Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Coronavirus daily snapshot

You should:

  • stay at home if you are unwell
  • practise social distancing
  • avoid gatherings
  • wash your hands often with soap and water, or hand sanitiser
  • cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use your inner elbow
  • if you have arrived from overseas, you will need to self isolate for 14 days.
How is COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 can be spread from person-to-person.

This can happen when a person comes into contact with the respiratory secretions of an infected person, for example through coughing or sneezing.

Spread of this coronavirus from person-to-person is usually between close contacts. Close contacts are those people who have been face-to-face with a person infected with the virus for at least 15 minutes, or been in the same closed space for at least 2 hours with an infected person.

How can we help prevent the spread of coronavirus?

The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is by practising good hand hygiene and sneeze/cough etiquette. This includes:

  • frequently washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or using an alcohol-based hand gel
  • refraining from touching mouth and nose
  • if coughing or sneezing, covering your nose and mouth with a paper tissue or flexed elbow – dispose of the tissue immediately after use and perform hand hygiene
  • avoiding close contact with anyone if you, or they, have a cold or flu-like symptoms (maintain a distance of at least 1 metre).

Do I need to wear a face mask?

You do not need to wear a mask if you are healthy. While the use of masks can help to prevent transmission of disease from infected patients to others, masks are not currently recommended for use by healthy members of the public for the prevention of infections like coronavirus.

For more information see:

Fact sheet for the community on when and how to use a face mask (PDF 309KB) *updated 18 February

​Fact sheet for the community on when and how to use a face mask – Mandarin (PDF 624KB)

Infection Control - Cover Your Cough and Sneeze (external link)

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Coronavirus can cause a range of symptoms. Symptoms can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Affected people may experience:

  • fever
  • flu like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and headaches
  • difficulty breathing.

Who is most at risk of coronavirus?

Some people may be at higher risk of infection, such as people who have other illnesses that suppress the immune system or make them more vulnerable to respiratory disease. This includes people with lung disease or diabetes, those who have suppressed immune systems, and the elderly.

Can I be tested?

People will only be tested if they have fever and/or respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath, cough or sore throat AND documented evidence of:

  • overseas travel in the last 14 days (provide boarding pass or flight booking or airline bag tag with name and date of travel) OR
  • close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case (provide name of case)

Testing in WA has now been extended to the following groups

  • High-risk settings, as determined by a Public Health Unit
    • Aged and residential care
    • Rural and remote Aboriginal communities
    • Detention centres
    • Correctional facilities
    • Boarding schools
    • Military barracks or equivalent.
  • Geographically localised areas with increased risk of community transmission, as determined by a Public Health Unit
  • Cruise ship passengers who have disembarked in the previous 14 days
  • Hospitalised patients with illness of unknown cause, at discretion of the clinician
  • WA Police officers who are symptomatic.

In addition to the expanded testing criteria, all health care staff will now be prioritised when being tested at COVID clinics across the State. This is part of coordinated effort to protect the health and safety and of our dedicated frontline staff and patients.

Patients who are tested should remain isolated at home, until they receive their test results and further medical advice.

It is important to remember that people who don't have symptoms and evidence as outlined above WILL NOT be tested.

Where do I get tested

If you live in the Perth metropolitan area or in Bunbury you will need to attend a COVID-19 Clinic.

  • If you live in a regional area, you should go to a public hospital, health service or remote health clinic.
  • Make sure you have your documented evidence with you (outlined above).
  • If you are very unwell (such as experiencing shortness of breath) and need urgent medical help call 000.
  • If you are attending a general practice or other medical centre, 
  • If you attend an emergency department at a hospital, please let staff know immediately on arrival of your symptoms and your travel history.

For general queries or for further advice on how to seek medical attention, phone the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. If a non-English speaker needs help, please contact the Translating and Interpreting Service (external site) or phone 131 450.

Where can i find COVID Clinics?

Who should attend?

