How to protect yourself and others
Physical distancing means we reduce the number of close physical and social contacts we have. Combined with good personal hygiene, physical distancing can slow the spread of a pandemic through the community.
This helps protect the most vulnerable members of the community and reduces the impact of the pandemic on essential, life-saving health services.
Wash your hands regularly
These simple steps can help to protect yourself and the community.
Practise good hygiene by
- making sure to clean your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub
- cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or a flexed elbow
- avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.
Make sure you stay home if you are sick.
Taking care of your mental health
Take care of your mental health by staying connected, exercising, sticking to a routine, taking breaks from the news and social media, and asking for help when you need it.
Your health remains a top priority and you are not being a burden by reaching out. Stay in contact with your GP, specialist or mental health provider.
Continue your healthcare
It’s important that you keep on accessing the healthcare services you need. No matter what health concerns you have, it is safe to attend your GP or hospital.
Immediate and ongoing support is available to everyone in NSW to help them through difficult times. Continue to visit your local hospital when you need to.
Cleaning your home
You can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by cleaning and disinfecting the surfaces in your home.
Coronaviruses can survive on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days, depending on the temperature, humidity and type of surface. Find out what you need to do and which products to use in your home.
Pregnant women and newborns
If you are pregnant or caring for a newborn, it is more important than ever to get a seasonal influenza (flu) vaccine this year. While a flu vaccine won’t protect you against COVID-19, it will reduce your chances of getting the flu.
Everyone in the family should have the flu vaccination when it becomes available. Make sure your family vaccinations are up to date.
- Babies can have the flu vaccine from 6 months of age.
- The vaccine is free for all children aged 6 months to less than 5 years of age.
- The vaccination is the safest, most effective way to protect babies and children from illness.
Protecting your baby from COVID-19
If you have suspected or confirmed COVID-19 you can breastfeed your baby. The benefits of feeding your baby breastmilk outweigh any potential risk of transmission of coronavirus through the breastmilk.
Whether you are breastfeeding, expressing breastmilk or using formula, you need to follow strict hygiene rules by:
- wearing a face mask when you are less than 1.5 metres from your baby
- washing your hands before and after contact with your baby
- avoiding coughing or sneezing on the baby
- cleaning and disinfecting contaminated surfaces.
When you express breastmilk, make sure that you have thoroughly washed the breast and hands, as well as the pump and bottle parts.
- Discuss feeding options with your health professional.
- How covid-19 will affect pregnant women and new parents.
Taking care of a sick person
If you are caring for a sick family member with flu-like symptoms there are things you should do to help stop the spread of infection.
- Care for the sick person in a single room.
- Keep the door closed and windows open, where possible.
- Keep the number of carers to a minimum.
- Always use a hand sanitiser before and after entering the room, or wash hands with soap and water.
- Keep the sick person’s cups, plates and eating utensils separate to the rest of the household.
- Wear a surgical mask (single-use face mask) when you are in the sick person’s room, if available.
- Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces regularly.
- Dispose of tissues and masks in a sealed plastic bag and put in the usual household waste.
If your family member becomes very unwell
Call the Australian Government's National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 (24-hour help line)
An ambulance is not needed to transport people to GPs or a hospital unless their condition is serious.
Alternative means of transport should be used including private car driven by a family member or an existing close contact (not bus, train, taxi or ride-share such as Uber).
If symptoms are severe and it is a medical emergency, such as shortness of breath at rest or difficulty breathing, dial 000 and ask for an ambulance.
How and when to self-isolate
You need to self-isolate in your home or hotel room if you have been
- ordered to quarantine
- diagnosed with COVID-19
- in contact with a person sick with COVID-19 infection.
COVID-19 continues to have serious impacts on vulnerable people. You may be more at risk of coronavirus if you:
- are an older person
- live with a compromised immune system
- have a chronic medical condition.
There are steps you can take to lower the risk of exposure.