Frequently asked questions—novel coronavirus (COVID-19) (新型冠状病毒常见问题)
FAQs last updated 12pm 21 February 2020
What is a novel coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
However novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.
What are the symptoms of novel coronavirus?
It depends on the virus, but common signs include:
- a cough
- sore throat
- shortness of breath.
What can I do to protect myself?
To protect yourself and others from infection practice good hand and respiratory hygiene including:
- cleaning hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs
- covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing
- avoiding contact with anyone who has symptoms such as fever, a cough, sore throat, fatigue, and shortness of breath
- staying home if you are unwell.
You should also try and stay at least one metre away from people coughing or sneezing.
How could I become infected with novel coronavirus?
Novel coronavirus is transmitted from person to person, usually when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Are the elderly, pregnant women and children more at risk of novel coronavirus?
People of all ages can be affected by the novel coronavirus. However, elderly people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill.
What do I do if someone is coughing or sneezing near me?
We’re advising people to stay at least at least one metre away from people coughing or sneezing.
Should I be wearing a face mask?
Based on current advice, only people who have returned from mainland China are unwell and have access to a face mask should use it.
For anyone else who does not have symptoms, a face mask is not necessary.
When should I self-quarantine myself or my family?
If you have been to China in the last 14 days and are feeling unwell, see a doctor immediately.
The advice below is for anyone who has travelled to China in the past 14 days, or for anyone who has been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) and is feeling well.
If you have been in, or transited through, mainland China
- You need to self-quarantine for 14 days from the date you departed mainland China.
- If you begin to feel unwell and develop a fever or shortness of breath, a cough or a respiratory illness during your period of self-quarantine you should seek immediate medical attention. Call ahead to your GP or emergency department and mention your travel history before you arrive.
- If you experience any other symptom during your period of self-quarantine you should also seek immediate medical attention. Call ahead to your GP or emergency department and mention your travel history before you arrive.
If you have been in close contact with someone who already has novel coronavirus
- You need to self-quarantine for 14 days from the last date of contact with the confirmed case.
- If you begin to feel unwell and develop a fever or shortness of breath, a cough or a respiratory illness during your period of self-quarantine you should seek immediate medical attention. Call ahead to your GP or emergency department and mention you’ve been in contact with someone with novel coronavirus infection before you arrive.
- If you experience any other symptom during your period of self-quarantine you should also seek immediate medical attention. Call ahead to your GP or emergency department and mention you’ve been in contact with someone with novel coronavirus infection before you arrive.
Read more about self-quarantine and what happens at the end of quarantine.
Should any public events or mass gatherings be cancelled?
There is no need to cancel any events or gatherings or take additional precautions to normal practice. People who are unwell should not attend public events.
What should I do if I think I have novel coronavirus?
If you have travelled to China in the past 14 days and are unwell, see a doctor immediately. Before your appointment, please call ahead and advise of your symptoms so necessary precautions can be undertaken.
Who should be tested for novel coronavirus?
At this stage, you can only be tested when you are showing symptoms of the virus.
Is there a treatment for a novel coronavirus?
There is no specific treatment for disease caused by a novel coronavirus. However, many of the symptoms can be treated and therefore treatment is based on the patient’s clinical condition.
Is there a vaccine for a novel coronavirus?
There is currently no vaccine for a novel coronavirus.
What is Australia doing about novel coronavirus?
The Australian Department of Health is monitoring the situation and is ready to increase their response activities if and when they need to. For more information, visit the Australian Government’s website.
What is the status of novel coronavirus in QLD?
For up-to-date information on the status of novel coronavirus visit the Queensland Government novel coronavirus fact sheet.
Are Queensland hospitals prepared for novel coronavirus?
Queensland public hospitals are well prepared to respond to novel coronavirus. We have responded to health emergencies in the past, and we will do it again.
Should I cancel my hospital appointment?
No, you do not need to cancel any appointments at any hospitals. It’s safe to attend Queensland hospitals whether it’s through Emergency or for an appointment. Our hospitals are well prepared to respond to novel coronavirus, as we have with other health emergencies in the past.
Where can I find up-to-date travel advice and information, including flight delays or impacts and what is being done at airports to protect Queenslanders?
For the most up-to-date travel information visit https://www.smartraveller.gov.au
I’m travelling to China, what is the risk of catching novel coronavirus?
International travelers to mainland China should check the latest Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) travel advice on the Smartraveller website.
Health authorities both in Australia and globally are closely monitoring the virus as the situation develops.
Is it safe to receive a letter or a package from China?
Yes, it is safe. People receiving packages from China are not at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.
- 避免接触有这些症状的人士： 例如发烧，咳嗽，喉咙痛，乏力，及呼吸急促。
如果您出现这些病症，例如发热，咳嗽，喉咙痛，乏力，及呼吸困难， 您应该与您的GP联系或拨打13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84)。
任何年龄的人都可能被新型冠状病毒感染。但是，老年人，以及已有各种基础疾病 (例如哮喘、糖尿病、心脏病) 的人群，病情容易加重。
- 如果您在自我隔离期间开始感觉不适，并伴发烧或呼吸急促、咳嗽或呼吸道症状，应立即就医。请在您到达诊所前致电您的GP (全科医生) 或医院急诊部，并通报您的旅行史。
- 如果您在自我隔离期间出现任何其他症状，也应立即就医。请在您到达诊所前致电您的GP (全科医生) 或医院急诊部，并通报您的旅行史。
- 如果您在自我隔离期间开始感觉不适，并伴发烧或呼吸急促，咳嗽或呼吸道症状，应立即就医。请在您到达诊所前致电您的GP (全科医生) 或医院急诊部，并通报您曾与新型冠状病毒确诊患者有过接触。
- 如果您在自我隔离期间出现任何其他症状，也应立即就医。请在您到达诊所前致电您的GP (全科医生) 或医院急诊部，并通报您与新型冠状病毒确诊患者有接触。