What is COVID-19 (coronavirus)?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses causing illness from a common cold to serious respiratory illnesses. COVID-19 (generally referred to as coronavirus) is a new strain that has been assessed as a pandemic by the World Health Organization

How does it spread?

COVID-19 spreads from person to person through droplet transmission

Droplets are small pieces of saliva which are produced when a person coughs or sneezes

Droplets usually travel no further than one metre through the air.

You can become infected if:

  • You have close contact with an infected person who coughs or sneezes
  • You touch an object (e.g. door handle) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with COVID-19 and touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Droplets cannot go through skin and can only lead to infection if they touch your mouth, nose or eyes

Who is at risk?

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 types of coronaviruses, the people most at risk of serious infection are:

  • People with compromised immune systems, such as people with cancer
  • People with diagnosed chronic medical conditions
  • Elderly people
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Very young children and babies

COVID-19 Door Sign

Download one of these posters and place it on, or next to, your front door at home to remind people to stay away if they’re sick, and to wash their hands as they come in.