Coronavirus (covid-19)

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by SARS-CoV-2, which is a respiratory virus that affects humans. Coronaviruses can cause illness similar to the common cold and others can cause more serious diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to that of a cold or flu and can include:

  • fever (37.5oC or higher)
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • difficulty breathing
  • runny nose/ nasal congestion

Other symptoms may include:

  • headache
  • muscle or joint pain
  • fatigue
  • diarrhoea
  • nausea/vomiting
  • loss of taste or smell
  • loss of appetite.

In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia with severe acute respiratory distress.

Symptoms of COVID-19 vary person to person and generally appear 5 to 6 days after you are exposed to the virus.

People who have extreme symptoms or side effects from the virus may take weeks or months to recover fully, while people with a mild illness may feel completely better within a week.

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, you should stay home when sick, and contact your local doctor or call 134 COVID (13 24 68) if you are concerned. In an emergency, call triple zero (000).

People with symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested by PCR or self-administered RAT.


Most people will be able to manage COVID-19 symptoms at home.

You can use the healthdirect Australia COVID-19 Symptom and Antiviral Eligibility Checker if you're unsure what kind of care you may need.


COVID-19 is spread when infectious respiratory droplets and particles enter your mouth, nose or eyes in the following ways:

  • by breathing them in
  • when someone sneezes or coughs near your face
  • touching your mouth, nose or eyes on your hands after touching contaminated surfaces.


1. Get vaccinated

COVID-19 vaccination can prevent serious illness and death and decreases the risk of infecting others. Book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment here.

2. Stay home when you are sick

People with COVID-19 symptoms should stay home when they are sick, except for medical care or other urgent reasons until:

  • at least 24 hours after their last fever, AND
  • there is significant improvement in their symptoms.

3. Stop the spread

The following public health social measures are recommended to reduce COVID-19 transmission in the community:

  • cover your cough/sneeze
  • clean your hands regularly
  • clean frequently touched surfaces regularly
  • physically distance from others when you can
  • wear a mask when you can't physically distance
  • improve indoor air quality
  • get outside frequently, especially with others

Read more about COVID-19 coronavirus prevention

Other resources

      Help and assistance

      • For help with managing COVID-19 symptoms call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080. Press 8 if you need an interpreter.
      • For further information on COVID-19 novel coronavirus, contact 134 COVID (13 24 68).