Advice for people at risk of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Some people are at greater risk of more serious illness with COVID-19. As we move towards living in a COVIDSafe Australia, people still need to take extra steps to protect those most at risk.

Some people are at greater risk of getting very sick if they contact COVID-19. However, everyone is different. It is important to talk to your doctor if you have a more serious illness or more than one condition.

First Nations people can be at higher risk in any public health emergency.

Who might be at higher risk of severe illness

You might be more likely to suffer severe illness due to COVID-19 if you:

  • are 70 years of age or over
  • have had an organ transplant and are on immune suppressive therapy
  • have had a bone marrow transplant in the last 24 months
  • are on immune suppressive therapy for graft versus host disease
  • have blood cancer eg leukaemia, lymphoma or myelodysplastic syndrome (diagnosed within the last 5 years)
  • are having chemotherapy or radiotherapy

Who might be at increased risk of moderate illness

You might be more likely to suffer moderate illness due to COVID-19 if you have:

  • chronic renal (kidney) failure
  • heart disease (coronary heart disease or failure)
  • chronic lung disease (excludes mild or moderate asthma)
  • a non-haematological cancer (diagnosed in the last 12 months)
  • diabetes
  • severe obesity with a BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2
  • chronic liver disease
  • some neurological conditions (stroke, dementia, other) (speak to your doctor about your risk)
  • some chronic inflammatory conditions and treatments (speak to your doctor about your risk)
  • other primary or acquired immunodeficiency (speak to your doctor about your risk)
  • poorly controlled blood pressure (may increase risk –speak to your doctor)

Other things that might affect your risk

Other factors might also increase your risk of moderate or severe illness if you contract COVID-19, including:

  • age - risk increases as you get older, even for those under 70
  • being male
  • poverty
  • smoking

Advice for specific communities and groups

For information on how you can stay safe and healthy read the Living well in the COVID-19 pandemic fact sheet. This fact sheet will help you to make COVIDSafe decisions about work, transport and social activities.

You may also like to talk to you doctor and complete a COVID-19 Action Plan.

Read more about how to reduce the risk for particular community groups who might be more at risk of exposure to COVID-19, or severe illness:

Last updated: 
6 July 2020

Help us improve health.gov.au

If you would like a response please use the enquiries form instead.