As COVID-19 dominates the news and impacts our day-to-day lives, we want to ensure that our members stay informed with relevant and reliable information.
We’ll outline what we know about this virus, point you towards some sources for the most up-to-date information & advice, plus take you through some general hygiene tips to help reduce the risk of infection.
Here’s what we know
First reported in December 2019 in Wuhan City, China, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause illnesses, ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms can vary, from flu-like symptoms to pneumonia, and may include:
- sore throat
- breathing difficulties
Who is at risk?
People at risk of getting the virus include those who have recently been in a high risk country/region and people who have been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Other groups at higher risk include:
- people with weakened immune systems (e.g. cancer)
- elderly people
- people with diagnosed chronic medical conditions
- Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people
Where to get regular updates
As this is a new virus, information regarding COVID-19 is constantly being updated. As such, the Australian Government is monitoring the situation closely, and posting regular updates and advice on the Department of Health website. They also provide clear advice on what to do if you are displaying any of the symptoms of coronavirus.
Smartphone users can keep up to date via the Department of Health’s Facebook page.
The World Health Organization has also published some myth busters to help dispel some common misconceptions surrounding the coronavirus.
What precautions you can take
At times like these, the basic principles of good hygiene apply. The following steps can help reduce the risk of infection:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap & water.
- Use alcohol-based hand wash if you don’t have access to soap & water.
- Where possible, reduce hand contact with outside surfaces.
- Minimise hand contact with your face.
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever, or is coughing