What is COVID-19
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections.
They can range from the common cold to more serious diseases and death.
COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new form of coronavirus.
It was first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan City in China.
Symptoms of COVID-19 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 symptoms such as: fever, respiratory symptoms, coughing, sore throat, shortness of breath.
Other symptoms can include runny nose, headache, muscle or joint pains, nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting
loss of sense of smell, altered sense of taste, loss of appetite and fatigue.
How it spreads
The virus can spread from person to person through: close contact with an infectious person (including in the 48 hours before they had symptoms), contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze.
Touching objects or surfaces (like doorknobs or tables) that have droplets from an infected person, and then touching your mouth or face.
COVID-19 is a new disease, so there is no existing immunity in our community. This means that COVID-19 could spread widely and quickly.
Who is most at risk
In Australia, the people most at risk of catching the virus are: travellers who have recently been overseas, those who have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, people in correctional and detention facilities, people in group residential settings.
You are at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19 if you are age 70 years and older, or have certain conditions which compromise the immune systems.
Protect yourself and others
Everyone must do the following things to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect those who are most at risk.
Good hygiene, physical distancing, public gatherings, isolation and wearing of masks to protect others. Stay at least 1.5 metres away from other people. Cover your coughs or sneezes with your elbow.
How to get tested
If you have cold or flu like symptoms, such as a cough, fever, sore throat, shortness of breath or runny nose, even if these are mild, you need to be tested.
People with mild symptoms can still spread the virus. To help stop the spread of COVID-19, anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms should get tested.
Early diagnosis means you can get the help you need and take steps to avoid spreading the virus to someone else.
Testing is important for anyone with symptoms and particularly if any of the following apply to you: you have returned from overseas in the past 14 days, you have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days, you are a health care, aged care or residential care worker or staff member with direct patient contact, you have lived in or travelled through an area where there is a higher risk of community transmission, as defined by the local public health unit, you travelled on a cruise ship (either passenger or crew) in the 14 days before developing symptoms. People in high-risk settings will be regularly monitored to ensure symptoms are identified early. Rapid response plans will be activated if someone in those settings develops a fever or respiratory symptoms. Examples of high-risk settings include: aged and residential care facilities, correctional facilities, boarding houses, military group residences and other closed settings, such as Navy ships or live-in accommodation.