhan City in Hubei Province, China.
In Australia, the people most at risk of getting the virus are those who have:
recently been in mainland China and Iran
been in close contact with someone who is a confirmed case of coronavirus
Health authorities have confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia. For the latest number, read our coronavirus health alert.
How it spreads
There is evidence that the virus spreads from person-to-person.
The virus is most likely spread through:
close contact with an infectious person
contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze
touching objects or surfaces (like doorknobs or tables) that have cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person, and then touching your mouth or face
Surgical masks in the community are only helpful in preventing people who have coronavirus disease from spreading it to others. If you are well, you do not need to wear a surgical mask as there is little evidence supporting the widespread use of surgical masks in healthy people to prevent transmission in public.
Everyone should practise good hygiene to protect against infections. Good hygiene includes:
washing your hands often with soap and water
using a tissue and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
avoiding close contact with others, such as touching
If you have a confirmed case, you need to isolate yourself to prevent it spreading to other people.
If you become unwell and think you may have symptoms of coronavirus, seek medical attention.
Call ahead of time to book an appointment. Tell your doctor about your symptoms, travel history and any recent close contact with someone who has coronavirus.
If you must leave home to see your doctor, wear a surgical mask (if you have one) to protect others.
If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, call 000 for urgent medical help.
There is no treatment for coronavirus, but medical care can treat most of the symptoms. Antibiotics do not work on viruses.
If you have been diagnosed with coronavirus, isolate yourself in your home.
How to isolate yourself
Do not go to public places, such as work, school, shopping centres, childcare or university. If possible, ask other people to get food and other necessities for you and leave them at your front door.
Only people who usually live with you should be in your home. Do not let in visitors.
You do not need to wear a mask in your home.
If you need to leave home to seek medical attention, wear a surgical mask (if you have one) to protect others.
Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) coronavirus (COVID-19) statement on 29 February 2020
A statement from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) about coronavirus (COVID-19).
Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC): Recommendation on travellers from Iran and the risk of COVID-19 Importation
Travel Restrictions on Iran
AHPPC noted the following evidence that suggests that the COVID-19 outbreak in Iran may be one of the largest outside of the Hubei province in China:
Iran has the largest reported number of deaths outside of Hubei province
Iran has already exported cases of COVID-19 to a number of countries including now Australia and New Zealand, despite the absence of direct flights and relatively low travel volumes from Iran to these countries
There are reports of government officials with infections in Iran
It is almost certain that there is material under-reporting of case numbers.
Early and Urgent Response is Needed
AHPPC believes that, in general, border measures can no longer prevent importation of COVID-19 and does not support the further widespread application of travel restrictions to an increasing number of countries that have community transmission.
AHPPC favours measures that could materially slow the importation of COVID-19 cases into Australia to enable preparatory measures to continue and to enable a public health response to the initial cases.
Travel Restrictions on Mainland China is Successful
In this regard, AHPPC believes that travellers from Iran represent, at this time, a materially greater risk of COVID-19 importation than any other country outside mainland China. AHPPC also believes that the current travel restrictions regarding mainland China continue to be successful in reducing the volume of travel from mainland China.
AHPPC recommends to the Australian Government that, effective 1 March 2020:
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade increase travel advisory to level 4 – do not travel to Iran
All travellers arriving from Iran be asked to self-isolate at home for 14 days
Whilst preventing entry to Australia for travellers from Iran (who are not citizens or permanent residents) could be considered by government and would assist in compliance with self-isolation, AHPPC was concerned that further travel restrictions may set an unrealistic expectation that such measures are of ongoing value for further countries.
AHPPC noted that any special measures for Iran should be communicated to the community as a specific temporising measure for an unusually high-risk country at this time.
AHPPC noted that New Zealand introduced travel restrictions from Iran on 28 February.
Call this line if you are seeking information on novel coronavirus. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee is the key decision making committee for health emergencies. It is comprised of all state and territory Chief Health Officers and is chaired by the Australian Chief Medical Officer.
As at 09:00 hrs on 5 March 2020, we have 52 confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), including 2 deaths in Australia.
