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National advice hotline 1800 020 080 For information on coronavirus (COVID-19) call the hotline - open 24 hours, 7 days.

Slowing the spread

How coronavirus is spread

Coronavirus (COVID-19) can spread through close contact and droplets including:

  • touching people or surfaces
  • touching door handles and phones
  • coughs and sneezes.

How to reduce the spread of coronavirus

You can reduce the spread of the virus by doing the following:

  • stay at home if you are sick
  • avoid handshaking and kissing
  • wash your hands with soap and water before and after eating, after coughing or sneezing, and after going to the toilet or use an use alcohol-based hand sanitiser if washing is unavailable.
  • cover coughs and sneezes by:
    • using a tissue
    • using your upper sleeve or elbow
    • throw used tissues in the bin
  • avoid close contact with people - practise physical distancing
  • if unwell, avoid contact with others.

At Home

To reduce the spread of germs at home:

  • practise good hand and sneeze/ cough hygiene
  • avoid handshaking and kissing
  • regularly disinfect high touch surfaces, such as tables, kitchen benches and doorknobs
  • increase ventilation in the home by opening windows or adjusting air conditioning
  • visit shops sparingly and buy more goods and services online
  • consider whether outings and travel, both individual and family, are sensible and necessary.

Households where people are ill (in addition to the measures above):

  • are for the sick person in a single room if possible
  • keep the number of carers to a minimum
  • keep the door to the sick person’s room closed and, if possible, a window open
  • both the sick person and the people caring for them should wear a surgical mask when they are in the same room
  • protect other vulnerable family members, such as people over 65 years or people with a chronic illness, including, if practicable, finding alternative accommodation.

In the workplace

To reduce the spread of germs in the workplace:

  • stay at home if you are sick
  • stop handshaking as a greeting
  • hold meetings via video conferencing or phone call
  • defer large meetings
  • hold essential meetings outside in the open air if possible
  • promote good hand and sneeze/ cough hygiene and provide hand sanitisers for all staff and workers
  • take lunch at your desk or outside rather than in the lunch room
  • clean and disinfect high touch surfaces regularly
  • consider opening windows and adjusting air conditioning for more ventilation
  • limit food handling and sharing of food in the workplace
  • reconsider non-essential business travel
  • promote strictest hygiene among food preparation (canteen) staff and their close contacts
  • consider if large gatherings can be rescheduled, staggered or cancelled.

At School

To reduce the spread of germs in schools:

  • if your child is sick, do not send them to school (or childcare)
  • sanitise hands when entering school and at regular intervals
  • defer activities that lead to mixing between classes and years
  • avoid queuing and consider cancelling school assemblies
  • promote a regular handwashing schedule
  • clean and disinfect high touch surfaces regularly
  • conduct lessons outdoors where possible
  • consider opening windows and adjusting conditioning for more ventilation
  • promote strictest hygiene among food preparation (canteen) staff and their close contacts.

In Public

To reduce the spread of germs:

  • sanitise your hands wherever possible, including entering and leaving buildings
  • use tap and pay rather than handling money
  • try and travel at quiet times and try to avoid crowds
  • public transport workers and taxi drivers should open vehicle windows where possible, and regularly clean and disinfect high touch surfaces.

Physical distancing

Makes it harder for the virus to spread.

Physical distancing is important because coronavirus (COVID-19) is most likely to spread from person-to-person through:

  • direct close contact with a person while they are infectious or in the 24 hours before their symptoms appeared
  • close contact with a person with a confirmed infection who coughs or sneezes, or
  • 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.

COVIDSafe App

The COVIDSafe app speeds up contacting people exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19). This helps us support and protect you, your friends and family.

Please read the content on this page before downloading.

More information

For more information, go to the Australian Government's Department of Health website.