Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that is caused by a newly discovered form of coronavirus.  

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that was unknown before the outbreak that started in Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Other known forms of coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever and respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, sore throat and shortness of breath. 

Other symptoms can include runny nose, acute blocked nose (congestion), headache, muscle or joint pains, nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, loss of sense of smell, altered sense of taste, loss of appetite and fatigue.

Most people infected with COVID-19 will recover without special medical treatment. Some people, such as those with underlying medical problems or disease and older people, are more likely to suffer from more serious symptoms of the diseases. See also our website on  vulnerable workers

How is COVID-19 spread? 

The virus that causes COVID-19 can be transmitted through respiratory droplets, smaller particles (aerosols), direct physical contact with an infected individual, and indirectly through contaminated objects and surfaces. People may be infectious for several days before they develop symptoms. 

Respiratory droplets and aerosols that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Droplets may also come into contact with the person’s eyes, nose or mouth or be inhaled. Airborne transmission of COVID-19 through small particles called aerosols can also occur through coughing, sneezing, breathing and talking, with the greatest risk in indoor, crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces. Aerosols can remain suspended in the air and travel further than 1 metre (longer range). 

A person may also be infected if they touch a surface contaminated with the COVID-19 virus and then touch their mouth, nose or eyes before washing their hands. Research shows that the COVID-19 virus can survive on some surfaces for several hours to a few days, depending on the surface type and environmental conditions. 

More information 

For more information about COVID-19 please see the resources available from the Australian Government Department of Health.  

You can also call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080 if you have questions about COVID-19. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

If you require translating or interpreting services, please call 131 450. 

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