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Community advice on everyday topics

General advice to maintain a healthy, connected NSW community.

Feeling unwell?

If you develop a fever, a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath within 14 days of overseas travel, seek medical attention.

Call Healthdirect 1800 022 222 (24-hour help line)

Call your GP

Visit the emergency department

There is no need to bulk-buy products such as toilet paper, canned food or paracetamol.

Households should have a small stock of non-perishable groceries in case they are asked to self-isolate for 14 days. It’s important to recognise the role of family and friends in supporting those in isolation and that online grocery delivery services are now available in most areas of NSW.

Face masks are not recommended for the general population.

People who have symptoms and might be infected with COVID-19 are required to stay in isolation at home. They should wear a face mask when in the same room as another person and when seeking medical advice to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus.

Health care workers who are caring for patients with suspected COVID-19 should use appropriate personal protective equipment to protect themselves against the virus. For more information refer to Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC) - Coronavirus COVID-19.

Additional supplies of face masks have been distributed for specific health workers by NSW Health and the Australian Government to meet current demand. NSW Health will continue to monitor the supply of masks across the state.

and dryers are not effective in killing or preventing COVID-19 on their own. They may increase the risk of spread of the virus if used on hands that have not been cleaned properly.

To protect yourself against COVID-19, you should clean your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand rub/sanitiser. If you have washed your hands, dry them thoroughly by using paper towels. If there are no paper towels available, use a hot air dryer or let your hands air dry. Your hands must be dried completely.

If you are using hand towels to dry your hands, such as in the bathroom at home, it’s important to wash them regularly. If someone in your home is unwell, they should use their own hand towel.

Most people that are not eligible for Medicare will have health or travel insurance. For those that do not have adequate insurance coverage, NSW Health will waive these costs. This includes the waiving of payment and debt recovery procedures for ambulance transfers of people suspected to have COVID-19 infection, who are taken to NSW Health facilities for assessment.

These arrangements have been put in place to ensure payment issues are not a barrier for people from overseas with respiratory symptoms seeking early medical advice.


While COVID-19 seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now mainly spreading from person-to-person. There is no reason to think that any animals,  including pets might be a source of infection with this new virus. There have been no reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19 in Australia.

There is no evidence that companion animals, including pets can spread COVID-19. Since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after being around them.

Australian bats

At this stage, there is no evidence that bats carry the COVID-19 virus in Australia. However, Australian bats can carry other serious infections, such as Australian bat lyssavirus and Hendra virus so they are best avoided. You should also avoid bats overseas.

Public drinking water supplies are safe to drink. The surfaces around the fountain,  including the spout and button/lever could pose a transmission risk for COVID-19 and other germs. At this stage, it is not certain how long viruses that cause COVID-19 survives on surfaces.

NSW Health recommends that you don't place your mouth on the spout of a water fountain. Test the water flow and let the water run for a few seconds before drinking the water without putting your mouth or lips on the spout.

If the fountain requires you to push a button or lever, clean the surface first or use your elbow. Clean your hands afterwards with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. NSW Health recommends that organisations carry out frequent cleaning of water bubblers and fountains.

Healthy sleep is important for both physical and mental health. Everyone can benefit from practicing good sleep habits. The following habits and practices will help you sleep well.

  1. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
  2. Don’t nap during the day.
  3. Reduce or cut out alcohol and stimulants (coffee, tea, tobacco, soft drinks), particularly at night.
  4. Avoid using sleeping tablets.
  5. Get regular exercise each day, but not just prior to going to bed.
  6. Set aside time during the day to deal with problems (don’t take them to bed where you will think about them).
  7. Read or watch television in another area away from the bed​.
  8. Try to make the hour before going to sleep as calm as possible by reading, or trying a guided relaxation program​.
  9. Keep the bedroom comfortable, dark and quiet.
  10. Try not to lie in bed worrying about not sleeping.
  11. If not asleep after 30 minutes, get up and do something quiet such as reading or watching TV, and go back to bed when you are sleepy.

The key to handwashing is to wash well and wash often. You need a detergent (surfactant) and water. If you don’t have soap or handwash, you can use:

  • body wash
  • combined body wash/shampoo
  • shampoo

Any of these alternatives will work for handwashing as they contain surfactant to help disrupt organic material.

Keep connected as a community by taking some simple steps.

  • Stay informed. Use information from reputable sources including this website, the Australian Government website and the NSW Government Facebook page.
  • Support others in our community. Look out for neighbours and family.
  • Keep connected to your family, friends, work colleagues through phone, email and social media.

Are you worried that you or someone you know may have or has COVID-19? Or are you anxious about being in isolation and would you like to speak to someone about it?

Contact one of the services below for support or talk to your general practitioner.

  • Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14 or Lifeline Australia 
    A crisis support service that provides short term support at any time for people who are having difficulty coping or staying safe.

  • Kids Helpline: 1800 551800 or Kids Helpline 
    A free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25 years.

  • NSW Mental Health Line: 1800 011 511 
    Mental health crisis telephone service in NSW.

Transport for NSW advises travellers to

  • plan ahead and consider travelling outside peak hour where possible
  • minimise contact with doors
  • use Opal and contactless payments where possible
  • stay home and avoid travel altogether if you are unwell
  • practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands to protect yourself, fellow commuters and Transport for NSW staff.
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