Preventing the spread
Staying at home and washing your hands regularly are key.
The Australian Government is asking everyone to stay at home. You should only leave the house for the following four reasons: shopping for necessary household items when you need them; medical care; exercise; and work. Several states and territories are now fining people who leave home for a non-essential reason.
Gatherings are now restricted to two people, except for members of your household who live with you.
The Government has also recommended that people over the age of 70, people over the age of 60 with a chronic illness (including cancer) and First Nations peoples over 50 stay at home as much as possible.
Washing your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and disinfecting surfaces in your home can help decrease your risk of catching this and other viruses.
Preventative actions you can take:
- Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
- If you can’t wash your hands with soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
- Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth
- Avoid touching other people, such as shaking hands or hugging
- Sneeze or cough into a disposable tissue. Throw the tissue into a bin and wash your hands immediately afterwards
- If tissues are not available, cough/sneeze into your upper arm/sleeve – avoid using your hands
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily
- Avoid anyone who is sick
- Avoid busy supermarkets – ask someone else to shop for you or buy online
- Avoid public transport
- Avoid touching things in public spaces as much as possible
You can also ask your GP, cancer specialists and other health providers if your consultations can be done via Telehealth using phone, Skype or Facetime or other video services. Telehealth services are now able to be bulk-billed so you can ask your health care provider if they can bulk-bill you.
For the latest medical advice, visit the Australian Government’s Department of Health website
Tips for reducing the spread in your home:
- Take off your shoes before you enter your home
- Create a “station” to leave frequently touched items on – such as sunglasses, purses, wallets, keys and mobile phones
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds – do this often and thoroughly, especially after you have been outside your house
- Wipe down items brought into your home with detergent or soapy water (e.g. take away containers)
- Wash fresh produce with warm water
- Wipe down frequently touched surfaces twice a day with detergent and disinfectant, including:
- Light switches
- Telephones and mobiles
- Both cleaning and disinfecting are advised to help limit the spread of the virus and most everyday cleaning products will be suitable for thorough cleaning, but to kill the virus, a disinfectant is needed.
- Firstly, clean surfaces using a detergent and water and unsure you scrub to remove dirt, grime and dust. Then, apply disinfectant to kill the virus. The Australian Department of Health says you should use a disinfectant that claims “antiviral activity” – meaning it can kill a virus.
- Wash any cloths you used to clean and remember to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water afterwards.