FAQs and myth-busters — coronavirus (COVID-19)

What is social distancing?

Social distancing is one way to help slow the spread of viruses. Social distancing includes:

  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • Keep 1.5 metres away from others as much as possible.
  • Avoid shaking hands, kissing or hugging others.
  • If you can, work from home.
  • Avoid gatherings that aren’t essential.

Practicing social distancing can help protect the people in our community who are most at risk.

Are the elderly, pregnant women and children more at risk of COVID-19?

Elderly people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill. Elderly people are advised to take additional social distancing precautions.

There haven’t yet been comprehensive studies that show the effect of COVID-19 on pregnant women and their babies. If you are pregnant, you should continue to take good care of your health, and just like everyone else, wash your hands and stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing when you do need to go out.

Seek medical attention if you experience any signs of illness at any time during your pregnancy.

While there have been confirmed cases in children, a majority of the cases globally are in adults.

Should I wear a face mask?

Only people who have travelled overseas, feel unwell and have access to a face mask need to use one.

A face mask is not necessary if you do not have symptoms.

When should I self-quarantine myself or my family?

Read our latest information on self-quarantine requirements.

Should any public events or mass gatherings be cancelled?

As a precautionary measure to help slow the spread of COVID-19, we are recommending the cancellation of non-essential public events and gatherings. Read more about requirements for public events and gatherings.

What should I do if I think I have COVID-19?

See a doctor immediately If you have:

  • travelled overseas in the past 14 days and are unwell with symptoms of COVID-19
  • had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Before your appointment, please call ahead and mention your symptoms and travel (or contact) history so they can prepare for your visit.

The COVID-19 quiz has recommendations on what you should do depending on whether you are unwell, your travel history, and whether you have had contact with someone with COVID-19.

Who should be tested for COVID-19?

At this stage, you can only be tested when you are showing symptoms of the virus. Read more about testing.

Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19. Scientists from around the world are working on developing a vaccine. The World Health Organisation believes this may be available within 18 months.

What is Australia doing about COVID-19?

The Australian Department of Health is monitoring the situation and is ready to increase their response activities when they need to. For more information, visit the Australian Government’s website.

Are Queensland hospitals prepared for COVID-19?

Queensland public hospitals are well prepared to respond to COVID-19. 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 appointments at any hospitals. It’s safe to attend Queensland hospitals through the emergency department or for an appointment.

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

Can I catch COVID-19 from tapwater?

There is no evidence that people can catch COVID-19 from Queensland drinking water. Current information about transmission of COVID-19 is that it occurs from person to person contact, via droplets and contact with contaminated surfaces. Read more about prevention of COVID-19.

Drinking water (tap water) supplied by registered drinking water service providers in Queensland is safe to drink. More information on drinking water and public health in Queensland.

Is it safe to drink from a water fountain or bubbler?

Drinking water supplied via drinking water fountains and bubblers in public spaces, such as parks, is safe to drink.

However, when using public drinking water fountains and bubblers, it is good practice to run them for 30 seconds to draw fresh drinking water through prior to drinking the water. Most importantly, avoid placing your mouth or lips directly on the fountain or bubbler. This is to protect both yourself and others from transferring germs. When filling your water bottle at a drinking water fountain or bubbler, ensure that the spout of your drink bottle does not touch the fountain head or bubbler itself.

Remember that, as with any surface such as a door handle, the taps and push buttons of a drinking water fountain or bubbler can have germs on them from a previous user. It is therefore recommended that you wash your hands after touching the taps and push buttons or take physical precautions when touching the taps or push buttons such as by using a clean, disposable tissue or similar. Finally, it is good practice to write your name on your drink bottle, or otherwise identify it as yours, to prevent the potential use by another person.

What happens if I need help while in self-quarantine?

Community recovery support and assistance is available through the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors, for Queenslanders in self-quarantine due to COVID19. If you require assistance please call the Community Recovery hotline 1800 173 349.

The Queensland Government is also partnering with the Australian Red Cross, to ensure people have access to support during their period of self-quarantine. This service includes a regular telephone call to check-in on the person’s wellbeing and to identify any practical support they may need help with.

People who are self-quarantined must call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) for further advice and to register for support. Staff at 13 HEALTH can connect people through to a local public health unit and other health support services.