Coronaviruses are a type of virus that can affect humans and animals. Some coronaviruses cause illness similar to the common cold while other coronaviruses cause more serious illness, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is primarily affecting people who have recently been in Hubei Province, China, or had contact with sick people from Hubei Province. While there is still much to be learned about infection with COVID-19, it appears that the illness is much less severe than SARS or MERS, and some people with the infection may have only a mild illness.
A casual contact is someone who has been face to face for less than 15 minutes, or been in the same closed space for less than 2 hours, as a person who has tested positive for the novel coronavirus when that person was infectious.
Monitor your health closely
If you have been identified to have had casual contact with someone who is confirmed to have infection with the novel coronavirus while they were infectious, you should:
- Monitor your health until 14 days after you were last exposed to the infectious person.
- Watch for these signs and symptoms:
- shortness of breath
- other early symptoms to watch for are chills, body aches, sore throat, headache and runny nose.
If you develop symptoms
- If you are seriously unwell and it is an emergency, call 000 immediately.
- Keep yourself apart from other people as much as possible (eg in a different room).
- Wear a surgical mask if you have one.
- Call your GP, or call healthdirect on 1800 022 222, so that a clinician can assess your risk and whether you are likely to require testing for COVID-19.
- If you are likely to require testing the clinician may advise you to present to an emergency department where this testing can be arranged.
- Do not travel on public transport, use taxis or ride shares and do not attend any public places.