What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus. Symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat and shortness of breath. The period within which the symptoms would appear is 2-14 days from exposure.

80% of persons infected with COVID-19 experience mild symptoms and recover. However, some go on to experience more serious illness and may require hospital care. Risk of serious illness rises with age: people over 40 seem to be more vulnerable than those under 40. People with weakened immune systems, respiratory conditions  and people with conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease are also more vulnerable to serious illness.

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What should you do if you think you have COVID-19?

If you suspect you may have the COVID-19 call the dedicated hotline open 24 hours, 7 days.

1800 020 080


To seek medical help from a doctor or hospital, call ahead of time to inform the doctor about your symptoms, travel history and any recent contact you have had with someone who has COVID-19.

Your doctor will tell you if you should be tested. They will arrange for the test.  After testing it may take a few days for the test results to come back.  If you have serious symptoms you will be kept in hospital and isolated from other patients to prevent the virus spreading.

If your doctor says you are well enough to go home while you wait for your test results, you should self-isolate.

How is COVID-19 Spread?

When someone who has COVID-19 coughs or exhales they release droplets of infected fluid. Most of these droplets fall on nearby surfaces and objects. People could catch COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces or objects and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

If they are standing within one meter of a person with COVID-19 they can catch it by breathing in droplets coughed out or exhaled by them.  Good hygiene can prevent infection.

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How to Protect Yourself and Others

To help slow the spread of COVID-19, practise good hygiene and social distancing, follow the rules for public gatherings, wear a face mask, quarantine and self-isolation.

Good hygiene includes washing your hands, covering your coughs and sneezes and cleaning your home or workplace paying special attention to frequently used items and surfaces.

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