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Information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities on coronavirus (COVID-19).



This information has been prepared by the Australian Government Department of Health in response to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). It aims to provide key information to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander households, communities and stakeholders as information changes, or new resources become available. You can share this information with your friends, family and community networks. Visit health.gov.au for more information. 


What is COVID-19?


Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a sickness that can spread from person to person. It can be dangerous, especially for our Elders, people who are already unwell or people with a chronic health condition. 

The sickness spreads from person to person when people cough or sneeze. Germs can stay on things people touch. Germs can spread fast. 

When a person who has the virus coughs or sneezes, tiny drops of the virus can spread. It can get into the eyes, nose or mouth of people around them, making them sick. Help stop the spread of the virus by keeping your hands away from your face.

It can also spread to things people who have the virus touch. Like a table, door handle or mobile phone. When other people touch those things, they can catch the virus.


What are the symtoms?


For some people, the virus will feel a lot like having a cold or flu. People who have the virus may have a high fever, a cough, a sore throat, and feel tired. 

Some people will get better without treatment. For other people the virus can be very dangerous. Especially for Elders and people in our community who have health problems, like bad heart, lungs, kidneys or diabetes. 

For some people the virus can get worse and become a sickness called pneumonia. It causes damage to the lungs and makes it hard to breathe. This can also stop people’s organs working like they should.

We all need to work together to keep our communities safe and stop the spread of the virus. 


Staying healthy and strong with good hygiene


  • Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds after you cough or sneeze, go to the toilet, and before you make any food.
  • Cough or sneeze into your arm or elbow, not your hands.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Put your tissues in the bin after you use them and wash your hands after.
  • Clean surfaces often, such as doors, kitchen and bathroom
  • Don’t hug or shake hands with people.
  • If you are sick with a fever, cough or sore throat and feel tired or are having trouble breathing, keep way from people and family in the community and seek medical help.


Protecting our communities and Elders


  • Don’t travel to places in your community, or other communities, unless you have to. 
  • Stay at home and away from other people as much as you can. If you are around people, try to stay two meters away from them. That’s two big steps.


Staying connected


  • It’s important we stay connected with family, friends and community.
  • Call people for a yarn on the phone. 
  • Talk to the community and check if they are OK.
  • Talk about the virus and how to stop the spread. 
  • Connect to family and friends on social media.
  • Visit health.gov.au for the latest national medical advice.
  • Call your local Aboriginal Medical Service, or someone you trust in the community if you feel unwell.
  • Call the 24-hour National COVID-19 Hotline on 1800 020 080.
  • Visit niaa.gov.au for information about community closures. 
  • Information about all support available from the Australia Government in response to COVID-19 is available at australia.gov.au