People will only be tested if they have fever and/or respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath, cough or sore throat AND documented evidence of:

  • overseas travel in the last 14 days (provide boarding pass or flight booking or airline bag tag with name and date of travel) OR
  • close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case (provide name of case)

Testing in WA has now been extended to the following groups

  • High-risk settings, as determined by a Public Health Unit
    • Aged and residential care
    • Rural and remote Aboriginal communities
    • Detention centres
    • Correctional facilities
    • Boarding schools
    • Military barracks or equivalent.
  • Geographically localised areas with increased risk of community transmission, as determined by a Public Health Unit
  • Cruise ship passengers who have disembarked in the previous 14 days
  • Hospitalised patients with illness of unknown cause, at discretion of the clinician
  • WA Police officers who are symptomatic.

In addition to the expanded testing criteria, all health care staff will now be prioritised when being tested at COVID clinics across the State. This is part of coordinated effort to protect the health and safety and of our dedicated frontline staff and patients.

Patients who are tested should remain isolated at home, until they receive their test results and further medical advice.

Who should avoid?

Do not attend unless you have symptoms AND meet the above criteria, including documented evidence.

People presenting at COVID clinics may be infectious.

People who don’t have symptoms and evidence will be turned away and asked to self-monitor for symptoms.

Find a COVID clinic near you

What is self-isolation?

There are a number of situations in which people may be required to self-isolate. People who do not comply face a fine of up to $50,000 for individuals and $250,000 for body corporates. This is essential for the health and wellbeing of the community.

More information is available at WA.gov.au.

You must self-isolate:

  • If you have tested positive for COVID-19: you must self-isolate until you have been told you can be released from isolation
  • If you have been tested for COVID-19 and are waiting for your result 
  • If you have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19: you must isolate yourself for 14 days after the date of last contact with the confirmed case
  • If you arrived into Western Australia by air, sea, rail or road from 1.30pm Tuesday 24 March 2020: you must self-isolate for 14 days from the date of arrival (some exemptions may apply).
  • If you have returned from overseas: you must self-isolate for 14 days after the date of return to Australia
  • If you arrived from mainland China, Iran, South Korea and Italy prior to 16 March 2020: you must self-isolate for 14 days after the date of leaving that country.

Self-isolation

Self-isolation means you must stay in your home, hotel room, or other accommodation even if you are perfectly well with no symptoms. If you live in a unit or apartment block you must stay in your unit or apartment. You cannot attend public places such as work, school, shopping centres or go on a holiday. Only people who usually live with you should be in the home. Do not see visitors.

  • Maintain social distancing if you live with other people (e.g. staying in an isolated room preferably with a separate bathroom – if available)
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or flexed elbow, dispose of tissues, and wash your hands
  • Wash your hands often, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Ensure that you do not share household items with other people in your home such as dishes, towels and pillows.
  • Monitor yourself for symptoms including fever, cough, sore throat, or shortness of breath.

You must stay in your place of isolation and NOT GO OUT, except to seek medical care. You should call ahead for advice.
If you require urgent medical assistance call 000 and let them know that you are in self-isolation due to COVID-19.

What does this mean for your family or other people you live with?

Other people who live in your home do not need to self-isolate and can go about their usual activities provided the above precautions are followed.

Self-isolation is important for protecting your family, friends and the Western Australian community.

Medical certificates are not required for people who need to self-isolate.

Learn more about self-isolation

Department of Health WA

Australian Department of Health resources

What locations have been visited by confirmed cases?

The Department of Health is contacting all confirmed cases to identify and inform close contacts.

If you become unwell with COVID-19 symptoms you should contact your local Public Health Unit who will assess and advise on what to do next.

Learn more about the locations visited by confirmed cases.

Further information, advice and resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19) videos


WA Health Coronavirus (COVID-19) playlist

Call the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health Information Line on 1800 020 080

Last reviewed: 27-03-2020

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

Coronavirus information line number on orange background