Coronavirus COVID-19 Information for Health Care Workers

What is a coronavirus and COVID-19?
Coronavirus is the name given to a group of viruses that can cause either illness, like the common cold, or can cause more serious diseases, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). The new coronavirus originated in Hubei Province, China and the disease outbreak is named COVID-19. Coronaviruses can make humans and animals sick.

How is it spread?

The coronavirus can potentially be spread from person-to-person through the following methods: 

  • Direct close contact with a person while they are infectious 
  • Close contact with a person with a confirmed infection who coughs or sneezes 
  • 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

How can you prevent the spread of the coronavirus?

Practicing good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defense against most viruses, including COVID19: 

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand rub, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet 
  • Cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser 
  • If unwell, avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people) 
  • Avoid touching your face.

How do I decide if I need to self-isolate?
Specific requirements are in place for people who have returned from a country or region that is at high or moderate risk for COVID-19 or think may they have been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus. Go to for the list of at-risk countries and isolation requirements.

What does it mean to self-isolate?

If you need to isolate, stay at home and DO NOT attend public places, work, school, childcare or university. Only people who usually live in the household should be in the home. 

Do not allow visitors into your 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.

For more information visit

What do I do if I develop symptoms?

The symptoms or COVID-19 are as follows: 

  • Fever 
  • Cough 
  • Sore throat 
  • Shortness of breath 

If you develop symptoms within 14 days of leaving a country or region that is a high risk of COVID-19, or within 14 days of last contact with a confirmed case, you should arrange to see your doctor or one of the specific clinics set up for urgent assessment but call the Hotline for your state first. For example, the Tasmania Public Health Hotline, 1800 671 738.

Who is most at risk of illness?

If you become infected you may not get sick at all, or you may get mild symptoms from which you’ll recover easily, whilst others may become very ill, very quickly. The people at most risk of serious infection are: 

  • People with compromised immune systems (e.g. cancer) 
  • Elderly people 
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as they have higher rates of chronic illness 
  • People with diagnosed chronic medical conditions 
  • Very young children and babies – note numbers of confirmed cases in this age group to date are very low 
  • People in group residential settings 
  • People in detention facilities 

Is there a treatment for COVID-19?
There is no specific treatment for any of the coronaviruses, including COVID-19. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses. Most of the symptoms can be treated with supportive medical care.

Should I wear a facemask?
You do not need to wear a mask if you are healthy. While the use of masks can help to prevent transmission of disease from infected patients to others, masks are not currently recommended for use by healthy members of the public for the prevention of infections like coronavirus.

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