Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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You should:

  • stay at home unless you are
  • 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.
General information / FAQs about coronavirus (COVID-19)
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 1.5 metreS).

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?

All people are at risk of infection but some groups are at higher risk of serious infection. This includes people with weakened immune systems, older people, people with diagnosed chronic medical conditions such as lung conditions, kidney failure, and people with diabetes, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people, and young children and babies.

Can I be tested?

As of Thursday 2nd April, the testing criteria for COVID-19 will be expanded significantly at all COVID clinics.

General Public Testing

Any person presenting to a COVID clinic with BOTH a documented fever (≥38°C) AND an acute respiratory infection (e.g. shortness of breath, cough, sore throat) will be tested.

High-Risk Staff Testing

Anyone working within a high-risk setting that presents to a COVID clinic with EITHER a fever (≥38°C) OR an acute respiratory infection will be tested. This includes healthcare workers (including aged care and disability workers) and WA Police Officers.

High-Risk Settings

Testing will also be arranged for anyone from the following high risk settings where two or more people are experiencing EITHER a fever (≥38°C) OR an acute respiratory infection:

  • 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
  • Cruise ship passengers or returned travellers (international and domestic).

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

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.
  • If you are very unwell (such as experiencing shortness of breath) and need urgent medical help call 000.
  • 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?

Find a COVID clinic near you

Who should attend?

Only people who meet the criteria for testing should attend.

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 from: https://www.wa.gov.au/government/document-collections/coronavirus-covid-19-state-of-emergency-declarations

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

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

Coping with mental health during COVID-19

Being concerned about coronavirus (COVID-19) is a normal reaction. But, too much worrying can affect both our mental and our physical health. 

Some ways to stay mentally healthy:

More information on support, resources and how to access services:

See also:

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: 01-04-2020

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