Coronavirus Facts – Important Information for People Travelling Australia
Tamworth, NSW 15 March 2020
We understand this is a very difficult and stressful time for those currently travelling Australia. Especially for backpackers that are from overseas and are currently stuck in a foreign country, away from family and friends. Below is a summary of essential information with links to relevant trusted resources for those travelling Australia who are concerned about Coronavirus COVID-19.
This information has been carefully sourced from numerous reputable organisations including the World Health Organisation (WHO), Australia’s Smart Traveller website and the Australian Governments’ Department of Health.
Table Of Contents
- What is Coronavirus COVID-19?
- What should I do to reduce the risk of contracting Coronavirus COVID-19?
- What are the symptoms of Coronavirus COVID-19?
- What should I do if I develop Coronavirus symptoms?
- What should I do if I have been in contact with someone that has tested positive for Coronavirus?
- What if I have booked a flight overseas?
- My visa is about to expire and I was planning on travelling to other countries before heading home. Should I still continue with my travel plans or just head straight home?
- Is it safe to continue my travels around Australia?
What is Coronavirus COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses varying in severity from the common cold, to more severe illnesses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) (World Health Organisation, 2020).
Coronavirus disease COVID-19 was discovered for the first time in humans in 2019. The virus has proven to be very transmissible between humans, and can even be transmitted between animals and people.
What should I do to reduce the risk of contracting Coronavirus COVID-19?
Avoid large crowds of people.
Practice good hygiene including:
- cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing.
- regularly wash your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- dispose of used tissues immediately.
- maintain social distancing of at least 1.5 metres.
- wear a mask if you have one.
What are the symptoms of Coronavirus COVID-19?
The WHO and Australian Governments’ Department of Health have advised that symptoms may include:
- Fever (body temperature above 37.5*C)
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- Breathing difficulties
In more severe cases, the infection can cause:
- Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
- Kidney failure
What should I do if I develop Coronavirus symptoms?
If you, your children or someone you are with are experiencing serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, in Australia call 000 immediately for urgent medical assistance.
If you are experiencing any of the mild symptoms, and have NOT recently travelled overseas or been in contact with someone that has tested positive for Coronavirus, you are advised to:
- stay home until recovery.
- stay away from anyone that is at risk including the elderly, people with compromised immune systems (including diabetics, asthmatics, cancer patients), and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
- minimise physical contact with people by maintaining a social distance of 1.5 metres between each other.
If your symptoms get worse, call your local doctor to make an appointment. If you are unsure of where your local doctor is located, the best way to find one is to Google your location followed by ‘medical centre’. For example, type into the Google Search bar “Cairns medical centre” and a list of nearby medical centre’s and their reviews will be displayed.
- Ensure to call beforehand so they can prepare for your arrival.
- Advise the medical centre of your symptoms, of any recent overseas travel and if you have been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
- The doctor will check you over and provide the best guidance based on your current symptoms and your individual circumstances.
Your doctor will advise if it is necessary to be tested for the Coronavirus disease. Your medical centre will provide you with further information should you require testing.
What should I do if I have been in contact with someone that has tested positive for Coronavirus?
Practice good hygiene. Monitor your health. If you start to develop any of the above-mentioned symptoms, call your nearest medical centre and advise them of your symptoms. Ensure that you tell the receptionist that you have been in contact with someone that has tested positive for Coronavirus. They will be able to provide you with direction on what you are required to do. They may provide an over-the-phone consultation with a medical doctor, provide you with advice depending on your circumstances and/ or guide you directly to a local fever clinic to be tested.
Australia has a Coronavirus COVID-19 Information Line which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you are in Australia and have any considerable concerns regarding Coronavirus, call the toll-free number 1800 020 080.
If you require translating or interpreting services call 131 450.
What if I have booked a flight overseas?Since the outbreak of COVID-19, overseas travel has become quite complex and unpredictable. Countries all over the world are imposing strict travel restrictions, including requirements to be quarantined upon entry or even denying entry into their country. The current notice to Australian’s is DO NOT TRAVEL overseas.
For the most up-to-date information on travelling overseas during the Coronavirus outbreak, visit the Australian governments Smart Traveller website. This website provides Australian’s with the latest information on keeping safe when travelling overseas.
The Australian government have put together a list with detailed advice on travelling to many countries across the globe. including the UK, Canada, the United States of America, New Zealand and many more. See the full list including travel advice for each country HERE.
My visa is about to expire and I was planning on travelling to other countries before heading home. Should I still continue with my travel plans or just head straight home?
Many countries are restricting the entry of foreigners into their country. As per the advice given by the Australian government, it is best to put off your international travel plans until travel restrictions have eased and the COVID-19 outbreak is under control.
It is promising to see that medications that were used to combat HIV and Malaria have effectively wiped out COVID-19 in test tubes. This groundbreaking medical research is being conducted by Professor David Paterson and his team at the University of Queensland’s Centre for Clinical Research. These medications are expected to be trialed in Australian Coronavirus patients in hospitals across the country by the end of March 2020.
There will be an end to Coronavirus. We need to ride this out together, be smart about our decisions and follow the advice given by trusted organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), Australia’s Smart Traveller website and the Australian Governments’ Department of Health.
Is it safe to continue my travels around Australia?
If you are well you may still travel. However, please stay up to date with the latest advice given from the Australian government, specifically for travellers HERE. The latest travel advice from the Australian government is to limit domestic travel to essential travel only.
Practice good hygiene, avoid large crowds and maintain a safe social distance of 1.5 metres or more between people that are coughing or sneezing. Australia has one of the best health-care systems in the world. Our government, medical researchers and healthcare workers are working tirelessly to ensure that the rate of infection in Australia is kept to a minimum.
The information provided in this blog post is a summary of facts given by the World Health Organisation, Australian Government’s Smart Traveller website and the Australian Government’s Department of Health. Please see their websites for the latest and most up to date information relating to travellers and the Coronvirus COVID-19 outbreak in Australia.
Wising you all the very best during these difficult times. We cannot wait to see you all healthy and out there ticking off your Aussie Bucket List’s very soon.
Written by Samantha Raine - Travel Writer and Founder of Aussie Bucket List