Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) - What you need to know?

If you think you may have contracted coronavirus or been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus, you must isolate yourself, which means you stay at home and do not attend public places, including work, school, childcare or university. You must phone your health provider for further instructions as soon as possible.

While coronavirus is of concern, it is important to remember that most people displaying symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or tiredness are likely suffering with a cold or other respiratory illness--not coronavirus.


Relating to respiration, the process of inhaling and exhaling air.

What is a coronavirus and COVID-19?

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).



Relating to respiration, the process of inhaling and exhaling air.

How is this coronavirus spread?

The coronavirus is most likely to spread from person-to-person through:

  • direct close contact with a person while they are infectious. This may include a period of 14 days or more before symptoms begin,
  • close contact with a person with a confirmed infection who coughs or sneezes, or
  • touching objects or surfaces (such as door handles or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face. Studies suggest that the virus can remain active on surfaces for up to 5 days.


Most infections are only transmitted by people when they have symptoms. These can include fever, a cough, sore throat, tiredness and shortness of breath.


A microscopic infectious agent that replicates itself only within cells of living hosts; a piece of nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) wrapped in a protein coat.

How can we help prevent the spread of coronavirus?

Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. You should:

  • wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before preparing food, 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).

Who needs to isolate?

To help limit the spread of coronavirus, you must isolate yourself If you have been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus, you must isolate yourself for at least 14 days from the date of last contact with the confirmed case.

What does isolate in your home mean?

People who must isolate need to stay at home and must 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. 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 mask if you have one.

What do I do if I develop symptoms?

If you develop symptoms (fever, a cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath) within 14 days of last contact of a confirmed case, you should wear a mask and phone your healthcare provider to get advice and directions on where to go for urgent assessment.

You should telephone the health clinic or hospital BEFORE YOU ARRIVE and tell them your travel history or that you may have been in contact with a potential case of coronavirus. You must remain isolated either in your home or a healthcare setting until public health authorities inform you it is safe for you to return to your usual activities.

Who is most at risk of a serious illness?

Some people who are infected may not get sick at all, some will get mild symptoms from which they will recover easily, and others may become very ill, very quickly. From previous experience with other coronaviruses, the people at most risk of serious infection are:

  • people with compromised immune systems, such as people with cancer,
  • elderly people,
  • very young children and babies, and
  • people with diagnosed chronic medical conditions.


How is the virus treated?

There is no specific treatment for coronaviruses. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses. Most of the symptoms can be treated with supportive medical care.

More information

For the latest advice, information and resources, go to

If you have concerns about your health, speak to your doctor

FAQ Frequently asked questions