Protect yourself and others from COVID-19

All of us have a role to play in protecting our own health, the health of our loved ones, and those most at risk from severe COVID-19 illness.

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New variants are currently causing a surge in COVID-19 cases.

There are some important ways you can protect yourself, others and our healthcare system.

When leaving home please wear a mask when indoors or in crowded places.

Cover your cough and wash your hands.

Remember physical distancing.

Test if you have symptoms and stay home if you have COVID-19.

Together we can help slow the spread.

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Authorised by the Australian Government, Canberra. 

Vaccination

COVID-19 vaccinations are free for everyone in Australia. Getting vaccinated is the best way to keep you, your family, friends, and the community safe.

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Getting vaccinated has many benefits, including:

  • protecting yourself against severe illness and death from COVID-19
  • preventing complications such as ‘long COVID
  • protecting people who can’t be vaccinated due to medical conditions
  • keeping hospitalisation rates at a level our health system can cope with.

Treatments

More people who are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are now eligible for oral antiviral treatments, taken as tablets or capsules at home.

You may be eligible if you’re:

  • 70 years of age or older, regardless of risk factors and with or without symptoms
  • 50 years of age or older with 2 additional risk factors
  • A First Nations person, 30 years of age or older and with 1 additional risk factor
  • 18 years of age or older and moderately to severely immunocompromised.

Talk to your health professional about your risk factors and treatment options.

Testing

You must not visit high-risk settings like aged and disability care facilities and hospitals, unless seeking immediate medical care, until at least 7 days after testing positive and you have no symptoms of COVID-19.

You should test for COVID-19 if:

  • you have symptoms of the illness — even if your symptoms are mild
  • you have recovered from COVID-19 and develop new symptoms of COVID-19 after 28 days
  • you have been advised to do so by a health professional.

Find out more about COVID-19 tests.

COVID-19 oral antiviral treatments need to be started early after testing positive.

Talk to your health professional about your COVID-19 treatment options.

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Rapid antigen tests, also known as RATs, are a quick way to test if you have COVID-19.

You can buy rapid antigen tests in pharmacies and supermarkets.

There are different types of rapid antigen tests you can use to check if you have COVID-19.

Some use your saliva, while others use a sample collected from inside your nose.

Each test works a little differently, so you must follow the instructions carefully to make sure you get an accurate result.

Results may take up to 30 minutes to show.

Remember, a test can only be used once.

To find out more about rapid antigen tests, call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080, and press 8 if you need an interpreter.

You can also visit health.gov.au

Masks

Wearing a mask can help protect you and those around you. To use a mask properly you should:

  • wash or sanitise your hands before putting it on or taking it off
  • make sure it covers your nose and mouth and fits snugly under your chin
  • avoid touching the front of your mask while wearing or removing it
  • keep it in place – don't hang it around your neck or under your nose
  • use a new single use mask each time
  • wash and dry reusable masks after use and store in a clean dry place.
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Masks help stop the spread of viruses and reduce our risk of getting sick. 

There are many good reasons for wearing them. 

We wear masks to protect ourselves or to help protect more vulnerable people.

We may be required to wear a mask when using public transport, or catching a plane, or when visiting a medical or high risk facility.

If you see someone wearing a mask respect their choice. And keep a mask handy, so you can use it when needed. 

Physical distancing

The more space between you and others, the harder it is for the virus to spread.

Physical distancing means:

  • keeping 1.5 metres away from others wherever possible
  • avoiding physical greetings such as handshaking, hugs and kisses
  • practising extra care on public transport
  • avoiding crowds and large gatherings
  • practising good hygiene
  • getting tested and staying at home if you have any cold or flu symptoms.

Hygiene

Steps you can take include:

  • wash your hands often for 20 seconds with soap and water
  • use alcohol-based hand sanitisers when you can’t use soap and water
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • clean and disinfect surfaces you use often such as benchtops, desks and doorknobs
  • clean and disinfect objects you use often such as mobile phones, keys, wallets and work passes.

Other protections and support

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