• As of December 2019, coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a newly identified virus that can cause respiratory illness, including pneumonia.
  • The virus is spread person-to-person through close contact.
  • Treatment options include medications and supportive care, such as mechanical ventilation to assist breathing.
  • If you have travelled to an impacted area and are concerned you may have the virus please call ahead to your GP before attending.

What is coronavirus disease?

This is a virus that can cause an infection in people, including a severe respiratory illness. It has not been detected before this outbreak.

This new coronavirus has been called COVID-19.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms reported include:

  • Fever
  • Breathing difficulties such as breathlessness
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue or tiredness

How does COVID-19 spread?

The World Health Organization (WHO) have confirmed that the virus is spread by people with symptoms through coughing and sneezing.

The spread of novel coronavirus occurs through close contact with an infected person, mostly face-to-face or within a household. It cannot jump across a room or be carried for long distances in the air.

How is COVID-19 diagnosed?

If you have a risk of having the infection, your doctor will take a sample from your nose and throat and will organise for that sample to be tested at a laboratory to determine if you have COVID-19.

You will be asked to remain isolated from other people while this testing takes place.

How is COVID-19-treated?

There is no specific treatment for disease caused by COVID-19. However, many of the symptoms can be treated and therefore treatment will be based on the patient’s clinical condition.

How do I protect myself and my family?

  • The easiest way to protect yourself and your family is to pay attention to good hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing with a tissue, or cough into your elbow, dispose of the tissue into a bin and then wash your hands afterwards. Wash your hands regularly, after using the toilet and before eating.

Do I need to wear a face mask?

Face masks are not recommended for use by members of the public in Victoria for the prevention of infections like COVID-19. Should any healthcare professional be required to treat a suspected or confirmed case, they will be supported by following standard infection control guidelines.

Advice to travellers

For travel information regarding COVID-19, visit the Smartraveller website.

Where can I find out more information?

For updates from the Victorian Government on the current incident, go to dhhs.vic - coronavirus disease section

For national updates, visit - News.

For international updates, visit - coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

For more information on WHO resources, visit WHO resources: Coronavirus

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This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Department of Health and Human Services - RHP&R - Office of the Chief Health Officer

Last updated: February 2020

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