22 in New South Wales
1 in Northern Territory
8 in Queensland
4 in South Australia
1 in Tasmania
6 in Victoria
10 associated with Diamond Princess
15 of the initially reported cases in Australia all had a direct or indirect travel history to Wuhan, China
10 cases are associated with the Diamond Princess cruise ship repatriation flight from Japan
1 of the Diamond Princess repatriated cases sadly died
12 cases are reported to have had a direct or indirect travel history to Iran
6 cases are reported to have had a travel history to countries including Singapore, Europe, the United Arab Emirates, Japan and South Korea
6 cases did not have a reported history of overseas travel, with 4 of these cases associated with an aged care facility in NSW and the remaining 2 cases reported as health care workers at other health care facilities in NSW
1 aged care facility resident in NSW has sadly died
the source of infection for the remaining 3 cases is currently under investigation
Of the total cases reported, 22 of these cases are reported to have recovered. Sadly 2 people have died.
France waved kissing goodbye, should Australia do the same? We don’t have this tradition, however, with the coronavirus cases in Australia: SHOULD WE IMPLEMENT SOME DISTANCE? The global death rate is also on the rise.
La bise is the term for French custom of kissing both cheeks as a sign of greeting.
With France now reporting one of the highest numbers of infected patients in Europe, with 212 cases and four deaths, President Emmanuel Macron said the country had “entered a phase that will last weeks and probably months.”
“We’ll continue to stand together, it’s what we owe to our country,” Mr. Macron said during a visit on Tuesday to the country’s Health Ministry.
Schools are still closed.
The main clusters of cases so far have been in the Oise area of northern France, the Haute-Savoie area of the French Alps and the Morbihan area of Brittany, on the Atlantic coast. More than 100 schools have been closed, affecting nearly 45,000 students.
However, there was growing concern Wednesday about a new cluster of cases in Mulhouse, a city in eastern France. The authorities have tied the outbreak there to a local evangelical community that gathered several thousand people from Feb. 17 to Feb. 24. Health officials have asked participants to watch their health and to report any signs of sickness.
Cases of stolen masks increased.
Some supermarkets were reporting runs on supplies, and the police were investigating the theft of thousands of masks over the past few days from hospitals in Paris and Marseille.
As a nervous public tried to assess their own individual risks, the government said it was requisitioning stocks of certain types of protective masks to avoid shortages.
Bruno Le Maire, the economy minister, also announced on Wednesday that the government would regulate the price of antibacterial gels after “isolated cases” of price gouging.
And officials continued to drive home the importance of social distancing.
“I have formally advised against the practice of handshaking, the reduction of social contact in a physical manner, and that would include the practice of ‘la bise,’” Olivier Véran, the French health minister, said recently.
There goes the suspension of “French Kissing” as we all know it.
Coronavirus global death rate is now 3.4 percent, WHO confirms for the first time. Australians need to be always on the preventive side of things.
Tuesday – The head of the World Health Organization said that the global mortality for Covid-19 a.k.a. Coronavirus is now 3.4 percent. This reflects the severity of the cases in mainland China where the virus was first discovered.
Coronavirus Australia update: Covid-19 is deadlier than seasonal flu.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the organization’s director general, said in a news conference in Geneva that Covid-19 was deadlier than the seasonal flu but did not transmit as easily. “Globally, about 3.4 percent of reported Covid-19 cases have died,” Dr. Tedros said. “By comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1 percent of those infected.”
The estimate takes into account the growing number of infections being recorded outside China, mostly in Iran, Italy and South Korea.
Death rate of 3.4 percent could still change with possible Coronavirus cases in Australia.
Dr. Margaret Harris, a W.H.O. spokeswoman, said the figure was a “crudely calculated” snapshot of the disease’s death rate globally, and is expected to “change over time, and vary from place to place.”
It also does not include mild cases that do not require medical attention and is skewed by Wuhan, where the death rate is several times higher than elsewhere in China.
The announcement was the first time the organization confirmed a global mortality rate for the disease.
“While many people globally have built up immunity to seasonal flu strains, Covid-19 is a new virus to which no one has immunity,” meaning more people can be infected and some will suffer severe illnesses, Dr. Tedros said. The coronavirus does not transmit as efficiently as the flu but “causes more severe disease,” he added.
When the outbreak was concentrated in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the new virus was first found, the W.H.O. said that the mortality rate of the disease had ranged from 0.7 percent outside of Wuhan to as high as 4 percent inside the city. The organization also said that the epidemic would affect different countries in different ways.
China’s mortality rate is 3.7 percent.
Data from the Chinese government shows that the mortality rate in that country is about 3.7 percent, with most deaths reported in the province of Hubei, which includes Wuhan.
Dr. Tedros added on Tuesday that it was still possible to contain the virus, but warned that “rising demand, hoarding and misuse” of medical supplies such as masks could compromise the world’s ability to fight the outbreak, and he recommended a 40 percent global increase in the production of such supplies.